by Audrey Thorne ’19
My insatiable hunger for Jamaican patties stems from a visit to my friend John (often identified on campus as Jamaican John) over winter break and has remained for so long, largely because of the inaccessibility of Jamaican food in the states. Though he found my addiction to jerk chicken and Jamaican patties comical during my visit, after a little pestering, he has since come to my rescue by showing me his favorite Jamaican place in Massachusetts.
All the way in Somerville, Some ‘Ting Nice Caribbean Restaurant delivers to Harvard dorms online and through Door Dash for a small fee. With an expansive menu written partially in Jamaican Patois and partially in other Caribbean Patois languages, Some Ting Nice is a Caribbean gem that I am amazed John was able to find outside of the Harvard bubble.
Less than half an hour after pressing the order button for the most quintessentially Jamaican dishes I could find, Door Dash delivered an order of two patties with coco bread, jerk chicken, and sides of both fried dumplings and rice and beans, often referred to as rice and peas.
First we cracked open the jerk chicken. Throughout my time in Jamaica I stuck to what John considered the “bad” jerk chicken, flavourful but unspicy. In comparison, the spicy, mouthwatering collection of white meat chicken reads as far more Jamaican than the jerk chicken I ate in the country itself. John, unenthused by American food in general, even conceded that Some ‘Ting Nice’s jerk chicken “can pass” for Jamaican.
Saving the patties for last, I decided to try the sides. Fried dumplings dubbed “unlike an actual fried dumpling” by John were indistinguishable to me from real fried dumplings as a non-native. Fluffy inside, crispy outside. They perfectly complemented the jerk chicken, contrasting the intense authentic spice. I also found the rice and beans tasted best mixed in with the flavourful jerk chicken sauce.
Last, and most highly anticipated, I cracked open the patties, one chicken and one beef. Upon unwrapping my patties I discovered the consistency largely varies from that of a Jamaican patty, being solid rather than flakey on the outside. Disoriented, I ventured a bite. The chicken tasted much like an American meat patty, and though delicious, did not quench my thirst for a Jamaican patty. I decided to try the beef patty. Perhaps this one will be the one, I hoped. Yes. Once my teeth penetrated the solid outside, the Jamaican influence in seasoning the beef became palpable. Though the outside texture was different, the consistency of the meat in this patty was the same as those I was eating just a month ago. Wrapped in a plush cocobread, I was transported back to eighty degree weather and sandy beaches.
Some ‘Ting Nice really is something nice to eat when you feel like taking a break from your regular spots in the square.
By Michelle Ng ’18
- (in Tibetan cooking) a steamed dumpling filled with meat or vegetables.
Tonight my brother and I ventured into Somerville to celebrate my post-first day of classes and his almost-first week back at school. Or, you know, for dinner.
He had suggested we try a take-out Nepalese/Himalayan place called Tasty Mo:Mo because we both love dumplings and momos seemed pretty much like adventurous dumplings. This way we could enjoy the security of a comfort food while feeling cool for trying new things—and, on top of it (as I realized after obsessive Yelping), by ordering momos we would be contributing to feeding children in Nepal. For every order of momo purchased, Tasty Mo:Mo donates $1 to an organization called Food for Education, which provides food to children in Nepal so they can pursue an education instead of working for food.
So we were feeling pretty good about this place before we even went in. Tasty Mo:Mo is small, as it turns out, with just one table in a corner, a TV up on a red wall, and a counter with a few high chairs against the opposite wall.
Likewise, the menu itself sticks with the classics, which I appreciate because it’s bold: the chefs know that the items in this limited selection are their best, and have faith that customers will be happy with them.
On a Tuesday night, two people managed all the restaurant’s business, one mostly cooking an impressive number of take-out orders, and the other dealing with all the customers who came in to pick up said take-out orders. My brother and I watched this unfold after ordering, later noticing a note on a whiteboard stating that food preparation takes about fifteen minutes, as Tasty Mo:Mo only serves everything fresh.
And—as promised—after roughly that much time, our food was brought out!
Here are our three dish-specific reviews:
The woman who cooked is also super sweet and came out to chat and apologize for the wait (which was absolutely fine because her expertly managing five woks at once was entertainment in itself). I admit that shoveling food into our mouths didn’t make us the best conversationalists, but I hope she knows we had good intentions. And she now definitely knows that we enjoyed her food.
In short, we began hungry and left stuffed.
Overall, very satisfied! I think three dishes were a bit much for two people (even though we both eat a lot), so I’m also very full. Having tried it once, I’m not sure I would make an enormous effort to return; but it’s definitely a hidden gem in Magoun Square and served us a great meal tonight for ~$10/each. And if I just so happened to be in the area…I’m not at all opposed to trying the Chicken Chilly next time.
This blog post has been reposted from Michelle’s personal blog, Michelle Ng. Check it out here to see more of her photography and blog posts!
by Bovey Rao ’19
In nearby Somerville, the buzz and activity of Cambridge and Boston seemingly do not exist. Quaint is the only way to describe the rustic buildings and quiet space. A mere ten minute walk, and you are able to escape the infamous “Harvard Bubble.” If you need a reason to allow yourself to leave Harvard to Somerville, go to Bergamot.
Bergamot is inconspicuous, sharing a building with a cable store and a kebab shop. It may not catch your attention immediately, but a glance inside the space reveals a sophistication that is unexpected.
My dining companion and I had a reservation for two at 5:00 pm (opening time), and we were promptly seated. Our waitress greeted us and informed us of our options. The two most popular offerings are the $44 dinner prix fixe, composed of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert of your choice, and the $75 tasting menu, a creative sampling of the chef’s choice. Given our time restriction, we opted for the $44 prix fixe (menu items can also be selected à la carte). After some careful deliberation, we ordered our appetizers and entrees and waited patiently.
The customary bread and butter were delivered and were pleasantly surprising. The unique apple mustard butter paired excellently with an almost burnt crust and custardy crumb. My appetite was stimulated. I excitedly watched as plates of food began exiting the kitchen. As my plate was placed in front of me, I could barely hold myself back out of courtesy for my companion. The instant both plates touched down, we ravenously began to eat.
The jet black squid ink tagliatelle left an immediate visual impact: a contrast of colors with a white plate and brightly colored heirloom tomatoes. The pasta itself was cooked a nice al dente, which gave it an almost meaty characteristic that complemented the sweet juiciness of the tomatoes. The light saltiness of the pecorino cheese plays on the palette like a light ocean breeze. My appetite slightly sated, I tasted the sea bass crudo and was confused by the complex saltiness from the avocado dressing, the floral notes from the petals, and the sweetness from the two types of melon. While these flavors bounced around my mouth, I was slightly off-put by the amalgamation of flavors. I could see the inventiveness in the exploration of taste, site and smell, but this particular dish was not appealing. We finished our courses and waited for the entrees.
As our waitress deposited the plates in front of us, I sat in awe of the meticulous plating of each course. I started with my course, the scallops provencal. My knife sunk through the scallop like a warm butter. The scallop simply melted in my mouth but simultaneously retained the meatiness of a protein. In a state of sheer bliss, I was amazed by the sweet scallop with minor notes from the tomato sauce and dill. The green beans served as the necessary textural component to give the dish a crisp element. Enjoying my course, I sampled my friend’s dish, and experienced an entirely different sensation. In contrast to my dainty scallops, I was almost overwhelmed by the rich meaty short ribs. The slightly sweet Korean glaze was apparent, and it balanced the plate with the crisp salty wild rice pancake. Nothing could describe this course besides a masterful expression of umami (savory flavor). Fairytale eggplant and shiitake mushrooms only contributed more to the savory nature of the course.
As our meal wound down, we prepared for our dessert courses. To say the least, I was underwhelmed. My peach ice cream was a nice reminder of the end of summer, but the ice cream was slightly icy and detracted from the overall dish. The tres leches was also unimpressive, so we finished our meal on a slightly more subdued note.
Despite this, Bergamot provided an incredible meal and experience. While the wait times between courses may have been longer than expected, they allow time for a truly enjoyable dining experience. Prepare yourself by bringing friends and companions outside of Harvard Square and enjoy a phenomenal meal. While Bergamot may appear to be a formal white tablecloth restaurant, it exudes a familiar and homely vibe. Keith Pooler, Executive Chef and Owner, has created a comfortable dining environment for those seeking a good meal and a nice conversation.
Location: 118 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 02143
Reservation: OpenTable or by Phone (617)-576-7700
Stand out dishes: squid ink tagliatelle, Korean grilled short rib
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
* Note: the $75 7-course tasting takes 2 hours, so be prepared.