Mike’s Pastry — Now Open in Harvard Square

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By Dana Ferrante ’17

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It’s true. Mike’s Pastry, in all its powdered-sugar-sprinkled, ricotta-filled goodness, has finally opened in Harvard Square. With the interior not quite done, Mike’s opened today unannounced, boasting only the spotless glass cases filled with pastries of all kinds and the smooth granite countertops. But really, what else could you possibly need?

 

Mike’s Pastry ha2014-11-13 11.57.23s been open in the North End (basically Boston’s Little Italy) for almost 62 years now. The new satellite shop in Harvard Square will receive deliveries of all sorts of pastries (lobster tails, tiramisu, and empty cannoli shells that will be filled to order) from the main bakery in the North End each morning. To finish off the exciting Italian-American immigration to Harvard Square, the new shop will also offer coffee drinks, including espresso and cappuccino.

For my first Mike’s run of the semester, I thought I would stick to the basics: cannoli and pizzelle.

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The basics: Pizzelle and Cannoli.

Unlike most bakeries in the North End, Mike’s Pastry fries its own cannoli shells seven days a week. For anyone who has ever bitten into a disappointingly stale cannoli shell, Mike’s fresh, light, and generally larger shells, are nothing short of salvation. It may just be a matter of personal preference, but there’s really nothing like a ricotta-filled cannoli with a plain shell. An oreo or strawberry cannoli may seem tempting, but these are purely Americanized versions of an Italian classic– a classic, which I believe (some people say a little too obstinately) is perfect, and most delicious, in its original form.

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For the time being, the shop will open from 8am to 10pm each day, but as the manager explained, “we have already heard from a lot of students that Saturday night is going to be very busy.” He went on to explain how the current hours are soft, meaning if there seems to be a high-demand for cannoli late at night, the shop will change its hours accordingly. Something tells me that late-night Mike’s will soon become the next big thing on Harvard’s campus.2014-11-13 11.57.35

 

Faneuil Hall: A Food Lover’s Paradise

Orlea Miller ‘16

Because this is my third year living in Cambridge, I like to consider myself a Faneuil Hall expert. Every time I have a visitor at school, Faneuil Hall is one of our first stops on the trip: it is a place I know will always deliver the perfect taste of Boston, in more ways than one.

Faneuil Hall gives tourists the chance to try just about every cuisine (local and beyond) while also serving as the perfect haven for all the foodies out there.

I’ve heard of a few unfortunate Faneuil Hall experiences, typically involving a friend walking into the marketplace hungry, and selecting the first option they encounter. They then saunter through the rest of the food booths, barely able to walk as they regret their cursory decision to buy the first bagel pizza or Chinese dish they smelled. As they pass Boston Chowda, Pizzeria Regina, or the cannoli and cake slices from the North End Bakery, they cannot believe all of the opportunities they missed in their ravenous haste. When it comes to Faneuil Hall, this is biggest mistake you can make.

Foreseeing this problem, I typically advise my guests beforehand to be patient. Walk up and down, survey every Faneuil Hall food booth carefully before selecting anything; share two to four entrees with the rest of your party, so you can enjoy all that the marketplace has to offer. Most importantly, stop when you feel the slightest bit full so you can take advantage of the cakes, pastries, caramel apples, and gelato that you’ll have to choose at the end of the outing.

On my most recent visit, my aunt and I arrived on Friday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. Though I was admittedly starving, there were a few people and plenty of space to walk, so I was able to show her all that Faneuil Hall without feeling overwhelmed by the tourists that saturate the central aisle during lunchtime, and especially on the weekends.

Upon entering the Hall, we were greeted with sweet and savory choices at the booths displaying their fall offerings. First up, we eyed Sprinkles Ice Cream and Fudge Shop, showcasing its traditional fudge flavors alongside seasonal favorites.

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As we moved two inches further, we smelled Boston Pretzel Bakery’s oven. As if the plain, salted, cinnamon sugar, a
nd Parmesan options weren’t enough, this pretzel shop was advertising its Boston Pretzel (pictured right): a mix of salt and sesame shaped like a “B”. As we neared the counter, the owner offered us a sample of her signature pretzel, which we immediately agreed was tastier than any pretzel we’d ever tried. The Boston pretzel wasn’t too salted or under flavored; it was the perfect combination of crispy and doughy. The owner also made sure to share that it was even all-natural!

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Like I said, Faneuil Hall has something for everyone, even the meat-lovers out there! The next popular booth appeared to be the Prime Shoppe, serving up your traditional barbeque fare such as turkey, ribs, mashed potatoes, and corn.

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We quickly spotted the second dessert option of the day, Carol Ann Bake Shop. While the windows weren’t totally stocked following the lunch crowd consumption, there was a little bit of everything left including Boston Crème Pie, German Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake, and Strawberry Shortcake; we were quickly able to tell what the popular choices were!

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Before finding our lunch for the day, we were tempted by a few other sweet options: The North End Bakery’s mouth-watering cake slices (which always look and taste the best in my opinion) and Joey’s Gelateria, a reminder that the North End is really just down the street.

I tried the Chocolate Truffle Bomb (pictured below; middle of the top row) on a previous visit, and let me say it’s a necessity on one of your trips to Faneuil Hall (because there should be many!). A word of advice, it is best enjoyed when you have plenty of room after your meal.

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The Berry Twist’s caramel apples, which are pictured in the header, provide yet another option for your second (or third or fourth) course. While the fall creations looked the tastiest, the Berry Twist had more than enough choices: chocolate covered strawberries, several ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors, and unique sundaes and smoothies.

As we passed the booth Boston Chowda, I knew my aunt wouldn’t be able to resist! From Maine Lobster Pie to Lobster Mac’ and Cheese to Atlantic Haddock Pie, the booth puts a spin on chicken pot pie that pleases both the New England and comfort food palate.

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Sure enough, she went for Lobster Mac’ and Cheese, and thought it was one of the best things she’d ever tried. With huge pieces of lobster throughout, my aunt felt like she was getting a real bang for her buck, enjoying the traditional New England products smothered in cheese and perfectly cooked and crispy.

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Pizzeria Regina is always a favorite in my family, and during our visit they cooked up a fall pie (below) along with the simple margherita pizza guaranteed to please little kids or any picky eaters out there.

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Our trip couldn’t be complete without taking something for the road. Right outside the food booth halls stands Wicked Good Cupcakes (featured on Shark Tank) which lucky for us, provides just that. These are just any cupcakes — they are cupcakes created for mason jars. My aunt packed the simple Chocolate Cupcake to take home, but flavors below include(left to right) Coconut Calico, Black Cat, Dalmatian, Mocha Maine Coon Cat, and Marble Mutt.

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So, if you haven’t ever been to Faneuil, it’s time to go! And if you’ve already been, there’s never been a more delicious time to go again.

Saint Anthony’s Feast & Saint Lucy’s Feast: A Double Header of Italian Street Festivals

By Dana Ferrante ’17

Unlike a restaurant, food truck, or vending machine, the opportunity to go to saint feasts only comes around once a year. No cancellations, no rain checks. These feasts come, they conquer, and they make you wait a whole year for their next appearance.

We don’t want you to miss out, so mark your calendars for August 29th-31st, when Saint Anthony’s Street Festival takes over Boston’s North End. For anyone out there who has never been outside Harvard Square, the North End is basically Boston’s “Little Italy.” It’s where you’ll find the city’s best cannoli, more fettucine alfredo than you’ve ever thought possible, and of course, gelato on every street corner. While we highly recommend that one day you make your way to Hanover Street (essentially the Appian Way of the North End) to discover for yourself what treasures lie down its winding alleyways, there’s no better time for an introduction to this Italian-American village than Saint Anthony’s feast.

Source: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/st-anthonys-feast-boston?select=rHKXTUiPcgzSv9HoDyUK9A#rY0IvspFhTGUc4ReRNSBVA
St. Anthony’s festival in the heart of the North End/

Opening ceremonies begin with a small procession of Saint Anthony on Friday at 7pm, with a musical performance starting soon after at 7:30pm, but the real party starts (and practically never finishes) on the weekend. By noontime on Saturday, the Streets will be flooded with white stalls, as local businesses offer their best to the hungry crowds. Arancini, calzones, cannoli, calamari, hazelnuts, sausage and peppers, torrone, pizzele, clams, caprese sandwiches —and that’s just the beginning.

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Stacked cannoli shells, ready to be filled with a creamy ricotta filling.

Throughout the entire weekend, Pizzeria Regina will be at the open air piazza selling pizza, Stella Artois, and of course, vino, produced by The Naked Grape. This year’s festival also features a tasting tent and culinary stage sponsored by Filippo Berio Olive Oil and New England Center for Arts and Technology. While at the tasting tent, you can try several varieties of Filippo Berio olive oil using Parziale Bakery’s freshly baked bread and learn useful olive oil tricks and tips. And if you like cooking just as much as you like eating, don’t miss the culinary stage, where local chefs will be showcasing their best Italian dishes. Demonstrations and tastings will run throughout the entire weekend, so whether you attend on Saturday, Sunday, or both, you won’t miss out on any of the culinary spectacle.

Amidst this gastronomical playground, there will be live music, masses, processions, dancing, carnival games, confetti, and of course, a giant statue of Saint Anthony covered with paper streamers by the time Sunday night rolls around.

And there’s more. The party and religious devotion continue onto Monday September 1st , with the celebration of Saint Lucy, complete with celebration and music throughout the day and a nighttime feast. If you didn’t have room for a sfogliatelle (also called a lobster tail) or arancini the first two days, you have one more chance to fill yourself up with Italian deliciousness.

In summary, these back-to-back saint feasts offer great food, a lively atmosphere, and a perfect opportunity to use that Italian accent you have been working on.

 

For a full schedule of events and times, check out the festivals’ website at: http://www.stanthonysfeast.com/schedule.html.