Bucket List Destination of the Week: Inman Square, Cambridge, MA
Goal: Waffles! Fried chicken! FRIED CHICKEN AND WAFFLES!
If you’re looking for a quirky new area to explore, and you’re willing to walk the 12 minutes from Central Square, Inman is home to some of the best experiences, culinary and otherwise, on this side of the river. We tried to create an encompassing list in the hopes that at least one of our suggestions may kickstart your next adventure.
3 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 02143
After discovering that Bon Apetit ranked Trina’s among the top 10 best fried chicken joints in America, we knew we had to go. Our first impression was sweetened by a bowl of Hershey’s chocolate kisses next to the traditional matchbox dish at the empty hostess’s table. The nostalgic decor boasted a collage of 1950s advertisements, covering every surface down to the bathroom stalls. After extensive deliberation (we passed on the Bucket of Ponies, 5 mini cans of Miller High Life for $11), we went family style and ordered two orders of Trina’s classic Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Waffles ($14), Baked Haddock ($15), and a corn dog (Stella’s first, $5). For the record, it was not just the two of us. The highlight of the meal was the hot pepper syrup, vaguely reminiscent of a spicy sweet and sour sauce, which we proceeded to pour all over everything. Our only (major) complaint was the temperature of our waffles; we felt like we were eating fried chicken a la mode.
The baked haddock arrived on a delicious bed of smoky sweet potato and green onion hash. Though it was probably the most oil we’ve ever consumed in a single sitting, we would not have had it any other way. As for the corndog, we must rely upon Stella here, who fell into a dream filled with Americana visions of Coney Island and baseball. While in her deep-fried induced trance, Stella accidentally flung a chunk of battered chicken into a certain editor-in-chief’s eye. Thankfully, neither our egregious overuse of the word penis last week nor this week’s ocular attack has been enough to shut us down.
1357 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Upon walking into this Inman Square bar, our attention was immediately drawn to the music, which we can only describe as “pop druid,” the strange, glowing, Ghostbusters-esque ceiling art, and the confusing yet unmistakable waft of incense. Luckily, we were able to camp out in a nice corner booth before someone passed out. Somehow we ended up with Middle Ages Druid Fluid ($7.50), a 22 oz. bottle of thick, sweet, alcoholic barleywine, and a pint of Rapscallion Honey Ale ($5.50). We did not enjoy the latter, which tasted a little too much like urine. The variety of knickknacks and wall hangings attract a varied crowd. We spotted young professionals as well as 60-something retirees. The atmosphere lends itself more to a subdued, intimate bar experience. Weeknights recommended.
243 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
The Inman Oasis is nestled inconspicuously off the road and partially obscured by Rosie’s Bakery. With its pervasive warmth and the unshakable chlorinated reminder of public bathing facilities, Inman Oasis is a welcome respite from the icy Boston temperatures. For the less germophobic Bostonians, Inman Oasis rents out hot tubs. You can choose between a dip in the community tub (capacity: up to 7) or opt for the personal tub (capacity: up to 4). Regardless, showers are mandatory, and the accommodating staff changes the tub water weekly. Much to our surprise, this is apparently more frequent than health code regulations mandate. Each tub is even equipped with its own sound system, so if you come with a preloaded playlist, the staff will hook it up for you. With advance notice, it is even possible to book the community tub for a group of up to 10.
1255 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
With flavors like adzuki bean, khulfi, and burnt sugar, (as well as all your usual favorites), it is no surprise that Christina’s Spice & Specialty Foods is just next door.
225 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA
With oddly secluded dining rooms, ugly seating, and janky tables all located up an out-of sight staircase, Punjabi Dhaba makes up for its rough exterior with a simple, delicious, and wonderfully cheap menu. Everything comes on metal trays with compartments dividing samosas, vegetarian sides, and the multiple entrees that come with every meal (generally no more than $8). It’s the perfect place to grab a quick bite without breaking the bank.
1369 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Occasionally, we find that we have been spending all of our time adventuring around at the expense of actually doing our homework. At this point, it is time to head to a café and camp out for a couple days. With its friendly staff, delicious coffee, and intimate atmosphere, 1369 Coffee House makes for a great secret homework spot and a change of pace from Tisch.
1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
The motto at All Star Sandwich Bar is, “A good sandwich is like an old friend.” Once you take a bite out of one of their enormous creations, you will begin to wonder if your friends could possibly taste half as good. The Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown ($8.95) will ruin your relationship with your mom – her meatloaf can’t possibly compare.