Continuing with my ode to cafe/bakeries, I now present to you, Crema Cafe. I have been going to Crema ever since they opened a little over two years ago in Harvard Square. They are quite possibly in the most convenient (and enviable) location, right in Harvard Square, and the food is excellent. Particularly the sandwiches and baked goods. Dave and I were looking for lunch mid-afternoon on Saturday and decided on Crema. I usually get the sweet potato sandwich with avocado, green apple, sprouts, hummus & caramelized shallot vinaigrette. The sandwich is very filling, more than I wanted at the time, so I opted for quiche instead. Whenever I see pre-made quiche at a cafe, it often looks unappealing. It ALWAYS looks as though it came out of box and has been sitting around for days. Crema’s quiches are quite the opposite. They look and taste fantastic, as they all come fresh from the oven. They also think up delicious flavor combinations. The first one I ever tried had sweet potato and caramelized onion. On Saturday, Dave got a slice of the bacon, caramelized onion and parmesan and I got the spinach and goat cheese. It is a deep dish quiche. The egg is rich and extremely moist. They pack the egg mixture with a lot of the featured ingredients. Since the egg is so rich I was glad there was ample spinach to balance it out.
In terms of dessert, Crema has excellent and inexpensive cookies. I like the chocolate chip or the oatmeal jumble, with chocolate and dried cherries. They also have an excellent rotating selection of fancier seasonal desserts, kept in the refrigerator case. In the past, these have included pumpkin cheesecake, a lime bar, and tres leches. On Saturday, they had a plumb crumb bar, and a lemon blueberry tart. I somewhat reluctantly chose the tart. I LOVE the lemon-blueberry flavor combination, but I so often find store-bought fruit tarts disappointing. The crust is dry, the fruit is limp and tasteless, and they often include a goopy pastry cream. This one surprised me by not only being good, but excellent. The blueberries were fresh and juicy and laid atop a layer of mildly sweet lemon whipped cream. The crust was amazing in and of itself. It was rich with a sweet buttery flavor, but also incredibly chewy, like the texture of a really good cookie. I often find tart crusts to be crumbly and thick, which makes it difficult to bite into. If you try to bite or even cut into it with a fork, it requires a lot of force and then usually breaks into pieces. This one was incredibly tender and easy to sink your teeth into. Once again, very much like a cookie.
One advantage of the location in Brattle Square is the ample seating available outside in addition to just the tables. And in a plea to create less waste, if you do plan on taking your food somewhere right outside, don’t ask for it to-go (the tart above was taken away and eaten elsewhere). Even if you take a seat on the stone steps, you can ask for your meal to stay and then just pop back inside to return your dishware.
There’s so much more to said about Crema, both regarding the food and the ambiance. I will cover that and more in another post soon.
27 Brattle St