I did a post in October on places to eat in my new hometown, Cambridge, MA. I now have a few additional food experiences to share.
Tamarind Bay – My daughter and I made our way to this excellent Harvard Square Indian restaurant in December. The menu says that Executive Chef Wali Ahmad of the acclaimed Indian TV show "Khana Khazana" ("Food Treasures") came to the United States to launch the restaurant. Unlike most Indian restaurants in the US, dishes are cooked to order and the sauce for multiple dishes is not made in batches. They do not feature the common dishes found in many places. However, the menu offers to cook any dish from another restaurant if you want more traditional fare but why bother.
We had Sagg Aloo Tikkiyas – an appetizer of spinach & potato cakes served with tamarind and mint chutney. It was surprisingly light. I also had Dhania Tomato Shorba, a tomato soup flavored with cream and cilantro, a unique take on tomato soup and not heavy on the cream. For entries we shared Tandoori Murgh, chicken marinated in yogurt with paprika and nutmeg and Shaahi Baigan, eggplant cooked in rich cashew gravy. Like the appetizer, all of the dishes were lighter than traditional Indian fare and reminded me a bit of fine Persian cooking like Lala Rokh. Tamarind Bay is located at 75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138-5927 (6174914552)
Here are positive reviews from the Boston Phoenix – “Tamarind Bay
Finally, Boston has Indian food to rival London's,” the Boston Herald- “Eatery aspires to bring authentic Indian to Cambridge,” and Citysearch which highly recommends it.
I live near Inman Square which is more low-key that Harvard Square with some more informal restaurants, shops, and Ryles for live music. For a wide range of spices, teas, and nuts, I go to Christina’s. They have all the spices displayed in wooden boxes with different size containers avalable. There I have found smoked black pepper, Zatar (Lebanese), smoked Mexican salt, Herbs de Provence with Lavender and many more common ones such as Spanish Thyme. I needed chick pea flour for a recipe. It was not on the shelf but they said they have some in the cellar, how much did I want. The nuts are on shelves and come plain, salted, spiced. smoked, etc.
Christina’s also known for their ice cream as Citysearch writes, “Ice cream lovers of all stripes make their way to Christina's for a taste of one of its 40-plus homemade varieties. On busy weekend nights, lines often stretch out the door, even in December. There are only a few tables, so most patrons have to make do licking their cones on the sidewalk. Many visitors skip dessert at neighboring restaurants to come here for a sweet finish to their meal. Scoopers are helpful in explaining the many unique flavors (what is adzuki bean?)…the real draw is the astounding variety of flavors. Depending on the day, you'll find such offerings as blood peach, khulfi (cardamom and pistachio), licorice, gingersnap cookie and green tea ice creams.” Christina’s is located at 1255 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139-1338 (617) 492-7021
Toscanini’s also has great ice cream and this long arm seems to pull me into the Harvard Square store every time I go by. Flavors include Belgium Chocolate, Brunt Caramel, Marscapone Cream, and Ginger. Sometimes I chopped up nuts, melted them in butter and put them on top to be really decadent. Cashews work really well with the Brunt Caramel. My friend and I thought of marketing the combination. Their store on Hampshire Street also has amazing croissants, thicker and less flaky than the more traditional ones but they usually sell out by eleven. The Harvard Square place is at 1310 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 354-9350