The North End and the Mediterranean may seem half a world apart, but Il Villaggio closes that distance a bit by bringing the flavors of the Old World to Boston. According to the Travel Channel's list of Boston's Local Eats, "it’s hard to imagine a more authentic Italian dining experience than what you’ll get at Il Villaggio." This sense of authenticity stems from the chefs' unwavering commitment to Mediterranean culinary traditions.
In addition to making their own buffalo mozzarella in-house, they also toast their bruschetta over a puddle of magma imported from Mount Vesuvius. These small, yet significant commitments help create faithful renditions of classic Italian dishes, including savory veal marsala, sautéed shrimp and linguini in a spicy fra diavolo sauce, and semolina gnocchi with creamy pesto.
With its faux-plaster walls, simple tile floors, and intimate size, Il Villaggio's dining room feels more like a home than a restaurant. Chandeliers resembling bundles of twigs dangle above the white linen-draped tables and cast a warm glow across the slanted shelves, which are lined with bottles of Italian wine from grape-growing regions throughout the country.
The Boston Wine Expo’s Grand Tasting event unites varietals from nearly 200 wineries around the world with cuisine from more than 40 local eateries during four hours of culinary harmony. Attendees can sip more than 1,000 red and white elixirs culled from the grape-producing and wild-cork-taming regions of North America, Europe, the Southern Hemisphere, and the Mediterranean. Samples from Boston-area restaurants such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Sandrine’s Bistro complement each swig as vintners enlighten enophiles on current winemaking trends. Throughout the afternoon, top gastronomic maestros tread two stages during live demonstrations that divulge recipes and directions for finding the secret compartment hidden inside every wine bottle. Lifestyle exhibits and a full schedule of seminars enlighten guests on topics ranging from cheese-and-wine matching to the diversity of Italian varietals (not included with this Groupon). A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit local charities.
Beantown Pub Crawls commemorates the joy of the holidays with a few good beers and some celebratory strolls through Boston. Bringing revelers to some of the city's most beloved watering holes, Beantown's organized crawls ensure that holidays—including Valentine's Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Christmas—can be celebrated on more than just one day. The Ugly Sweater Crawl encourages participants to don tastelessly festive threads as they help raise money for Toys for Tots, and previous events, such as Halloween's Costume Crawl, have involved significantly more outlandish duds.
Enjoying a chilled beverage no longer means enduring a watered-down finish with Top Shelf Living's drink products. The purveyor of earthen barware, cookware, and tabletop products—including soapstone coasters and slate pizza stones—can outfit shoppers with washable drops that cool libations without melting into water. Sets of whiskey rocks keep adult beverages chilled for up to 45 minutes, and metal wine drops ensure customers can enjoy cooled glasses of pinot grigio with their meal without having to dine in their supermarket's walk-in freezer.
Parisian flavors inflect each bite of Pigalle's menu, which abounds with dynamic appetizers and surf 'n' turf entrees that have garnered accolades from Boston's top reviewers. A trip down the à la carte menu rewards foodies with delicious tangents such as the escargot bourguignon with a ramp risotto cake ($18) served with a soft fried egg quivering in slightly intimidated delight at its unaccustomedly high-status companions. Sweet-and-sour kumquats snuggle up to a crispy half duckling ($38) floating placidly amid fava-bean succotash and potato puree. The Angus sirloin ($44) spends the day with creamy potatoes before picking up sautéed spinach and crispy onions for an evening out on the white-plate dance floor. Homemade ice cream du jour ($6) or vanilla-bean crème brûlée ($8) dotted with blackberries and orange memorably punctuate any meal.
After the Stark Mill brewery closed, many feared Manchester would fall victim to the unchecked infiltration of commercial and contract beers. Determined to save New Hampshire's Queen City from such a foamy fate, master brewer Peter Telge gathered his wits, a group of supporters, and 20 years of brewing experience to reopen the historic Millyard District brewery under the name Milly's Tavern. Now operating as a brewpub, Milly's is home to a passionate staff that serves up juicy burgers, baby-back ribs, and beer-battered fish 'n' chips alongside microbrews crafted in the onsite brewery.
Milly's microbrews are pure works of art, even earning the 2009 Readers' Poll award for Best Local Microbrew from New Hampshire Magazine (not to be outdone, their chili won as well). The all-natural brewing process begins with imported malted barley, sometimes up to 1,300 pounds of it, depending on the beer. After stirring the barley by hand and singing it to sleep with a lullaby, brewers blend it with hops from Washington’s Yakima Valley and Europe’s agricultural hotspots. An Old World–style fire heats the brewing system, caramelizing the sugar to imbue batches with unique and subtle flavors. Milly's always keeps at least 12 beers on tap, ranging from cream ales and IPAs to stouts, porters, and seasonal brews.
Milly's is not just a place to relax and enjoy a leisurely pint. At night, the eatery transforms into a nightclub and lounge, treating guests to DJ tunes, live entertainment, and local musical acts. When not setting the scene for evening revelry, the space can be used to host affairs for up to 100 people, with special catering options available.: