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Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge’

Raise your hand if you really like(d) The Field Mice.

Okay, now keep it up if you think the Pastels and the Vaselines are/were adorable and enjoy subjecting your significant other to “Truckload of Trouble” on long car rides.
Two hands up if you sing along.

Okay, good…

Now keep your hands up if you actually went out and laid down cash money for the Galaxie 500 box set of crappy Mid East up footage.

If your hand is still up you need to go buy The Pains of Being Pure at Hearts “Higher Than the Stars” on September 22nd – and I’m guessing that if you were raising your hands so hard and excitedly at the mentions of those adorable bands you’ll tweak over their Stuart Murdoch-esque cover art as well.

Look.

Higher Thanthe Stars

Remember to breathe!

They kick off their tour September 5th at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge.

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20090516toastopener
Cambridge/Somerville is the AL East of New England brunch. There are titans like East Coast Grill (maybe the greatest brunch ever), the Neighborhood, the Blue Room, City Girl Cafe, Henrietta’s Table, and on and on. Not to mention the mediocre-yet-popular S&S, its jazzy sidekick, Ryles, and Brookline Lunch.

Now an expansion team has been thrown into the mix – beloved Portsmouth, NH, diner The Friendly Toast [official site, Yelp] has opened a new Cambridge location in Kendall Square. For these young upstarts, the future is uncertain – will they achieve near-instant success, or wallow for years in a constant state of epic fail? On Sunday, I went with Sophie – senior TLOS food critic / high quality baked goods expert – to find out.

The Friendly Toast has 150 seats and a full bar. Its retro-1950s-diner-meets-Spencer’s-Gifts decor (Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew book covers + Garbage Pail Kids-style novelty ads) is bit much, but it gives you plenty to look at. A sign on the door urged patience as they trained 37 new employees at once. The staff did look kind of frazzled – the place was packed and buzzing with a new restaurant hysteria. There was a 45 minute wait, so we ordered coffees and drank them outside before snatching up two seats in the first come first serve bar area.

The menu stated only two-thirds of the usual items were featured due to training issues, but we weren’t short on options. I ordered the Costa Rican (“black beans & plum tomatoes under melted smoked provolone; 2 sunny eggs and sour cream on top with homefries and homemade toast”). It was tasty, but nothing soul-shattering. The best part, unsurprisingly, was the wheat toast – two obscenely thick slices, crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. Sophie had the Belgian waffle; it was delicious, but pretty much standard fare. We had a few critiques – my eggs came sunny side up when I had specifically ordered over medium!! and the strawberries on the waffle were half frozen – but no deal breakers.

The Verdict: The Friendly Toast has no control over how biased I am, brunch-wise, towards East Coast Grill and City Girl Cafe. But non-IHOP diners serving breakfast all day are something that Boston – hell, the world – could always use more of. While we weren’t exactly blown away last Sunday, TLOS thinks the Friendly Toast has a quirky charm (and a perfect location), and that once they work out the kinks, they’ll be a player in Cambridge/Somerville breakfast scene for years to come.

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I go to a lot of shows these days (probably too many) but it’s usually worth it, especially when I stumble upon a band like Hot Box. I caught this Cambridge four-piece at Great Scott recently for the release of their debut LP Four Eyes (check out some fancy photos from the gig below). If sparkly dual guitar lines are your thing, you will find a lot to like here – same goes for fans of hypnotic female vocals and hi-hat. Album opener “Busy, Busy, Busy” shows the outstanding rhythm section at the peak of its powers, driving an addictive, spiraling riff. The band’s “indie post rock” tag is apt – “Chainsmokers” sounds like late Sonic Youth, and “I’ll Tell You Later” (my favorite track) recalls Tortoise at their most epic. Great stuff. We hope you like it.

MP3: Hot Box – Busy, Busy, Busy

hotbox_rh2 hotbox_gg1
hotbox_gt2 hotbox_dr1

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gigboston1Last weekend, Sophie and I embarked on a four-day, TLOS expense account-draining road trip that led us from Boston through scenic New York (upstate, central, and western; it’s not all upstate, people – look at a damn map!), Pennsylvania’s famed “chimney” region, and our final destination: Oberlin, Ohio. Those of you following our Tweets should already be familiar with the trip’s highlights (notably Waffle House, blue cheese dressing, shuffleboard, my opera singing little brother, etc) and, rest assured, each will be revisited in a series – wait, no, a smattering (best word ever) – of thrilling posts in coming days. 

This post, however, will spotlight a local band whose music (incidentally) is the perfect soundtrack to driving the coast of Cayuga – New York’s longest Finger Lake – to Ithaca for Thai food and waterfalls.

This band is called Shoney Lamar and the Equal Rights – and they’re performing tonight – for three measly dollars! – at the Central Square’s underrated All Asia, 334 Mass Ave. 8:00 p.m. doors; music at 9:00. 

We hope you enjoy their dark, bluesy, Tom Waits meets The Pixies, blood-splattered strumming hand intensity as much as we do. They’re performing with the similarly Waits/Pixies-influenced Kingsley Flood (which, at full disclosure, features me on bass), Stargraph, and Climbing Ardeshir. This shindig celebrates the release of a new literary arts magazine called Gigantic Sequins. Culture yourself here.  

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HUGE food day here at the Limits of Science. So huge, in fact, we’ve decided to make food (eating out and cooking) part of our regular programming. Don’t believe us? Look at our tagline; taglines don’t lie.

Jamaica Plain’s Ten Tables – one of my top two Boston-area restaurants (along with Oleana) – is expanding to the other side of the river. As a Cambridge resident, I couldn’t be happier. I think I even did a fist pump when I heard the news.

Ten Tables Cambridge opens today at the old Craigie Street Bistrot location and will nearly double the seats of the tiny JP restaurant, which literally fits ten tables. Chef David Punch will split his time between both spots, reports the Daily Candy.

Off the top of my head, here are some highlights from my many visits throughout the years: Sparkling watermelon juice, beet and blue cheese salad (made me a beet convert), garlic soup, “autumn” gnocchi with acorn squash, chestnuts, nutmeg, and glorious magical bacon (best meal ever). Oh and polenta topped with chocolate sorbet. They’ve also got unpretentious servers who know their stuff, and chefs who routinely bring free samples to your table and tell you about their newest creations. Nice ambience too.

You must go there. 

Ten Tables Cambridge, 5 Craigie Circle, Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-576-5444 or tentables.net

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