Food has amazing cultural significance. We’re fortunate enough to not only eat when we are hungry and need to in order to survive but as a way to bond with others. There are few things in life that are better than enjoying hours of conversation and laughter over a meal or sharing simple thoughts and observations. Food as it permeates our lives often evokes memories from the past or is a fixture for the new memories we create. Conversations can be had at length about recipes, favorite meals or opinions on restaurants and dining experiences.
It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person by the friends they have and the company they keep. I have great friends and company. On Wednesday night I was able to officially celebrate transitioning into my thirties with a small group of friends at a restaurant I have always wanted to go to, Rialto in Harvard Square. I had high expectations for the restaurant which were mostly met. The food was pretty solid, although the drinks left everyone wanting. It happened to be Restaurant Week in Boston so we were able to order off of that menu and sample appetizers, an entrée and dessert for 33 bucks a person.
The meal started with a notable first, a basket of bread without accompanying plates which apparently is the traditional Italian way. Needless to say it was gone quickly with a replacement basket following right behind.
I ordered an interesting raspberry flavored drink with rum and club soda. It essentially was an adult raspberry lime rickey. It was my least favorite item.
For a first course I ordered “Quercia cured ham… asparagus, salsa verde, Tarentaise Springbrook cheese”. This was great. The subtle textures and flavor were great. My appetite grew and I was ready to go to town.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a steak person through and through. If steak is on the menu, it will be on my plate when dinner is served. For the entrée Steak was not an option on the menu and while lamb was, I actually followed my nose and ordered “Smoked and roasted chicken… chorizo, chick peas, peppers.” Someone had just been served at a table I passed while walking in. I never order chicken, but this was a pleasant exception.
For dessert I ordered the ” Chocolate espresso torta… strawberries and cream”. It was a perfect ending to a great meal. Oddly enough my strawberries seem to have been replaced by two munchkins, but I couldn’t complain. They were good!
Reflecting on the night made me think about why I’ve enjoyed learning to cook. Sure meals do taste better, are healthier and I experience more variety, but there’s more to it. I enjoy creating experiences and the memories people take with them. Food is a vehicle for achieving that goal. The chefs at Rialto achieved it and I’m looking forward to going back.
A big thanks to my friends. This was a night I won’t forget.