we walked down to harvard square. miguel had lost karen's charlie card yesterday and was looking to get a replacement. he thought it'd be expensive to replace, but i told him the cards were free, just had to ask for it from an MBTA station employee. when we got to the station, there was a stack of cards. i got one for him and one for myself (you never know when you might need a spare charlie card).
i took miguel to a few of my former haunts, partly so he'd get a kick out of seeing them, but also partly for myself because i haven't visited in so long. we went into the garage to the anime store first. it used to be called tokyo kid, but that store went out of business in 2011, and a new store took over its place, anime zakka (apparently they also have a store on newbury street). miguel seemed to be a closet anime fan, and knew a lot more than i did. he said karen would love this place and promised to bring her here. next we went to newbury comics. the last time i visited was back in october 2012, the one at alewife that was closing. it's been so long, i wonder if it was even still open? but newbury comics is a local staple, where else would suburban kids go with their allowance money on the weekends? miguel loved the place, and ended up getting an inigo montoya mug for himself.
we finally went to the shake shack on winthrop street. i only became aware of its existence this week, even though supposedly it's been in harvard square since 2014. i'd never eaten at a shake shack before, and one of the unique things about it compared to other fast food franchise is they serve beer and wine as well. but we weren't here for that, we were here for the shakes. miguel has an obsession with shakes. the last time he had a good shake was by chance in london. he figured when he visited america, he'd be able to find true authentic shakes. we both ended up getting the vanilla shake ($5.29/each), his with a dash of malt (50¢ extra). i was tempted to get the root beer float, but i thought i'd get what they're known for first before trying anything else. we were given beepers and sat at a nearby table waiting for our order. they were still surprisingly busy for the middle of the afternoon on a rather cold day no less (50's). when the beepers finally sounded we picked up our orders. the shake was much smaller than i imagined (i was thinking of the shakes you get at mcdonalds or burger king, which are served in those tall containers). but one taste and i was blown away. for one thing, it was very thick and dense. the vanilla ice cream was true vanilla. miguel was raving too, said he was coming back.
we took our shakes and went across the street to tasty burgers to try their eponymous burgers. i'd never been to a tasty burgers either, so it was a day of new eats for me. i got the big tasty ($5.95) and a order of 50/50 fries and onion rings ($5.50). the place had a nice ambience, located on a street corner so good people watching. as for the burgers, they were not good. the bread was too thick and the burgers very greasy and had little flavor. it made us regret not trying the shake shack burgers as their milk shakes were so good. apparently they're the official burgers of the boston red sox, which should've alerted us to the fact that they were probably not the best, but these official foods are often times less about tasting good and more about corporate dollars for advertising rights. the fries were nothing exciting either, but the onion rings were thin strips and tasted caramelized, so they were better than expected. i finished my burger but could only eat half of the fries and onion rings. i took them home as leftovers.
next we went to charlie's kitchen to get some hard cider. i was surprised miguel wanted to sit outside in the beer garden despite the rather cold weather. there were table top fireplaces but i didn't think that was enough. we both had a serving of downeast hard cider, served in plastic cups ($6/each). being somewhat of a tightwad, i couldn't get over how for $10 i could get a six-pack of hard cider and drink it in the relative comfort and warmth of home. a few tables nearby were eating and it made me sick just seeing them, as i was quite full from the burger and fries/rings and the shake earlier.
miguel treated me to the hard cider. afterwards we went home, but not before passing sweet bakery and miguel going inside and buying a red velvet cupcake for karen, wrapped up nicely in a box with a bow.
miguel wasn't home for very long before he went back out, around 5:10pm. he was meeting karen in boston to see a latina diva concert. as for me, i finished the fries and onion rings for dinner. i figured miguel and karen would eat out, but they came home around 8pm having not had dinner yet. they decided to go to nearby zoe's and invited me, but i was already full. i tried recommending some dishes for them to try, but they were in a hurry (karen had to chat with a patient back in mexico at 9pm) so they were on their own. when they came back they said the food was okay, but kind of pricey.