Sofra Bakery (Cambridge, MA)

Last month, my brother came to visit from England, so on the morning of St Patrick’s Day we had to pick up my brother at Logan, which meant this was a good opportunity to try out a new place for breakfast someplace down in the Boston area.

I know a rather good selection of places to eat in the Boston area, but not a lot of breakfast places (a byproduct of the fact that Boston is around 2.5-3 hours from here, depending on traffic, is that we usually get there well after breakfast hours). But several of my friends up here in NH have lived down there, so I asked coworker A for a good Saturday brunch suggestion. She was already going to be in Boston that weekend, so she simply recommended that we just join her and some friends at Sofra in Cambridge for some of their “Turkish Inspired Cuisine.”

Sofra is basically a bakery; the primary attraction walking into Sofra is a large pastry case filled with all sorts of delicious pastries (mostly Turkish, but also several European and African pastries as well), cellophane sleeves of Hurricane Cookies, various to-go packs of spiced nuts, and the like. They’ve also got a good selection of coffee drinks, featuring the well-respected Counter Culture coffee.

But Sofra isn’t just a bakery, they’ve also got a mezze-style of Turkish-, Lebanese-, and north African-inspired dishes with both breakfast and lunch menus. While not spending a lot of time looking at their lunch menu, their breakfast menu was quite impressive, ranging from fresh-glazed buns, yoghurt parfaits, and even hot breakfast items like pancakes, the Turkish breakfast (a small platter with soft-boiled egg, cucumber, tomato, olives, feta, and yogurt), spiced donuts, and several specials.

Looking over the menu, I ended up settling on the Migas: cubed French bread with chorizo, roasted veggies and a poached egg. Chorizo? Poached egg? Hard to say no to this combination, and I’m glad I got it. The chorizo was quite flavorful, the egg perfectly poached, and the little cubes of French bread just soaked up all the extra juices. This was pretty close to the perfect breakfast for me.

That said, I almost had a case of breakfast envy when looking at my friend A’s Shakshuka breakfast. A fairly simple dish of poached eggs in a tomato curry broth served up with some bread, it looked wonderful. And smelled even more delicious. While I adored my migas, I’ll have to seriously consider trying the shakshuka next time.

But the greatest thing about a Saturday morning breakfast at a bakery is that your breakfast can include a proper dessert course. And here’s where we really enjoyed Sofra, since Carol and I managed to split several items, including a Moroccan spiced donut (which was perfectly fluffy and spiced), a most wonderful little slab of chocolate-hazelnut baklava, and even a nice little phyllo-topped Egyptian bread pudding. With all of that, we only barely dented the selection available, since they’ve got a vast assortment of phyllo pastries, cookies, buns, brioches, and the like. I could easily see myself stopping by here, even if not hungry, to pick up a few items to go.

In any case, Sofra was good enough that they are near the top of my hit list for a repeat visit: find a nice, sunny, Spring or Summer morning, head down to Sofra, and hope to have one of the nice outside tables as I enjoy trying out their shakshuka and a few more pastries.

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