Five recommendations: Yemisi Oluwole
Five questions. We just want to ask you five questions — or, rather, get five recommendations of things to read, listen to, watch, eat and buy from people who live, work or otherwise spend time in Cambridge. Here are some from Yemisi Oluwole, who was born in Cambridge, grew up in Cambridge and gradated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, but found herself “priced out” of buying a home here and, a couple of years ago, moved with regrets to Somerville. Because the library nearest her is not up to her standards, she fills her literary needs at the Cambridge Main Library — neighbor to the high school her nephews and three nieces still attend. (The school is another recommendation of sorts: “You don’t realize how good it is until you’re out,” she says, pleased to see that a $112 million renovation made it not just bigger, but better than when she attended.)
Read: Oluwole recommends the 2006 self-published Christian novel “The Shack” by William P. Young, which was itself recommended to her by a fellow churchgoer. The novel starts like a crime novel, with the abduction and likely murder of a young girl by a serial killer, but it’s really about “a man who has to confront his lack of spiritual belief upon the presumed death of his daughter,” Oluwole says, describing it as enlightening as well as eminently readable.
Listen to: Anyone looking for beautiful music can come to St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Central Square — but it needn’t be for official musical events such as Sunday’s second annual gospel brunch with four-time Grammy winner Regina Belle. Since the 85 Bishop Allen Drive church hosts the rehearsals of a half-dozen choirs (“all wonderful,” Oluwole says) as well as the Cambridge Community Chorus and Boston Symphony Orchestra, it’s common to find wonderful and often free music there open to the community.
Watch: Cambridge is a walking town, and a favorite pastime of Oluwole is to simply walk among the cafes and street performers of Central and Harvard squares “and enjoy the sights and sounds when the warm weather hits.” Especially on a warm summer evening, the streets come alive with local artists and performers, whether they be musicians or jugglers, providing an experience it’s “guaranteed … delightful to walk around and watch.”
Eat: For Oluwole, “nothing compares to S&S Deli.” This 93-year-old restaurant at 1334 Cambridge St., Inman Square, is her frequent recommendation to people for its “really great food” and expansive menu that allows her to get a different meal with nearly every visit. (A favorite, though, is the barbecue wings.) From a base of deli sandwiches, it has grown to include such things as an amazing seafood casserole and roast rack of lamb — and, of course, serves breakfast all day long.
Buy: Oluwole loves the shopping opportunities at the city’s street festivals, which can offer everything from handmade jewelry to old books and an unpredictable and eclectic assortment of unusual items. Although Mayfair has passed for the year, Riverfest arrives this weekend, the Dance for World Community festival follows next weekend and the fifth annual Fête de la Musique/Make Music festival is scheduled for June 16 in Harvard Square. The Cambridge Carnival, with a Caribbean theme, is held the second Sunday in September. (Prime festival shopping, of course, arrives around the holidays.)
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