T.W. Food is a name that’s been thrown my way so many times in the past two months. It’s been high on my list of To Tries, but it was finally Edgar who got me committed. He mentioned the restaurant’s weekly Wednesday night tradition, Kitchen Improv where the kitchen takes local seasonal ingredients and spits out whatever you can chew, literally.
I’m always one for a good first impression, so why not let the kitchen dazzle me with their spontaneity my very first go? We looped our mutual friend and food enthusiast Kim into this dinner to enhance the experience.
This very small restaurant is nestled in residential Cambridge between Alewife and Harvard Square. I would know it was residential because I showed up early for our 8:30 reservation and was told no, there really aren’t any bars nearby after I was also told that no, there is no bar in the restaurant you can sit at. Cue screeching halt sounds. WHAT?!
I was appeased with a nice glass of cidery oxidized white wine while I waited for my dining mates. Amazing call by the restaurant’s wine director, Holly. I studied the October 3rd menu, which introduced muscovy duck, Vermont veal, Island Creek oysters, local swordfish, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, Maine celery, native corn, local melon, Japanese eggplant, pickling cucumber, Jimmy Nardello peppers, and chicken mushrooms as the night’s grab bag.
When Kim and Edgar arrived, we were seated and asked whether we preferred the omnivore or vegetarian option. We all went with the former as well with the wine pairing. The wine pairing is a novel idea as the front of the house selects blind. Their concept is to bring you two glasses of white and red wine that they think will pair nicely with the ingredients, but it’s up to you how you’d like to pair them with your finished plate.
Edgar and his vino friends
Kimbo: Cauliflower soup with apples, caviar, and pork cracklin
Edgar: Tuna confit with preserved olive
Katie: Charcuterie with duck liver mousse, chestnut paté de campagne, and crème brûlée foie gras
Kimbo: Linguine with calamari eggplant and pineapple
Edgar: Tomato trottole with ginger and scallion
Katie: Squid ink regina with Lobster
Kimbo: Chicken ballotine — terrible picture, I know
Edgar: Halibut with pineapple
Katie: Pork belly
Edgar & Katie: Cheeses – Manchester, Twig Farm Mixed Wheel, Landaff, Bayrischer Blauschimmelkase (favorite cheese ever, how did you guys know?!)
Kimbo: Espresso crème brûlée
Edgar: Saffron ice cream with cookies and cream
Katie: Tobacco ice cream with scotch syrup and chestnut cream
One more treat for the road
It may have just been love at first sight. I had to try really hard not to let myself say bite. That line is just way too cheesy. I was blown away by the whole experience, particularly the fact that the kitchen really celebrates the improv spirit and no one had the same dish.
I believe I need to give this place another try for a less grand meal to get a full effect, but I’m not complaining. No one would have to twist my arm to go back.
77 Walden St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Do you remember many moons ago, I mentioned my Dukedom at Craigie on Main? Well, since then I’ve felt it my personal goal to hang onto my title. Woe is me, I have such a hard life spending quality time eating the most delicious food.
Well you’ll also remember a few moons after those many moons, I mentioned my love for brunch. As it turns out, Craigie has a pretty sweet brunch situation on its hands and as many Sundays as we can, Mr. E and I drive down to Cambridge to grab either the corner table in the dining room or the furthest seats at the bar just for that brunch.
I don’t think I can say enough nice things about Tony Maws and the entire Craigie family, so from this point on, I will let the photos do the talking.
Ted making the most refreshing OJ
Slicing some fresh oranges to make dehydrated port soaked orange slices as a drink garnish (thanks for education Ted and Zach!)
Grilled Pineapple with a hint of curry undertones
Country Style Organic Whole Wheat Pancakes with warm port-soaked compote and maple syrup
Grass-Fed & House-Brined Corned Beef Cheek & Smoked Beef Tongue Hash topped with a slow-poached farm-fresh egg and crispy onion rings
House-made Doughnut with Confiture du Lait
Poached Pear, Organic Yogurt, and Pomegranate Seeds
Mesclun Salad topped with a slow-poached farm-fresh egg and crispy onion rings
House-Smoked Scottish Salmon & Mackerel Rillettes served with a bagel and traditional accompaniments (these fish change from week to week)
I’d tell you all to go, just make sure you steer clear of those barseats if you see me coming!
Craigie on Main
853 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139