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14 Ways to Treat Yourself in Cambridge

Mon Feb 1, 2016

Editor's note: this post was originally published in February 2014.

February can be a difficult month, with constant snowstorms, slush, and lack of sunshine. Whether single or coupled-up, Valentine’s Day can serve as a reminder to treat ourselves well this month, and maybe indulge in a few special treats to help sweeten the season. Here are fourteen of my local picks to help you spoil yourself in Cambridge MA this February.

1. Sip a Decadent Drink

When I think about enjoying something a bit indulgent, L.A. Burdick’sdrinking chocolate comes first to mind. The rich, silky, decadent drink is seriously good. Seating can sometimes be hard to come by at this popular Harvard Square café, but is so delightful if you can find a spot.

2. Get Back to School

Learning a new skill is invigorating, and there are plenty of great classes in the area - no final exams necessary! Practice playfulness with a class at Improv Boston, take your kitchen skills to the next level with a cooking class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, or learn a new craft at Gather Here.

3. Buy Yourself a Real Book

I can definitely be a bookworm, and on a cold winter day, there is nothing quite as cozy as curling up with a real old-fashioned paper book (sorry ipads and kindles!). February is the month to treat yourself to something tangible for the shelf. Cambridge has no shortage of bookshops worth browsing, from the Harvardand MIT bookstores, Schoenhof’s Foreign Booksfor multilinguals, and pre-loved books from Ravenand Lorem Ipsum.

4. Savor Creative Small Plates in an Old Hollywood Atmosphere

Step into quirky restaurant Cuchi Cuchiand voyage back in time to the 1920s. Glamorous, romantic décor and staff decked out in flapper attire promote a festive mood, and the craft cocktails, many based on muddled fruit and herbs, are anything but ordinary. The food is international, featuring favorite dishes from across the globe, and are perfect for sharing with a sweetheart or a few of your friends.

5. Enjoy a Night of Jazz

Cambridge is home to the famed Regattabar, located in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. Since opening its doors, the Regattabar has been named one of the “Best of Boston” by Boston Magazine thirteen times! It is a perfect place to indulge in a night of jazz and cocktails.

6. Relax and Renew at the Spa

I haven’t gotten a chance to try it myself (yet!), but I have heard such great things about the Inman Oasis Spa. Offering hot tubs and massage in a Feng Shui designed atmosphere, a massage and a soak at this spa seems like a great way to let your worries float away.

7. Slip into Something More Comfortable

The Cambridge lingerie boutique Forty Winksmakes shopping for tricky items easy and fun. Whether you are looking for something for everyday or for a special occasion, the curated items at this shop will fit the bill. With the aims of bringing beauty to everyday dressing and catering to all shapes and sizes, a little something from Forty Winks is fun way to treat yourself to a little luxury.

8. Stock Up on Gourmet Specialties

Harvard Square’s Cardullo’sis full of unusual gourmet foods, exotic spices, teas, and imported chocolates. The selection is great, and there are plenty of options to make up a perfect cheese plate when you get home, paired with some of their delicious jams and dried fruits.

9. Spend a Lazy Afternoon Over Coffee

When I have a little free time, it is so enjoyable to bring a book or a journal to a coffee shop and hang out. People watching is always fun, and recent researchhas shown that the hum of coffee house chatter is good for creativity! Cambridge has lots of options besides the ubiquitous Starbucks. My favorites include Dwelltimeon Broadway, Tatteand Voltage Coffeein Kendall Square, and Crema Caféin Harvard Square.

10. Snack on the City’s Best French Fries

Lord Hobo, a bar and bistro on Hampshire Street, has the absolute best truffle fries I have ever tasted. My friends and I had to get a second order because the first disappeared so quickly! The crisp potatoes are topped with shredded parmesan, and have just the right amount of rich truffle flavor. Plus, the atmosphere at Lord Hobo is incredibly welcoming, and the beer and cocktail lists are full of tempting libations.

11. Catch a Classic Film

The Brattle Theatreis the place to go for art-house and classic films. Spoil yourself and enjoy a movie on the big screen – I always find a weekend matinee especially indulgent! P.S. On February 13, 14, and 15, the theatre is showing one of my favorite films of all time, Casablanca.

12. Taste Natural Sweetness

Honey from all over the world stocks the shelves at local shop Follow the Honey. In addition to raw, untreated honey, the store also sells beeswax candles and other gifts. To illustrate the variations in honey from different landscapes, the “honey bar” offers visitors a sampling of different honeys to tempt the palate.

13. Buy a Little Gift and Keep It

The Brattle Street shop Black Inkis full of unique items, fun books, toys, and hilarious gag gifts. It is always on my list of places to shop around Christmas time, and I have never left empty-handed. Stop in this shop with yourself in mind, and treat yourself to a childhood favorite like a harmonica, or to a sophisticated cookbook.

14. Delight in Healthy Vegetarian Food

Once people go to Life Alivein Central Square, they understand why it has so many devoted fans. Especially popular are the bowls of brown rice, tofu, carrots, beets, broccoli and greens, topped one of their delicious signature sauces, such as the Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce. There are many variations on this theme, plus salads, soups, and wraps. Aficionados also love Life Alive’s fresh juices and smoothies. This colorful and nutritious food is just what the doctor ordered to cheer up a grey February day.

Treat yourself well this month, and remember that we don't have too long to wait until spring blossoms. I hope that these suggestions brighten up your February, whether you are a Cambridge native or a visitor!