The advantage of visiting a wonderful new spot early in its existence is that you get to sprawl on the couch and walk up to the counter three different times to order three different things and let your daughter trot around the place, and tell yourself the other customers are smiling in reminiscence, not distress, as they watch her circle.
We traveled out to Brookline Village to see Rifrullo cafe, recently opened without so much as a sign over the door outside yet, but with the loveliest interior already established.
As I looked around the thoughtfully crafted room, I said to myself: yup I’ll never be able to come here once word gets out. It’ll be packed. The menu felt like what I would serve if I was cooking my best ideas–healthy, hearty and simple. The owner & chef, Colleen, strode out from the kitchen every now and then to say hello. They sold crunchy kale chips in small wax paper bags and bundles of homemade biscotti at the counter. I tried the loaded tallegio sandwich and ordered a smoothie for Lux. After our sandwiches, we sampled their dense chocolate chip cookies and couldn’t leave without buying a few for the road.
Definitely add this spot to your Brookline list alongside pod, and Angela Liguori’s studio.
Rifrullo Cafe 147 Cypress St Brookline MA 02445
Two wonderful local drinks, pictured here for identification out in the field.
I picked up this growler of cold brewed coffee at Dwelltime in Cambridge after contemplating buying every pastry option on the shelves. Their pastries are unbelievable. And so unpredictable. There seems to be something new and avant-garde and just quality every time I visit.
Dwelltime brews Barismo coffee which is considered Boston’s most elite coffee. The owner does direct trade with the grower’s for their beans and often prints the growers name on the label. Quite unparalleled, quite delicious. I’m no expert but I feel that they specialize in lightly roasted floral flavors. I love the idea of a cold growler of coffee–what a tasteful hostess gift for a weekend away. And even better for a mom sneaking a half glass here and there throughout the week. I left the milk out and there was no acidity whatsoever–just light and toasty.
32 oz for $12, $10 for a refill.
I mentioned this amazing cider in my pizza post. Fortunately you can also find it at select stores (see Bantam Ciders site here for listings). Buy this if you see it on shelves. Here’s the important thing to say: IT’S NOT TOO SWEET. I know you’re thinking it’s going to be sappy and apple juicy. It’s seriously light and dry and tastes like honey and apples jumped on a raft and floated down the river together.
22 oz bottles for $8.25
I had two really amazing pizzas in the last week and I feel they should not go undocumented.
On Saturday after going to Nahant Beach we drove back by way of Cambridge and stopped at Area Four. I thought of Area Four because the restaurant sits on an enormous lawn and has outdoor seating, two very rare accessories in Boston. Rumor among chefs in Boston is that no one has a pizza oven like Area Four. It’s a legit-blazing-stacks-of-firewood type of thing. I think their coffeeshop is pretty slick too, if you’re by yourself and don’t mind listening to hussy startup business talk from the MIT boys who go there and will be forced to sit right next to you by the community-table-style seating.
Joe ordered some murky craft beer and I ordered a Bantam cider that came in a big glass and looked like straight champagne. Made in Cambridge, local apples and honey and fizz and 6% alcohol…delicious. We split one large fennel sausage and pickled banana pepper pizza, $25. I think the tomato sauce might have been composed completely of tomatoes roasted by hand. OR SOMETHING. I kept saying “this sauce…is amazing.” And then there was the housemade sausage. The waiter told us they make 300 lbs of it a week. The most crumbly delicious sausage, doused in fennel seeds. After you’ve had this sausage you just want to never order sausage again until you can eat there. The next day we were sitting on the Common debating whether to go eat there again for lunch. We didn’t, but maybe we will this weekend.
Then on Monday I met some girls with their kiddos over by the North End. We wanted pizza…and fortunately I remembered my friend highly recommending Galleria Umberto (actually I didn’t “remember” but I had saved the place as a bookmark on my Yelp app and looked it up, thank goodness). I’d been wanting to go for awhile but trouble is Galleria Umberto is only open for lunch, only on weekdays, and when they sell out, they close up. Since we were in the sweet spot we called ahead and sent two delegates to bring it back to the park. Now, I am a burned cheese fan. I once put just cheese on a tray, put it in the oven, burned it, and ate it. Clearly these fellows are too because this pizza was like a volcano seen from an airplane. And the dough–almost a sourdough? So proofed and thick that Lux ate it like a sandwich. Perfect for kids because they could trot off holding a square and it didn’t decompose on the way….if you’re wondering if stay at home moms in Boston just eat great food all day, yes, that is the case.
Anyway, two pizzas, one week. Can’t stop thinking about them.