This past summer, my Instagram feed was flooded with pictures of rolled ice cream posted by friends interning in San Francisco and New York. Fueled by my novel ice cream FOMO, I searched for a place in Boston that offered rolled ice cream for me to try, but at the time, could not find anything. Finally, at the end of the summer of 2016, Hi B3ar fulfilled my rolled ice cream dreams and opened in Allston (147 Brighton Ave.).
The owner of Hi B3ar also owns nearby Mala Restaurant, and hopes “to give everyone a hot spicy taste then a cold, sweet taste for dessert.” Hi B3ar certainly delivers on the promise of a cold, sweet treat. The shop has 10 different offerings of rolled ice cream, with flavors varying from coffee to chocolate to berry to mango, all for $6.95 plus tax.
My ice cream buddy and I opted to try the First Kiss, which had strawberries, graham crackers, and chocolate sauce, and the Cookie Monster, which had Oreos. We watched in awe as the server poured a creamy liquid onto the cold surface, sprinkled on our desired toppings, and skillfully manipulated the mixture until it resembled perfect rolls.
When we were finally handed our bowls of rolled ice cream, we dug in immediately. While the cold surface had allowed the liquid to take on the perfect rolled shape, it made the ice cream far too cold to taste anything at first. After waiting a few minutes for it to thaw, we gave it another shot. Still, the ice cream seemed to lack flavor, and had a bit of an egg-y aftertaste. It was a generous serving of ice cream, but for $6.95, we had both expected better tasting ice cream.
Though I am certainly glad Hi B3ar has brought rolled ice cream to Boston, I found their ice cream to be lackluster in taste. That being said, the experience of watching the ice cream get rolled up in front of me was worthwhile in itself, and so if you want to try something new, I encourage you to give Hi B3ar a chance!
As of late, the food scene in Harvard Square has been bleak. With the onset of construction and subsequent mass exodus of restaurants, there have been significantly fewer options to choose from. Add into the mix that HUDS is on strike, and the options further dwindle. Thankfully, as of Thursday, October 6th, there is a new restaurant in the square: En Boca.
Originally in the building that used to be Sandrine’s, En Boca was purchased by restaurant developers Bill Goodwin and Peter Sarmanian, who are also behind two well-known Irish pubs in Boston, in March of 2015. Unlike their other restaurants, En Boca is far from an Irish pub. Goodwin’s goal in creating En Boca was to serve “creative, farm-to-table food with a Mediterranean influence” in an ambiance that is “classic with a modern feel,:
Crimson Crave co-President, Richa Chaturvedi ‘18, another friend, and I decided to check it out. Upon walking into the restaurant, we were struck by how beautifully decorated it is. We immediately felt transported from the grind of the Harvard Bubble, despite being a stone’s throw from the River Houses. We sat by the large window overlooking Holyoke Street, which was truly a treat, even with the construction across the street.
En Boca’s menu mostly consists of small plates; our server recommended we order three or four plates per person. “It’s all about the sharing experience,” Goodwin explained to me over the phone, before I even set foot in the restaurant. With this in mind, my companions and I ordered seven small plates, and one of their larger, yet still shareable, dishes.
At En Boca, everything comes out to the table as soon as it is ready. Before we knew it, our table was adorned with several small plates. The first thing we sampled were the patatas bravas, which were paired with aioli, tomato, and sweet pepper. The potatoes were cooked perfectly; the skin was crispy, but the potato itself was tender. To me, the highlight of the dish were the sauces, though. The sweet pepper sauce and creamy aioli not only complemented each other, but also the saltiness of the potatoes. Overall, this dish was delicious and simple. I imagine it will be a popular menu item as time goes on!
Next up were the crispy brussel sprouts. It seems as though the chefs at En Boca have realized the truth about vegetables, particularly brussel sprouts: they are much, much tastier when paired with bacon. The brussel sprouts themselves were beautifully browned and lived up to their description as crispy, but I stand by my assertion the bacon was the star of the show. Of all the small plates, my dining companions and I agreed that this was one of the best.
One of our fellow diners would argue that the best dish was the chicken liver pâté. In fact, she refused to share it because she liked it so much, and claimed it was some of the best pâté she has ever had!
Another standout dish was the local halloumi cheese. For anyone who has never tried halloumi, ordering it at En Boca is the perfect opportunity. The small plate gives you just a taste of this delicious, salty cheese along with notes of hazelnut. After your first bite, you’ll wish this dish came with more than just three pieces.
The charred cauliflower, while not quite a standout, was still quite delicious. Lightly fried, the cauliflower itself was not particularly flavorful, but the accompanying sultanas and labneh, which is basically a creamy mediterranean aioli, really made the dish. In fact, the labneh also paired extremely well with the falafel. Without dipping it in the labneh, we found that the falafel was too dense and dry, but it was elevated to new levels once we realized this unexpected yet harmonious combination.
Of all the dishes, the baked farm egg with chorizo dressing and polenta was our least favorite. Though it sounded good on paper, this dish lacked the texture and flavor that the other dishes so beautifully capitulated. The egg was well-cooked (complete with plenty of yolk porn), but blended in too much with the polenta, resulting in a mushy texture and bland flavor. The chorizo was more salty than it was flavorful, and did nothing to salvage the dish. However, I liked the idea of a poached egg on the menu, and hope that the chefs will find a better way to serve it.
Our final savory course was the half roasted chicken with a sunchoke reduction. It seems as though the chefs had saved the best for last. After all, there are few things better than flavorful, juicy chicken covered in crunchy, briny skin. The sunchoke reduction amplified the chicken’s flavor perfectly. Though we were already pretty full by the time we got our final course, the chicken was one of the best dishes we had, and we made sure to make room. However, since this dish was advertised as one to share, we think that the presentation could have better reflected the sharing aspect. The chicken was served on the bone. In order to share it, we had to cut into it with our own utensils, which, if you were not dining with close friends or family, could get awkward. Given how delicious it is, leaving people to their own devices to cut the chicken could create a hunger games-esque situation. If this chicken were sliced before it were served, then it would probably be more socially acceptable to eat in a group!
In terms of drinks, En Boca is technically a wine bar, and boasts an extensive wine list, including plenty of fine wines by the glass. However, only one member of our group was over 21, and she does not like wine. Thankfully, En Boca offers many other options, including cocktails, beers, and ciders. She decided on the strawberry peach fizz cocktail. After her first sip, she decided it was both too sweet and too strong; the overwhelmingly saccharine aftertaste did not mask the taste of alcohol. Upon noticing that our friend was not drinking her drink, however, our server offered to get her another one that she might prefer.
This is just one example of the outstanding service at En Boca. While aspects of the menu are still a work in progress, one thing that En Boca has mastered is its service. Our server, Isabella, was polite, knowledgeable, and attentive. She truly made our dining experience as enjoyable as possible.
As for dessert, chef Bryan Jacobs, who used to be the private chef for both George Bush and the Anheuser-Busch family, is still experimenting with the menu. He served us a palate-cleansing dessert as well as an Egyptian cake. The palate-cleanser consisted of a quince sorbet with tahini shortbread, hazelnut and mint oils, and chantilly. While on paper, this combination may sound strange, it was one of the most unique desserts we had ever sampled; light, refreshing, sweet, and tangy.
The egyptian cake, made with semolina, and run, had a wonderfully crumbly texture without being dry. To achieve this texture while still maintaining the flavors of the cake, chef Jacobs used a brown butter reduction as his base, instead of the tried-and-true method of creaming butter and sugar together. Paired with the the airy chantilly, made using an oxygen gun, this dessert was also light, and the perfect amount of sweet. Though at this point in the meal, we had sampled at least nine different dishes, we were not completely stuffed to the point of feeling like we needed to lay still for hours. To achieve desserts that are both decadent and light is quite a feat, and chef Jacobs certainly accomplished it.
Two hours and $103 later (a reasonable price for such a high-quality dinner for three people), we left En Boca, stomachs full of delicious food and a desire to come back soon. While some of the small plates were not quite perfect, the chicken and the desserts were more than enough to keep us coming back for more. Before En Boca officially opened its doors, Goodwin acknowledged his excitement about opening and “correcting our mistakes as we go.” With its outstanding service and talent in the kitchen, En Boca has a great deal of potential, and we can’t wait to see how it evolves in the coming months.
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!
I’m getting my sweet tooth back after a winter of warm soups and comfort food. I’m craving something frozen, with whipped cream, cookies, and peanuts….like a hot fudge sundae! This Peanut Butter Oreo Icebox Cake takes the traditional hot fudge sundae to the next level. It is easy, NO BAKE, all gluten-free, and I promise you will enjoy it. Have fun with this one! You can use many different toppings like peanuts, strawberries, M&M’s, chocolate chips, and caramel or hot fudge sauces.
1 16oz container Cool Whip or other nondairy whipped topping
1 ½ cups peanut butter, crunchy or creamy (it is easiest to use a creamier based peanut butter for mixing and spreading purposes)
¾ cup fudge sauce
¼-1/3 cup crushed peanuts
2 boxes gluten free Oreo cookies (I use Glutino brand)
8 x 8 aluminum baking pan lined with non-stick tin foil
Create four rows of Oreos along the bottom of the aluminum pan
In a separate bowl, mix the Cool Whip and peanut butter until totally combined
Spread ½ of the peanut butter mixture over the Oreo’s, then top with another layer of Oreo’s
Drizzle ½ cup of the fudge sauce over top
Spread on the remaining peanut butter mixture and drizzle on top the remaining fudge sauce
Crumble all the remaining Oreo’s and sprinkle them, along with the peanuts or other toppings, over the top
7. Place in refrigerator 4-8 hours, or preferably in freezer for 3-4 hours
8. Slice and enjoy!
Spring has sprung, and it’s great to enjoy a gluten-free frozen treat that is so easy to make and tastes great!!!!!
If there’s one thing New Yorkers do well, it’s setting trends. Let us never forget the cronut, a humble combination of a croissant and a donut, that caused New Yorkers to lose their minds a couple years ago.
There is one food trend Caroline and I can get on board for, however, and it’s the not-so-humble milkshake.
This trend originated in Black Tap Burgers and Beer in NYC and has found its way to our very own Boston Burger Company! Dubbed “freak frappes,” these milkshakes are topped with m&ms, brownies, toasted marshmallows, and even bacon. Caroline and I decided to investigate these high-calorie treats to see if they were worth the hype.
Pro tip: do not attempt to tackle a freak frappe if you are even a little bit full. I couldn’t even finish mine (the Nutella frappe with chocolate cookies and m&ms), which is saying a lot. The real MVP would have to be Caroline, who fearlessly conquered an Oreo frappe with every cookie offered, a toasted marshmallow, and a brownie.
These milkshakes will look incredible on your Instagram feed and taste equally as good. Be wary of the pricing, however, because it’s easy to get carried away with all the delicious toppings and lose track of it all. Boston Burger Company is already known for their crazy burger options (the 420 burger has mozzarella sticks in it!), but they have really outdone themselves here. Midterms got you feeling down? Grab a friend, grab a burger, and grab a freak frappe at Boston Burger Company. I guarantee the sugar rush is powerful enough to overcome any stress that’s coming your way.
On a recommendation from my blockmate, I decided to escape the Harvard bubble and attend a pop-up dinner at an apartment in Central Square, hosted by Theory Kitchen.
After a cursory Google search of Theory Kitchen, I learned that the founder, Theo Friedman, is a recent Tufts grad with a passion for experimental cooking. While he was a student at Tufts, Friedman hosted several pop-up dinners and taco nights with the help of fellow students. In fact, for his senior thesis, he made a 20-course meal to highlight how the industrial food system disconnects diners and the people who make their food. After graduating, Theo took to operating Theory Kitchen full time, hosting pop-up dinners all over New England. No two dinners are the same; the menu and location change every time.
I knew this was going to be good. Anyone who finds time to cook anything, let alone a full gourmet meal, while in college must have a true passion for it! And Theo’s passion certainly translated into skill.
Although Google told me that Friedman was only 22-years-old, upon walking into the apartment, I was surprised to see someone so close to my age prepping an eleven-course meal. His workspace, complete with serving equipment as well as Tupperware containers filled with the elements of each course, was impeccably organized—even more impressive considering the kitchen in which he was working was totally new to him.
And then the dinner began. Before each course, Theo explained the story behind the food before us. The salmon dish, he told us, was inspired by bagel and lox. The last course, a kumquat and rhubarb fruit roll-up, was inspired by his childhood love for fruit roll-ups. In addition to deconstructing the story behind each meal, we were also able to watch them be prepared. This interactive environment with the chef himself created a level of intimacy in this dining experience that I do not think is possible at a restaurant.
Not only did each course have a unique story, but each also boasted unique flavors and textures. The first course was a warm sunchoke soup with cold scallops, both of which were savory, paired with sweet pomegranate seeds. Another course, a favorite among all of us dinner-goers, was a soy-flavored, poached egg, with yolk oozing over kale and crispy shiitake mushrooms.
Of note, in my opinion, were the desserts. This may be because I have an insatiable sweet tooth, but I found Theo’s three desserts to be especially creative. First came his grapefruit, fernet, and dill dessert. Never had I expected to eat dill for dessert, and in a meringue no less! Then came rice crispy treats, another childhood-inspired dish, which combined crispy pork skin and creamy dulce du leche. Finally was my favorite dessert: a chocolate and peppercorn cake with preserved strawberries.
The other event attendees, many of them also undergraduates, were just as in awe as I was of Theo’s creative cooking skills. Each course brought an exciting new combination of flavors and textures that we could not believe he had put together in such a deliciously harmonious way. Although we had all been complete strangers before the dinner, by the end, we had all shared a novel culinary experience together, and bonded over our admiration for Theo and his cooking.
I’ve always loved peanut butter – so much so, in fact, that for my 11th birthday I asked for peanut butter as a present. I also really like cookies. Put the two together, and you achieve perfection: peanut butter cookies are heavenly. Unfortunately, they’re also nowhere to be found in the dining halls. To date, I only remember HUDS serving peanut butter cookies twice, and they were a far cry from the melt-in-your-mouth masterpieces found at places like Insomnia Cookies. It’s culinary discrimination. Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin get their fair representation, but when that peanut-butter-cookie craving strikes, where can a desperate student turn?
They say that desperation is the mother of invention, and this article is about to prove that saying true.
I think inspiration struck one night in Dunster dining hall. Brain break featured a tray of Ranger cookies, a sugary offering to the bleary-eyed students running on three hours of sleep. While Ranger cookies do have strong points, such as their satisfying crunch and slight hint of coconut, they obviously lack peanut butter. I picked up a cookie. My gaze landed on the ever-present container of peanut butter at brain breaks. I smeared a plump dollop of peanut butter onto the cookie, hesitantly took a bite, and…
Sweet, sweet success.
The creamy peanut butter provides perfect contrast to the crunch of the Ranger cookie. It also makes overbaked and dry cookies seem softer, more soothing on the tongue. Both organic peanut butter and normal peanut butter work; since the cookie contains more sugar than is probably necessary, the organic peanut butter will also taste sweet.
Hot chocolate is always my “go-to” drink in winter when I want to warm up. Just tasting that warm, soothing liquid somehow makes the snow outside disappear. Recently, I was introduced to another cup of winter wonderland: a moist and chocolaty rich cake that is made entirely in a cup. Taking only minutes to prepare, this easy recipe is cooked in your microwave and will have you satisfied and wanting more! Best of all, it can be made gluten-free!
5 tbsp flour (gluten free)
4 ½ tbsp sugar
2 tsp cocoa (unsweetened, most brands are gluten free except Ghirdeli)
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
½ tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp vegetable oil
4 1/2 tbsp water
Spray the inside of a microwave safe mug with non-stick cooking spray
Mix the first 5 dry ingredients
After mixing, make 3 depressions in the dry ingredients.
Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in the third
Pour the water on top
Mix well until smooth
Microwave for 2 minutes
To make your Crazy Mug Cake taste even better you can add mini marshmallows, chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand are gluten free), M&Ms, sprinkles, shredded coconut, etc. This easy mug cake will not only taste great on a wintery day, but you could even have a cup of hot chocolate along with it!
Veritaffles are a staple of the Harvard student diet – there’s nothing like a warm, carbohydrate – infused start to another long day of problem sets, and club meetings, and all of the other delightful things an overbooked undergraduate has to look forward to.
But sometimes, you need to spice up your Veritaffle. A plain waffle is just not enough. That’s where the amazing oatmeal peanut butter Veritaffle comes in. It’s a quick and easy d-hall hack to make your breakfast and brunches heartier than ever.
1 medium size bowl of the waffle mix
2-3 scoops of oatmeal
2-3 spoonfuls of peanut butter
These are very straightforward: all you need to do is throw in a couple extra ingredients into the pre-made waffle batter!
1. Obtain the bowl of waffle batter. (If anyone who looks at you strangely while you’re pouring the waffle mix into a bowl, just tell them that you eat your waffles nice and raw.)
2. Add the oatmeal, and mix thoroughly so there are no clumps of batter or oatmeal.
3. Add the peanut butter, and mix thoroughly once more so the peanut butter is evenly mixed into the batter.
4. Pour into waffle maker, wait those anxious 2.5 minutes, and enjoy!
Optional Waffle Toppings:
Sliced banana and honey
The tried-and-true whipped cream and syrup combination
As is the case for most holidays, my favorite part of Valentine’s Day is always the food. Although many cast Valentine’s Day as merely a commercial holiday or a sad reminder of one’s loneliness, to me, there is nothing better than a day that encourages you to eat chocolate and drink wine (whether by yourself, with friends, or with a special someone). Regardless of who your celebrating with, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to go try some fun, new restaurants, especially those that are running special deals in honor of it. Below is a list of suggestions for where to eat this Valentine’s Day:
A tried and true Harvard Square favorite, this Belgian waffle joint never fails to please. If you’re looking for somewhere relatively well-priced, conveniently located, and romantic, this is your place. And of course, we can’t forget about their delicious waffles, topped with whatever your heart desires.
This cozy Venezuelan restaurant, tucked away on JFK street, offers a warm and inviting ambiance in addition to hearty, flavorful fare. Be sure to try the datiles, or the bacon-wrapped dates! They do not accept reservations, so try to go at an off-peak hour if you aren’t willing to wait for a table.
For those of you who view Valentine’s Day as an excuse to eat all of the dessert in sight, then you must go to Max Brenner. Located conveniently near the Copley Square T stop, this is definitely the place to go get chocolate wasted. In addition to real food (which is pretty good in itself), they offer a variety of decadent sundaes, milkshakes, hot chocolate, lava cake, fondue, and chocolate-inspired cocktails. Be sure to make a reservation or call ahead, though, as they do get very busy!
For all of you Quadlings, Temple Bar is a tempting choice due to its proximity. Not only is their location prime, but they also are offering a three-course prix fixe menu, as well as a vegetarian tasting menu, in honor of Valentine’s Day! Dinner is $49 per person, or $39 per person if you go before 6pm. For the 21+ crowd, add wine pairings for $19.
Another Harvard Square favorite, Russell House Tavern is offering a special three-course prix fixe menu, featuring seared Gloucester monkfish loin and cider glazed heritage pork shank. Dinner is $59 per person, or $79 with wine pairings. If you go between 5pm and 6pm, there is a $10 discount on the prix fixe menu. Be sure to make reservations!
The sister restaurant of Harvard Square’s Beat Hotel, the Beehive offers a cool ambiance, an extensive champagne list, and a mouthwatering Valentine’s Day menu. Start with appetizers like their fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs or lobster chowder, then choose from a variety of delicious entrees, and finish with strawberry cheesecake, chocolate pot de creme, or the dessert du jour. Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday – Tuesday. On Valentine’s Day, their prix fixe menu is $65 per person, but they are still offering their specials on the 12th and 13th as well. Don’t forget reservations!