As reported by Eater, the Harvard Square Tatte Bakery & Café is projected to open on October 4th, 2016. While opening much later than originally anticipated, the store will be the largest of the Tatte Bakery & Café chain that is present throughout Boston. With the wood paneling finally dismantled, we are given a glimpse of the storefront as it is being painted. It is beginning to resemble the other branches of Tatte with clean, white paneling and a modern, industrial café vibe. Armed with a new Bongard oven and two floors of space, Tatte looks to fill the void of Panera Bread and then some.
The first floor will house the kitchen and have numerous seating areas from a communal dining space to a banquette and lounges. This may appeal to students seeking a place to relax or have casual conversations while they enjoy coffee and pastries. Otherwise, this may be a new destination for business coffee chats in a well-lit, comfortable environment. On the second floor, there will be a coffee bar and an open kitchen space. The owner and founder of Tatte, Tzurit Or, mentioned that cooking and baking classes will be offered a few times a month. Therefore, the opportunity to learn how to make their excellent pear tarts or savory moussaka may be coming in the future.
While I may be patiently waiting for Tatte to open, the large delay in projected opening date has been unfortunate and has deprived Harvard students from dining outside of the D-Hall.
There are a lot of reasons I wanted to try the new Oatmeal-Coffee craze – it solves the problem of not drinking coffee on an empty stomach, it might add flavour to otherwise dreary oatmeal, it is cheap, easy, and quick to make – but the number one reason why I wanted to try oatmeal-coffee is how absolutely strange it sounds. I am not an adventurous eater, but I am a curious one. I wonder what drew people to try replacing the water in oatmeal with coffee, and what led them to keep doing it. Here are the three D-Hall coffee substitutions of oatmeal.
Seattle’s Best Coffee Signature Blend No 4 Decaf Medium-Dark Rich and Quaker Oats
Bitter from the first time the spoon touched my palate, decaffeinated Oatmeal – Coffee is definitely for people who enjoy the taste of coffee. Not my cup of tea (or coffee) but definitely the perfect oatmeal for a coffee lover.
Personal rating: B-
Seattle’s Best Coffee Signature Blend No 4 Medium-Dark Rich and Quaker Oats
When swallowed quickly, it tastes like normal oatmeal. The longer it sits in my mouth, the more bitter it is. Still, every time I finish a spoonful I want another bite. I do not understand what the draw is, but I cannot stop eating it. I definitely had both more oatmeal and coffee together than I would have of either on their own.
Personal rating: B +
Seattle’s Best Coffee Vanilla and Quaker Oats
Sweet with only slight undertones of coffee flavoring. Vanilla Oatmeal-Coffee tastes almost identical to lightly sweetened oatmeal.
Over spring break, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Singapore for an HCAP conference. Obviously I was most excited about the food and especially a tradition called “cafe hopping.” Considering the fact that cafes are one of my favorite things in the world, I was eager to immerse myself in this particular foodie culture.
To explain a little bit, cafe hopping is when you take a whole morning or afternoon to visit as many cafes as possible and sample each cafe’s best dishes. So think of bar hopping, but replace the booze with brunch essentials and scrumptious desserts. I was in foodie heaven. Thrilled, I embarked on my first gustatory odyssey.
Our first stop was a brunch cafe. I ordered a classic: the salmon eggs benedict. The combination of salmon, roe, avocado, asparagus and hollandaise sauce was genius, to say the least. My taste buds were inundated by the creamy richness of the avocado and salmon, the tart explosions of the roe and the crunchy softness of the toast. Cafe hopping stop 1: 10/10.
The next stop was: you guessed it, another brunch cafe. With two brunches in one day, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. This time, I ordered poached eggs over a potato puree and hash browns with a side of roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus and caramelized onions. As you can see from the photo, the egg was cooked to the ideal consistency for drizzly perfection. Washing it all down with a sip of coffee, I was in a stellar mood. Another jackpot brunch. Cafe hopping stop 2: 10/10.
Feeling pleasantly and smugly full, we headed to our last stop: a dessert cafe. Feeling ambitious, we ordered a cheesecake, brownie and an iced latte. The coffee was an ice cold relief to all the walking in the hot Singapore weather. The cheesecake and brownie were average. The consistency of both desserts were slightly too dense for me, but still a superb combination with the latte. Perhaps the bar had been raised after the two stellar brunches. But the hip atmosphere of the cafe made up for it. The murals added a lazy artistic vibe. The perfect spot for some light reading on a Sunday afternoon.
Overall, cafe hopping was a huge success. I would highly recommend to any foodie that is planning on traveling to Singapore!
Oh, Panera, you never really meant that much to me… While for some students Panera is a staple, I’ve never been the biggest fan of ‘commercialized’ foods. My friends can attest to the fact that I frequently voice my distaste for chains like Chipotle, Panera, and Au Bon Pain. Ok, you might think this is all a bunch of food snobbery, but for me, the problem is not the flavor of the food, but the principle of it.
While these businesses advertise non-GMO, pesticide and antibiotic free food, what does that really mean? Are we not falling for the same trap of the previous generation that was promised fast, convenient, and cheap food? We are becoming numb to what is out there in the world of food, and falling into the trap of buzzwords and catchphrases. I’ll be honest: when Panera closed, I smiled. When I found out what replaced it, my smile only widened.
Tatte Bakery and Café is a homegrown Boston bakery and café with numerous branches throughout the city from Kendall Square to Brookline. They serve a wide range of Middle Eastern dishes and pastries as well as the more traditional café fare. From a small stand at Boston farmer’s markets to five established and beloved bakeries, Tatte has proven to be a Boston success story. And it all started with one person, owner Tzurit Or.
Tzurit grew up in Israel and learned traditional baking techniques from her mother. After years of working as a film producer, she realized her true calling in life was baking. She picked up her belongings and moved to Boston, where she started baking from her kitchen. Starting at local farmer’s markets, her carefully crafted pastries received rave reviews. The rest is history.
As you probably guessed, a new Tatte Bakery and Café location will be opening in the space previously occupied by Panera Bread. I could barely contain my excitement when I heard this news. A locally-operated business replacing a national chain? It was music to my ears. However, I do humbly applaud Panera for their business model and their care for the customer.
In early February, Panera Bread purchased a majority stake in Tatte Bakery and Café, but will allow them to run independently. This funding allowed Tatte Bakery to fill the Panera space and reach a new audience of (I hope at least) excited and hungry Harvard students. While construction may take some time (it opens in summer according to a manager at the Main Street Tatte Bakery and Café), it is an addition that is sorely needed. As I sip my café au lait and enjoy my pistachio-filled, baklava-esque croissant, I cannot help but think:
Goodbye Panera; Welcome home Tatte.
A selection of tasteful shots from Tatte Bakery and Café on Main Street and all the ‘yum’ that is to come:
Petsi Pies is a hidden Cambridge oasis tucked behind a residential street. With four locations in Massachusetts, the establishment clearly knows what it’s doing since opening in 2003. From eponymous pies and baked goods to spicy soups and flavorful sandwiches, Petsi is much more than a café.
There’s a decent amount of coffee choices, and most customers sip a cup while typing away on their laptops thanks to free wifi. I ventured in around 2pm, and every table was filled, explaining why the display case was looking a little desolate compared to the cornucopia of pies and treats it usually contains before lunchtime. Learn from my mistake – get there early, get a seat, get pie!
If you have a favorite filling or are looking to take a whole pie to go, you’re better off placing an order over the phone. Daily selections vary, but everything is freshly baked. Possible choices include a classic apple, cherry crumb, chocolate cream, blueberry, Mississippi mud, brown butter pecan, pumpkin, and more.
I selected the delectably messy mixed berry with a crumb topping. And here’s another tip: have them heat a slice up for you. Now that it’s getting colder, there’s nothing better than a warm, gooey treat, and this slice of berry pie did not disappoint. The texture was chunky enough to know it was made with fresh fruit, but soft enough to let it melt in your mouth. Plus, the crumb has a nice cinnamon kick to complement the hint of sour from the blackberry and sweet from the blueberry.
Needless to say, I understand the crowds, and I am all for keeping Petsi a secret spot. The more pie for us, the better! Be careful how often you frequent the café, though. It may be tasty, but my slice was $5.
It was worth it as a special treat, but maybe not as an everyday dessert.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from dining hall cookies, grab a cup of warm coffee, a plateful of pie, and relax in the bustling ambiance of Petsi’s.
When I was four, pumpkin was my least favorite vegetable. It has since become one of the best; a seasonal flavor I can’t pass up. Pumpkin chai latte, pumpkin spice, and the classic pumpkin pie – I can eat those all day long. So this weekend, I made it my mission to go to three different eateries and try out their pumpkin-themed desserts.
My first stop was, of course, at J.P. Licks. Its location right across from the Yard is both a blessing and a curse; whenever I want ice cream, I don’t have to walk far to get some, but its closeness always tempts me every day.
I had a small in a waffle cone of two of J.P. Licks’ Flavors of the Month: pumpkin custard and white coffee chunk. The white coffee chunk was a delicious blend of coffee and chocolate – two things that I can never resist. The pumpkin custard was good, but I felt like the pumpkin flavor wasn’t strong enough.
Then, I walked over to Tealuxe to have some fall-themed tea and tea cake. I had the chaider, a blend of hot apple cider and cinnamon chai. It definitely warmed me up from the cold weather outside. But, I saved my Pumpkin Tea Cake to eat at my next stop:
Sweet, a cozy bakery filled with some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, ended my day on a high note. They had a nice variety of fall-themed desserts, and at least three different kinds of pumpkin flavored cupcakes. I ordered the pumpkin pie cupcake, and relished every bite of it.
The pumpkin is one of fall’s greatest classic flavors, and my mission to find delicious pumpkin-flavored desserts clearly demonstrates why it remains popular season after season.
This is the best ice cream within walking distance. There is no debate on this. Every flavor I’ve tried has been wonderful. The coffee is delicious too; and what could be a better study combination than ice cream and coffee? And speaking of studying, Toscanini’s is what might sound like a contradiction: a studying ice cream shop. I aim to have tried all the flavors before I graduate (and with my rate of ice cream consumption, this goal appears quite likely.)
It is true that Toscanini’s is farther than Harvard Square. It is true that it is far enough that you could even take the T. But going to Toscanini’s isn’t just about getting ice cream; it’s an occasion. (An occasion that I take advantage of much too often.) And while it may be more of a schlep, it is completely worth it.
To demonstrate how many times I have been to Toscanini’s, I can tell you all of the amazing flavors from personal experience. Ginger snap molasses, coffee, cocoa pudding, chocolate #3, cookie dough, butter almond, Aztec chocolate…the list could go on and on. And now serving soft serve, Toscanini’s has something for every ice cream lover.
But I must talk about one flavor in particular: the Toscanini’s flavor. B3 is pretty much everything you could ever want in an ice cream flavor: brown butter, brown sugar, and brownie bits. It is decadent (a kiddie cup—micro cup in Toscanini’s speak—is more than enough), creamy, and absolutely delicious.
My most recent Toscanini’s excursion was motivated by an upcoming paper. A paper that I really didn’t want to write. And what better excuse to take the trek down Mass Ave than for an ice cream-incentivized study break.
I got the chocolate chip, which might seem a bit boring, but it is absolutely fantastic. Toscanini’s flavors taste exactly like their name. They taste as though were just made (and with rotating flavors, this is often the case). Their vanilla is so creamy, and their chocolate chips (more like chocolate chunks) are like a high-end chocolate bar.
Unlike a typical cream store, Toscanini’s has more of a coffee shop vibe. Quiet but not too quiet, lots of students, good lighting, and most importantly, the presence of great food and drinks. I’ve been for birthdays, for days when I just need a good cup of ice cream, and most often, I’ve been when I just need to get off-campus to study.
My paper is now complete and I cannot wait for the next excuse to make the journey to get my favorite Cambridge ice cream.
Note: Basia will be publishing a Best of Boston Ice Cream series – check back for more next week!
Step 3: Add ice cream. (The ice cream can be added directly to the mug, but it’s probably safer to put the ice cream in a bowl first, and then slowly add in spoonfuls of ice cream. Otherwise the hot chocolate may overflow.)
Step 4: For an extra kick, add some coffee to the mix.
September 21st has passed and you know what that means: it is officially Autumn. The leaves are changing colors and falling off the trees, the Halloween decorations are making their way into storefronts, and Crema has put out their Autumn themed “Fall in Love with Our Seasonal Drinks” sign.
The sign boasts maple lattes, warm apple cider, and chaider (chai cider). On a chilly Wednesday morning, I waited in the long line of Crema-lovers to make the season change official.
I decided to opt for the first of the suggested fall beverages, a maple latte. As someone who has no sweet tooth, I was nervous about how sweet my maple latte would be. It finally arrived with a beautiful white leaf drawn into its maple brown surface. I was pleasantly surprised upon my first sip. This latte hits you first with a rich coffee flavor that gets sweeter and lighter until it becomes a maple aftertaste. As someone who generally does not make it through an entire small coffee, I was surprised to finish my entire latte in under ten minutes. It was flavorful, but not overwhelming, and left a taste in my mouth that left me wanting more. It will definitely be my go-to drink of the season!
Walking to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), I wonder if I’ve been sent to cover a latte class or to some obscure hipster cult meeting. It’s isolated, standing alone on the water overlooking the boats in the harbor. I walk in desperately in need of some coffee, paying no heed to the careful foam designs that some people take years to master.
But that’s precisely what I went to the ICA to learn. As soon as I entered the room, the sweet but somewhat bitter smell overwhelmed me – the good type of overwhelmed, not the too many p-sets and too little time overwhelmed – and I knew I was in a place where the coffee and the vibes were just too good to pass up. Black Magic Coffee Company, a local coffee stand that frequents farmers markets and caters locally (Harvard is missing a major opportunity there), was the main event.
Dave made me a heavenly latte and then it was my time to shine, my time to prove once and for all that I am an artist by any important standard of measurement.
I watched the demonstration carefully, noting that the latte artist tipped the cup before pouring anything in, watching his steady hands design swans, acorns, and hearts, moving ever-so-slightly to produce the most majestic swirls and shapes.
But, alas, some things should be left to the masters. I stepped up to the plate and choked, creating an amorphous blob instead of the ambitious flower design I had in mind. It was any self-respecting hipster’s worst nightmare! Luckily, I was soon happily drinking my slice of heaven and all of my troubles floated away. I walked away content; I am an appreciator of all fine things without the ability to create any of them on my own, but that’s just fine with me.