Hangover Hotspot: Toscanini#039;s taste

by Beacon Staff • March 25, 2009

Emerson's sometimes demanding curriculum taking over students' lives during the week can lead to the need to let loose on the weekends. Unfortunately, debauchery in the evening leads to the occasional painful morning. Toscanini's in Cambridge understands, and is here to help heal even the most hangover-stricken.

Located off of the Central Square T stop on the Red Line, Toscanini's location is prime for college students so you can expect the company of fellow diners who understand why the sunlight is killing your head. This brunch burrow brews delicious Batdorf and Bronson coffee and Fazenda espresso (not to mention world-renowned ice cream) all week long. In addition, the menu changes for Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for breakfast at the Thawed Table, a large community sitting area in the center of the room. The gourmet flavors won't hurt a student's wallet, and will probably suppress the urge to roll into the fetal position and weep-at least for a while.

The food ranges from hearty and sweet to light and vegan friendly. Sample the brioche French toast with whipped butter and Vermont maple syrup for $4.95, and wash it down with their vanilla latte for $4. Toscanini's makes everything to order, so sit down and recall the previous night's mistakes and the staff will bring it out when it 's done. Try Thalia's Yogurt with honey and granola for $3.25, and Iggy's croissant which is available in plain, chocolate or almond for $2.75. Just grab it and pay at the register. The restaraunt changes the menu every few weeks, so look for seasonal treats like Spring Cornmeal Pancakes with fresh rhubarb strawberry compote for $7.95.

The atmosphere is laid back and comfortable, with simple deacute;cor and a single flat-screen TV that flashes various music video images and promotions at the restaurant that week. Toscanini's enforced rule for brunch hours is no work, which means leave your computers and textbooks at home. Opt for the Thawed Table in the center of the room and get a communal meal with fellow students, mostly from Harvard and MIT, or choose one of the two-person tables that flank the room for a more personal hangover dining experience. If sitting upright for prolonged periods of time doesn't seem like an option, there is also a section complete with comfy chairs and a couch.

The light isn't too bright and there's no loud college hangout din, just a quiet coffeehouse hum with some light music in the background. Expect to see everybody from be-dreadlocked grad students to professional suits at brunch time, which can get crowded but is well worth the wait. Toscanini's also sells packaged coffee and tea to take home, plus pre-made cakes around $25 if you start to feel better later.

Toscanini's delicious and cheap food, friendly people who will leave you to your sad state, and prompt service that understands why you're being an insufferable grouch, makes this place a prime hangover hotspot. Don't forget: Rumor has it the food also tastes great sober, too.