So Many Places, So Little Time...

By Kristen Henry

As young professionals who love a good meal and a great cocktail, it’s hard to find the time to enjoy the many established and new eateries and bars with friends. So when we do have time to get together, we’ve decided to accept the challenge of the progressive dinner. We chose the Pearl as our first adventure. It’s easy to park, navigate, walk, and plan, but there are definitely more challenging culinary escapades in the future. But for now we give you the Pearl Progressive Dinner.

4:45 With a full night of reservations in the books, we find easy parking, which is nice because the one thing you can’t plan is the weather. And the rain hit on our way down to the Pearl. (Quick tip: On a rainy day, bring a rain friendly pair of shoes to throw in your purse, so you don’t have to walk around in soggy shoes the rest of the evening.) A quick jog through the rain and we are sitting, slightly damp, at the bar at Cured. The always-welcoming staff is quick to get us water, delicious cocktails, and a place to hang our umbrellas. A bijou, a nineteen 75, and a chef salad (not an actual salad but a cocktail with tarragon) and plenty of interesting conversations about online dating, and we are done with stop one. Bonus: it was happy hour and an affordable start to our progressive evening.

6:00 The rain is only a drizzle as we head to Sandbar for the one thing we really love: fresh raw oysters. Now our number is four, and we are ready to leisurely enjoy some premium shellfish. We select a bottle of crisp Sancerre to accompany our fresh oysters: two varietals from Prince Edward Island, one from Massachusetts, and one from Maine.  This pairing is the perfect first course for a lively conversation about dating, the inevitable awkward date stories, and good quality girl talk.

7:45 We leave the quiet setting of Sandbar to the more lively ambience of the Boiler House. We make our wine selections and delve into the many options of their menu. We end up choosing a mix of protein and veggies: beets, Brussels sprouts, deviled eggs, beef skewers, chicken skewers, and bison meatballs. These small plates are the perfect size to share with a small group and perfect for a progressive dinner with friends.

9:30 It’s time for dessert and we head to Southerleigh for a trifecta of delectable sweets, some local brew, and a bottle of sweet tea. We sit at a comfortable table in the back. We decide to share three desserts, including crème brulee and a couple chocolate options that hit the spot. Bonus: our table is right next to a dartboard.  So to accompany our dessert course, we play a slightly off-the-mark game of cricket. Hey, we’re rusty, alright? Either way, we enjoy the added gaming with our sweet tea and IPA.

11:30 Our final stop of the evening is all about the cocktails and nice casual outdoor seating. The rain has stopped, the seats at Stay Golden Social House are dry, and the Game of Thrones themed cocktails hit the spot. It’s the perfect, laid-back end to a successful progressive dinner and a perfect evening with friends.

A few tips: 1) I’ll reiterate the need for appropriate and/or back-up foot ware for rainy days, 2) OpenTable won’t allow you to book two reservations within two hours of each other, so calling to make reservations for a progressive dinner is the way to go, 3) plan enough time in between reservations to not rush, this is about a fun night of food and conversation, not a race, and 4) have fun visiting new locations and old favorites.

Stay tuned for more progressive dinner adventures and please feel free to suggest progressive dinner ideas!

A few tips: 1) I’ll reiterate the need for appropriate and/or back-up foot ware for rainy days, 2) OpenTable won’t allow you to book two reservations within two hours of each other, so calling to make reservations for a progressive dinner is the way to go, 3) plan enough time in between reservations to not rush, this is about a fun night of food and conversation, not a race, and 4) have fun visiting new locations and old favorites.

Stay tuned for more progressive dinner adventures and please feel free to suggest progressive dinner ideas!