Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm a Bad, Bad Grad Student

I have reached a new motivational low in lab – I actually took three hours in the middle of day to get my hair cut. Yes, it does indeed take me two hours to get my hair done, plus an hour of travel time. I figured that since I was already in Harvard Square and already wasting half the day away (although time spent getting my hair done can never truly be a waste) I may as well waste even more time by getting lunch from Cardullo’s.

Cardullo’s is the neatest little shop. It’s been in Harvard Sq for ages (56 years, to be precise) and is still run by the Cardullo family. It is packed to the ceiling with spices, teas, chocolates, and imported foods that cannot be found anywhere else. One of the shop’s focuses is British food imports. Their website states: “Britain is no longer the culinary wasteland that it was just three decades ago.” Such a very funny backhanded compliment, and so true. I speak from experience when it comes to Britain’s horrid gastronomical past. For one, I have tried Marmite. Curiosity almost killed the cat on that one. Blech. And I eat everything. I mean everything! Another quote from the Cardullo’s website defines Marmite as: “a thick black paste made from yeast and vegetable extract, beloved only by those who acquired a taste for it in childhood.” That may be the understatement of the century.

But I digress. The shop is definitely worth the trek to Harvard Sq, if only for the curious sight of Cod Roe spread in a squeezable tube that I can only assume is imported from some sort of Nordic country. They also happen to have a deli counter with prepared salads and an extensive list of sandwiches that they make in front of you. I ordered the Tuscan to go - grad student guilt started kicking in at this point (guilt is really such a useless emotion). I would have much preferred to eat my sandwich while sitting on one of the chairs outside the shop in the middle of Harvard Sq. But again, I digress.

The Tuscan: grilled chicken breast with olive tapenade (kalamata olives and capers as the two major ingredients), marinated tomato salad, eggplant spread, and arugula on fresh focaccia bread. Although it does not look like much in the picture, it may well be my perfect sandwich. Every last ingredient was screamingly fresh. [Screamingly is not my word, sadly. I stole it from Anthony Bourdain.] The oil from the tapenade soaked into the bread flavoring it all through with olive-tinted saltiness. The chicken was wonderfully moist and almost creamy in texture. The mildness of the chicken was cut by occasional bites of sharp bitterness of the arugula and the tang of vinegary tomatoes. My only wish was for more eggplant, but then again, one can never have enough eggplant.

All in all, Cardullo’s was definitely worth my truancy. Nothing like a great sandwich to assuage the waves of guilt from skipping out on work. Plus, I have cute hair.

Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe
6 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138

May have to take another three hours to try out the squeezable Cod Roe. Wish me luck.


Jeannie said...

Hi, I just happened upon your blog via 'foodporn watch'.
Just wanted to say your pics are great and I find your writing style refreshing and entertaining.

Anna said...

You just made my day! Thank you :)

michelle said...

Ha! It sounds like the perfect day to me! (And I've taken three hour lunches myself more times than I'll admit on here! And I didn't even get cute hair out of it!) But truly, dear, the longer you're there, the faster the guilt will go away...just let it go...let it go...

JC said...

That's no lie about marmite. Blech.

anthony griffiths said...

it is a lie about marmite. Yum.