No 9 Park

No. 9 Park / Boston

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No. 9 Park is a special place.

I don’t mean “special” as in Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen live nearby in a similar looking, gorgeous brownstone in Beacon Hill, even though I hear they do. I mean “special” like it’s fancy, the type of place we’d all go to celebrate an achievement or occasion, or even just the fact we ended up with more money this fortnight than last.

This place has class, what with it’s dark lightning, mirrored walls, and dark wood finishings. It’s somewhere Ron Burgundy and the rest of the Channel 4 news team would have hung out had they broadcast in the 2000’s out of Boston. And even with that, it remains incredibly unstuffy and unpretentious.

The menu is the best part; there are so many mouth watering meals to choose from and so many ways to explore them. They offer a three-course prix-fixe, a chef’s tasting menu or a la cart options off the entire menu (they’ll just have to double check with the chef). So basically, anything is possible. We had so many questions for our excitable, patient and helpful waiter, but he actually seemed to like it.

The menu changes often and also seasonally, with the exception of their most famous dish, the prune-stuffed gnocchi (it’s VERY good). The slow roasted pork belly was exquisite, as was the Terrine of Hudson Valley Foie Gras I ordered. But! what ended up happening on our small table for four was that we each got the three-course prix-fixe menu of an appetizer, an entree and a dessert ($69 each) then shared everything. It truly was a eating extravaganza at No. 9 Park that night.

I am usually either over or underwhelmed by the amount of food consumed at three course meals but the portions we were given felt just right. That is, of course, until the bill landed on the table with complimentary, exotic looking chocolates. That’ll tip anyone over the edge.

If only I lived in Boston and had an Old English Sheepdog named Bleeker who just learned to rollover into a hug, we’d be at No. 9 Park high five-ing over the dark chocolate tart. Because, forget special occasions… any reason for a fancy dinner will do.

No. 9 Park
9 Park St, Boston, MA 02108, United States
617-742-9991 (Call to book in advance)

Boston

The Butcher Shop / Boston

Boston

Boston

Boston

 

Boston

Boston

There are many times when expectations for a restaurant are raised ridiculously high and they are met with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek, but it is rare that expectations are surpassed. That was the case with The Butcher Shop in Boston.

My family was very excited to be going to many places in Boston together, but this seemed to be their number one. Located on the corner of one of the prettiest streets in Boston, visiting The Butcher Shop is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

The decor is simple, modern but comfortable. It feels light with large, open windows and high wooden tables surrounding a butcher’s cutting table. You see, The Butcher Shop is not just a name, it’s a description. This is a wine bar and cafe situated inside a butcher shop with a butcher always on hand to help you select the perfect cut of meat or chicken.

We couldn’t take away meat, being tourists and all, but we did do a bit of damage on the menu: a shared plate of salami, prosciutto, duck liver mousse, cheese, jam and, of course, a glass of red wine. The perfect place for a business meeting or a friendly catch up session.

We then got into two delicious main plates: the flank steak and the burger with blue cheese and wagu and a second glass of wine. Making it the perfect place for nearly any occasion.

Also, their pre-meal offerings are excellent. A baguette and soda bread basket with a spread of vermont honey and salted butter are placed on the table as menu are passed out. Good luck controlling yourself on that.

The Butcher Shop
552 Tremont Street Boston, Massachusetts 02118
617-423-4800

Sportello Boston

Sportello & Drink / Boston

Sportello Boston

Sportello Boston

Sportello Boston

Sportello Boston

I’m going to keep this post simple, authentic and exciting as those are three adjectives that also perfectly describe Boston’s Italian restaurant, Sportello.

You gotta trust me when I keep repeating, ‘You have to try this place. TRUST ME’!

It will not be easy to choose from the small menu, but there is no need to worry as the friendly staff is there to help. They won’t only walk you through the menu, they will get you salivating for the feast to come.

The dish that made me desperate for a second visit was the Potato Gnocchi with mushroom ragu, peas, cream. It’s worthy of a little… OMG! OMG! OMG. The Tagliatelle with bolognese sauce and fried basil was a slam-dunk. My dad kept saying it tasted just the way my grandpa’s sister used to make it (she’s 100% italian, by the way). The Strozzapreti with braised rabbit, picholine olives, rosemary was like making a basket from half court!

Honestly, I recommend all the pasta on Sportello’s menu because I’m confident anything you order will be spectacular! I’m feeling a bit crazy so I will also recommend the Colorado Lamb Shank with vegetable stufato, risotto, rosemary glaze. It was spectacular.

And because I’m (apparently) completely insane, I think you should forget about your bedtime and stay out after dinner. Sportello is on the second floor of a two-story building; underneath it lives a place called Drink, a cool, dark bar where you can get a cocktail to match your personality! I KNOW! How fun!

So, there you go! Your first night out in Boston is sorted. All that’s missing is you!

 Sportello
348 Congress Street Boston, Massachusetts 02210
617-737-1234 (They take reservations)

Sweetcheeks Boston

Sweet Cheeks Q / Boston

DISCLAIMER: I wish I could say this was an actual music festival in Boston but it’s not. It’s better: a restaurant that was so much fun to eat at it felt like a festival.

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Sweetcheeks Boston

THE VENUE: 

SWEET CHEEKS Q is on Boylston St. near the historic Fenway. It’s not exactly what it sounds like but it’s pretty dang close: Texas style BBQ near the ballpark and a lot of other sweet things on the side.

THE OPENING ACT: 

BISCUITS!! You HAVE to order the bucket of biscuits (this brings 4 gigantic biscuits) as soon as you sit down. Yes, with your drink order! I promise they don’t care, they’re used to it. And, okay. I’m no biscuit connoisseur, but I strongly believe those were the best biscuits I have ever had and will ever have. Slather some whipped HONEY BUTTER (!!) on them, slap me silly and call me Miss Piggy because your life will change in an instant.

If you cannot finish the entire portion then don’t. Don’t feel bad about it. There is so much more to come. Just make sure not to over exaggerate when you’re ordering. Portions run large.

Sweetcheeks Boston

THE HEADLINERS OF THE NIGHT:

Berkshire pulled pork, berkshire pork ribs, pulled chicken, buttermilk fried chicken, and the hot wings. Everything comes on cute, personal silver trays. Yes, there’s a lot of options there and I’ve only mentioned the ones I actually tried. (We went twice and with a big group. Would you do a festival any other way?*)

Everyone in my group preferred different meats, but absolutely everything was smoked to perfection so I say choose what you know you already like! The unexpected winners for me were the pork ribs (thank you dad!) and the pulled pork.

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES:

If you like sweet tea, try it here. I’m not one for it but I’ve seriously never seen my sister as happy as when she’s holding her extra large mason jar of sweet tea. When it comes to the sides, I would recommend to always order scoops AKA the small size. Our favorites (in most liked order) were the cheesy grits, salt and pepper potatoes, coleslaw, hush puppies.

Sweetcheeks Boston

THE BAND AIDS**: 

There will be three innocent looking sauces in the middle of your table, next to the silver tin of cutlery and napkins. TRY ALL OF THEM! There is a thai chili hot sauce that will make your brain feel silly. I love that sort of stuff. Another is a tomato based sweet sauce which causes intense and rapid licking of the fingers. The other is a vinegar based sauce that brings them all together.

The FANS:

Drinks! There is a large, wooden bar at the back where you can sit, have a drink and wait for your friend(s) or watch a game on the large TVs above. Sweet Cheeks Q offers an extensive array of beers and an even more exciting cocktail list. I wish, I wish so hard that I could remember the name of the cocktail I had because it was TOO GOOD. The part of my brain that deals with memory must have shutdown from an overload of happiness after my meal.

I should mention that most tables at Sweet Cheeks are communal and all food is served on trays with brown paper lining. If that’s not your sort of thing then don’t go. Because, okay. Even if you don’t like this genre of music you have to admit these headliners offer catchy hits that go straight to the top of the charts! Oh, look. Their new single just moved up to #1 on iTunes.

Sweet Cheeks Q
1381 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215, United States
(617) 266-1300
(They take reservations. Do it.)

 

*I actually don’t know the answer because I’ve never been to a Music Festival.

**I watched Almost Famous (favorite movie of all time) on the plane to Boston so blame Cameron Crowe for this post.