Eating at MIT

My breakfast at MIT: fresh fruit, tiny French toast and a smoothie shooter.

I was in Boston last week for training in agriculture and food science. My mom flew in and stayed with me for a couple of days, and then G. came for the weekend. We ate at several trendy restaurants in Cambridge and the North End: Mamma Maria, Evoo and Mare.

Indian Pudding at Union Oyster House.

My mom and I also had dinner at the Union Oyster House, which is cool just because it’s been in business for almost 200 years. It’s the oldest continuously operated restaurant in the U.S., and there are plaques everywhere marking things like John F. Kennedy’s favorite booth and where the King of France once taught French to Boston’s upper crust. The food was OK. Mom and I both had haddock with crab and shrimp stuffing. For dessert, I ordered Indian pudding, which I was very excited about because I’ve wanted to try it for a while but haven’t made myself because it takes so long to cook. Essentially, it’s cornmeal, molasses, eggs and milk slow-cooked for about six hours. I hated it. It tasted strongly of molasses, which is not one of my favorite flavors. I was grateful I never took the time to try to make it at home.

The best food I had all week, though, was at the MIT Faculty Club. The club catered breakfast and lunch for our training sessions. Since we were eating out every night, I tried to control myself, eating mostly fresh fruit for breakfast and salad for lunch. But I still ate more than I should have. There was eggs Benedict the first morning, and tiny French toast circles another. One breakfast buffet had a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait. Another offered mixed berry smoothie shooters. And then there was all the food I passed by: egg sandwiches on croissants, egg casseroles, potato casseroles, bacon, sausage and an array of pastries.

Dessert at the MIT Faculty Club included chocolate chip bread pudding, macaroons and assorted cakes.

Lunches were even more fabulous, with dessert buffets that always included at least three options. One day, I had strawberry and rhubarb crisp. Another I had chocolate chip bread pudding, and then there were macaroons, biscotti and an array of cakes. On Friday, we had plum financiers, which are little pound cakes with dried plums in the center. Delicious.

The thing that most impressed me, however, were the vegetarian options available at  lunch. I passed by duck, beef and fish because I was already eating more meat than usual at dinner. Luckily, each day there was a good vegetarian alternative. My favorite was quinoa cakes with tomatoes and a sauce on top. Another day, there was spinach ravioli, and then we had vegetable and cheese sandwiches along with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. On Friday, I had a stack of roasted eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and onion with some kind of scrumptious tomato sauce. If I could make any of those dishes at home, I would be happy, and being me, I’ll probably try once our garden gets going this summer.

If you are going to Boston, you probably won’t have the chance to eat at the MIT Faculty Club, so I’ll just say that other than that, my favorite meal was at Evoo, where I had roasted chicken with a bean and cheese enchilada and roasted sweet potatoes with a slaw on top. Dessert was a wonderful apple crisp.

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