I noticed that they had milk shakes that were clearly milk and syrup without ice cream. I had heard of this as a New England thing (a concoction that includes ice cream is called a "frappe") and I considered ordering one for the novelty, but I decided on ice cream instead. I ordered "frozen pudding" for the novelty. It was a vanilla-based ice cream with raisins and possibly other dried fruit. It came in a very generous portion that allowed me to recycle my hoary joke that "in New England, a kid's size ice cream is the size of a kid."
Lori declared her Moo Tracks ice cream to be a paragon of moose tracks ice cream.
While waiting in line, we noticed that the menu board included both "mocha almond" and "mocha almond assault", and we bantered about what "assault" might mean. The most literal interpretation would be a punch in the nose when you ordered, but that seemed hardly likely to garner much repeat business. Amy inquired and learned that the "assault" consisted of chocolate-covered espresso beans. She judged it very tasty.
On Sunday morning, we joined Amy at The Friendly Toast, a funky-retro restaurant in Cambridge.
I don't quite remember what Amy had; my faint suspicion is that it was a daily special with a name like "Benedict Florentine", and that this was a concoction of anadama bread, spinach, meat, eggs, and hollandaise sauce.
Lori liked her Flying Fish Scramble.
She also suggested that we share a very tasty pumpkin-chocolate chip pancake.
My breakfast was a tasty omelet with sausage, bacon, ham, pecans, and cheeses, topped with a maple sour cream. It was very good, but it did not live up to its name: Sklarmageddon. "Sklarmageddon" is a very heavy-metal name, so metal that it is almost impossible to pronounce it without making the sign of the horns. I'm not sure what would qualify as a metal food—perhaps a wolverine steak seared in the flames of an exploding motorcycle, or the hot wings at Gooski's. But this omelette would not have qualified as metal even if the maple sour cream had been applied in the shape of a pentagram.
During the meal, I got a phone call from my sister, which I judged important enough to excuse myself to take the call outside. Laura was on a bus from South Hadley to Boston, to begin a week-long tour from her college reunion at Mt. Holyoke to my birthday party in Pittsburgh. But she was unable to find her driver's license. This had dire implications; she'd be unable to rent a car or drive it, hotel checkins might be a challenge, Amtrak requires showing an ID these days, even Greyhound wants an ID. I reassured her that I'd help take care of things, and gave her the happy news that we were actually in Boston and thus in a better position to help. We started researching how to get a replacement ID (I don't know the process yet, but I'm confident that there is one—but it seems to be the case that Sunday is a bad time to try), and I started making backup plans of letting Lori fly home alone while I drove Laura to Pittsburgh.
While we did that, we could visit another stop before Laura arrived in Boston: Clear Flour Bread, which Amy had mentioned as her favorite bakery. Clear Flour is a tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery with some beautiful breads.
Submitted without comment:
We bought an apricot streusel bar and some very nice shortbread cookies.
Laura called again while we were there, to say that she had found her driver's license, to everybody's great relief. But we already had made a plan to meet up in Boston, so we decided to carry on with that. (We hadn't thought about this before because I had somehow never made the mental connection that we would be in Boston a week before my party.)
Lori had one more aspiration for our time in Boston: she wanted to visit Rosie's Bakery, because she has enjoyed baking from Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book. So we found a Rosie's near Harvard and drove out there.
Unfortunately, the piece of cake we shared was really sub-par; the cake was dry and the icing tasted off. It was a great disappointment.
We finally managed to make contact with Chris, Cliff, Dale, and Mariton as we were picking up Laura, and they obligingly prolonged their stop at Christina's Homemade Ice Cream for Lori's sake.
My hidden racial assumptions showed themselves: I was surprised that Christina's was staffed mostly by folks who looked like South Asians. There's no reason that South Asians couldn't make delicious dairy products—but I had to think through this for a moment to confirm that to myself. Christina's is connected to Christina's Spice and Specialty Foods next door, and this comes out in the ice cream flavors, which include exotica like khulfi and adzuki bean.
My molasses-ginger ice cream was excellent, like the flavor of a ginger snap with nothing but flavoring.
Lori really liked her mango cone.
It should be noted that Laura fit right in with the veteran Roadfooders as if she was an old hand at this.
Next stop: cater-corner across the street to All Star Pizza Bar. (This is affiliated with the Roadfood-listed All Star Sandwich Shop, but we had failed to join the group in time to enjoy that.)
We shared three slices: cheese, funky (shaved steak, scrambled eggs, potatoes, pico de gallo, and cotija cheese) and extra funky (apple cheesecake with caramel walnut sauce).
They were all very good, but I think I'd give the nod to the "funky"; the extra funky was a bit too messy.
Our last stop before we had to head to the airport: Toscanini's, owned by a brother of the owner of Rancatore's, which had delighted us on a previous visit.
Even though they're famous for their ice cream, I wanted something palate-cleansing, because the ice cream followed by cheesecake pizza was cloying on my palate. I thought the blackberry-lime push-up would do the trick, because I thought it would be frozen juice. Instead, it was ice cream with a fairly mild fruit flavor; I was disappointed.
I thought Dale was the clear winner with his ice cream. I can't remember whether he chose the bourbon flake or the bourbon black pepper, but the taste of bourbon was bright and clear in a splendid way.
Off to the airport and to home. We got some great views of the sunset from the airplane.