190 Massachusetts Ave | Cambridge, MA 02139
I survived ten academic weeks, so I figured that Friday morning Flour would be an appropriate way to celebrate. Well technically, I almost survived ten weeks, since I had yet to finish my four straight hours of Friday classes. So, I guess you could call it an almost-celebration that also involved me waking up at 8 am. Thankfully, it was only a five minute walk from MIT’s campus.
As miraculous as it may sound, Danny managed to wake up for this Flour run as well, and when we got there, the café/bakery was already alive with customers. Natural light flooded through the ceiling-high windows of the eatery and the walls were covered with beautifully handwritten menu items. Though the rows of pastries looked amazing, I opted for the focaccia French toast under the “Breakfast Special.”
It took around 8 minutes for the food to come out. Powdered with sugar, and topped with apple compote, the French toast formed an elongated heart on the center of the plate. Adorable. The toast had an inviting, slightly-sweetened taste, so even though it came with a cute, little cup of maple syrup, I didn’t feel the need to add any extra sugar. And as much as I love this apple-everything time of the year, the apple topping on the toast was overwhelming, so I ended up pushing most of it off the surface to actually taste the bread.
So was it worth $3.75? Absolutely. Since the French toast does require waiting, unlike the pastry items, I would recommend it only it if you’re not in a rush. Two reasons: 1. Is it really worth being late to class? Well actually, probably yes. So just one reason: You’ll want some time to enjoy the crisp crusts and the sweet, soft insides of Flour’s focaccia French toast. 8.5/10
I miss home.
It’s a realization that has come slowly, the gradual accumulation of a whole bunch of scattered fleeting moments.
I close my eyes in bed and imagine, just for a second, that I’m under the same fuzzy indigo blanket I’ve fallen asleep beneath for a decade. I stab the ‘4’ button and stare out the elevator aimlessly, until the metallic doors click together in front of me, and I’m left staring into my own reflection, alone. I collapse exhausted into my suite lounge, surrounded by the welcoming faces of friends, faces that I recognize, faces that make me smile and laugh, but not faces that I know.
The truth is I’m not sure that MIT will ever really feel like home. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop missing that feeling of being so familiar with my surroundings that living is effortless. That feeling of driving down Poplar with the windows and the sun rolled down, going nowhere in particular.
But that’s not to say there haven’t been bright spots. Take today, for instance.
I woke up before my phone alarm blared and just lay there until it did, watching the light creep over my windowsill and spill out across my bed. Tara and I walked down a cold, windy Mass Ave in nervous excitement and shuffled through the tall glass doors into Flour Bakery.
As early as it was, the bakery was packed, its customers lined between rows and rows of sweetly scented pastries. It was a five minute wait before we made our way through the line, time spent gazing at hand-crafted menus on the wall and admiring all the frenzied flockings of a busy café.
I ordered the breakfast egg sandwich with ham and a hot chocolate, for a total of $10.25. After a short wait we received almost all of our food and grabbed a table. I do say almost, though, because they appeared to have forgotten my hot chocolate, and after about fifteen minutes I had to remind the cashier of my order. By the time all the food had finally arrived, I was starved and immediately dug in.
The egg sandwich was spectacular. It was highlighted by a thick patty of real scrambled eggs and a wavy slice of tenderly smoked ham, with the tangy bitterness of arugula and the juicy flavor of freshly sliced tomato. But what really hit me was the dijonaise sauce, a creamy mustard base that really brought the sandwich together. And that’s not even to mention the buns, Flour’s famed focaccia rolls, which were crispy, warm, doughy goodness. All in all, probably the best breakfast sandwich I have ever tasted.
The same, unfortunately, could not be said about the hot chocolate. Perhaps having to wait so long for it had unduly raised my expectations, but I found the hot chocolate bland, made from a cocoa which was somehow too rich, overly bitter. The consistency was a little watery, far from the thick, creamy hot chocolates that always seem to last forever, and it left one of those layers of sticky cocoa powder along the roof of your mouth, the kind that forces you to find a cold, refreshing glass of water. Disappointing.
We sat and talked for a bit, Tara and I, even after we’d finished our food, just enjoying the atmosphere. At one point, I closed my eyes, and absorbed the idle chatterings of idle Bostonians and the delightful jazz that permeated the crowded café. And I realized as I sat there that it’s places like these, my grumblings about hot chocolate aside, that give me hope that maybe, someday, I can make this town home. And I think that’s the highest compliment I can possibly pay.
Price: 5/10 (with 1 being cheap and 10 being expensive)