Uncommon Grounds is more than just a gathering place for Watertown’s residents—it’s also a place where Watertown’s locally produced foods come together in the form of creative breakfast and lunch dishes. Nashoba Brooks Bakery and Russo’s Produce are just a few Watertown producers the chefs tap for ingredients to produce their delectable dishes. Fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes—infused with fresh lemon zest and ricotta cheese—are a big crowd pleaser with early-risers, as are the caprese breakfast sandwiches, which cradle strips of applewood bacon, smoked gouda cheese, and layers of pesto mayo between slices of ciabatta bread. That sort of creativity carries over to the coffee menu, where diners can choose from candy- and- dessert-themed lattes, such as the Almond Joy, the Milky Way, and the Cinnamon Bun brew, any of which is sure to awaken your inner child and exhaust its babysitter. Of course, Uncommon Grounds also keeps the spirit alive well into the lunch hour, doling out hot Panini sandwiches, burritos, and burgers.
Judy Rosenberg didn’t set out to be an award-winning chef or an NPR-lauded cookbook author. The owner of Rosie’s Bakery found her calling in 1974 after attending art school and gobbling desserts at some of New York’s finest bakeries, becoming inspired to forge her own batch of sweets. When the staff of a local cheesecake shop got hooked on her homemade cookies, she knew she’d found a recipe for success. Since then, she’s expanded her culinary repertoire to include fudge-nut brownies, bavarian-cream fruit tarts, and more than 14 types of muffins and scones.
Each recipe teems with real, old-fashioned ingredients, such as butter, cream, sugar, and edible monocles. Cakes come in circular layers and rectangular sheets, boasting flavors such as carrot and mocha. Filled with snickerdoodles and chocolate-chip rounds, the cookie lineup conjures more childhood memories than a psychiatrist who rides to work in an ice-cream truck.
For more than 20 years, Angora Ice has served up healthy, low fat frozen treats. Dig into signature frozen yogurt combos such as pumpkin pie, pina colada, or chunky monkey—a blend of chocolate yogurt, peanut butter, banana, butterfingers, and gorilla tears. Smoothies are crafted from organic fruit juices and fresh fruit, with a sorbet or yogurt base. Lavazza brand coffee and a selection of fresh baked goods round out the ice cream parlor’s menu.
If the name wasn’t enough of a clue, a close-to-empty donut case at 11 a.m. reveals the main draw of Linda's Donuts. Owner John, who has handcrafted donuts at Linda’s since 1982, rolls and shapes dough in the back while his wife, son, and daughter work the front of house, greeting customers, taking orders, and complimenting sock choices.
Customers line up for flavors such as chocolate-glazed and honey-dipped, waiting to dunk them into steaming cups of coffee while catching up on work using the shop’s free WiFi. After the donuts run out, customers turn to hearty sandwiches and burgers for lunch.
Cafe Burrito's crew stuffs tortillas with ingredients such as chili-lime chicken, cotija cheese, and zesty pickled veggies to craft its hefty Mission-style burritos, which epitomize the handheld meal. The menu also features other creative fare, such as Mexican-style grilled-cheese sandwiches, which showcase cheese melted over pork carnitas or pulled barbecue chicken, and pickled veggies. Diners can also top their food with special-made salsas crafted from fruits such as peach or apple, which rotate monthly to keep palates surprised.
Tables line the sidewalk outside Cafe Pamplona, where patrons sip tea and coffee and students meet up to study. The specials are written on a board outside, beckoning diners to come in to sample internationally inspired soups, sandwiches, and sweets. At one of the oldest cafes in Harvard Square, guests peruse the extensive hot and cold drink menu, seeking the perfect beverage to suit their mood. Drinks at this European-style cafe include unique blends such as the hot or cold Cafe Pamplona, a drink made of espresso and sweetened condensed milk, and the caffeine-free Red Zen tea, which is infused with a mix of lemongrass and orange peel that zings taste buds more effectively than licking velcro. Along with tea and coffee, Cafe Pamplona serves up italian sodas, espresso, and cappuccinos.