Monday, August 6, 2012

Dining Around Town: Stella

Happy Monday!

Let’s start this week off with a new series, shall we? Honestly I have no idea why I haven’t done this yet – I eat out more than I probably should, to the point that one of my favorite pastimes is trying out new restaurants and finding new favorites. If I’m constantly reviewing them internally, why wouldn’t I share the good, the bad and the ugly? Absolutely no reason at all, but I am a total dummy and the thought hadn’t crossed my mind until Saturday night when the boyf asked, “So do you review all of these places that we eat on your blog?”

I immediately felt dumb – and a few seconds later, pretty darn grateful for my pretty great boyfriend pointing out my passions. Also note that this question came out right after I had a semi-inappropriate freak out about the mouthgasm that was my appetizer – but more on the later. Like, if you have to be reminded to contain yourself when eating in public, why WOULDN’T you talk food on your blog? Like I said, dumb.

So, onto the main event. On Saturday night, we finally made it to Stella in SoWa, which has been on my list of must-do restaurants since the Everygirl came to Boston and gave it a stellar review. In absolutely NO way did it disappoint; I would almost venture to say that they undersold it. Crazy, I know – here’s why.

We couldn’t get a reservation until 9:30, and after having to wait that long to eat, I still thought it was 100% worth it. Upon arriving, I fell in love with the Parisian café-style outdoor seating – complete with steel tables and chairs and buzzing with late evening chats over cigarettes and drinks in the heavy, humid heat. The mood inside was similar; it was lively but very sophisticated – lots of young couples and groups of girls enjoying a few drinks (which I soon learned are to DIE for) or a glass of wine in a super chic, mostly white, candlelit ambience. Loved.

Our waiter came over to take our drink order almost immediately after we sat, and with such a crazy amazing cocktail list, I almost wasn’t ready to make a choice – but I decided on a concoction of gin, apricot and Campari. He warned me that it wasn’t sweet and asked if I liked bitter things – win #1. I hate super sweet drinks so I was even more excited for this, and it didn’t disappoint. Not actually super bitter at all, but incredibly refreshing on a steamy summer night.

I wasn’t particularly crazy about the appetizer menu, but the boy was hungry so we decided on the Parmesan Arancini – that is until I heard the appetizer special: prosciutto with figs, gorgonzola, basil and local lavender honey. I almost peed my pants with excitement; there was no way I wasn’t getting that goodness. And…it was even better than I ever could have imagined. The way the honey and the basil paired with the salty and creamy of the prosciutto and gorg was completely to die for – and don’t even get me started on the figs. It was complete and utter heaven in my mouth, to the point that I was gasping and laughing and almost crying and the boy pretty much told me I was embarrassing him. Having ordered a pretty straight up boring arugula salad, I think he was just jealous of my app.

Our mains did not disappoint either, though I have to say the app totally eclipsed everything about my meal – or pretty much any other meal I have ever had (exaggeration? Yes. Far from the truth? No.). I had the linguine with asparagus cream, poached egg, truffle and thyme (as recommended by the Everygirl), and the boy had the homemade gnocchi with tomato, basil and parm. The pasta was fantastic – as if the cream wasn’t enough, the yolk of the poached egg was a delightful addition to the bits of asparagus and homemade linguine. Definitely on the heavy side, but I’ve got a lovely little serving for my lunch today – so, still a win. I, of course, tried the gnocchi as well – it was served very uniquely, almost like it was grilled – and in much larger-than-usual log-like pieces. It was yummy, but definitely nowhere near the level of the linguine (the sauce was fairly standard tomato-basil, nothing too surprising or interesting).

Our waiter (who was clearly fantastic, if you couldn’t tell) brought over the dessert menus after packing up my linguine, without asking us if we wanted to see them. Normally, this temptation would irritate me because normally after a big meal out, the last thing I want to do is tack more calories into my day and more $$$ on the bill, BUT – 1. Everything else was so amazing that I knew Stella’s dessert would be worth it, and 2. I pretty much never say no to tiramisu, which to my delight, was the first thing on the menu.

To preface this, I have to lay out that my love affair with tiramisu started back in middle school – my birthday cake has been tiramisu every year since I was about 13 (I had a sophisticated palette, what can I say?), so I am VERY picky about the execution of this dessert. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered it out and have taken no more than one bite (or even none) – it is completely obvious if it is store bought and kept frozen in the back freezer somewhere. But of course, Stella did not disappoint. The lady fingers were perfectly soaked, the coffee flavor was perfection, and the mascarpone was gloriously rich and lightly fluffy at the same time.

The boy ordered cannoli, which shockingly (or not so shockingly considering how out of this world our meal was) appeared to have been filled in-house – possibly even more of a rarity than homemade tiramisu – the shells were still completely crisp and the ricotta was lovely. His only complaint was that they weren’t topped with chocolate chips, but I would like to remind him that Stella is for grown ups.

We topped off the night with a nice walk through the ghetto back to Southie – but even that and the fact that it was still 85 degrees and humid couldn’t ruin my night – officially my new favorite restaurant, no question. Oh, and I literally dreamed about what I was going to order for my next meal there (short rib, fig and gorgonzola pizza and a cantaloupe martini – and maybe the apple crostada…).

If you’re in the Boston area (or visiting soon), Stella is a MUST if you haven’t been. What are your favorite restaurants?

1 comment:

  1. yum! I think it is a great idea to review all the places you go! Looking forward to more


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