Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Impressions: Voltage Coffee & Art (Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA)

I recently started a job in Kendall Square. (Shorter commute! Food trucks! Awesome architecture! YES!) One day after work, I walked down Third Street to swing by the CambridgeSide Galleria. I needed to brave the roving hoards of teens long enough to search for a polka dot shirt for an upcoming band gig. On my way from the office to the mall, I spotted Voltage Coffee & Art out of the corner of my eye. I had read about in several newsletters - Thrillist and/or DailyCandy and/or some others that clog my inbox each morning - and I was intrigued. Since it's not between the T and my office, though, I promptly forgot about it for a couple weeks.

This Tuesday, I was scheduled to work a half day. I was also battling a miserable cold and feeling pretty gross, so my mind started to wander to lunch pretty early on. I wanted to eat something comforting but light. Something triggered a memory that Voltage was right down the street - a tweet, maybe - and I checked out the website.

I skipped over the fancy coffees - not really my thing. I could probably acquire a taste for it, but I try to avoid highly caffeinated things. I got addicted to energy drinks at some point in college, and it wasn't pretty. I hope my memory is exaggerating this, but I think there was one point when I was drinking two Monsters for breakfast. Ew. 

Spicy chai, hot chocolate...ok, the menu is looking good. And then...TOAST! Two slices of toast with cinnamon and sugar? I'm sold. Simple, sure. I could definitely make it at home. But something about sitting in a coffee shop, surrounded by art, sipping hot chocolate and eating cinnamon and sugar toast? Sounded like a nice way to cheer up my afternoon.

At the bottom of the first page of the menu, a category called "AND ALSO" contains one item: Ants on a Log ($3). I was in love with this place already.

Then, I scrolled down to find a second page, this one full of fancy lattes and hot chocolates. They all sound delicious. I want to try everything, but as a spicy addict, I immediately decided on Midnight Sun, hot chocolate with cinnamon and capsicum.

Finally, lunchtime rolled around and I headed down the street. Voltage feels wide open - the white walls, the light from large windows - although walls sharply divide parts of the seating area, providing plenty of space for art to hang. The baristas were friendly and seemed quite experienced. As you can see in the photo above, my hot chocolate came decorated with a heart of foam. I think this is the first drink I've ever had with a shape in the foam, except for a Guinness I got once at The Cellar that had a shamrock. I'm a sucker for fancy presentation. This hot chocolate made me smile. (Tasted great, too, although not as spicy as I'd hoped. I might have to bring along my own ghost chili powder next time to spike it...)

The toast was ridiculously thick and nicely coated with cinnamon and sugar - just what I needed.

Love at first sight. I was so excited that I repeatedly tried to tweet the above photo while I sat there, even though my phone didn't cooperate for awhile.

No doubt about it - I'll definitely be back, and I intend to drink my way through the lattes and hot chocolates.

Voltage Coffee & Art on Urbanspoon

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