This place is known for having a long line, minimal tables and staff (1 chef, 1 water and 1 dishwasher) and for being cash only. It's also known for it's black squid ink pasta. We both really love trying new places and were up for the adventure, so we planted ourselves in line and enjoyed the people watching.
In retrospect, it was probably the wrong weekend to try somewhere new in the North End. There were way too many people out and about and we ended up waiting in line for over 1.5 hours! By the time we sat down, I was almost foaming at the mouth I was so hungry! Because of the long wait, we were seated with another couple. This was fine, but I would have much rather been seated at one of their 2-toppers instead. (There are only 2!) Luckily, the service was quick and though we did have to ask twice for a basket of bread, our mouths were full soon enough.
To start our meal, we ordered the Clams Casino. The clams were delicious and very fresh but the dish was not what I would consider to be clams casino. It was, in fact, more like an under-stuffed, stuffed clam...very little breading, but a delicious, juicy, briny flavor. If there was bacon in it, I didn't taste it and if the flavor wasn't so good, I would have been disappointed.
Part of the charm of this place, besides being small, is that they serve most of their dishes in the same pan they were cooked in. Both Brian and I ordered pasta and both arrived in saute pans. I loved this because that meant that absolutely no flavor was lost from pan to plate. Every little delicious brown bit was left for me to sop up with my bread. Perfect.
I ordered the home made black pasta with ground squid, garlic and olive oil. I loved the thick, chewy noodles the most but paired with the oil and salty squid, it was a hit. I did mention to the people next to us that if the chef added more garlic and a dollop of the anchovy butter, the dish would have been out of this world. If we go back again, I might ask for these additions.
After grilling up some dinner in the alley on Saturday (Kansas style ribs (recipe), baked potatoes and corn on the cob) we made our way to the marina for the night. We originally planned on taking the boat out for a quick sail, but by the time we arrived, we simply weren't up for it. So we chilled out, had a few beers and played cards. (Someone in particular-ahem, Jeremy-would be happy to hear that Brian won!) While we were relaxing we heard one of our crazy neighbors (Paul, the liquor store owner) talking to everyone on his PA system. We laughed and exclaimed how crazy he was, until we realized that he was hosting a random concert on his boat! Crazy Paul, the liquor store owner! I thought this was particularly funny because just a few minutes before, I noticed a bunch of random men in Hawaiian shirts milling around the parking lot...turns out, it was the A Capella group! We joined the crowd on the docks and enjoyed the show...
There are thousands of times a week in which I close my eyes and thank God for the life I am currently living. Sitting on the dock with my B1, as he is sometimes called, was one of those times.
The following day we went home to shower (though we could have done that at the marina, we live only 10 minutes away, so it's preferable to do it at home) and made our way to Chowderfest 2011. Having never been, I was surprised to see how few vendors there actually were-only 6! I thought it would be a much bigger event. Regardless, we jumped right into the lines and started our taste testing.
After the first booth, Brian and I decided on a 1-5 star rating system. 1 was the worst and 5 was the best. The first booth we visited was Clancy's. I gave it a 2 and he gave it a 3. Which now surprises us, because Clancy's ended up being the overall winner. I think this has more to do with the fact that they were the first booth in the line and not how the chowder tasted, but I digress...
My favorite was the chowder from Anthem Kitchen-who actually won 2nd place this year (and first last year). Brian preferred Dooley's chowder, which was made with Irish Bacon. I agreed that Dooley's was good, but the potatoes were mealy and there was an herb in the mix which threw the flavor off-tarragon? I couldn't tell, but whatever it was, there was too much of it and I think that's why they didn't win.
With our belly's (kind of) full of chowdah, we ventured over to Fan Pier for the Extreme Sailing Races. These were the first sailing races I've ever seen before, and they were pretty exciting! It's amazing how sharp these boats can turn and how quickly a race can change. Not one boat seemed to win twice! This picture was actually taken the following day from our boat, not on the rocks on the pier.
Last but not least was Monday, the 4th of July. Slept in for a bit and prepared our food for the day-Marinated chicken kabobs (with mushrooms, zucchini and red peppers), shrimp skewers, corn on the cob and panzanella salad, oh, and fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert-and made our way back to the marina. It was a beautiful, beautiful day with great wind and so we took advantage of it and sailed all the way to Spectacle Island and back!
Overall it took about 4 1/2 hours and by the time we got back, we were hungry! So we grilled up our food and sat back and relaxed until the fireworks began.
Sadly, there was a tree blocking our view out of the marina so we couldn't watch the fireworks while sitting on the boat. Luckily there is a wonderful park right next door with an open view of the harbor, so we simply walked over there, set out a blanket and relaxed. It was absolutely wonderful....my life, and more specifically my life with Brian, is all kinds of awesome.
I hope you enjoyed this very long first post...and that you won't count on them all being this long in the future! Most of all, though, I hope that your 4th of July weekend was just was amazing as mine.