Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things we ate at the 2011 Cambridge Carnival

Saturday was the Cambridge Carnival, an annual celebration with live music, a parade down Main Street, and Caribbean food.

Which of the three did we care about most? Hmmm ...

The food booths were in Kendall Square, so that's where we started. First, the booth for La Auténtica, which we assumed was a local restaurant, though I can find no trace of it in the Internets; not a review, not a location, nada.

I'm pretty sure we didn't make up the just-enough-filling, not-too-fried, hand-sized empanadas:


Or the amarillo with a mainline of cheese:

Amarillo con queso

Or the golf-ball relleno de papa, where the fried sphere of mashed potato had a core of chorizo:

Relleno de papa con chorizo

And we certainly didn't make up that those three items cost $15. Fifteen! Bucks!

Mind you, they were pretty filling. We couldn't manage anything else right then, so we headed down to the Central Square end of Main. And just as we were about to turn back, we realized the parade was starting right in front of us.

Predator at the carnival

Yes, for some reason, that is Predator. In a thong.

And then we started back toward the food.

Every summer, we try to get to at least one of the handful of local multicultural festivals, with the basic aim of finding two items: the empanada (or Jamaican beef patty) and the fishcake. We'd already checked the first one off the list, and we'd seen a likely candidate for the other.

Aha — fishcake!

Fishcake from Flames

However, there were three problems:

1) There was much more cake than fish, and the batter was thick and heavy;

2) The cakes had been fried some hours back and then stored in an aluminum tray covered in foil, where the steam made them even more stodgy and dense;

3) There was a special secret inside, in the shape of fiendishly spicy peppers. My still-baby tastebuds did not do well with this; The Boy (who is no wimp) bit into a generous slice of pepper and had to spit it gracefully into a napkin.

Our tongues ablaze, we headed for the best antidote: a mozzarella-stuffed arepa, bursting with sweet corn flavor. It put out the fire and served as a reasonable solution to dessert.


That evening, the air carried a definite hint of fall. If summer is really over, at least it went out on a lively note.

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