For all the time I've lived in Boston (now going on 6 years! Yikes!) I admittedly rarely make it into the North End....which flummoxes me, because I love Italian food.
On Monday night I was invited to a blogger dinner a Villa Francesca restaurant on Richmond St. I headed over with Michelle after work. We started at the bar with a glass of refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. When Meghan and Katie joined us we headed downstairs. We were greeted with two of my favorite things, Prosecco .........
And Oysters! These were delicious local oysters from Duxbury, MA. There were shucked right in front of us and were so fresh and delicious.
As more bloggers arrived, I realized that Villa Francesca and Kristen Haley had managed to wrangle many of my favorite people into the same room. Also in attendance were Megan, Lara, Renee, Melissa, and Daisy...as well as @JustinCanCook - one of my favorite twitter personalities.
After the oysters we all took our seats and were presented with HUGE antipasto platters. This was right up my alley. Caprese salad, prosciutto, salami, Parmesan cheese and olives. So delicious. I love love love Italian cured meats and cheese.
The service at Villa Francesca was amazing. The waitstaff made sure that our wine glasses were never empty. They were very friendly and attentive.
Our next course was pasta. Fresh fettuccine with shrimp in a light tomato cream sauce. This was outstanding. I love a good tomato cream sauce, and am totally irritated when I order it and I get a pink alfredo. This was much more tomato-ey with just enough cream to cut the acid of the tomato and bring out a sweet richness. Paired with the perfectly cooked shrimp, I was in heaven. ***note*** This was a HALF portion....so, if you order the full portion be prepared for leftovers (you won't be disappointed!). This was also where things went totally wrong for my waistline (but not my taste buds). I was relishing this dish so much, that I forgot that we had 2 more courses to go! whoops!
Next up was my entree - Fish with a butter sauce, escarole with white beans, and roasted potatoes. For anyone related to me, these potatoes tasted JUST like the roast potatoes my late grandmother would make at thanksgiving. They were SO good. I really enjoyed the sole; It was light, tender and flaky.
And then, dinner was ended on a perfect North-End note. The cannoli. The ricotta was freshly piped into the cannoli shell. We were told that all that goes into the ricotta is a little sugar and vanilla. It tasted so fresh and clean. The delicious shells are baked in house (all of their deserts are) and have a hint of citrus zest. We could have them topped with chocolate chips or nuts. I went with both. I figured I might as well guild the lily - since I had made it this far....
Deep in a food coma Katie and I split a cab home. Maybe we should have walked off that meal instead? I really enjoyed Villa Francesca. The food was delicious (and plentiful!) and the service was fantastic...It was not snobby or upscale, it definitely felt we were dining with friends (lots of them) and family.
Thanks Kristen and Villa Francesca, for a wonderful night.