Any event that has the words “Taste of” in the title, is one we generally want to attend. Hello, we LOVE tasting! Especially food from some of the area’s best restaurants. Which, of course, is what the Taste of Cambridge is all about. When Chels and I were offered press passes, we immediately decided to head over to the Charles Hotel yesterday evening and check things out. Why wouldn’t we??
Cambridge, of course, is right next to Boston and super easy to get to. But for some reason, I don’t get over there as much as I’d like to. It takes forever on public transportation and parking can be a bit tricky, so dining on the “other side of the river” doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to. Because, heaven knows they have a TON of amazing restaurants.
The Taste of Cambridge was the perfect opportunity for us to try samplings many of them. And the Charles Hotel was the PERFECT place to hold an event like this.
The more of these types of events we go to, the better we get at navigating them. It’s seriously an art! There’s so much food and it’s easy to get really full, really quickly. We generally like to hit up the restaurants we haven’t yet had the chance to visit. We try to stay away from chains and we take it slowly and pace ourselves. And stay away from too much alcohol near the start of the event– Not only for obvious reasons, but because it’s seriously difficult to hold a plate and full drink, while trying to eat, take photos, and navigate the crowds!
Tory Row is one of those restaurants I’ve been hearing about forever, but have never stopped by. But when I tasted the chilled asparagus soup with poached lobster, I fell in love. It was thick and creamy with generous pieces of lobster. This would be a fabulous start to a meal and fitting that it was the first thing we indulged in for the evening.
As you can see, Tory Row serves breakfast 7 days a week, too. I kind of want to try the jalapeno chicken sausage.
Next up? We spotted lobster rolls from the West Side Lounge and I knew I couldn’t pass them by.
This was a pretty fabulous lobster roll! I have to say it was a tad bit salty, BUT I loved that it didn’t have a whole lot of mayo in it and was pretty much pure (and delicious) lobster meat.
And, we learned about West Side Lounge’s Monday night special. All summer long, you can get 2 lobster rolls, house-made chips, and slaw for only $12.95. Yes, $12.95! I definitely need to make it there very soon. Who’s coming?
And yes, the house-made chips were awesome.
Next up? Basha Cafe. I’ve been to Basha before, but it’s been a while and their offerings looked pretty tasty.
Chels and I split a beef kebab and some rice. I definitely could have eaten more, but I knew it would be smarter to save room. Guess I’ll have to return to Basha for more!
I’ve actually never heard of Amelias Trattoria and their dish looked quite interesting.
It was a type of arancini with basil, fontina cheese, and panko. I loved the presentation; it reminded me of something fun you’d get at the fair! It was delicious, but a tiny bit dry. However, I always remind myself it must be nearly impossible to cook food for events like this… SO much food that you have to transport. It can’t be nearly as good as it would be in the restaurant, hot from the kitchen!
Amelia’s menu looks pretty interesting, so I’d love to get there some time in the future.
Oh, Harvest. I’ve only had the pleasure of dining at Harvest once as an adult, but it was an amazing experience. And one that I’d like to repeat over and over again. I’ve been pretty obsessed with all things lamb lately, so I was immediately drawn to the lamb sausage slider.
Yup, it was awesome. In fact, I seriously wish I had a full-size sandwich for lunch right now. I highly recommend dining at Harvest if you want a really wonderful experience in Harvard Square. The restaurant is kind of tucked away, dimly lit, quiet, country-like and romantic. Basically everything I want after a crazy day in the city.
Right after Harvest, we headed to Bambara’s table, where I indulged in some sort of bruschetta with figs and proscuitto, which is pretty much a dream come true for me. I love the salty/sweet combination! I also noticed they have warm lobster sliders on the menu, making Bambara a future must for me.
Then we spotted Grafton Street! The first thing I said was, “there’s no way I could eat corn on the cob at an event like this.” And it’s true. I’m one of those brats who needs my corn cut off the cob for me (thanks Dad!). And if I chowed down last night? I wouldn’t have been able to smile for any photos.
But I still had to take a couple photos because Grafton Street is where Chris and I first met And so, it will always have a very special meaning to me. I think it’s our goal to go back for all our anniversaries.
Plus, the corn was just so pretty! And if the employees working the table had offered to cut it off the cob for me, I totally would have indulged.
From these photos, it doesn’t look like the Taste of Cambridge was too crowded, but it really was!
We spent a good amount of time hanging out with the lovely Julia Rappaport and her hilariously awesome friend Jon.
East Coast Grill is one restaurant I CANNOT even believe I still haven’t been to. My dad talks about it all the time as he’s a huge Chris Schlesinger fan and I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about it. I tried to make reservations for the restaurant’s last “Hell Night,” but they filled up amazingly fast, so I’m looking forward to making it to the next one (I hope!).
For now, I was content trying their pork tacos, which were pretty delicious and super flavorful. I could definitely eat a plate-full!
We were wandering by Hungry Mother‘s peanut butter sorghum sandwich cookies and I had to grab one. OMG. These were like the Girl Scout’s Do-Si-Dos cookies, but about a million times better. And so satisfying. I NEED the recipe. Or I just have to go to Hungry Mother for a few more. Delicious!
Of course, we stopped by to see our good friends over at the How2Heroes table. I didn’t even take any photos of their beautiful dessert display because we were immediately bombarded by shots. Jello shots. Alcohol-free jello shots, at that. So, why was How2Heroes forcing jello shots upon us??
Well, they were 5-alarm ghost pepper jello shots. In case you don’t know, ghost peppers are otherwise known as the hottest peppers in existence. Not ones to turn down a challenge, Chels and I signed the waivers (yes, waivers!) and prepared to down the jello shots. How2Heroes took this shot of us looking thrilled (and semi-nervous) for the challenge:
OK, yeah, we were pretty nervous. And yes, I’m double fisting (Chris loves anything super spicy, so I grabbed one to take home for him). Thank you so much to Megan of Delicious Dishings for catching some fabulous action shots of us!
OK, let’s go!
Well we downed, part of them anyway. These were HOT. Like one of the hottest things I’ve ever eaten, and I love spice. But really, it was more of a pleasant type of hot… Which I’m obviously saying after the fact. Check out my expression in the below photo.
I guess that says it all. By “pleasant” I mean, it was kind of cinnamony-tasting. But our mouths were BURNING and Lynne kindly handed us frosting shots and milk. Yes, a good chaser for too hot jello shots is a frosting shot. Who knew? Now you do.
Now can I get my invitation to East Coast Grill’s Hell Night, please?
By the way, Julia’s friend Jon downed the entire shot without flinching. It made me feel like kind of a wuss.
We wandered around a bit more after that excitement and checked out a huge dessert display. The cupcakes from Lyndell’s looked absolutely scrumptious, but I was too full.
Too full for a cupcake? I can’t even believe I just said that. Kind of regretting it today.
But Chels did grab a super cute, super mini ice cream cone!
OK, I lied. I wasn’t too full when I saw the beautiful-looking strawberry rhubarb crisps from Henrietta’s Table– another Cambridge restaurant I really, really need to make it to.
Especially after hearing from Julia how delightful these desserts were.
We could not turn them down. And I’m SO glad we didn’t. This might just be the best “crisp” I’ve ever had. I wanted to snag the whole table. Even though I was incredibly full at this point.
I’ve always known that Cambridge has an absolutely wonderful dining scene, but last night proved it to me even more. And made me want to head across the river for dinner every night. We had so many amazing dishes and really, I’m not sure which restaurant I want to make my first stop!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Cambridge?