By Siqi Liu ’19
Before my family embarked on our two-week road trip along the Pacific Coastline this December, my dad and I frantically searched the Internet for the best places to eat. I always thought I was the only one in my family with the foodie gene, I was wrong. As it turns out, my dad came up with an impressive list of restaurants for our trip that kept our stomachs as happy as we were from the rides at Universal Studios. During one of our last dinners in Los Angeles, we found a gem that to this day keeps me dreaming of soupy, hot steamed buns: Din Tai Fung.
A bit of a background: Din Tai Fung was founded all the way back in the 1970s in Taipei, where it gained fame from its xiaolongbao dishes. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, xiaolongbao is a type of steam bun that is shaped like a miniature bao and is cooked in a bamboo steaming basket, but has thin, dumpling-like skin. “Xiaolong” literally means “small basket,” standing for the small bamboo baskets they’re steamed in, and “bao” refers to its inherent similarity with the typical steamed meat or red bean stuffed bao you see at Wow Bao. Growing up, they’ve made up one of my favorite breakfast dishes (P.S. If you’re looking to put together a full, Chinese breakfast, I’d highly recommend serving xiaolongbao with hot Chinese soy milk and fresh Chinese crullers).
Going into Din Tai Fung, I already high expectations for xiaolongbao dishes: During my 2012 trip to Beijing, my mother and I visited the some of the most famous xiaolongbao restaurants in the city. But I also knew that Din Tai Fung has some pretty recognizable credentials, too: In the 90s, New York Times rated it as one of the top ten gourmet restaurants in the world; it opened three new branches in 2015 alone; and its website boasts praises from critics in well-known publications like Times and the Michelin Guide.
I was excited—excited enough to endure the one-hour wait as my family perused the menu and debated for the fifth time on whether we should order the braised beef noodle soup or shrimp & pork wontons. The upside is that I got to watch the chefs make xiaolongbao through their glass-window kitchen, which was pretty cool.
We were starving when we finally got our seats, but fortunately, the ball got rolling pretty fast from there. It seemed like only minutes passed before our first bamboo basket appeared on the table. I was surprised not only by how quick the service was but also its style—we ordered four baskets of xiaolongbao/steamed buns, but instead of serving them all at once, they came one by one. That way, none of them was sitting in the corner and getting cold.
The first dish we were presented was the pork xiaolongbao, and let me tell you: My family inhaled it. They were fresh off the stove, so I picked them up gingery with my chopsticks and took care not to poke a hole in them. The secret to eating xiaolongbao is to take a tiny bite first so the steam from the hot soup inside could cool a little before putting the whole thing in your mouth. And boy, I was in for a treat. The soup was perfectly flavored and not too salty, the skin was the right thickness, and the meat was tender. Needless to say, all ten of the xiaolongbao were gone in under a minute.
But that wasn’t even the best part. The highlight dishes of our dinner were the pork crab xiaolongbao, which I preferred over the plain pork xiaolongbao because I am a fan of seafood flavors, and the sweet taro xiaolongbao, which is simply divine for anyone with a sweet tooth. As someone who is far more of a savory than a sweet person, rarely orders dessert, and doesn’t like chocolate (gasp—I know), the sweet taro xiaolongbao was the perfect amount of sweetness. It wasn’t cloying or sticky, and even after eating practically the whole basket, I didn’t feel guilty.
I was also lucky enough to get a bite of my dad’s braised beef noodle soup, which had really thin, tender noodles and a mildly spicy flavor, but I’d say Din Tai Fung is still better with its steamed bun assortments. We tried to order the highly-recommended shrimp & pork shao mai, but they ran out, so we had to settle for the rice & pork shao mai. It which wasn’t bad, but it lacked the steaming hot soup that you get from xiaolongbao.
Overall, the dining experience was fantastic. I would probably faint out of happiness if Din Tai Fung decides to open a restaurant near my hometown in Chicago or Boston. So, if you find yourself on the West Coast, I beg you to do yourself a favor and try out this restaurant. Whether you’re weaned on xiaolongbao or looking to lose your xiaolongbao v-card, Din Tai Fung wouldn’t disappoint. Case in point: this pregnant lady who used to live in my neighborhood in Chicago craved Din Tai Fung so badly she and her husband flew to L.A. just to eat there. Now that’s true love.
Din Tai Fung
Location: Its U.S. restaurants are sadly limited to California and Seattle, but it has international locations in Japan, China, Singapore, and more.
Reservation: Only take reservations for a party of 6+ over the phone. Otherwise must wait in person, and it’s usually a long wait.
Overall Rating: 4/5
By Allison Kao ’20
I found heaven tucked between a Starbucks and pizza parlor.
Its name? Somerville on the Charles – a charming chocolate pop-up shop that is making its winter home on Harvard Square’s Church Street, keeping the space normally occupied by Lizzy’s Ice Cream cozy during the colder months.
The shop, which is open 11am to 11pm, seven days a week from December to February, is a collab between Gâté Comme des Filles and Somerville Chocolates, each run separately by chocolatiers Alexandra Whisnant and Eric Parkes.
While the storefront only spans the width of a door and window display, its quaint, unassuming appearance by no means embodies the bold flavors of its chocolates.
There are two main types of treats – French-style bon bons (provided by Gâté Comme des Filles) and chocolate bars (provided by Somerville Chocolates). Bon bons are creamy ganaches hand-dipped in a thin chocolate coating. With only two ingredients, cacao and sugar, the bean-to-bar chocolate brings sweetness down to its core raw goodness. The shop’s most popular items are the Hawaiian chocolate bar and honey-walnut and vanilla bean bon bons.
Everything is made in small batches, so flavors rotate daily. In addition, ingredients are chosen with great care – in fact, the honey, peppermint, and thyme are all sourced from right here in Cambridge.
Somerville on the Charles also offers to-die-for brownies and a rich, decadent mousse that’s scooped into cones like ice cream (what more could you ask for?!).
And if you’re looking for a holiday gift, check out the 4-piece giftbox or a combination of the Nicaraguan and Hawaiian chocolate bars.
At least for the next three months, I know where I’ll be going to satisfy my sugar fix.
By Bovey Rao ‘19
Flour Bakery and Café will be open starting Tuesday, November 1st at 114 Mount Auburn Street from 7a-8p (based on website hours).
This past Sunday, Flour Bakery and Café held an open house event for their new Harvard Square location, and CrimsonCrave was invited to attend!
Entering Flour, we were promptly greeted by the founder, Joanne Chang, as she shook hands and welcomed everyone in. I instantly noticed the classic menu in the back and the counter that is normally lined with pastries like in the other locations. On the left, there was the ubiquitous wooden table alongside shelves stocked with cookbooks and prepared pastries like biscotti. To the right, there is the sandwich counter and seats alongside the windows and a small alcove with tables. Immediately, I was impressed with the modern space and relaxed environment. Natural light poured into the café as it bustled with activity. Friends, family, and staff happily engaged in conversation, while snacking on savory and sweet treats prepared by Flour.
While I was exploring the space, staff frequently came by and introduced themselves. Despite this being an open house, the staff was happy to converse with the guests and attentively monitored the many platters. The general manager was clearly excited about opening this store as she gestured for us to try the food that was prepared.
Savory items ranged from pizzas to their signature sandwiches and large bowls of their salads. As I began sampling through the selection, I noted the soba salad and the stuffed breads as some of my favorites. The roasted lamb sandwich with goat cheese and tomato chutney is one of my old favorites.
For sweets, there was a wide selection of Flour’s specialties such as muffins, brownies, cupcakes, mini tarts, and their famous sticky buns. These expertly crafted treats can satisfy any sweet tooth as there is such a large selection. My favorites include the pumpkin muffins, pain aux raisins, and obviously the freshly baked sticky buns.
My criticism of Flour was the size; however, this may be due to the activity and sheer number of people at the store. When I sat to talk to my friends, the alcove seating area was relatively cramped, so this Flour location is likely better suited for smaller groups. Most of the tables are designed for two people, which makes Flour excellent for breakfast or lunch meetings with a friend. At these tables, I conversed with some incredibly individuals, so I included their picture.
If the open house was a trial event for Flour Harvard Square, I can only say that it was a tremendous success. The staff were warm and welcoming, and the food was clearly prepared with care. I am beyond excited for the official opening of Flour and welcome it to Harvard Square.
However, these are simply my musings, so for a true assessment, you must visit it yourself!
Author’s Note (Bovey Rao)
Two years ago, I was in Boston for a high school research program. While working on my final paper, I tried to see the city that I had essentially ignored over the course of the program. After a productive morning at the Boston Public Library, I went for a lunch break and began wandering the streets of Boston. For me in high school, I was not yet the intense food lover as I would describe myself today, but I still sought a good lunch. While wandering the vibrant neighborhoods of Back Bay, I stumbled upon Flour Bakery and Café. Seeing the long line, I was enticed by the promise of a popular lunch destination. After receiving my lamb sandwich, I found a seat at the communal wood table, took a bite, and the rest is history.
Flour Bakery and Café has been one of the staples of my time at Harvard. While the nearest branch is near Kendall Square and MIT, I frequently made the trek for lunch with friends, grabbing birthday cakes, or indulging in a sweet morsel (normally sticky buns or banana bread). In my countless visits to Flour, I can happily say that I only have positive memories associated with the space. When I heard Flour was coming to Harvard Square, I could barely contain myself with excitement.
Last week, I became communicating with Joanne Chang about interviewing her about the new Flour, and she graciously agreed. Furthermore, she invited me, Richa, and Caroline to the open house on Sunday. Joanne Chang is the founder of Flour Bakery and Café and a Harvard graduate in Applied Math and Economics in ’91. She maintains a strong connection with Harvard by teaching lectures for the Science and Cooking series. This past Friday, I was blessed with the opportunity to have a conversation with her so we could discuss the path to opening the Harvard Square branch of Flour. Then on Sunday, we attended the open house to have a glimpse of what was to come. I cannot be unbiased when I talk about Flour due to my history of positive experiences, but I think it will suffice to say that I am exuberant to showcase the opening of my favorite bakery and café from Boston in Harvard Square.
Much love to Marcella Park and Cynthia Gu, who visited Flour with me this Sunday.
By Joseph Winters ‘20
On March 29, 2016, Harvard Square suffered a great loss. Students, faculty, and all manner of health-minded individuals mourned the closing of one of the most convenient farm-to-table fast food places around. Not that there were many to begin with… Either way, B.good’s closing was a blow to the food scene of Harvard Square. This Friday, however, B.good reopened with a bang on Eliot Street, in what eaters are describing as a much-needed addition to Harvard’s healthy food scene. “There just wasn’t hardly any place healthy to eat in the Square!” lamented one B.good customer as she devoured a scoop of lime-soaked quinoa.
The Crimson Crave visited B.good on its opening day, Friday, to survey the situation. We were greeted by Monika Bach Schroeder, Marketing Manager for the Harvard Square location. Schroeder was supervising a Wheel-of-Fortune style promotion—spin the wheel and walk away with some B.good sunglasses, a high-five, or, with some luck, a free burger. We were lucky enough to get the burger.
“We make real food,” the B.good website advertises boldly on its home page. A simple slogan, but it speaks volumes when seen in conjunction with the tangible measures B.good has taken to produce high quality fast food options. Customers can order classic items like burgers or sandwiches, but B.good also offers kale and grain bowls, seasonal salads, creative sides, and smoothies.
New additions to the B.good menu are “Plates”: Chipotle Avocado, Mediterranean Mezze, and Asian Bento. “We’re really proud of our new plates,” says Schroeder. “They speak a lot to our mission of staying innovative and fresh; we use seasonal ingredients to offer healthy food options.”
Apart from good food, Schroeder adds that the B.good team is “really excited about this community.” Harvard, she says, is a very engaged community, one into which B.good tries to integrate itself. On the day preceding the former B.good’s closing, they held a “pay what you can” day. All the day’s profits were donated to Y2Y, a homeless youth shelter in Cambridge. Upon their reopening, they held a similar project, raising $1700 for Y2Y, enough to provide over a full month of programming to the homeless shelter.
Local farmers are also beneficiaries. B.good sources many of its ingredients from farms in the Northeast. When we visited, a colorful map showed apples, cauliflower, squash, fresh mint, pumpkin, tomatoes, and yogurt all coming from Massachusetts, and many other ingredients like beef, bread, eggs, and bacon being sourced from the other northeastern states.
At the door this Friday, customers were greeted by Casey Ballin from Hannah Farm, a one acre plot of land on an island in Boston Harbor. Now managed by B.good, the farm benefits the local community, producing food for Camp Harbor View summer camp for at-risk youth. At the camp, teens learn to prepare healthy meals from local ingredients. Up to 20,000 pounds of produce are expected to be produced by Hannah Farm, with a majority being donated to the summer camp, and much being featured in B.good restaurants. “We did a feature a couple weeks ago, where we sold kale smoothies made with our own kale,” Ballin explained as he handed out samples of carrots and grape tomatoes from Hannah Farm.
This Friday was the first of many meals I’m sure I’ll be having at B.good. The chain brings its fresh dishes to the Square along with a fresh ideology, one that incorporates sustainability, local commerce, and—of course—delicious food. On the short walk to my seat, I ogled picnic pear and brie salads, Thai almond bowls, sweet potato fries, and even pumpkin milkshakes. I tried the Spicy Lime Avocado Bowl with their seasonal side: local cauliflower coated in cheddar and breadcrumbs. I might have over-ordered, but it was oh, so good. Plus, the side was free; first-time users of the B.good app will automatically get a side on the house! I would easily recommend B.good to anyone looking for a tasty, healthy morsel without the wait at a sit-down restaurant.
By Caroline Gentile ’17
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.
Location: 8 Holyoke Street, Cambridge, MA
Standout dishes: Half-Roasted Chicken, Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Patatas Bravas
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
By Bovey Rao ‘19
As the summer draws to a close, many may be wondering what on earth has happened to Harvard Square. Many beloved restaurants perished with the remodeling of the Smith Center. Student favorites like Al’s are now gone, so our stomachs may be running a little on empty. A few other promises of summer openings were left unfulfilled, but this guide is perhaps a glimmer of hope for what has and will come to Harvard Square.
Tom’s Bao Bao – Chinese steamed buns, baozi, are the specialty of Tom’s Bao Bao. Various unique fillings are enveloped by airy white dough before being steamed to perfection. From the upscale lobster to the decadent chili beef, there are plenty of excellent options for a quick meal or snack. While slightly pricey, Tom’s Bao Bao is a great addition to Harvard Square for the adventurous student.
Waypoint – Alden & Harlow is not only one of my favorite restaurants in Harvard Square but is one of my favorites in all of Boston. Michael Scelfo, the chef behind Alden & Harlow, recently opened a seafood restaurant, Waypoint, near Harvard Square. Following a similar small plate concept, Waypoint will hopefully become another Boston staple as it opened with excitement.
B.Good – One of the favorite destinations for students seeking a healthier alternative to fast-food, B.Good was missed when it closed due to the Smith Center renovations. However, it is scheduled to return in a short while at the former O Sushi space. The fresh burgers, salads, and fries are things to look forward to in the near future.
En Boca – Mediterranean flavors are coming to Harvard Square from En Boca, a restaurant by the team from The Asgard and The Kinsale. Deviating from their other Irish pubs, Classic Restaurants Concepts is creating En Boca with Devin Broo from Bar Boulud. Originally slated to open in August 2016, the restaurant appears to be close to opening.
DavidsTea – DavidsTea is a tea store that was started in Canada and has begun expanding into the United States. With other locations in Massachusetts, DavidsTea specializes in various tea related products from teas themselves to mugs and other accessories. The store is slated to finish in September 2016.
The Hourly Oyster House – In the former Kennedy’s on the Square space, the Grafton Group is creating an oyster bar known as the Hourly. With well-established restaurants like Russell House Tavern, Park Restaurant, and Grafton Street, the Grafton Group continues to expand their empire with a seafood specialty restaurant in Harvard Square. It promises to provide extensive take-out options, perfect for students in a hurry. The Hourly is looking to open in early fall 2016.
Tatte Bakery & Café – It is obvious that I am a fan of Tatte Bakery and Café and perhaps was one of few students who was happy when Panera closed. Tatte will bring their fresh pastries and other delicacies to Harvard Square with a weekend brunch menu and cooking lessons. The space is currently under construction and hopefully will be opening in September.
Sweetgreen – A large salad chain started by a group of Georgetown graduates is coming to Harvard Square. With the success of Sweetgreen in Back Bay, the chain planned to expand extensively in the Boston area. Highlighting local purveyors like Iggy’s Bread and Ward’s Berry Farm, Sweetgreen is bringing accessible farm to table to the square. Look for it to open in the fall.
Benedetto – With the closure of Rialto, Harvard Square lost one of its long-term residents. After providing upscale Italian cuisine to the community for over twenty years, the restaurant did not wish to continue after the departure of chef Jody Adams. Giulia chef and owner, Michael Pagliarini, plans to open Benedetto in the Rialto space, which I believe to be an exciting transition. Giulia has garnered stellar reviews, and hopefully Benedetto maintains the legacy of Rialto. The current opening date is ambiguously set in fall 2016.
Flour Bakery + Café – Harvard graduate and star baker (James Beard Awardee), Joanne Chang, is bringing her Flour Bakery + Café to Harvard Square. From the famous sticky buns to excellent sandwiches, Flour has become a Boston staple, and it was great news to hear that one is coming to Harvard Square. The Harvard Square branch is projected to open in October 2016.
Restaurant from Island Creek Oyster Bar/Row 34 – While the opening date remains the most distant, I simply wish to show my excitement for another restaurant by this group. Island Creek Oyster Bar is my favorite seafood restaurant in Boston after numerous memorable experiences. I look forward to what concept will be devised.
Featured Image from Wikimedia
by Richa Chaturvedi ’18
This weekend, students from all over the world are coming to campus for Visitas, Harvard’s admitted student weekend. You can see them grouped in front of the John Harvard statue, loitering outside of Canaday, or sitting in on a class at the Science Center. It’s a weekend of firsts for these students: first friends, first time getting lost on the way to Quad, and, most importantly, first time eating at Annenberg.
I remember my first time walking into Annenberg. It was overwhelming and exciting, much like the rest of my Visitas experience. I walked in to the Berg (which I was too scared to call it at the time in case I sounded like a try-hard) and felt like I had truly made it. I had a very basic meal – spaghetti and tomato sauce – because I have this theory that you need to start at the basics to really get the sense of a place. I stayed there for hours, meeting new people and basking in the light of the stained glass windows.
But when I came to school that fall, I slowly began losing that wonder. Instead of looking up at awe, I would groan when they ran out of carnival cookies and run to Expos. I would be there, but never be there, taking it all in.
Yesterday, I spoke with a pre-frosh who had just had her first meal in the Berg. She spoke of it as a thing of beauty, as if it was magical. Her food was amazing, she met so many people, and she even proudly recounted ordering from the grill (something I finally got the nerve to do freshmen fall). It reminded me of the wonder I felt the first time I was there, living those experiences, taking my first bites of HUDS food, and freaking out when I realized I could even have Coke with my breakfast. It’s funny to think about how much has changed in all of our lives since the first time we ate at Annenberg. That’s why I think Visitas is timed perfectly timed. Sitting in between midterms and finals, when we’re really feeling grumpy and tired, it reminds us of that wonder. At least it certainly did for me.
by Richa Chaturvedi ’18
The number one thing I crave at school (besides sleep) is home-cooked food. Don’t get me wrong, HUDS has some clutch items on their menu. But nothing compares to a meal made from scratch with love.
You can find this simple delight at Cabot Culinaries, a student group in Cabot made up of people who really just want to cook and eat some good food. I usually fall in the category of people who show up just for dinner, after all of the cooking is already done. But I decided to take initiative and become an active player in my meals, rather than a passive eater. Cabot Culinaries met this past Saturday to cook an incredible meal: beet, arugula, and goat cheese salad, roasted spiced cauliflower and asparagus, home made gnocchi made two ways (I couldn’t make this up), rhubarb bars, and coconut mousse. Naturally, I was in charge of the easiest dish – the cauliflower and asparagus recipe that my mom texted me, then called to ensure that I understood, then texted again demanding updates because she has a reputation to uphold. I quickly realized that I was in the kitchen with some seriously experienced cooks. One whisked together an amazing balsamic vinaigrette while another actually made gnocchi starting from scratch. Meanwhile, I was struggling to break cauliflower into florets. It’s more physically exhausting than you would think.
Overall, we had about 12 people help cook the meal and over 20 eating. I was so stressed out at the thought of 20 people eating food that I made, but all of that stress fell away with my first bite of salad. Everything was so fresh and delicious and, not to brag, but I didn’t even burn the roasted vegetables. So I would call it a success.
Coming from California, it is sometimes hard to go for long stretches of time without any home-cooked food. Cabot Culinaries helped me get my home-cooked fix and get over my fear for cooking for a lot of people. That being said, it didn’t help me conquer my laziness. I think I’ll rest for now – at least until the next Culinaries comes around.