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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!

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