Posted tagged ‘Porter Square’

Panera coming to Porter Square in Cambridge

February 28, 2011

There’s this sign where the old Qdoba was located:

Qdoba closed in June of last year; the storefront was vacant until this display recently went up. I’m not sure when Panera will open, but I’m glad it’s coming. I love their chocolate croissants, free coffee refills, and sandwiches. Plus, they have free wireless Internet (providing an alternative to the somewhat-cramped Bruegger’s across the street and Porter Square Books, which also doesn’t have a ton of space for using your computer).

The country must be in trouble when the post office has just one counter employee the week before Christmas

December 17, 2010

I think it’s fair to say that this is one of the busiest letter-, card-, and package-mailing times of the year. Everyone’s trying to make sure his items arrive before Christmas Eve. So it really shocked me when I showed up at the Porter Square post office (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) yesterday to discover just one person was working the counter. It was about 4 p.m., and there must have been 20 people ahead of me in line.

I wouldn’t have minded the crowd so much if several of the transactions hadn’t taken five-plus minutes (the first one I witnessed surely lasted more than 10 minutes). I don’t necessarily blame the individual customers or the guy behind the counter, but I do blame the post office for not having had another employee working. But maybe it’s all due to Americans’ non-willingness to pay higher taxes. Maybe it’s partially my fault. Either way, it took nearly an hour for me to buy a couple books of stamps.

Another real pity is this particular post office no longer has stamp-dispensing machines. A couple of people in line besides myself just needed stamps as well, and publicly lamented there wasn’t this technology available. The guy behind the counter just responded: “We used to have it (the machine); now we don’t.” What more was he going to say anyway? It’d probably just make him angry explaining why they had to get rid of the machine. He was already experiencing a stressful enough day and didn’t need that added annoyance.

I was impressed with the man’s calmness when I arrived at the front of the line. The label-printing machine wasn’t working for a minute, but instead of getting upset he jokingly said “Wow, this is a great day for this to happen.” He kept his cool, adjusted the machine, and it started working again. He was quite polite, and I tried to be as nice as possible, too, knowing he has a difficult job (Did you know that the term “going postal” actually came about following a series of incidents involving postal workers shooting and killing fellow employees and others?).

Anyway, I’m saddened the federal government doesn’t have enough money to staff the counter of this post office with more than one employee on one of the busiest mailing days of the year (that is, if that was the reason for just one employee working), but am glad the one who was there was quite kind.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/sushiesque/68524998

Yeah for yuppie nachos!

November 28, 2010

Christopher's in Cambridge's Porter Square sells "yuppie nachos."

I tried Christopher’s “yuppie nachos” the other night (read about my love for Christopher’s in this blog post). In addition to tortilla chips, here’s what they include:

  • melted cheddar, jack and goat cheese
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • guacamole

How’s that for a fantabulous combination? It tasted just as good as it sounds. For my main course, to make up for the somewhat unhealthy appetizer, I had a Christopher’s salad (just $3.95!). It includes:

  • seasonal greens
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • sliced red onion
  • Kalamata olives

It came with some sort of Dijon mustard dressing that was quite tasty. I was really happy to have ordered this salad because a) it was delicious and b) it wasn’t jumbo-sized like most salads I’m accustomed to getting at restaurants.

Yes, I’m a cheapskate

September 3, 2010

I got this free t-shirt for joining Planet FitnessI joined a gym for $100 a year. Can you believe it??? That’s like $8 a month!

That gym is Planet Fitness in Porter Square in Cambridge. I had heard from friends it’s cheap to go there, so I looked up the location online. They have a very helpful webpage detailing their various membership options. How’s that for transparency?

The page also list the gym’s contact information and hours. It sounds like a no brainer, but some gyms don’t even have a website (crazy in today’s world, huh?).

You can actually sign up for a gym membership online. I entered in the appropriate information, including my credit card number, and “Voila!” I was automatically a member.

I went to the gym a few days later, and started working out. I couldn’t believe the gym’s cleanliness and attractiveness. For $8 a month, I was getting this? Had I died and gone to heaven? Something must be wrong with this scenario. Maybe there’s asbestos or something in the room and that’s why the membership is so cheap??? I have no idea!

Anyway, the gym has lots and lots of elliptical machines and treadmills, the two pieces of equipment I use the most. Each one has a television attached, with a closed caption option. It was so fun– the other day I got to watch Tyra Banks interview people about their addiction to technology, while burning calories. It was a win-win!

And then on another occasion I got to see a funny Regis and Kelly segment where Kelly (while deliberately acting like a ditz) learned how to change a tire. I wouldn’t normally watch these shows, but it’s great to have the opportunity while exercising.

I know people who pay much more money for their Boston Sports Club gym memberships. And from what I hear the Central Square location’s televisions won’t turn on without headphones plugged in. Some people don’t like working out with headphones, so that is a real drawback I feel.

Planet Fitness in Porter Square has a number of weightlifting machines, and a mat for you stretch and do sit-ups on. Unfortunately there are no classes offered, but for the price it’s understandable.

The bathrooms are nice and clean, the two rooms are quite open (not cluttered),  and I like the gym’s purple, yellow and black color scheme.

Make sure, though, if you join the gym to check your bank statement. Planet Fitness “accidentally” charged me $99 twice. No one (I talked to two different employees) actually apologized for this oversight, though they did quickly provide me with my refund.

I love Christopher’s in Porter Square

September 3, 2010

christopher's restaurant in Cambridge

Isn’t the outside portion of Christopher’s Restaurant & Bar so cute?

Inside is nice, too. There’s nothing better than getting a seat on one of the bar stools (don’t worry Mom, I only have a drink or too) on a blustery, winter night. The wooden bar area and nearby fireplace make you feel nice and cozy. The bartenders are very friendly, and the clientele is laid-back.

I’ve had quite a few of their menu items. For appetizers, I prefer the spinach and artichoke dip and southwestern tofu dip. For dinner, I like their sirloin tips and chicken piccata. I’m not so much a fan of the stir fry (not too tasty) or spinach and artichoke burrito (I didn’t like the combination of spinach, artichokes, goat cheese, cheddar and mozzarella, red sauce, vegetarian black beans, mango slaw, greens and pico de gallo– call me crazy since it sounds good on paper!).

For dessert I loooovvvvee their chocolate mousse. One time I went there for an after-dinner snack and had that with a glass of their Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (best wine there). It was the perfect match! I also like their caramel apple granny pie.

For you beer lovers, they have an extensive list of beers on tap (including nine weekly specials).

This post makes it sound like I go out to eat all the time. That’s not really the case– it’s just that my boyfriend used to live right near Christopher’s so that’s where we went when we didn’t feel like cooking.

Halloween store moving into Porter Square Galleria in Cambridge

August 30, 2010

That’s according to a sign I saw in the shopping center’s window today:

They are hiring if you are looking for a retail job. Though I wonder if the store will be open for more than just a couple of months. I wouldn’t be surprised if the store has a short-term lease. It appears that’s a hard building to rent. Pizzeria Uno left earlier this year, and nothing has moved into that space. Blockbuster also recently closed, and Jennifer Convertibles is in the process of closing.

My newest favorite ice cream flavor

September 21, 2009

13784712_f2558e7b00_tI never really was a fan of Almond Joy candy bars, but I have to say that Almond Joy ice cream is amazing. At least the kind that Emack & Bolio’s in Porter Square (Cambridge) serves. I advise you to try it out!

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/spike55151/13784712

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