Where To Bite Harvard Square [Cambridge, MA]

Today was a very sad day.  My phone was stolen, and the man who stole it said, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” I’m not entirely sure what he meant by that, because my phone and I were very happy together, but either way, it doesn’t sound like I’m getting it back anytime soon.

I planned to show you all the delicious meals I’ve enjoyed during the second half of my stay in Cambridge, and realized with that deep-stomach sick feeling that everything I’ve collected for almost a year was on that phone – photos, many of which are not backed up, contacts, notes to myself and various other personal bits and pieces – and that it is extremely unlikely I will ever recover that material.

But truly, it was my enormous collection of food photos – meals I’d enjoyed, dishes I’d cooked – that I am most devastated about losing. I was eager to share these with you, as I entered YEAR TWO of Little Word Bites.

Fortunately, when it comes to food I know there will be many more meals to look forward to. And, quite often, we have leftovers to remind ourselves of how much joy our little bites brought us the first time around.

Last night, I left Cambridge for the last time, officially passing the baton to my roommate who will keep an eye on things for a little while longer.  I truly enjoyed my week of playing house, and was most excited about the opportunity to entertain and feed friends like a true adult would. With access to a stunning, full kitchen and a beautiful dining room, complete with contemporary chandelier and matching plate sets, my roommate and I decided to host a quiet pot luck dinner.

Heather's black bean and corn mix on rice, with homemade guacamole and fajita vegetables. Served with chips, salsas, and fat-free cheese.

Heather’s black bean and corn mix on rice, with homemade guacamole and fajita vegetables. Served with chips, salsas, and fat-free cheese.

Mexican-themed, of course.

We invited all of our friends to bring a little something to the table, so long as it was fresh and thematic.

My roommate Heather cooked up a bag of wild rice, and a side dish of black beans and corn, simmered together and mixed with spicy tomato salsa.

Jordan contributed a massive bowl of guacamole, using fresh avocados, thick-cut tomatoes, slices of white onion, minced jalapeno, and lime, cayenne, cumin, and garlic.

CJ started us off with a variety of chips and salsas, and Jess concluded the affair with homemade Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies – a spicy twist on the American classic with cinnamon, cayenne, and black pepper.

The sweet onions are a perfect balance to the various peppers and acidic lime in the marinade.

The sweet onions are a perfect balance to the various peppers and acidic lime in the marinade.

For the Fajita Vegetables:

2 Red Bell Peppers

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 Yellow Squash

2 Small Zucchini

3 Portobello Mushroom Caps, Stemmed

1/2 Pound White Button Mushrooms

3 Small Yellow Onions

Juice from 2 limes

Salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, and a splash of olive oil, all to taste.

This recipe makes 6-8 servings, approximately 1 cup each.

Estimated Calories: 80

My contribution was a hot skillet of fajita vegetables – julienned portobello mushrooms, yellow squash and zucchini, button mushrooms, sweet yellow onions and red and green bell peppers.  In a light marinade of fresh-squeezed lime juice, salt, garlic, a quick splash of olive oil and a blend of chili, paprika, cumin, cilantro, oregano, and red pepper, I slowly incorporated the ingredients – first onions, then peppers, followed by the squash and mushrooms.

While living in Harvard Square, my roommate and I also stopped in for dinner at Nubar, the Sheraton hotel’s signature eatery.  We split a fantastic Meze Plate, which included a babaganoush-style dip, whipped herb ricotta, an olive tapenade, a pickeled pepper salsa, and a rich walnut and red pepper spread.

There would be a picture [here] but alas, this is one for the imagination.

I also enjoyed a gigantic vegan salad for my entree, full of carrots, mushrooms, steamed broccoli, onions, and bell peppers. The waitstaff was extremely accomodating, the cocktail list was extensive, and Heather and I could not get enough of their bread basket.

Ultimately, I’m glad to be home. There’s just nothing like your own bed, the sound of your neighbors arguing next door, and the distinct North End smell that conjures dreams of canoli cream and marinara all night long.

And, just to reiterate: Little Word Bites has just celebrated its first birthday, and I’m extremely proud and excited for what the new year will bring. Thank you to everyone who has joined me and stuck with me on this extremely exciting, nourishing process. There will certainly be more on this later when I celebrate in proper LWB fashion.

Until next time,

Melanie

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