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Aug. 24

For our first Restaurant Week, we chose a rainy weeknight to dine at tiny but trendy-looking Mare in the North End! Hillary had passed this restaurant many times in the past and wanted to try it, so at Steph's insistence on joining the Boston foodie community at this year's Restaurant Week, we went! We were joined by Xing-Yin, and one of the highlights of the evening was the discovery that she and Steph may be the only two people left in our age group who still watch "Grey's Anatomy."

"Mare" is Italian for "sea," which is perfect because we both love good seafood! For appetizers, Steph had tuna mezzo crudo, which is seared raw tuna, and Hillary had pizzetta di mare, which is a mini-pizza with seafood, namely calamari, shrimp and scallops (I knew taking Italian in college would be useful one day!). Xing-Yin had the grilled octopus, which was so delightfully presented that she took a photo of it, shared below! Steph and Hillary both followed this up with poached arctic char, a salmon-like fish that was deliciously served with local beans and farro, which are both really healthy, so they essentially negate the olive oil in which the fish was drenched (we hope). (Fun fact about arctic char: The Monterey Bay Aquarium "Seafood Watch" program names arctic char one of the Best Choices for environmentally sustainable seafood!) The meal was incredible, and the laughter filling our dining table did wonders in helping us forget the gloomy and persistent rain outside!

On to dessert: the only part of the meal that was not beyond reproach was that Mare's restaurant week menu does not feature a chocolate cake! Instead, Steph and Xing-Yin enjoyed the tiramisu panna cotta ("cooked cream" similar in consistency to flan), while Hillary had the vanilla bread pudding for variety. Not only were these desserts beautiful, they were delicious! Steph wasn't entirely crazy about her panna cotta, so Hillary essentially had a dessert and a half. It was a good end to a rich meal, but wasn't chocolate cake! Despite this minor blemish, we've included Mare in our adventure log because the evening fits the bill of good food and good friends!

Vanilla bread pudding. The tiramisu panna cotta came out too blurry!

Sunset Grille (Sunset Cantina)

Aug. 5

We love reunions! Our friend Evelyne came to visit from Minnesota, so we met up with her and a couple other college friends for dinner at Shabu Zen in Allston. Steph is obsessed with this place! She has been talking about it longer than Hillary had been talking about the chocolate cake at Bar Lola. This was Hillary's (and Evelyne's!) first time at Shabu Zen, and not only was the company terrific, the food was great too! The vegetarian option was delicious, which was good because Evelyne and Hillary are vegetarians (actually, Hillary is a pescetarian, which means she still eats fish). Let's definitely go back!

After dinner we had the boldness to go for frozen yogurt! There was a place on the same block that charges by weight, but the frozen yogurt was a disappointment, so we only ate our toppings. Hillary and Evelyne had tart frozen yogurt at Berry Line the day before, so they weren't frozen yogurt-deficient!

Last item on the menu of events that evening: we strolled down to Sunset Grille on Brighton Ave, sister to Sunset Cantina on Commonwealth Ave. While we were planning to sit around, have a few beers, and enjoy Evelyne's company for the remainder of her visit, we didn't neglect to check the dessert menu! Sunset Grille doesn't have a traditional chocolate cake, so we tried their baked chocolate cobbler! This gooey, chocolate confection was basically a brownie with a side of ice cream and malted cream. Everyone around the table had a bite—it was delicious, and even more so when shared amongst friends! We decided that of the three chocolate cakes we've tried on this quest so far, this was by far the best! So Sunset Grille's baked chocolate cobbler is in the running to be the best chocolate cake in Boston! Unfortunately, we again forgot to bring a camera, and I don't remember how it looks, so this entry is without a picture.


Aug. 1

After a month’s hiatus (during which Hillary went to New York, then Steph went to New York, then Steph went to Brazil!), we finally re-embarked on our quest by eating at Flour, a South End favorite! Hillary had been hearing great things about Flour for a while now—that not only do they have delicious baked goods, but their sandwiches are yummy as well! We had brunch there (Steph had a really good caprese sandwich with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese, while Hillary had some ridiculous vegan sandwich of tofu, red peppers and olives, which turned out also to be very good!), followed by triple chocolate cake! While this cake was delicious, it was not at all what we require the best chocolate cake to be. Instead of being delectably dense, it was a light, whipped chocolate mousse. To make up for this disappointment, we treated ourselves to one of Flour's famous sticky buns! Now that was an excellent dessert!

We forgot to bring a camera, but the above drawings approximate the baked goods we enjoyed that morning. Steph's overall rating: take 2, bitches (we're going to give Flour another shot). The day was followed by strolling around the South End, sitting around the Public Garden near the lagoon, and gelato at our favorite gelato place by the Christian Science Center! After gelato, Steph went to Boston Market, where she requested a container of a bunch of different sides. What a fat kid!

Bar Lola

We start off our chocolate cake adventure with a bang! We celebrated a friend's birthday 2 years ago at Bar Lola, where the cake was so flourless and dense, it was the closest thing to solid chocolate a cake could get! We chose Bar Lola as our first stop because Hillary has been talking about this cake for over 2 years, and we had still not gone back! That all changed on Friday, June 25, 2010, when we commenced our quest!

Something else that changed, unfortunately, was the cake, and it wasn't just the delicious memory of the flourless chocolate cake past. This chocolate cake was dripping with raspberry sauce and had a layer of white chocolate on top! And while the variety may seem like a good idea, we prefer our chocolate unadulterated! In fact, we mostly only ate the bottom (the chocolate part), which Hillary thought was still great because, come on, it's chocolate cake! Steph thought that the fruit was the best part (healthy, too!). Her overall rating: not a fan. That takes Bar Lola out of the running to be the best in Boston!

Other highlights of the weekend:

-We went out with Steph's coworker on Saturday night, and one of his friends thought we were a couple! We would make an awesome couple, because love of chocolate cake is only one our many compatibilties!

-We visited Lolo in Connecticut! She made us lunch, which was amazing of her, and we got to meet her sister and dog, who Steph decided to christen Baloo! It was decided among us that the highest rating achievable by a chocolate cake would be "bangin'." Lolo also treated us to Dr. Mike's ice cream, where Hillary had—what else?—rich chocolate with hot fudge.