Daedalus Restaurant: Forgotten Myth or Living Legend?

By Siqi Liu’19

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Photo From Boston Guide

Before I’d actually ever stepped foot into Daedalus, it was the name that first intrigued me. I remember walking past it almost every day my freshmen year and musing at the creamy wooden sign hanging above its door. The restaurant advertises New American meals, but “Daedalus” calls to mind the Greek mythology of Daedalus and Icarus. According to the myth, Daedalus was a skilled craftsman who creates a pair of wings for him and his son to escape the tower in which they were imprisoned. The fact that this restaurant claims to draw upon such a timeless tale seems to set up a promise of attaining new heights, of innovation, and of tradition. As someone who believes in the power of names, I decided I needed to see for myself whether it lives up to its namesake.

It was a rainy Saturday night when my friend and I showed up at the front steps of the dim-lit restaurant. The whole place was set up like a pub, with a bar upstairs and small, square wooden tables that tried to convey an aura nonchalant urban chicness. There was no music, just the muffled chatter of diners sealing in the intimate ambience of the place. The host led us to a table in the corner upstairs, and we immediately proceeded to squint at a specials and regular menu. Nothing really caught our eye in the appetizers menu; it offered some generic options that vacillated between overpriced American pub food and popular Italian appetizers. Craving pasta, I ordered the seafood pasta special. My friend ordered the mushroom risotto.

When our food arrived, I was quite impressed by the presentation. The green asparagus and the pink shrimp nestled neatly atop my fat bed of fettucine, glistening with bits of red bacon, reminded me of spring—an odd choice for an autumn special, but still visually appealing. The mushroom risotto, in my opinion, came in the perfect proportion. The Portobello, spinach, and parmesan weaved into one another like some intricate knitting project. We were excited to start our meal.

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At first bite, the white wine cream sauce was divine. The parmesan and smoked bacon added a tangy note to the sauce that made the flavor linger in my mouth. The shrimp and asparagus, which were both extremely fresh, balanced out the heaviness of the pasta itself. The only complaint that I had was the bacon fat did make the pasta a bit greasy.

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As a fan of risotto in general, I was delighted to try my friend’s mushroom risotto (much at his chagrin). The first thought that came to mind when I encountered the flavor was parsley! I’m not quite sure why the dish had such an overpowering parsley flavor, and I’m not sure whether it worked. But I thoroughly enjoyed the tender mushrooms basking in light truffle oil. My friend absolutely adored the cheese, which gave a kick to what could otherwise have degenerated into a bland risotto dish.

Throughout the meal, our waitress checked in on us maybe once. I didn’t mind the lack of attentive service much because our food did get to the table rather quickly, and I enjoyed my company. So, did Daedalus live up to its lofty namesake? Not exactly, but I’d still recommend it for a casual night out for anyone who is too lazy to venture out of the square.

 

Daedalus

Location: 45.5 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Reservation: Call (617) 349-0071

Overall Rating: 3/5

Food: 3.5/5

Service: 3/5

Atmosphere: 4/5

 

Fresh Dorm Pesto as Easy as 1, 2, 3

by Audrey Thorne ’19
image3I love Italian food to the point that when I was younger I sometimes wished I was Italian. My family regularly had pasta three times a week, sometimes four, because of our shared love of it. To keep things interesting my mother tried to diverge from the standard spaghetti with red sauce by letting my brother and I pick the pasta shapes (I have my top five pasta shapes and rankings memorized, and a grudge against penne), adding different vegetables, and, when we finally conceded to trying something really new, different sauces. I never liked the store bought pestos so we always made our own at home. It is super easy and perfect not only on pasta, but on sandwiches. The recipe below gives the numbers for a cup of pesto.
image5Ingredients:
2 cups of Basil
1 cup of Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Pine nuts
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
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Will also need:
A food processor or aggressive blender
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Directions:
1. Add ingredients to the blender or food processor
2. Puree until you like the texture
3. Add more olive oil if the pesto is too dense, or add more pureed basil if it is too liquid-y

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Harvest Heaven

by Allison Yan ’19

Sometimes, after a grueling day of classes and office hours, all you need is a good dinner to make everything better. Annenberg definitely came through Thursday night with the New England Harvest dinner, presented as a precursor to National Food Day on October 24th. The menu, consisting of Maine lobster bisque, mussels in white wine and local marinara, and gnocchi with sage brown butter and diced butternut squash, to name a few, seemed like items off the menu of a cozy restaurant that I could bring my parents to for Parents’ Weekend. In short, my taste buds have never been so satisfied with an Annenberg dinner.

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I decided the best way to go about the fare was to sample a bit of everything. I greedily loaded one plate with herb roasted all-natural chicken hailing from New York, scalloped potatoes from Maine, and mussels. Before I sat down, I told myself I would be rational about this and not force myself to stomach everything if I was full, but I cleared my plate quickly. The chicken was juicy and richly flavored, with just the right amount of saltiness. The potatoes were surprisingly soft and easy to bite into,. Eating the chicken and potatoes in little bites back and forth was such an amazing combination. I finished that plate by nibbling on the mussels I had scooped up, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the general positive opinions on New England seafood were true. The mussels were tangy and chewy, and balanced the hearty taste of the potatoes and chicken well.

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My second plate consisted of Maine-based tomatoes, which I paired with the dining hall’s rice (a surprisingly good compliment to the tomatoes!) The tomatoes were fresh and well-cooked, bringing together the natural sweetness of the fruit with the salty flavorings.

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I finished off my cafeteria quest with a bowl of lobster bisque soup and a breadstick. In all honesty, I nearly wept when I found that the breadstick was soft and warm – it was the best side to the bisque soup, which was one worthy of New England restaurants anywhere. It was creamy without being too thick, and definitely not too watery. I complemented the soup and breadstick, and everything prior, with a generous serving of warm apple cider.

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The food doesn’t end there: in the Annenberg seating area were more options that I couldn’t resist. After cleaning my two plates and soup, I went for the wonderful spread of crackers and cheddar, pepper jack, and goat cheeses. The cheese was filling and a classy, appreciated additions to such a hearty meal. The freshly made gnocchi I went for after was equally great, and a total treat for my taste buds. I told the kind chef who was scooping the gnocchi that I was so full, but would love to try the gnocchi for the Crimson Crave, so he scooped a tiny bit (re: two little pasta pieces) for me. After I took my first bite, it was all over: I asked for a full serving. The gnocchi was a treat, far superior to the daily Annenberg pastas, with the perfect amount of butter and squash to balance the pastas.

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Finishing off my extensive yet great meal was a sundae bar with Richardson’s Dairy Ice Cream. The sundae bar was just as extensive, boasting creamy and textured ice cream and a variety of toppings to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.  I had one scoop of butter and one scoop of vanilla ice cream, lightly topped with caramel syrup. The ice cream had a firm yet creamy consistency that definitely surpassed typical soft serve. It all goes to show that Massachusetts knows how to do their ice cream.

12My Annenberg dinner was a blessing and a truly great day to relax from a long day. While I’m probably just as uninformed about National Food Day and what it means, I’m now very informed about the godsend that is HUDS’ New England Harvest dinner. I’m looking forward to it in the years to come.

Squash is the New Spaghetti

by Danielle Leavitt ’17

As someone who eats gluten-free, spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetables.  With its noodle-like nature, this yellow member of the squash family is the perfect substitute for pasta for gluten-free foodies! Not only is it delicious, but spaghetti squash can also be prepared in a variety of ways, is extremely healthy, and easy to make in a microwave.  Compared to pasta, which has 200 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates per cup, spaghetti squash boasts only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates per cup!

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The easiest way to prepare spaghetti squash is to cook it in the microwave.

  • Cut spaghetti squash in two halves.
  • Place side by side with the seed side down into a microwaveable pan with about 1 inch of water in it.
  • Set microwave for 6-8 minutes depending on size of the squash.
  • Remove from pan and turn squash over seed side up (Be careful! Squash will be very hot!).  Using a fork, loosen the seeds and squash strings attached to the seeds and remove them from the squash and discard.
  • Scrape gently along the inside of the squash, loosening the strands of squash and place into a bowl.

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And that’s it. You can eat it plain or add your favorite toppings: parmesan cheese, pesto, tomato or meat sauce, butter, olive oil…be creative! Enjoy!

Cupid’s Cuisine: 5 Valentine’s Day Dates

Darwin’s Ltd.
148 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA

By Danielle Leavitt ’17

Darwin’s Ltd., located at 148 Mount Auburn Street is the perfect place for a Valentine’s date. Eclectic decor, a vast array of natural, organic soups, made-to-order sandwiches, wines, and fresh veggies and fruits — it’s a great place to either pick-up a picnic lunch or eat in. Take a seat in the cozy seating area with your date, and sample many of the different flavored coffees and fresh bakery items. However, no great Valentine’s date would be complete without a gluten free option, and Darwin’s is no exception. Their gluten free sandwich bread is incredibly tasty, and the homemade gluten free pastries and scones are to die for. My personal favorite sandwich is the Hilliard: sprouts, Havarti cheese, and turkey on gluten free bread. For the yummiest and best kept secret in Cambridge, take your date to Darwin’s Ltd.!

Giulia
1682 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA

 By Victoria Piccione ’16

There are few things more romantic than really delicious Italian food. It makes sense: the country is romantic, the language is (quite literally) (R)omantic; it only follows that the food be romantic as well. Giulia on Mass Ave. has mastered this romance – and everyone knows it because the restaurant is always packed. The lighting is dim and the venue is small, the perfect amount of cozy for you and your Valentine. And despite below-freezing temps and below-zero wind chill, the food will warm you from the inside-out.

For the antipasto, you can’t miss the burrata: kind of a cross between mozzarella and ricotta, this is probably the best cheese you’ll ever eat. Choosing a main course is virtually impossible, with countless mouthwatering pastas on the menu, each prepared fresh daily at the big wooden pasta table featured right in front of the kitchen. And with amazing secondi, like homemade lamb sausage, you may be better off sharing, so you can both get a taste of everything. Of course, Valentine’s Day is the chocolate holiday, so your meal wouldn’t be complete without the chocolate terrine or the affogato. (The latter may just be the best gelato on this side of the Atlantic.) No matter what you choose, though, you can’t go wrong.

With a three-course meal averaging around $35 per person, I wouldn’t really call it a bang-for-your-buck kind of place. But you will certainly be getting your money’s worth. Let’s be honest: great food evokes feelings of pleasure–all the better to share it with your partner. But even if the date is a total flop, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself falling in love with Giulia.

Beat Hôtel
13 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA

By Orlea Miller ’16

Looking for somewhere new and exciting this Valentine’s Day? Try the Beat Brasserie (the Beat Hôtel)! The regular Bohemian-themed menu will be offered, along with specials including a Duck Confit Salad, the Blue Crab Crostini, and Roasted Lobster with Squid Ink Pasta. You can’t miss this season’s dessert offerings: banana bread pudding, raspberry and blackberry mousse, and flourless chocolate cake! Live music and drink specials are sure to add to the special occasion. Reservations are highly encouraged, call 617-499-0001 to make yours.

Taranta
210 Hanover Street
Boston, MA

By Caroline Gentile ’17

Located in the always romantic North End, Taranta boasts an unlikely fusion of Italian and Peruvian cuisine that is actually a match made in heaven (perhaps like you and your date!). Any of their six pasta dishes are to die for, but the lobster ravioli are by far the most popular.  As for the main dishes, the Petto di Pollo –chicken stuffed with fontina cheese and spinach– and the Amazon paiche are sure to impress.  The dim lighting, friendly service and delicious food make Taranta a perfect place for a Valentine’s Day date.  Be sure to make a reservation by calling 617-720-0052.

Café Algiers
40 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA

By Dana Ferrante ’17

Tables for two, apricot cookies, a spiral staircase, peppermint orange hot chocolate. The only thing missing? That special someone. If you’re looking for an intimate environment, made for conversation, warm beverages, and classic coffee shop romance, Café Algiers is the perfect place to go and hide from the sure to be snowy Valentine’s Day weather this year. Chances are it won’t be teaming with people, and you won’t have to wait an hour to get your delicious tabbouli salad or cheese plate with arabic bread. For a causal Valentine’s Day, where you’ll be warm, well-fed, and able to hear what your date is saying, Café Algiers is the place to go.

A New Food Truck in Town: Pasta Flyer

by Caroline Gentile ’17

Until September 24th, another food truck will join the usual fleet of the Bon Me and Whole Foods trucks.  Pasta Flyer offers 100% gluten-free, perfectly al-dente pasta, in the shape of screws, tubes, or elbows, with 3 varieties of sauces (pesto, alfredo, and marinara) and 3 protein options (smokey bacon, truffled poached eggs, and Nonna’s meatballs).

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Usually I’m pretty skeptical of anything gluten-free, but this pasta tastes exactly like the real thing.  I ordered pasta with marinara sauce and Nonna’s meatballs, and was very impressed.  Not only was the quality of my meal outstanding, but their service is by far the quickest of any of the food trucks in the Science Center Plaza.

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Unfortunately, pasta flyer is only here for a limited time, but be sure to stop by between 11:30 am and 7pm between now and September 24th! And if you’re interested in how one even makes delicious gluten-free pasta, attend the mastermind behind Pasta Flyer, Chef Mark Ladner’s lecture, “Al-Dente: When Plastic Meets Elastic” on Monday, September 22nd at 7pm in Science Center Hall C.