A couple of weeks ago, the fabulous Kristen Haley of x10industries contacted me on twitter with an invite to a bloggers’ evening at Villa Francesca in Boston’s North End. This was my first official invite to a foodie event, so I could not have been more excited! I also have a very bad habit of always going to my favorite restaurant in the North End, Piccola Venezia, due to a strong fear of having inferior food at an inflated price. So Kristen had just offered me the perfect opportunity to spread my traditional foodie wings!
I was also excited because this would be a great opportunity to meet, in person, some of the amazing Boston Fooderati I have been tweeting with for months! My amazing dining partners included: Lara of Good Cook Doris, Melissa of The Foodies at Work, Daisy of Indulge, Inspire, Imbibe, Alicia of The Clean Plate Club, Katie of The Small Boston Kitchen, Meghan of Travel, Wine, Dine, Megan of Delicious Dishings, Michelle of Fun and Fearless in Beantown, and Justin of Justin Can Cook. I could not have asked for a better group to dine with! Sure, there were 83 cameras flashing every time a dish was served, and nobody touched food until all pictures were cleared, but I would not have had it any other way!
A few notes on the restaurant before I continue. Villa Francesca is located on a side street just off of Hanover. It was the first night of Restaurant Week, and they had just released a Groupon, so the kitchen was a little slow, but the service was pretty good, and the owner Bill made his rounds to explain every course, ala Top Chef, which was a nice touch. We sat in the basement, which I assume is used for private parties. This room has a very low, exposed beam ceiling, and a great wine cellar. But I will say this room was WARM. I was hoping I chose the right outfit to hide the sweat marks that were sure to ensue! But I digress, back to the food!
Next up an antipasti plate was delivered between every four diners. My favorite item on the plate was the mozzarella that was like buttah! But I also can’t resist cured meats, so in reality, everything on the plate was my favorite! This was served alongside the bread and olive oil which were not really worthy of a write up.
Following the antipasti, what was probably my favorite dish of the night was served, Fettuccine con Gamberi. The pasta was undoubtedly fresh, and delicious in its own right. It was dressed in a light tomato cream sauce and topped with 4 shrimp. I am not a shrimp fan, so I stuck to the pasta, and the pasta was good! Even though the shrimp dish was only a half serving, I couldn’t finish the whole thing, and at this point had no idea how I would get any more food down!
The main courses came and went, they paled in comparison to the pasta, so I will not bore you with the details. However, the next delight was the fresh, MADE AT THE TABLE cannoli! Now Ryan will tell you I am not a cannoli fan. I can bring home a box of cannolis from Mikes Pastry without even touching one. But having a cannoli made at the table, with your choice of mix-ins (I took all 3 – chocolate chips, walnuts & powdered sugar) was something I could not resist. The cream was outstanding, almost enough to make me like cannolis! Bill told us the secret is to keep it simple, only ricotta, sugar and vanilla. Simple is good Bill, simple is good!
All and all, this was a fabulous time! I will definitely head back to Villa Francesca the next time I am craving some delicious, homemade pasta. A special thank you to Kristen & Bill for their hospitality, it was a privilege! As for the rest of my Boston Foodies…well I don’t doubt I will be eating with you all again very soon!