After two weeks of dissertation-writing and manic packing, I am overjoyed to say I am back in NYC! Nine months is far too long to spend away from home. I would’ve gone back for the holidays, but taking a plane and dealing with wheelchair things is both a hassle and ridiculously worrying. One main issue is that if you are the only person using a chair on the flight, you can sometimes store it in the cabin on the plane (but only if you have a manual chair, because powerchairs will not fit). If you can’t store the chair in the cabin, it gets tagged and thrown in with the rest of the plane luggage, which means there is a very good chance you will not get your chair back in the condition it was in when it got tagged. A trip with American Airlines in 2009 ripped one of my brake extenders off of my chair, which was…let’s just say inconvenient. Ever since, I’ve been worried that plane travel could lead to a busted chair. Imagine if every time you flew you didn’t know whether a flight attendant would unintentionally break your leg during the flight. That’d kind of discourage you from flying, no?
But I digress. Even though I’m back home, with the way I timed my Cambridge entries, I ended up having a slight backlog of places/recipes, so I’m just going to post these before I do my NYC entries.
When I found out I got accepted to Cambridge last year, I told my undergrad adviser about it, because he did his MPhil there several years ago and I was going to work with his former supervisor. He started listing things I should do and places I should go to, and I ended up going to a couple of the places (including this one tea place in Ely that I would write about, except that the lighting was awful where I was sitting and none of my pictures look remotely appetizing, so I’d be doing that place a disservice posting here). One place where I ended up getting better pictures is called Savino’s (3 Emmanuel St, CB1 1NE), a place conveniently located across the street from a major bus stop area (and across the street from Emmanuel College, which I’m told has a duck pond).
My adviser told me that Savino’s has the best chocolate croissant in Cambridge, so this felt like one of those “challenge accepted” moments where you kind of have to go just to see if it’s true. I do not have a picture (oops), but I will say that their chocolate croissant is good, not amazing, but they have a nutella (or as they call it, “chocolate hazelnut”) croissant, which is worth the trip every time. I mean, nutella? In a croissant? Please excuse me while I gleefully spin around in my chair until I get dizzy (five spins, I have a pretty low spinning tolerance…the room is dizzy).
It’s a pretty small place. I mean, if I hadn’t been told about the chocolate croissant, I would’ve passed by without noticing it. They have a sign outside that says they serve Illy coffee, so I guess I wouldn’t completely miss the place if I wheeled past. I went one day with a friend who approves of Savino’s coffee. She is Italian, so I trust her opinion on espresso drinks. Am I stereotyping? Slightly, so in my defense, my mom (a Taiwanese woman with a terrifyingly refined palate) refuses to get coffee from any other place in Cambridge, and if she decides to branch out, she compares whatever she gets to Savino’s espresso drinks. Seriously, get your coffee here if you’re in Cambridge. Pictures to follow shortly.
My friend and I got there around 4:30pm (did I mention that Savino’s is open until 8pm on weekdays during the spring/summer? 8PM. OH. SNAP), so there were a few tables available. There are lots of small tables throughout the café and outside, so you can people watch all day. Savino’s makes really good sandwiches, so they’re usually packed around lunchtime. The staff there is super friendly, and after I said I was taking my coffee to stay, someone immediately removed a seat from one of the tables for me.
The counter is high. I can’t actually see what’s on the counter, and I can’t get a great look at the pastries on the counter. Savino’s makes croissants, carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake, and other baked goods in-house, and are definitely worth a try. I’ve had their lemon drizzle cake before, and it was a little on the sweet side, but had a tangy lemony bite to it. I’ve also had their croissants (1.55 each). Their nutella croissant is my favorite, but the plain one is also quite good. They’ll also warm it up for you if you’d like, which makes everything better. I cannot remember whether there were gluten-free options available, unfortunately.
I got a decaf cappuccino, and my friend got a decaf latte. They were pretty.
Some fun facts about cappuccinos and lattes: a cappuccino is supposed to have less milk than a latte (but they have the same amount of espresso), so it has a more intense flavor. It also has lots of foam. Lattes also have foam, but not as much. You may notice that (at Starbucks especially), lattes and cappuccinos are not all that foamy. As a foam enthusiast (there are dozens of us! dozens!), this is disheartening. But this isn’t a problem here.
That is the foam on my cappuccino, slightly stirred. You are supposed to have a lot of foam with cappuccinos. The barista isn’t ripping you off. Want less foam and more espresso? Get a latte with multiple shots of espresso, or if you’re desperate for caffeine, order your shots of espresso by themselves.
They don’t skimp on the latte foam either.
My friend was very happy with her drink. Yes, I realize I’m being a bit nuts over the foam thing, but how often do you get an espresso beverage made the way it’s supposed to be made? There are times when I order a latte and it looks like a café au lait. It’s wrong.
But that’s enough of my rambling about textbook espresso drinks. I am not, nor have I ever been, a barista, but I can appreciate a good espresso drink.
Savino’s has a bathroom, but it is not wheelchair-accessible, so I would not recommend that wheelchair users camp out there to get work done. If you need some coffee while you wait for the bus or need to get some coffee and dash off somewhere to work, I’d definitely recommend coming here.
Entrance: Flat, door already open when I got there.
Bathroom: Inaccessible (boo).
Counter: Very high.
Coffee: Illy (and textbook cappuccinos!), Tea: unsure of brand, Hot chocolate: Two types (normal and Italian, which has a thicker consistency)
Pastries: Homemade, including a nutella croissant.
Other: Super friendly staff, and excellent sandwiches.
Thanks for reading! If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to follow this blog, follow me on Twitter (@Access_Bakeshop), or share this on the social media outlet of your choice. The next post should be up sometime this week (giant ginger cookies!), as I’m trying to make up for missing posts for the last couple of weeks. I’m going to have a hectic schedule because I’m trying to revise my dissertation (it’s due in August) and start prepping for the LSAT (ack!), but I think I’ve got 2-3 more posts to go before I start writing about Brooklyn/Manhattan places, so there’s that to look forward to!