Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To places that would not ordinarily be found on a fine dining list:

a personal note to Starbucks (three locations in Harvard Square alone - I would know; for one math exam we had to find the distance from campus to each), Dunkin' Donuts (Harvard Square), Chipotle (Harvard Square), McDonald's and Mary Chung (the latter two in Central Square)

Starbucks, thank you for providing caffeine in three convenient locations. Your pumpkin spice latte (iced and light whip) really went well with chicken tacos, and your free wi-fi enticed me though I hadn't taken advantage of it yet. It's too bad your $3.68 per craving made me leave you for...

Dunkin' Donuts, thank you for filling in my caffeine craving when Starbucks was unable to make it happen. Thank you also for being cheaper and for giving me free toasted almond syrup and only giving me half the amount of usual sugar per my request. Please don't fire the man who gave me the first good cheap coffee I've had in a while that I haven't made myself just because he burned the pan pizza to a crisp and one of your employees from another location who was ordering an iced coffee yelled at him and called his manager at 10:30pm on a Friday night and then got behind the counter and made the coffee herself.

Anyway, your strawberry frosted donuts were better than I expected. The frosting would have been better on a cake donut, though.

McDonald's, thank you for still operating a dollar menu - and one of your locations - within two miles of Harvard Square. My Tuesday night "Please, please give me fries with that problem set" craving has been satisfied, thanks to you. That said, I wish you would have had burger meat after 10pm for my friends.

Chipotle, thank you for providing me with the taste of what a good, Midwest-headquartered burrito chain tastes like when I was homesick. Thank you also for acquiescing to my picky demands for tacos.

Lastly, Mary Chung, thank you for still using the 1950s, quaint Boston-specific term "Peking ravioli" for your dumplings and potstickers, and for not making any changes to your menu prices. More specifically, thank you for putting bean sprouts in your dan dan (peanut flavored) noodles, adding extra crunch, which is more than I can say for Shangri-la in Brookline, and for inspiring me to try a similar recipe in the dining hall (which I'll talk about in a later post). Thank you, moreover, for making me rant to my mom about my peanut butter noodle cravings so that both she and my sister could teach me good recipes for them. Even though your noodles are kind of salty in retrospect and I will probably swap them out for pan-fried Peking ravioli next time, they are still my guilty craving.

And now, a final point. I don't know to tell you this, and not to come as a surprise or anything, but my romance with one and/or more of you is over (read: everyone but Mary Chung's). I think I first knew it when I craved that bitter, bitter taste of coffee at 2am one night before a problem set was due, and I saw you with your doors closed, refusing to take my cash. I'm sure you're understanding enough to have seen how addicted I've been to the idea of your caffinated, deep-fried goodness, but I want you to know that I will always remember the calories it cost. It's not you, it's me and my health-conscious January.

To ellipticals and a good Earl Grey tea,

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