While visiting my nephew at Cambridge's Mount Auburn Hospital the day following his birth, I found myself famished with no desire to make a meal out of the food served in the hospital cafe. My brother suggested a few places in Harvard Square, but having driven in, I really did not want to fork over a wad of cash to park. He then mentioned Sofra, which I had passed by a million times, always saying I should stop in, but never actually doing it. This year his suggestion struck a cord, I'm a member of Siena Farms CSA (Chef Ana Sortun's husband's farm), I get their newsletter, I try the recipes Ana so generously shares with their members and I am always impressed. This lunch from Sofra now seemed necessary.
Parking right in front, I walked in and was overcome with longing for the exotic spice mixes and jars of preserved fruits and vegetables on the shelves. Tempted to buy each and every one, I refrained and vowed to return when a recipe called for one of these spices or when serving dinner to guests and in need of a little something special.
I gazed at the menu above the counter, and found myself enthralled with their selections, and wishing I were not alone so I could enjoy more than one of the items served here. The Mezze platter was my biggest temptation, but knowing I could not choose just one of her concoctions, and I would not be returning home for quite some time, I had to forgo the smoky eggplant with pine nuts, whipped feta with sweet & hot peppers, beet tzatziki, buttered hummus with black olive & tahini, and Moroccan-style carrot salad that were calling my name.
Instead, I made a choice that I will never regret. I ordered one savory item and one sweet. Choosing one of the stuffed flatbreads: lamb, pickled cabbage & tahini with yogurt, and the dessert delight of a fig & almond bisteeya. Pulling up a stool inside this modern Mediterranean bakery and cafe, I dove into my sweet treat while waiting for my freshly prepared flatbread to be ready. Each bite brought me pure bliss, and left me dying for my flatbread to arrive. When it did, I was not disappointed because the balance of flavors danced on my tongue, and left me wishing I could order more.
Needless to say, this is one special casual eatery, no table service, counter pick up, that I will be sure to frequent.Photo courtesy of juhansonin