Since I was marking my third decade on the planet, I decided to fill a long weekend with my favorite things. Strangely one day did involve a brown-paper package and lovely enough, the silver-white winter melted into Spring on Thursday. (Sound of Music fans will get those.)
Thursday was devoted to the sliver of Irish heritage that is no doubt somewhere in my blood from my father's side and definitely in my name (Megan Ryan) from my mother. Starting at noon with a great round of drinks at Stoddard's. We first attempted to test as many of the Harpoon specials that were on cask. Then another. Then (like last time) our waitress kept misinforming us about what beers were available. So the barkeep came over, looking straight out of a 1910's fancy downtown Boston establishment, and offered us a round on him. It pays to be smarter than your waitress, a lesson I relearn on Sunday.
St. Patrick's Day continued as we joined in the revelry at Faneuil Hall then drinking for free at Harpoon. We wrapped up the night with my favorite dish and local dinner joint - eggplant parm and Bella Luna.
Friday was brutal. 8 straight hours in the kitchen. Our first all-grain brew. Then more apps then you could shake a stick at for my evening shindig. Our first all-grain batch, a rye, will likely be low in alcohol and have a slight hint of burnt sock. (Our grain sock burnt to the bottom of the pot.) Oh well. What started off with hard work ended with many good friends gathered round the table at the Haven, being served kelp-chocolate beer by our local Scotsman.
Saturday, back to me time. I took a leisurely ride down to the Haymarket. If there's two things I love, it's slow cycling and Boston's Haymarket: the number one source for cheap produce. Some steals to be jealous of: ginormous bag of mixed greens for $2, 5 nectarines for $1, very large bunches of basil for $1, bags of onions for $1. I biked back on home with my load and then took myself out to get some pad thai and read a book I just got from the library. (Pad Thai and books are on my favorites list.) We ended the night with a bottle of cava and the best mussels I've ever had in my life at the bar at Bon Savour down the street. (Cava and mussels, also on my favorites list.
Sunday, more favorites: A belly dancing class at the adult dance school. A parade in Southie for St. Patty's Day.
Lastly, I donned my new red dress and Chris took me out to a very fancy, very expensive restaurant (with a Groupon). If you are in Boston, you must go to Aquitane. Without a coupon you can make it affordable by going 5:30-6:30 and doing a three-course, beat-the-rush menu for $30. It's worth triple every penny you spend. And when you're turning thirty, there's no better reason to spend every penny.