Last night went with my friend C to a fantastic place in the North End called Marco
. The restaurant was actually upstairs from a cafe, and seemed to benefit from the isolation provided by that location. It had a classy atmosphere and extremely friendly waitstaff. On a couple occasions they answered questions about how dishes were prepared.
The food started with a complimentary plate of focaccia with a small pot of tapenade. This chunky spread had identifiable olives, capers, onions, and garlic in it; it had a sweetness to it that worked very well on the bread.
We ordered a sweet potato risotto with braised pork (not pictured - I ate those earlier in the day before I thought to take a photo), the penne with pancetta and shrimp, and a side order of sauteed spinach. Delicious all around.
The texture of the piece of pork on top of the risotto was just amazing; crispy on the outside, but tender inside. I need to learn to braise meats (and I think I have a cut of beef in the freezer waiting for me to try it out on, now that i think of it.) And I loved the pancetta in the pasta dish.
It all reminded me a bit of the Tuscan meal we got to make for the release party at BEA last year. We all got to take the class at the Cambridge Culinary Institute. Pancetta played a good role in that meal as well. It's nice to get yet another reminder that I do want to cook more.
I just count myself lucky C was going out of town soon, so I got to abscond with the leftovers :)
Watch this space for an attempt to organize a mob for the knife skills class over there.