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Short leash in Cambridge

I'm on foot at Harvard in a super intense summer program that runs 12+ hours a day, starting at 9 AM. I am sleeping on campus. I am from Portland and am therefore spoiled by a great price/quality ratio. I am also now unemployed, broke from Harvard tuition, and generally on a tight budget. I know you can't have it both ways, but I am trying to do my best.

I need to find alot of meals on a 10-15 minute walk. Kendall Square and Central Square are out for weekdays - possibly weekday dinners if it is mindblowlingly good and economical enough to warrant the T fare (yes, that tight, sorry).

Dietary problems (hard when you're a foodie): I have a very painful reaction to sweet and tart foods. No fruit, no sweet veg, no vinaigrette, no OJ, etc. It's really fucked up. I'm a guinea pig at a major research hospital for it but had to leave to attend this program. I am also allergic to shellfish and lactose intolerant. This excludes a lot of Asian food and good New England lobster, crab, chowda, etc. I also have bad digestion due to too little acid and digestive agents in my system. I love hot and spicy food - it's the dense stuff like pasta, potatoes, bagels, huge steaks, pork chops, etc, that I have a hard time getting down).

Tired of "nos" yet?

Here is more what I'm looking for:

Breakfast - I eat something small with a cup of coffee or sometimes just a good latte. More room for lunch. Unfortunately, I have yet to find good coffee or pastries around here. So far have tried Starbucks (Hi Rise was closed - anyone know their hours?) and Au Bon Pain today (holy shit it was horrible). Anything good within a 10 minute walk of campus? What's Petsi's like? Is Burdick more of a dessert place? Any other offerings? Its hard to find a pastry that isn't over the top sweet.

Lunch - same 10 minute walk. Felipe's was enjoyable enough. Boloco was horrible. I liked sandwiches at Darwin - do they have an adjacent sit down area? I couldn't tell. Digestive issues make me avoid having starch for both lunch and dinner (sandwiches, pizza, burritos, etc - I know this makes economy consideration alot more difficult).

Dinner - pretty much the same, but good beer is always a plus (Portland again). The pie at Cambridge One I chose (their version of the Marg) was too sweet for me (all the tomatoes) but the others look good enough. I didn't enjoy Pinocchio's tonight, but I generally do like good, thin, charred pizza. I like non-western food. Chinese, Japanese (sushi excepted), and Thai are generally out (Issan excepted) because of my sweet reaction/sour reaction. Indian is a mixed bag. I like western food just as much.

If you're still reading, bless you. I didn't choose my diet and hope the amount of detail isn't as obnoxious as those being selective due to calories, feared ingredients, or pickiness. They are all physiological exclusions that I have no control over. If only I could be paid for being a lab rat.

Thanks for any replies or helpful info. Cambridge is beautiful and I hope to get a couple hours to get into Boston, but until then I'm pretty locked up.

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  1. Try Crema Cafe for breakfast. It's at that point where Harvard Square and Brattle Square meet: there's an outlying entrance to the Harvard Square T station right in front of it. I have not had the pastries, which look tasty enough and not particularly sweet, but I had a coffee there a couple weeks ago and it was quite good.

    1. Not sure if this meets your criteria, but as an additional option, there's a fairly large "by the ounce" salad bar open weekdays for lunch right inside the yard (Lehman Hall). Being a salad bar it was pretty light on starches and high on veg, proteins, legumes, fruits, etc. Went for the first time today and "weighed in" at around $6.. air conditioned dining room or take it to go...

      2 Replies
      1. re: mrsx

        maybe portuguese food though most of the good portuguese restaurants are closer to Inman Square than to Harvard Square? My favorite cheap eats "near" harvard is also a hike: Basta Pasta on Western Avenue. Isn't there also a food court near Porter Square station with good Asian choices at good prices?

        1. re: mrsx

          Hi, The cheapest good meal in Boston is just a few steps away at Grendel's Den, on Winthrop St, just off JFK. They have a great selection of beers and 1/2 price food every day from 5-7:30 and 9-11:30 on Sun-Thurs., as long as you spend $3. on a beverage. It really is the best deal in town and a very "local" place....very few tourists know about it. The food is healthy and well prepared and the portions are sane. It's a Harvard Square institution.

        2. Crema Cafe, Hi-Rise (not sure of hours, but I think they're open for breakfast and lunch every day), and Darwin's should have you covered for breakfast and lunch. Yes, Burdick's is sweets only.

          There's also Cafe Algiers and Grendel's, both right in the Square for pretty cheap eats. For dinner, I'd walk 10-15 minutes to Garden at the Cellar right on Mass. Ave headed toward Central Square. It's a gastropub, but they've got a lot of small plates and you could cobble together a good, not-expensive meal there.

          1. How about Pho Le for Vietnamese? You could get pho and leave the noodles (I can't eat dense things like noodles either), and just enjoy the richness of the broth and the (thin) meat.

            12 hours a day - sounds like some folks I know who did summer orgo at Harvard and were $6k poorer for it. :(

            3 Replies
            1. re: Prav

              Do you find the noodles in pho dense? I find Asian noodles much lighter and easier to digest than traditional Italian (semolina or whole wheat based) pastas. The only exception may be udon, which I do find heavy do to their thicker cut, but I find rice-based noodles in particular very digestible.

              1. re: kobuta

                I do agree with you, pho noodles aren't dense compared to semolina or udon. I actually have a stomach condition that prohibits me from eating any sorta pasta. :)

                1. re: Prav

                  Nuts. That would make me cry because noodles in soup are my favorite comfort food.

            2. Wow, what a drag having all those restrictions but you were amusing about it. I like Crema Cafe too and a little further up Mass Ave. toward Central is Zoe's for when you want a more real breakfast. Also the Half Shell down Mass Ave. toward Porter has omelettes and such (are eggs okay?) and diner style lunches. A burger at Bartley's? Or cheaper at Flat Patties in the Garage. Red meat okay? Crepes just past Oona's on Mass Ave. Other fish meals at Dolphin Seafood above Zoe's. Lunch at the Plough and Stars, altho that may be out of the walking range down Mass Ave.

              1. Veggie Planet for lunch should be right up your alley. Cheap, good salads and pizzas (thin, charred, whole wheat crust).

                Yes, Darwin's does have a seating area.

                You could try Oxford Spa on Oxford St. in the other direction from Harvard Square, about a 10-minute walk from campus. Sandwiches, salads, quiche and that sort of thing. Petsi Pies, in the same direction, is also about a 10-minute walk and has some good savory pies -- I like the spinach-ricotta one.

                1. Def Crema Cafe, also Veggie planet might work for you. They have all sorts of vegetarian combos you can have as a pizza or over rice.

                  1. I'll pile on to the Crema suggestion. If you tire of that, you can walk up Mass Ave toward Porter and hit Simon's.
                    For lunch or dinner, try Boca Grande, also on Mass Ave toward Porter.
                    Crepes at corner of Mass Ave and Arrow St (a couple blocks toward Central).
                    I really like Moody's Falafel Palace in Central. It's cheap, $4 for a good falafel sandwich. Not a bad walk either. While you're in Central, hit the Indian grocery on the left (facing Boston) next to Pearl Art; in the back there's a prepared food counter, lots of very cheap eats there.
                    If you like a decent pizza&subs joint, head a couple blocks east on Cambridge St (the street that starts at the Sackler Museum) and hit Mona Lisa.
                    Keep going on Cambridge St to Inman Square and try Punjabi Dhaba, cheap "highway" style Indian food. Also in Inman Sq on Hampshire St is City Girl Cafe, a nice sandwich and salads place.
                    The Porter Exchange building in Porter Sq has several different Japanese places including a sushi counter and several ramen and curry places; i don't think there's much sweet or sour in these styles, but you'll know better than I.
                    In the same direction up Mass Ave is Addis Red Sea on the right. A tad more expensive, but could be a reasonable dinner treat. Delicious Ethiopian food.

                    Good luck and thanks for the interesting chow challenge.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jajjguy

                      Quick note: front of Sackler is on Broadway. Cambridge St. begins at the back of the museum.

                      1. re: jajjguy

                        need coordinates on Moody's Falafel

                        Moody's Falafel Palace
                        25 Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                      2. The Indian restaurant next to Burdicks & a few doors from Hi-Rise has a decent (if not really exciting) lunch buffet that's reasonably priced. Forest Cafe on Mass Ave outside of Harvard heading towards Porter Square has good Mexican (good fish dishes). I'll second the Cream Cafe recommendation and also add Peet's, which is on JFK (I think).

                        1. Not to sound obvious and I'm not sure what your kitchen situation is but if you wanted to save some money by not eating out, the Trader Joe's on Magazine Street is not too far of a walk. It has plenty of things you could throw together quickly for a meal when you are strapped for time. (It's more than a 10 minute walk so this might be better for stocking up on the weekend).

                          Also if every penny counts, and it sounds like it does, the #1 bus is the better and cheaper way to get to Central Sq.( or even Boston) than the T. That's said try Miracle of Science in Central Sq. for burgers or skewers on a weekend or for dinner.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: heypielady

                            to chime in on the economizing, i would suggest saving your coffee fund and just making some using trader joe's ingredients.

                            coffee drinks really add up, especially at boston prices, so this would leave a nice chunk of change for other exploits.

                          2. I second Crema and the crepe place and Veggie Planet (it's under Club Passim, in the street that runs on the side of Border Cafe on Church St.). Border Cafe can be ok, too.

                            Darwin's sells Iggy's pastries which I think are way better than Crema's and Burdick's, at least for croissants. There's a Darwin's on Mt. Auburn and also on Cambridge St and both have seating areas.

                            I'd also rec. Sabra Grill in HS, I think a shawarma would fit your bill. They have rose-scented lemonade and freshly pressed carrot juice to drink which are both awesome and not very sweet.

                            Also for cheap, I rec. Greek Corner's gyro plate. A big serving of pilaf, salad and well-seasoned lamb for maybe $6.50.

                            Also for about that much, you can get a good vegetarian lunch at the Buddhist Meditation center on Mass Ave.

                            Also, in the summer, there's a farmer's market on Tuesdays over by the Science Center, and there are so many good things to taste, you can almost call it lunch.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: dulce de leche

                              The Buddhist Center is a great suggestion - it has gotten good props on the board, and frankly, it sounds like you could use a little peaceful respite.

                              You mentioned Hi-Rise - if you are on a budget, avoid it entirely.

                              Make sure you chat up the folks at Veggie Planet about your dietary restrictions - can't say for sure but you have to figure they will be something of a resource.

                              There is also a farmer's market in front of the Charles Hotel (the one with Rialto) from time to time.

                              One thing to the OP: Looks like most options have been covered, but maybe it would helpful to focus our posts if you can just set what you definitely would like to eat.

                              Bartley's burger without the bun could be an option, for example, but not sure.

                            2. And further up towards CS from HS are the Dolphin, good seafood and cheaper if you go before 5 (or 6?), with lots of fishy choices besides shellfish, and next to it is Il Panino, good pasta with lots of sauces, don't remember what else they have, it's been a while.
                              The Buddhist Temple is a great idea, and if you go on Friday nights at 7? or Sundays at noon they have an especially nice spread, and you get to sit with friendly, interesting people and listen to a presentation (not compulsory). You won't go hungry if we can help it!

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: cassis

                                Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it - it's great to have this kind of support, alot of times when I mention my problems to people online or in person they roll their eyes or get frustrated. Please please please keep them coming!

                                I will definitely follow Bob Dobalina's advice and post a list soon. Right now I am looking for a good entree dinner salad, particularly a cobb or california style chopped with some other dressing than vinaigrette (I can't do any vinegary salad dressings :( ). Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate these and any further recommendations you can list.

                                1. re: twitchology

                                  >good entree dinner salad, particularly a cobb or california style chopped with some other dressing than vinaigrette

                                  Probably a good bet, then, is Border Cafe. It has a bunch of huge entree salads that will be $7-8. The steak one is my favorite.

                                  Another place for that, cheaply, is Veggie Planet. They won't have the meat, but can load up the salad with fried tofu and vegetables and cheese.

                                  It's really diners that do that kind of thing around here. Probably Zoe's has that or Leo's Place.

                                  1. re: twitchology

                                    Reading your post makes me never ever want to complain about occasional green-pepper related heartburn.

                                    I'd avoid the Border. Even though it's cheap it's also gross. I'm wracking my brain to think of another dinner salad option in the hood ... it's the cheap part that is the kicker. I'ma think on it and post more.

                                    1. re: yumyum

                                      Really? I mean, I am not going to die on the hill that is defending the Border Cafe of all places, but the salads are not gross.
                                      They're not elegant or innovative or superb quality, but it's also not plain iceberg lettuce, reheated & badly seasoned meat, and bottled dressing, or too many ingredients that don't go together. That would be gross.
                                      Chi Chi's is gross. Border Cafe is just pedestrian.

                                      1. re: dulce de leche

                                        "Die on the hill" -- thanks for that, you cracked me up.

                                        I just think we can do better than pedestrian for the twitcher given what he's up against. When I think of cheap in the Square, I think of Charlie's but I don't think I've ever seen a salad there. Does Darwins do salads? If so they'll be pricey, and served by stoned counter help, but they'll be quality.

                                        1. re: yumyum

                                          Darwin's doesn't have salads. Hi Price bakery does, but I've never gotten as excited as they seem to be about them (judging by their prices, which I am willing to pay for the excellent sandwiches).
                                          Plus, they are underdressed (the salads) and you have to eat them with a plastic fork which: no.

                                          1. re: dulce de leche

                                            Re salads, Finale has a decent selection at lunchtime, and they also will put any of their sandwich fillings on a salad, so that might provide some non-starchy options. Annoyingly, they charge an extra buck-fifty for this - be warned - but it's still not too pricey. I know Finale is sort of a board-pinata, and their desserts (their ostensible raison d'etre) are pretty weak, but I've always thought it was a nice place for lunch. Oh, n.b.: they only serve the salads and sandwiches at lunchtime; they have a separate savory menu at dinnertime, which I've never tried.

                                            Hi-Rise is pretty expensive, but I've always found that half of one of their superb sandwiches is plenty for lunch, so you can save the rest, which makes it a bit more economical. I agree with dulce de leche about their salads, with the exception of the grilled chicken salad, because the chicken is grilled fresh to order and so it comes out hot, well-seasoned, and tasty. Their dressing (which always comes on the side for me) is a strangely thick balsamic vinaigrette; possibly they would have something else that would work better with your diet.

                                            When I worked across the street, a co-worker used to swear by Bartley's cobb salads; I've never had anything but their burgers, but it might be worth a try.

                                            I agree with all the Crema suggestions - their homemade english muffin is really good - lighter than a store-bought english muffin, and just 1.25 toasted with butter and jam, which is pretty budget-friendly for your breakfast.

                                            You mentioned Burdicks - they get my vote for best pastries in the square. Not cheap, though, although the small croissants aren't unreasonable.

                                            Flat Patties has very good thin burgers and it's pretty hard to spend more than 5 bucks on lunch there. I think they have a few salads on the menu; I've never tried them, but I've liked almost everything I've had there.

                                            1. re: MichaelB

                                              Finale also has the best coffee in Harvard Square, in my opinion. It's Illy.

                                              1. re: rebrivved

                                                Wow...that's definitely throwing down the gauntlet. Better than Algiers? hmm...

                                      2. re: yumyum

                                        OMG - green pepper is just about the only food that gives me hearburn, also.
                                        Grendel's Den is close and rather charming. Bartley's is known for their burgers.

                                      3. re: twitchology

                                        I love the God Salad at Rivergods on River Street (near Central). Its got everything in it (beets, avocados, hard boiled egg, bacon if you want...and housemade dressings) I think its just dinner and probably more of a weekend option. They also usually have a great fresh soups of the day and a delicious burger.

                                    2. i'd go to peet's for coffee.

                                      the forest cafe is tex/mex further up mass ave towards porter and would have some options.

                                      ditto the pho place - fresh rolls made with pork not shrimp, they have a salad that might be okay (not heavy vinegar, but some sugar/fish sauce) plus that egg/crepe dish that might do you well

                                      shay's is a cheap pub with some decent soups/sandwiches that are pretty cheap, good burger, too.

                                      when you have time, in central square is brookline lunch across from the middle east. some people think it's too much of a dump, I always liked it. inexpensive breakfast/lunches.

                                      1. Hey twitchology, I thought my food allergies were bad, but yours are horrible! If you can eat indian, I recommend the Kebab Factory www.thekebabfactory.net on Kirkland (across from Dali). Weird name, but great food, the soup especially. I live around the corner, and we order out from them a LOT. They also have an inexpensive lunch buffet (like most indian restaurants). We;ve tried Punjabi Dhaba a few times and have not been impressed. If you have a reason to splurge while you're here (or need a place for a romantic dinner), I'd go to Dali, I love, love, love that place. The atmosphere is phenomenal and everything is delicious. If you're in the mood for ice cream (I know, lactose intolerance, but hear me out), I heard of a new place that just opened that sells vegan ice creams only: Wheeler's Frozen Desserts, 334B Massachusetts Avenue
                                        Boston, icecreamproject.com /wheelersblacklabelveganicecream.blogspot.com

                                        I haven't tried them yet, I like to make my own ice cream (vegan occasionally), but I hear they have a ton of different flavors.

                                        Another place for cheap eats is Redbones in Davis Square. Southern food, a lot of meat, but I always get the buffalo shrimp with a side of steamed broccoli. They have lots of beer too.

                                        I'll keep thinking.... :-)

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Cattie

                                          Thanks again, everyone. Re: thin burgers, are they the medium-medium well kind you see in a fast food place or retro grill? I don't like my burgers too thick but I do like them just under medium rare.

                                          Also, does anyone have some good happy hour suggestions? I'm shocked at the $5 pint prices out here. Looking for craft brews, not macros.

                                          1. re: twitchology

                                            Flat Patties' patties are very flat indeed. Definitely not medium-rare - these are cooked all the way through, but they do stay quite moist. I think this thread is the definitive appreciation of their burgers: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45321...

                                            For the kind of burger you're describing, Bartley's probably fits the bill, as does Four Burgers, a new burger place in Central Square.

                                            Re happy hours, others probably know the details better, but I think Mass. state laws prohibit discounts on alcohol, hence no happy hours. Some places have times when they have special deals on the *food*, but you won't find any discounted booze.

                                            1. re: MichaelB

                                              Miracles of Science has a great burger and good beef/chicken skewers, it's a couple of blocks down Mass Ave from Central Square.

                                            2. re: twitchology

                                              Can't expect to do better than $5 a pint for a craft brew, i'm afraid. Charlie's is probably the most economical decent beer place that comes to mind.

                                          2. Yes, we are not allowed to have fun in Massachusetts. No happy hours, no ordering wine on line... No wonder so many people around here are grumpy and rude. I'm not saying that as a complaint (about the grumpy and rude) just as a fact.

                                            1. Oh, and I also wanted to mention that many many restaurants will tell you that you can't sit at their outdoor tables and just have a drink, you have to order food too "because it's the law in MA". Well, that's simply not true, they're just trying to get more money out of you. Good to know.

                                              1. Tacos Lupita near Porter - I think its on Elm St. near the Car Wash. Good Mexican food, if you can handle the tortillas. Price can't be beat.... Anna's Taqueria is good as well, nearby. I think TL is a bit more fun to eat at, though.. The food court in Porter Exchange is good as well.

                                                1. Many communnities have local ordinances that restrict the sale of alcohol without food on patios, Cambridge and Brookilne being two. In Brookline, where I live, you cannot smoke outside in any patio. As for happy hours, many places have discounted foods, not drinks. I love the Character's bar at the Marriott in Kendall Sq. They have exceptional wings and and exceptional bar keep, Jody, up until four.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ghostcat

                                                    Wow ghostcat, it's worse than I thought then! Good to know, although the places I have been told I can't sit outside with just a drink have all been in Boston, and someone I used to work with researched that claim, and said it wasn't true. Why does MA put all these restrictions on people?!! People in other states seem to be able to handle having a good time without it turning into a riot...

                                                    1. re: Cattie

                                                      There are a few exceptions to the food/drink required rule in Boston.

                                                      Tia's on the Waterfront is an exception. Walk by on a Thurs or Fri night. That's exactly what neighborhood like Back Bay, Beacon Hill, etc don't want to have.

                                                  2. I actually like the burgers at b good too. And there's always Bartley's but the lines there are always ridiculous.

                                                    Are you doing the Architecture program at Harvard by any chance? The description of the intense schedule sounds a lot like it.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: lycheefloat

                                                      Yup, I am. I'm hoping to get out of Cambridge today as its getting really claustrophobic here and I'd like to some good Boston seafood at a (hopefully) lower cost of admission via brunch. Allergic to shellfish, as I mentioned, but I've never had a plate of scrod. As I'm probably going to be doing this alot over the weekends, are there any general good:

                                                      -lunches/brunches that offer more than breakfast food?
                                                      -inexpensive dinners under $20?

                                                      Preference, of course, to seafood, vegetables, savory items, and beer.

                                                      1. re: twitchology

                                                        Most decent area restaurants have seafood on the menu. Almost all serve scrod (either haddock or cod). We have relatively few seafood establishments because one can get it almost anywhere.

                                                        Referencing your other thread, C.F.Donovans serves a lunch menu rather than brunch and the prices at lunch are quite reasonable. They do not open untill noon on Sunday.


                                                        1. re: twitchology

                                                          For well priced fish in a no frills place, go to Morse Seafood on Washington St. in the south end. Plus it's interesting to walk around there and Tremont St. Aquitaine on Tremont St. has a great brunch deal on Sat. as does Masa (and early on sun.) Most places have non breakfast items at brunch.

                                                      2. Sorry to bug everyone again, but I noticed that alot of you order food via foodler. What's the markup like on delivery? How fresh/hot does everything arrive? I've never ordered food from a delivery service before, but it seems like it might be a good breakout option for me.

                                                        Also, I had a couple of pubs recommended to be on the merit of their food - the Independent and and Atwood. Can anyone speak for them?

                                                        Thanks again!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: twitchology

                                                          I am a fan of both the Indo (Union Sq.) and Atwood's, both in Somerville. I prefer sitting at the bar on the restaurant side of the Indo. Competent bartending and last time we were in, they had the Hennepin Saison on tap. Solid, upscale pub food. Atwood's has twists on pub food, such as one of my favorites, the veggie curry with giant beans and a really delicious seaweed salad, with good beer on tap to boot (check out their website). Liam behind the bar is a crazy hoot. The Indo is a bit more spendy unless you stick with the pressed sandwiches. Both will require taking a bus to Union Sq. from Harvard (not on the subway).

                                                        2. I just want to reply with a few suggestions that I have developed over the past few years living in Boston.
                                                          I too am lactose intolerant -- don't know if you're aware that butter, hard cheeses and goat cheese will be fine for you. I have terrible acid reflux, and don't do shellfish or pig.
                                                          Nonetheless, I have never gone hungry in this city.
                                                          In Harvard Square, John Harvard's does a nice lentil salad. It might come with feta, but you can just say hold the feta. Steamed veggie dumplings at that Chinese shop on Mass Ave. should be fine too. And they now do some sort of steamed bun at the Tea Zone place. You can get half a dozen for a couple of bucks. At Pho there is a sweet and sour salmon soup that comes with basil and rice. The sour might be too acidic for you, but it's worth investigating. Grendels' menu is big enough for you to mix and match stuff on it. Don't be afraid to say hold this, or hold that. They have always been good about switching out sides for things that don't upset my stomach. I would personally advise you to stay away from Indian. Creamy things sneak up easily in dishes, and the spice might upset your stomach. Wagamama has one dish, a noodle soup with chicken, that doesn't have shellfish, lactose, or anything fried in it. And if you tell them you are allergic to something, they make a big note of it and pass that along to the kitchen.
                                                          I would also skip Border Cafe because it is full of dairy, and acidic tomatoes, and shellfish seems to creep up in a lot of their Southern dishes.
                                                          If you can handle bready things, then yes, Darwin's would be a good choice, and they have salads to go too. I haven't really tried Veggie Planet, but from the looks of their menu, they seem to be a pretty good option and are most likely very accomodating.
                                                          Good luck.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Allston78

                                                            Thanks - I'm aware of the cheese caveat to lactose intolerance (thank god), and I love spicy food (it's easy for me to digest because of the acid) - I know Indian can be a huge toss up, though. Crema made me a delicious mocha with whole milk the other day that knocked me out of commission for about 36 hours - at least it was tasty?

                                                            Anyways, Portugese food is something I've never explored. I had 4 hours this weekend for a walk and I moseyed down to MIT. Where would you go in Cambridge for Portugese?

                                                            Also, what's the latest verdict on S+S, Cambridge Common, and Z Square? I've heard love and hate for both.

                                                            Oh yeah, and is Anna's any better than Felipes?

                                                            And while I'm asking questions, why do so many venues here not take plastic?

                                                            1. re: twitchology

                                                              I like Cambridge Common. It is one of the better options in your immediate area for a wide range of craft beers. The food can be OK and good value, but occasionally disappointing.

                                                              If by S+S you mean the Inman Square S+S Deli, I think it is great.

                                                              Anna's is not better than Felipe's. I second the recommendations for Tacos Lupita, which can be walked to from Harvard in reasonable time.

                                                              As for cheap beers, the Thirsty Scholar on Beacon St. in Somerville (not too far from Harvard, but maybe a weekend trip) has $3 16oz glasses of Tremont (local) and Shipyard (Maine) ales, both quality beers and reasonably well kept at the TS.

                                                          2. Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions. I dined with a partner tonight at The Indo; I had the salmon and lentils. I am a sucker for classic french combos, but the salmon and lentils has never done it for me (although I can see the connection to pork and beans). The salmon came out well-cooked, no complaints. The lentils were cold and mushy. My pard enjoyed his veggie sandwich, which I did not sample.

                                                            The food price is pushing the envelope for my West-coast habits. The beer was fine; I ended up with 90 minute; but their list was respectably ambitious.

                                                            Service was atrocious; food was decent; list was respectable. I wouldn't recommend to a friend, but I would not say no to going back.