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Cambridge’s The Friendly Toast: Come for the Toast, Stay for the Drinks

May 4, 2012

#firstworldproblems alert:

So, I have two laptops. The elder HP is 17.5 inches with no battery life to speak of – it sits on my desk in my apartment and serves as my primary entertainment device as well as external hard drive. The younger HP is 14 (I think) inches, has an excellent battery life (with law school exams in mind), and is used for “school,” “work,” and travel. “School” and “work” are in quotes for now because I’m not in school yet, haven’t indexed my collection of academic papers, and don’t have work to do on the new laptop. But I will! The point of this background is that I wanted to finish posting about Toronto (I know, crazy that there is more to say about a three-day vacation) but the remaining photos from Toronto are on the travel laptop, HP the younger. And I conveniently forgot that there are photos on HP the elder that could accompany other blog posts.

end #firstworldproblems exposition —

HOWEVER, I have been wanting to blog this week which is an unusual enough feeling these days that I am hopping to it while the spirit still moves me.

Last Monday, I went to a Cambridge Science Fair event ostensibly about the science of local food but really half of it was about nutrient depletion in produce and the other half of it was about foraging. It was still fun and there were free beverages and appetizers. I went for a glass of Malbec because I think I like Malbec but I really didn’t like this Malbec and wish I could tell if it was merely poorly made Malbec or corked Malbec. Chelsea, who came in late and did not have a chance to get her own glass of questionable wine, was happy to drink all of mine. Our mutual wine consumption did help us find great humor in the talk of how salad is more engaging when there are AT LEAST 7 different greens. Also, don’t dress your salad directly; apply salad dressing to the side of the salad bowl and then toss.

The free food was not delivered until after all the presentations and the more predatory of us audience members quickly made note of the entry patterns of the servers – after the first few rounds, we moved like a pack of ravenous wolves grasping for small plates and forks every time one of the very professional but still somewhat terrified waiters appeared. But as much as college students and the until-very-recently college student appreciate free food, Chelsea and I were still hungry so we went to The Friendly Toast.

Now, The Friendly Toast is a familiar sight because it sits in the same technology plaza as my mom’s lab. And I’ve observed the line for Sunday brunch quite a few times, leading me to believe that The Friendly Toast was a very popular but small establishment. But I was wrong, very wrong, about the size of The Friendly Toast. In fact, stepping into The Friendly Toast for the first time was somewhat akin to stepping into the TARDIS – the unsuspecting visitor is flabbergasted by its inner spaciousness and then mesmerized by the eclectic but coherent decor. In the case of The Friendly Toast, a lot of retro advertisements and props as well as colorful furniture and a colorful and friendly staff.

Funny coincidence: I went to high school with the nice Monday night bartender but we barely knew each other. The connection was not mutually acknowledged.

Chelsea and I discussed which elements of the decor we would most like to steal for ourselves – I wanted the burger in the sombrero.

The menu is mostly breakfast with a smattering of sandwiches. The drink list is two pages of cocktails – one named after Hitchcock movies and the other may have also fell into some sort of theme but at that point I was overcome with choice and seized onto my continuing love of St. Germaine to narrow it down. I think this lovely elderflower liqueur appeared about 3-5 times in a selection of 30 or so cocktails.

Our sweet waitress told me her favorite is “Now is the Hour” on the Modern Classics page – Bulldog Gin, St. Germaine, muddled cucumber and lime, strained and finished with ginger beer. Doesn’t that sound fantastically refreshing?

Possibly the best cocktail I’ve ever had

I don’t remember the name of Chelsea’s drink but the red comes from blood orange juice. I think hers may have been a bit fizzy too – the base was definitely not gin. May have had Canton. Not bad, an upscale fruit punch kind of drink.

The Sklarmageddon for dinner with homefries and honey sesame toast. Unsurprisingly but still wonderfully, The Friendly Toast has a bread of the day and these slices were thick and dense with the wholesome aroma of honey and the textural garnish of sesame seeds. The omelet contains bacon, sausage, and ham in non-overwhelming quantities, lightened by the interesting interruption of red chile pecans , and held together by melty Swiss and jalapeno-jack cheese. The homefries were in pleasing haphazard pieces and featured some lovely burnt bits. Drizzled with very mild maple sour cream (or was it mayo?). I wouldn’t have minded a more assertive sauce but everything was delicious.

I could drink Now is the Hour all day long in the sun. Maybe I will in Texas.

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