As Fall has solidified its presence in New England, I had a hankering for good stick to your ribs comfort food. Bathing suit season is officially over right? It’s been almost eight months since my last visit to Hungry Mother. I never come to Hungry Mother without Edgar, so it would be in poor form to this time.
My one huge gripe about Hungry Mother is the parking situation. On a Thursday night, as an inexperienced Cambridge dweller, I spent 20+ minutes looking for parking before finally giving up and parking in the Kendall Square garage next to the movie theater. Thankfully, I got a validated ticket which only cost me $5. I know, some of you might still be moaning at the thought of spending $5 on parking.
When I arrived, Edgar was sitting at the bar. Coincidentally, our roles had swapped since the last time. He was sharing conversation and a small plate of boiled peanuts with a young woman at the bar. When they spotted me, Edgar told me his new friend Courtney had my dream job — GM at No. 9 Park. Needless to say, we became best friends pretty quickly. At her suggestion, I ordered a White Manhattan and a bowl of warm, creamy grits.
White Manhattan – white corn whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, Benedictine
Moscow Mules for everyone. Great drinks, Ned!
New friends bonded by boiled peanuts, good drinks, and cheesy grits!
Warm Beef Tongue Canape – Served with Dijon and Robinson Family Swiss
Baked Anson Mills grits, HM Tasso ham, Vermont cheddar
Steamed pumpkin pie with pumpkin chantilly cream
Halfway through our meal, Courtney bid her farewells and Edgar and I promised to pay her a visit soon… as in Wednesday night soon.
As always, the libations at Hungry Mother are top notch. They constantly surprise me. Wonderful, wonderful job Ned! The meal was exactly what I was hoping for. Once Ned mentioned the off the menu dessert item to Courtney, I knew I had to limit my pre-dessert eating. I ordered the small canape with beef tongue. It’s cut thin, covered with melted cheese and given a whole lot of oomph with zingy dijon. It was gone in 3 perfect bites. Next came the grits, cheesy, creamy, and porky. I knew the pumpkin cake was on its way, but I cleaned that bowl of grits. For our grand finale, Edgar and I split the steamed pumpkin cake with pumpkin chantilly cream. This. This was exactly what I’d been looking for. Autumn flavor in every single bite. The steamed cake was out of the ordinary, but the taste was so familiar and homey.
Hats off Hungry Mother. You continue to impress me time and time again.
33 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02141
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