Rachel Cossar

Valentine's Day Alden and Harlow Brunch

Like many holidays and occasions, Valentine’s Day has become a massive industry across America

Nowhere is this truer than in the restaurant industry. Reservations are made months in advance, restaurants roll out special menus,

drinks and some even open their doors when otherwise they would be closed.

Amongst the array of tantalizing options, half the battle is often in picking a spot – that’s why I recommend a different approach. This year, instead picking a restaurant out of the hundreds of options, why not pick an area? This Valentine’s Day, set yourself up with an itinerary in Harvard Square, arguably one of the more romantic squares this city has to offer. Here is what I would recommend.

Brunch. Alden and Harlow. Definitely make a reservation and prepare yourself for a menu full of local, creative and delectable treats. Start off with one of their brunch cocktails, like the bee sting (gin, ginger, honey and mint) or their sparkler of the moment, a mimosa of sorts with a spur of the moment kick.

Must-orders are their pickled corn pancakes, croissant toad in the hole (house-baked croissant bread with an egg slowly poached in the center and topped with Gracenote red-eye gravy and Benton jam.)  For something a little heartier, opt for their crispy pigs’ tails with grits, Dave’s sausage and potato skillet or their biscuit breakfast sandwich. On the lighter but equally delicious side, their raw pumpkin salad is an explosion of vibrant color and delicious, fresh tastes. Of course, a trip to Alden and Harlow is almost impossible without at least contemplating ordering Chef Scelfo’s infamous secret burger…

As you round out your meal with Ellen’s Berry Buckle (a skillet full of light blueberry loaf topped with house-whipped cream), you can start to look forward to your next move – a couples’ massage at Pyara Aveda Spa and Salon. Yes, because this day is about treating yourself and your significant other simultaneously. Located a perfect ten minute walk from Alden and Harlow, you can get a variety of spa and salon treatments done at their one-year old location. I recommend an hour long massage wherein you and your special someone are start off with a side by side foot soak and exfoliation leading into a head to toe massage tailored to your specific needs.

After you float out of the spa, take the opportunity to peruse around the square, stop by crema café for a caffeinated beverage or Follow the Honey for all the bee-related products you didn’t know you wanted.

Harvard Square is a perfect area to create an inspired itinerary around. Start with Alden and Harlow for brunch, fit in a perfectly tuned spa treatment, call it a day or be aggressive and head back to the square for dinner at any one of the fantastic restaurants – after all, who decided Valentine’s Day had to be squeezed into one activity?