Saturday, November 16, 2013

Date Night, Dining In

You know what? Sometimes the thought of going out stinks.

Let’s be honest here. Boston dining can be full of overpriced fare, waaaaaaay overpriced drinks, long wait times, and rowdy patrons. And, if you dine at certain establishments along Newbury Street, you can have all of those in addition to lighting so dim you can’t see the menu and a tab guaranteed to clock in north of a Benjamin. (And, for the record, one taco should never cost you a Hamilton… Actually, you know what? This is too important to be parenthetical information.)

And, for the record, one taco should never cost you a Hamilton.

Was that too negative? Bah. I think it was just honest. I don’t want to pay an extra $30 for the privilege of a long wait and a fancy garnish.

Which is why I was so excited to dine-in this weekend.

Earlier in the week, my fiancee pointed out an amazing-looking pizza recipe from Tapped from our engagement excursion a few weekends ago, we kind of dug the idea of trying a fun, fancy recipe – the kind of recipe where making it is a fun event in itself – and renting a good movie. Thus, we decided upon the prosciutto, pear, and mozzarella pizza and Monsters University.

fresh ingredients

We also decided that this would be a great night to do the dishes. Yes, those dishes, the two days of piled-up dishes that I had been trying oh-so-hard to ignore. Because I wash dishes like the Swedish Chef cooks food, I was soaked by the time I finished, but at least the kitchen was clean and ready for pizza-making.

an utterly absurd amount of dishes

Drying off, I took a seat at my laptop and directed myself to Anyone who has used a Red Box knows that they are the most cutthroat of vending machines. A moment’s hesitation can result in someone else renting your movie, so it’s best to just reserve it through the website and pick it up later. Before checking out, the rental that I placed in my cart had been taken (see what I mean?), leaving only one Red Box in all of Boston that had Monster’s University, so I took it.

Getting the movie, however, turned out to be another story altogether. The Shaws on Commonwealth isn’t that far away or hard to find – and neither is the Red Box inside of it – but it is gigantic. If you have no familiarity with the layout, expect to spend a few extra minutes just orienting yourself from time to time. The recipe, I’m sure you saw, called for ingredients that had me constantly crisscrossing the store. For example, naan bread was, naturally, next to the block cheeses, and pears – the most elusive ingredient on the list – had been located at the entrance all along.

tasty results

I returned home later than expected, but within 20 minutes the pizza was cooking away in the oven. A couple minutes more and we were ready to eat and watch.

We set the coffee table with the pizza, plates, silverware, and a beer sampler. The beer sampler (tray and four glasses), by the way, is a fun way to spruce up any evening of eating in. It cost only a handful of dollars at Target, and two bottles will more than fill the four tiny glasses.

table is set

dinner is ready

Finally, we sat down and enjoyed an evening in. The movie was great; the food was spectacular. The recipe is highly recommended (we added dried cranberries, too), and we saved a ton of money by cooking for ourselves and renting a movie rather than visiting the theater. The total cost of the evening was $35, which is incredible for a delicious meal, drinks, and a movie. Also, I have to point out that The Blue Umbrella, the Pixar short before the movie, was amazing – especially to me, because of its clever use of architecture.

Beantown, you are a foodie town, and we love you for it, but sometimes we just want to eat in.

Til next time!

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