Saturday night was one spent eating and drinking my way through Boston’s North End with three fabulous friends. I have been down about work and a few other things, not feeling great about training (until my 18 miler on Sunday which was awesome!) and in general just wiped out, and a night out with Daisy, Megan, and Michelle was exactly what I needed.
For Michelle’s 30 While 30 list, she wanted to go on a progressive dinner, with five different stops: cocktails, appetizers, entrees, desserts, and cocktails again. Over a month ago when we were trying to set a date to catch up, we started on the idea of dinner in the North End which turned into a progressive dinner. If you have an occasion where you need many restaurants close together, the North End is definitely it.
We ate, drank, and a laughed a LOT over the course of the evening. Like I said, it was exactly what I needed.
We kicked off the North End crawl with cocktails at Ristorante Fiore. I grabbed this photo to illustrate that when we met at 5:30, it was this bright out. Yay.
Fiore makes great cocktails and has a fabulous roof deck that is open in warmer weather, a great place to grab a drink and some oysters. On our progressive dinner agenda, we had time for a drink, and I had a cocktail made with gin and basil. It was delicious, herbaceous, and very strong. It definitely kicked off the night on a fun note and got me chatting away.
Next up was a stop at the recently reopened Mare Oyster Bar. We are all oyster fans, so we ordered two each and enjoyed the briny goodness.
Oysters and bubbly go perfectly together, so we ordered a bottle of Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut. I became a fan of Schramsberg on our cave tour, and it was the perfect choice to go with oysters. What I love about this wine is how many layers of flavor it exhibits, starting with the yeasty brioche and moving on to more acidic green apple and lemon. I thought it was divine.
Since we felt like we needed a little more food to add to our drinks, we also split the mussels at Mare and the polenta and clams. The polenta was so creamy and comforting. I tried to make some the next day, and it was gritty and not-so-great. If only I could make polenta this amazing!
I think we were all very happy with Mare Oyster Bar, and I am looking forward to returning for a date night.
With dinner on our minds, we moved on to Mamma Maria, one of my North End favorites. We have celebrated my birthday in their room for two, the Piccolo room, and we also celebrated our first anniversary there. The food is fantastic, and the interior is a quaint old house.
We moved on to red for dinner, Umani Ronchi Cùmaro, a wine made with 100% Montepulciano grapes. This wine packed a spicy punch! It also had a velvety mouth feel and a long finish and went so well with our Italian feast.
My photos don’t do it justice, but Mamma Maria’s pesto is bright, fresh, and bursting with flavor. A little of that on some bread, with a few olives on the side, is the perfect thing to curb hunger while waiting for dinner.
By the time my beautiful Bolognese arrived, I was starting to get full, but I carried on because it was just so good. Is there anything better than homemade pasta?
Prezza was our dessert stop. I had forgotten that I went to Prezza for marathon weekend dinner 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed it. The girls ordered Bailey’s on the rocks while I stuck with bubbles, a glass of Bouillot Cremant. Sparking wines from Burgundy are quickly becoming a favorite for me, and this copper hued beauty definitely went will with dessert. It had a creamy mouth feel but was also bright and fruity. It was love at first sip.
I don’t know how we ate more, but somehow we shared white chocolate bread pudding and fig and chocolate turnovers.
The turnovers had a slightly burnt taste to them, but I actually kind of liked it. It went well with the fig and chocolate and my Cremant.
Completely full, we made our way to our final stop, Bricco (with a stop at Stanza di Sigari, only to find it too crowded and just too smoky for us) for an after dinner drink. Bubbly was my choice there too; a Prosecco that was okay but not as memorable for me as either the Mirabelle or the Cremant. Prosecco just has too much of a pear flavor for me sometimes.
What a night. There was some out-loud singing of Whitney Houston songs as we tried to use social media to find karaoke bars in the neighborhood without luck. At least our fellow North End goers were treated to our beautiful song. I have to say that everything I ate and drank was really pretty great. Girls nights out are an absolute must in life, and I am so lucky to have such fun friends!
What’s your favorite way to spend a night out with friends?