This past Saturday, I faced a delicious dilemma: When you’ve had a perfect breakfast and lunch, where do you go for dinner?
It started at Sofra, Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick’s incredible bakery in Cambridge, MA. My parents were in town to celebrate Father’s Day, so we treated them to a breakfast of glazed orange buns, blueberry cheese brioche buns, Greek yogurt parfaits, and the “Turkish Breakfast” of a filo-wrapped soft-boiled egg, Persian cucumbers, tomato jam, olives, fried feta cubes, and more Greek yogurt with fresh jam. The pastry display at Sofra is so overwhelmingly gorgeous that customers inevitably find themselves gawking at it all, unable to choose just one item. I do it, too. Even better, the food tastes as good as it looks.
With a breakfast like that, I could’ve easily eaten stone soup for lunch and been happy.
But as luck would have it, we found ourselves over in Brookline at lunchtime. And Brookline at lunchtime always means a stop at Cutty’s, where Charles Kelsey makes the best sandwiches in Boston—perhaps in all of New England. Here’s another place where I can’t ever make up my mind about what to order, but I settled on the “Greens Bacon,” a smoky mix of sauteed Swiss chard, bacon, and spicy house-made mayo on toasted ciabatta bread. “Shouldn’t we get an extra ham-and-butter sandwich on the side, just to taste?” I asked helplessly. Fortunately, my husband had some restraint. He had the slow-roasted pork sandwich with garlic and pickled fennel. Food like this is so good you can only sigh.
Content with our 2-for-2 record, we could have now eaten shoe leather for dinner and been happy. But just for the sake of asking, we mulled the hypothetical: “What would round out the trifecta? The perfect finish for a perfect food day, based only on our personal taste and the types of restaurants we most like to visit?” My job has provided us with plenty of opportunities to enjoy fine dining, so we tend to go a little more casual on weekends. We tossed around a few of our favorites: East by Northeast, Oleana, or Bondir. But in the end, we couldn’t decide. We decided to take our son to a playground instead and grab a slice of pizza in Harvard Square.
Thanks to today’s lunch, however, I may have a winner: Michael Leviton’s new restaurant, Area Four, in Cambridge. Here is another menu so attuned to my personal taste (fresh, seasonal, ingredient-driven food accented with just-unexpected-enough flavor combinations and rounded out by
a stellar pastry team) that I think it could’ve been the ultimate finale. I tasted a roasted chicken salad with arugula, capers, raisins, and pine nuts; a sea bass “Gyro” on house-made flatbread with a creamy tzatziki sauce; sweet pea “hummus”; a lemony salad of potatoes and fresh artichokes; and, for dessert, a cherry tart and a honey panna cotta with a strawberry-rhubarb-pistachio compote (pictured).
So there, for now, is my perfect food day. How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.