Where are they now?

So… we had a yard sale a few weeks ago and while I was digging through the attic trying to figure out what to sell, I came across some fun and nostalgic Boston food items. The first is a copy of the tasting menu we had the very first time we ever went to No. 9 Park. This was the most amazing experience for us ever… one, because it was our first time in the restaurant… two, because it was the first tasting menu we ever did together… three, because the meal was AMAZING… and four, because it was the first time we ever spent that kind of cash on one meal!

We asked the staff if we could get a copy of the menu along with all the wines we were served (we did the pairing and I believe, it was $180 per person). Here is what we received… though the print is probably a little small since I scanned it in (but you can probably double-click to zoom). In any case, this was the most incredible meal we ever had and still ranks in the top three (really top two — if not number one) of all meals we have EVER had!

The Cream of Celery Root with duck confit and apple foam leaves a particularly strong memory as does the Foie Grasau Torchon with fig butter and brioche — though everything was wonderful. Needless to say, we cabbed it home that night (we still lived in Back Bay at that time) — considering the 9 glasses of wine we had!

This next menu is from the same year (2001), but on New Year’s Eve. We headed to Radius that night and had a blast. We tried Radius again the following NYE with some friends but it just wasn’t the same. This year in particular was so much fun and the food was great. If memory serves me right, the Wild Sturgeon with parsley, caviar, chopin vodka and creme fraiche stands out and I remember the Cinnamon Beignets and Hot Chocolate that finished the evening were scrumptious!

In May of 2002, we went back to No. 9 for another tasting and we did the 10-course again — but chose to do a partial wine pairing (rather than every course). At this point, I don’t remember what the cost difference was. Once again, the Foie Grasau Confit with Armagnac gelee and raisin croutons was a standout, as was the Butter Poached Maine Lobster with fava beans & Kumamoto oyster vinaigrette. No. 9 is first class all the way and if you have never been, you MUST go — and do the tasting!!! The menu changes daily, they make accommodations and substitutions based on your likes and dislikes and the service is impeccable.

This next item is the cover of Boston Magazine’s Chef Special from 2002. I love that it’s all female chefs on the cover and I’m very happy to see that all four of these women are still a hot item in the Boston food world.

Barbara Lynch has been wildly successful with No. 9 Park, and has since added B & G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Niche Catour, Plum Produce, Stir and her soon to open three new “concept restaurants” in the South Boston Seaport area. Esti Benson has also been succesful with her partnerships in flagship restaurant Radius and has had the same success and press with Via Matta. Joanne Chang is only getting bigger and bigger with her two Flour Bakery + Cafe locations and her collaborative effort in Myers + Chang — both of which are two of my new all-time favorite places. And, Michela Larson of blu has since opened Noir in Cambridge and Rocca Kitchen and Bar in the South end — not too shabby!

Last, but certainly not least, I came across this [unused] gift certificate to the now defunct Grillfish. Sad but true — it’s gone… and Grillfish used to be one of my favorite places in the city. The decor had a gothic sex appeal to it, there were always coconut scented candels burning and they had the BEST Stoli Dolis in town (pineapple-infused vodka). On top of all that, their fish was always super fresh, cooked perfectly and served plain… allowing you to select from one (of three — I think) sauces. I always went for the sweet onion paired with whole pan-fried trout… it was delcious!

Ahh… good times!

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