Brunch, tacos and drag at Cafe Luna and more
Hard to know who gets the biggest brunch line in Camberville. It used to be the S&S; then there was the breakfast war between the Ball Square Cafe and Sound Bites, and let’s not forget Renee’s Cafe on Holland Street. But the hottest ticket over the past five-plus years has been Cafe Luna, in its old spot in Lafayette Square and its new, bigger space not far away on Main Street. (It moved in 2018 toward, if not to, Kendall Square after nearly a decade at its old haunt.) It’s a brunch/lunch spot open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to mid-afternoon with a bar and a cosmopolitan vibe that makes it seem like the hours should be flipped.
The menu is vast. The lobster Benedict with overgenerous heaps of meat has always called to me, but lower on the menu come Mexican offerings such as a breakfast burrito, huevos and the thing I recently set upon and will be back for more of: smoked duck tacos. Two soft, steamed corn tortillas are loaded with chunks of smoked breast (better than bacon or shredded pork, and the best of both), scrambled eggs (you can get your eggs any way, but do scrambled), guacamole, salsa and other garnishes. It’s a strange yet wonderful symphony you probably didn’t imagine possible – I didn’t.
Again, this place fills up. I went on an off day just after 1 p.m. and was shocked at how busy it stayed until the cusp of closing. To that end, I’ve been on something of a taco kick these days. Recent other happy travels brought me to The Painted Burro in Davis Square, where my server told me to try the carnitas option and I’m glad I listened – the pork is lean and succulent and topped with a mango salsa that stands out against their other taco options mightily. I can also recommend the fried fish tacos at Los Amigos Taqueria, a local chain with a spot around the corner. I tried a combo of Baja (haddock) and Tropic (giant shrimp) styles, both lightly fried. The haddock was good. But the shrimps, plump and juicy in their tempura cocoons, were indelible with the combination of mango salsa and guacamole. Because of all this goodness, tacos come double wrapped; that usually means they’re bready or one shell is dried out, but neither was the case here. The meal went down easily and, while satiated, I didn’t feel full. I half thought to order seconds.
Bambara’s Backyard drag brunch
Speaking of brunch: There’s a drag brunch Sunday to kick off Pride Month hosted by Bambara’s Backyard at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel. Suck down bloodies, eat brunchy goodness and catch a show with Alana Thicc, Stef Anya, Christina Faguilera and DJ Frenchy. A Pride cocktail is included with the required $20 advance tickets for 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. brunches. (There’s more drag brunching scheduled for later in the summer too.)
Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.