Saturday, February 21, 2009
This is generally how things go inside my head:
"Hmm hmm hmm. I'm hungry."
And people say, Christine, what's up?
To which I reply, oh, not much.
But in my head:
"What could I be eating right now?"
Luckily, it is this thought process that gave me the foresight to spend an hour or two on the floor of the bookstore with Lily before our trip, writing down names of dozens of promising eateries.
I remember seeing it in the Zagat guide or whatever it was. Moderately priced North African food in Cambridge: sold. Faster than the economic collapse. (Too soon?)
So when the five of us ladies were debating what to do that day, Cambridge came up. And it just so happened that Cafe Algiers was in Cambridge. Lucky me.
To be honest, I think what happened was I'd seen the storefront en route to the Brattle Theatre a couple of nights before and remembered its placement on my list. I then annoyed my friends to the point of them taking me there just to keep my stomach quiet.
I think it was worth it, though. Evidently, so did they.
The restaurant itself was very nice, with a bustly sort of lower level and a very quiet, cozy upper level. We ate upstairs, where there was a little doorway to a roof deck and a circular balcony overlooking the main floor.
I'm sorry, is it possible to order, um, everything?
This is what Lauren got. It was some type of flatbread with chopped lamb and a yogurty dipping sauce.
Lily got a spectacular lamb kebab over rice.
My dish was lamb with grilled vegetables and warm hummus. I ate, died, was reborn, ate some more, and guarded my plate jealously.
It didn't work.
This is how we eat, by the way. It's hilarious and I wouldn't have it any other way.
We decided to stroll through Harvard after that. There were lots of trees.
Exclusive: Behind the Scenes!
I could go on and keep linking to the photos that resulted from each camera, but I'll spare you.
We ran into this building and were mildly obsessed with it.
I'm pretty sure I thought "scaffolding" was a made-up word when I first heard it. When I was 14 or so. Ah, shameful secret catharsis.
To scale. Although to be fair, Ashley is about 5'2".
Other nearby things! That guy at the end was very nice. He didn't say much when he noticed us photographing him, and rushed by when we passed, and I thought I noticed some blood dripping from his hands, but I got a good vibe from him, and I'm known for being a solid judge of character if I do say so myself.
This was a big curvy wall.
Also, I am a creeper.
More proof, because suddenly being short and happy is a crime around here
At one point we went into one of those overpriced specialty-item quirky gift stores, known to the younger crowd as Black Ink. I definitely spent money. Stupid Japanese products. It's like The Cornballer--it gets me every time!
Then I figured we might as well stop by other prestigious pinnacles of education, so I made Ashley take us to MIT. Unfortunately she only knew where it was in theory, so we ended up in this area by the T stop.
I went over to Au Bon Pain with Lily and got some sw8s.
Then we meandered down to this little dock on the Charles River. That's downtown Boston?
Between Ashley's apartment and her bus stop is a used bookstore and a movie rental store that happened to be going out of business. They might as well just put out a bucket for my money. I bought six DVDs, including The Host, The Omen, and other crap I can't remember. At the bookstore I found From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which is a damn fine literary achievement that I'd been looking for for years after I wore through my childhood copy. Lily had never heard of Rip Van Winkle! So I made her buy that.
Back at Ashley's her roommate and some friends decided they were craving wings. So they went and got some without asking us if we wanted in. Jerks, with their big dumb faces! Not like we would've wanted any anyway. Then we had a whiff and decided to walk down and try this "Wings" thing for ourselves. (The "restaurant" was cleverly called "Wings Express.")
It was a bit dubious, to put it nicely. One white-washed storefront with a single table, a couple of chairs littered around, and one of those liquor-store refrigerators that holds a variety of drinks. A couple of guys stood around behind a tall counter, that was unmarked, and behind which was a calculator and a cash register. There were no customers or food in sight. We took a menu, ordered, and were handed big bags 15 minutes later. If I were a less constantly hungry person I would have refused to eat whatever came out of them.
I'm so glad we didn't. Sticky-sweet wings, creamy garlic mashed potatoes and honey cornbread--I'm really not one for cornbread, but this was soft, and moist, and sweet. It was incredible. Also celery sticks and bleu cheese on the house! Wonderful.
We probably ended up playing video games inside that night. What a life!