I should probably make this a short entry, because Hey! Martinis! But I had a totally awesome day, in that my class was bookended by Darwin’s and Charlie’s. So what better way to get back on the blogging horse than to review the two?
(For what it’s worth: I still plan on writing some things about Nobody Passes. And I was in San Francisco for a while, and I ate some good food. I’d like to share that experience with the world. Eventually.)
Darwin’s is basically the best place to get sandwiches in Boston. I can say that with confidence, because I’ve explored approximately one percent of Boston. No, but seriously- get thee to Darwin’s. If you feel uncomfortable paying seven dollars for a sandwich, this is not the place for you. If, however, you’re the kind of person who forgoes meals in the summer in order to finance a sandwich and you lick the paper it was wrapped in, this is totally the place for you. Fun fact: Darwin’s sells alcohol, produce, local spiced nuts, and prepared foods. I don’t have much experience with these other categories, although I think I maybe once bought a madeline. Another fun fact: Darwin’s now has two locations. If you’re accustomed to the original spot, what with the gigantic Busch sign and all, you may discover that the Cambridge Street location has sandwiches with different names. Please do not panic. They did this to be all clever, because the sandwiches are named after surrounding streets, and this location is surrounded by different streets.
At the original (Mt. Auburn) location, I feel compelled to recommend the Mt. Auburn (turkey, avocado, vinagrette, mayo, tomato, lettuce, cheese upon request) as it is my standby. Other outstanding picks are the Longfellow (delightfully thin sliced ham, sharp cheddar, apple, lettuce, tomato, dijon) and the Fayerweather (turkey, swiss, sundried tomato pesto mayo, lettuce, tomato). I haven’t tried everything on the menu, but I probably should before I die. Note to vegetarians: Only two items on the menu are really for you. Sorry. Junebug, this is not. But you can also check out the myriad of prepared salads, and if you show up during the lunch rush (not for first time visitors! Seriously, shit gets intense. If you’re intimidated or have trouble making up your mind, do everyone a favor and don’t show up between 11:30 and 1:30 on a weekday. Or maybe at all.) you’re guaranteed that one of the special sandwiches will be a veggie option. Did I mention the special sandwiches? The special sandwiches are Special. I’ve only been to the Cambridge Street location once, and it seemed perfectly fine. Possibly with better seating, and definitely pushing the wireless more. I cannot speak for their sandwiches.
Charlie’s holds a special place in my heart. If you’re a person who’s not affiliated with Harvard and you like to get drinks in Cambridge, a thought that probably crosses your mind a lot is “Dear God, how can I get away from these fucking annoying Harvard kids?” Charlie’s isn’t necessarily the place to do that. I mean, I discovered the establishment as an undergrad, and I was one of the least socially adept people I knew. So clearly there are going to be some undergrads there. But by and large, it’s the go-to locale for townies and hipsters. Is that appalling to you? Yeah, it kind of is to me, too. But hear me out! Reasonably priced drinks, diner-esque fare, and waitstaff who will respond to a request like “I just got out of a three year relationship because of homophobic government policies, and I’d like something to make me forget that.” (I’m not plucking that out of the air; my companion for the evening made that request. He also made the request “Bring me something sweet and hard,” and “Bring me something sweet and alcoholic, but I have an eight thirty class.” These were met with a mai tai, a Long Island iced tea, and a Sexy Sexy. No joke. It said so on the receipt.)
There is no way to dislike Charlie’s, unless you are an asshole. Be warned that the place gets busy, and be warned that you’ll almost certainly get carded if you’re not a regular. Places don’t stay in the square for twenty years by being irresponsible about the people they serve. Oh, and also? If you ever refer to Charlie’s as Charlie’s Kitchen, you need to stay a few feet away from me, or I’ll need to strangle you with the Harvard lanyard you’re conveniently wearing around your neck.