Flour Settles in Harvard Square on Nov 1st

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).

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From Flour Website

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.

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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.

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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.

Gluten Free Frozen Yogurt Granola Cups

Oats!!! Oats are the main ingredient found in granola. But what’s so bad about oats you ask? Oats for gluten free consumers like myself were once considered taboo. The controversy surrounds the fact that most oats were not considered to be “pure” and were processed with a contaminant that people with gluten sensitivity could not tolerate. As the demand for more variety in gluten free foods rise, more research and refinement in the preparation of oats free of any gluten contaminants has become a booming and helpful source of fibrous nutrition for the gluten sensitive or allergic person. One of my favorite frozen desserts contains gluten free granola. These frozen yogurt granola cups are easy to prepare and taste great! They are creamy, sweet little treats that are perfect on a spring day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 24 oz gluten free yogurt any flavor (ie Chobani)
  • fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • cupcake holders

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Preparation:

  • Combine 1 cup granola, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, and 1 Tbsp. honey. Mix well.
  • Line a muffin tin with the cupcake holders and line the bottom with equal amounts of the granola mixture.
  • On top of the granola mixture, fill each cup with yogurt.
  • Top with fruit.
  • Freeze for 2-4 hours.

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These refreshing gluten free treats can be kept frozen for a quick snack on the go, or for a light dessert after a meal. Oats have never tasted so good, and of course they are gluten free!

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Peanut Butter Cookies

by Michelle Chiang ’19

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.
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Plain, boring ranger cookies
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.
 In short, it’s a win for everyone.
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Divinely transformed Ranger cookies.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Veritaffle

by Allison Yan ’19

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.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium size bowl of the waffle mix
  • 2-3 scoops of oatmeal
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of peanut butter
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Oatmeal, cranberries optional

Instructions:

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.)

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Just the right amount of peanut butter!

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!

 

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Slice a banana on top for good measure.

Optional Waffle Toppings:

  • Sliced banana and honey
  • Cinnamon
  • The tried-and-true whipped cream and syrup combination

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Balls

   Picture4by Danielle Leavitt ’17

It’s that time of year again when the crisp air and clear blue skies invite you to participate in their splendor. Winter will be coming soon, and the return to fluorescent bulbs and forced heat can dampen anyone’s spirits. This is a great time of year to enjoy being outside, whether it’s to take a walk or run along the river, canoe, or even hike. Fall leaves, apple picking, and spiced cider are traditional treats that we eat this time of year. In my family, we make simple Peanut Butter Balls that are not only delicious, but very healthy and can be used as a seasonal post work out snack or used as an on-the-go snack. Each ball has 100 calories and 5 grams of protein, are gluten-free, and easy to make!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

1 tsp Honey

1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1/2 tsp Coconut Oil

*all ingredients are Gluten free

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Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the peanut butter, protein powder, and honey together until it forms a dough (you may need. to add a little more protein powder if the dough is not thick enough)
  2. Cover a plate with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place onto the paper. Place the plate with the peanut butter balls into the freezer to chill. The time will vary depending on the freezer.
  3. After the balls are frozen in place the chocolate chips and coconut oil into a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring and repeating until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer and dip them halfway into the melted chocolate. Enjoy!The final product can be frozen for future outings or eaten right away. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate creates a creamy, nutty, and delectable bite. Fall treats can be easy to make, gluten free, and taste amazing!

Picture2The final product can be frozen for future outings or eaten right away. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate creates a creamy, nutty, and delectable bite. Fall treats can be easy to make, gluten free, and taste amazing!

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“Fall” In Love: With Sweet Apple Cupcakes

by Angela Yi ’19

Today, I was feeling a little under the weather because of the colds going around campus. I needed some good comfort food, and the first place that came into mind was Sweet. I mentioned them last week in my tribute to my love for pumpkin – But this time, I decided to try something new.

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Located in Brattle St., in between the Curious George store and Tealuxe.

I dragged my friend out of bed to join me in my excursion to gorge myself on delicious cupcakes with promises of free pastries. We took the long, exhaustive walk on the Square; and three minutes later, the much-beloved sign appeared.

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Even the wallpaper is too cute.

The décor of Sweet never fails to make me feel happy. I love the cute little boxes stacked on top of each other, and their new pink Jack-o’-lantern makes an adorable finish to the cozy little bakery.

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The Jack-o’-lantern is the highlight of this pic.

But most of all, the sheer number of options to choose from is what makes Sweet my favorite cupcake store. From dark chocolate to french toast, Sweet has a very interesting variety of flavors that I haven’t seen anywhere else. They even have a flavor called “pupcakes”, which Sweet calls a “yummy treat for our canine friends.”

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Choosing which flavors to try is stressful, but the stress is certainly a good one.

So today, prior to walking into the bakery, I relied on Sweet’s varied flavors to find some cupcakes that I’ve never tried before. Forget vanilla and chocolate – I wanted to try something new and unique.

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From left to right: Caramel Apple, Apple Cider Doughnut, Apple Pie.

Sweet certainly did not disappoint. So today, for lunch, I got to have Apple Pie, Caramel Apple, and Apple Cider Doughnut cupcakes. It was certainly one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. The apple fillings in Apple Pie and Caramel Apple was just simply delicious, and eating all those cupcakes with Sweet’s coffee ended my afternoon on a very high note.

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Basia’s Scoop (#3: Christina’s)

by Basia Rosenbaum ’18

There is a Cambridge debate over ice cream: Toscanini’s vs. Christina’s. Central Square vs. Inman. Cocoa pudding vs. chocolate mousse (below left, along with cactus pear, right).

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A couple weeks ago I went to Toscanini’s, and this week I tried Christina’s.

Starting with location, Christina’s takes it. Just 10 minutes down the road from CGIS, I wondered why I didn’t go to Inman more often. Fun restaurants (including Punjabi Dhaba serving great cheap Indian food), cute shops, and a branch of the always amazing 1369 Coffee House.

Walk inside and Christina’s has a completely different vibe. Whereas Toscanini’s feels almost hipster—minimalist décor, flavors written in chalk, people coding over ice cream—Christina’s feels like an institution. This is not a shop designed to impress; rather meant to let the flavors speak for themselves.

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The range of flavors at Christina’s is impressive and there is an excellent combination of standard favorites with creative offerings. There’s maple walnut, black raspberry, rum raisin, and pistachio. But also Adzuki bean, banana cinnamon and Khulfi.

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Butter almond and peanut butter chip

Some of the flavors were amazing; some were less impressive. The butter almond was fantastic, but after a few bites I realized the peanut butter chip wasn’t one to order again. Cactus pear sorbet? Such an interesting option (and color). But while yummy initially, it was just too sweet and left me with a taste of pure sugar. The chocolate mousse is fantastic (better than Toscanini’s cocoa pudding in my opinion) and their chocolate chip cookie dough is great (as all chocolate chip cookie dough flavors are).

My best advice is to taste before you buy (and taste extensively). Depending on what flavor you order, you will leave with an entirely different impressive of Christina’s. Find the right flavors and this might be your favorite Cambridge ice cream.

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Chocolate chip cookie dough

You can also find Christina’s at the weekly Farmer’s Market in the Science Center. Albeit serving just a few options, the mobile Christina’s is great way to try the ice cream closer to campus.

Toscanini’s vs. Christina’s. I’d have to say that I come out of the side of Toscanini’s. But when we’re talking about good ice cream, why would we even have a debate? The more good ice cream options, the better.

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.

Sriracha Oatmeal? A Freshman’s Take on a Breakfast Classic

by Michelle Chiang ’19

While Annenberg’s exquisite stained-glass windows never fail to impress, the dining hall breakfast can get old very quickly –  especially for those looking for healthier options. After all, how many days can one eat oatmeal before it gets boring?

A lot, actually. It just takes a little creative mixing and matching. Here are a few oatmeal-based confections to dazzle up your morning:

Peary Delicious: pear, Greek yogurt, and honey

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Bowl of Sunshine: banana, raisins, peanut butter

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The Classic: apple, peanut butter

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The Adventure: peanut butter, cinnamon, yogurt, Sriracha sauce (courtesy of Jennifer Tu ’16)

  IMAG0800 You’re probably making a face right now. But wait – if you like Thai food, give this one a try! The ingredients mingle together and create a savory, sweet sensation with just the right amount of kick. (Author’s note: be wary of adding too much cinnamon or Sriracha sauce.)

Lowell House’s Not-So-Hidden Treasure

by Landy Erlick ’19

Whether you are new to the Harvard campus, or are simply cooped up in the Quad working on problem sets, you may not have had the opportunity yet to attend a Lowell House tea – and you’re certainly missing out. Every Thursday at 5 o’clock sharp, the kettles are whistling and the students are hustling into the beautiful home of Lowell House Masters Diana Eck and Dorothy Austin.

The weekly gathering is a long-established tradition for Lowell students, but Eck and Austin kindly open their doors to non-House members as well. After waiting in line for several minutes with anticipation building, you are ushered into Lowell’s beautiful courtyard (weather permitting), and from there the opportunities are endless.

The green enclosure is a small departure from the rest of the event. There, a linen covered table offers tortilla chips and guacamole. However, in keeping with the elegant standards of this house affair, there is also a bright punch bowl of lemonade to keep guests hydrated and to serve as an option for the non-tea drinkers out there.

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Inside, the real delights appear. Popping your head through gaps in the throng, you can spot Lowell’s famous monkey bread, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter brownies, and some apple crisp – all fresh out of the oven. The warm, gooey pastries are the product of eager Lowell House student-chefs, fondly dubbed “Lowell Elves.”

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Lowell resident Anne Mathews ’16 is baking for the first time this year. “Some things, likes the scones and cheesecake bars, are Lowell traditions,” Matthew explains. “But my favorite thing to make is sugar cookies.” Indeed, the cookies are a crowd favorite. Master’s Residence Manager Charlotte McKetchnie is in charge of the beloved function, though student bakers can be seen scurrying out the kitchen and into the parlor to replenish any plate looking too bare.

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And if cookies aren’t your cup of tea, there are several cake options throughout the hour. First, a beautiful wedding cake.  (Yes, Lowell tea offers a small, white wedding cake.) Then, a decadent chocolate slice awaits. Finally, for the third restock, another beautiful yellow cake adorned with flowers. All of the food looks so professional, you would think Harvard offered a culinary class.

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For the savory fanatics, there is the extremely popular baked brie and crackers. Be warned: if you’re not there within seconds of this platter being put down, you won’t even be able to find a trace of the delectable cheese. In keeping with the tradition of high tea, there is also a platter of finger sandwiches, ranging from a classic cucumber to a trendy Nutella.

And the attendees, hosts, and bakers aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves every Thursday.

“Dorothy and Diana have an adorable polydactyl cat named Willy who gets underfoot in the kitchen,” Mathews said.