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Eating our fill at Hungry Mother – or – How all anniversaries ought to be celebrated

8.August 2011

Today, friends, Dan and I have been married (civilly) for three years. This comes as a surprise to both of us.  Seems like longer and shorter at the same time.  Since this happy day falls on a Monday this year, we decided to celebrate early with a trip to Maine on Saturday and a decadent dinner last night at Hungry Mother.

Maine is nothing new for us – we go there on day trips a couple of times a year and it’s always lovely.  In fact, I’ve never seen the Nubble Lighthouse when it wasn’t sunny and beautiful – you can chalk it up to luck or the fact that we’re unlikely to take a road trip when the weather is crap, but I think it’s because it’s a magical place.  We went to the lighthouse, to Perkins Cove, and drove around Ogunquit a bit.  On the way home we stopped off in Portsmouth, NH, which turns out to be an awesome little town!

But really, guys, you don’t need to hear about that portion of our celebration.  We need to talk about Hungry Mother.  We need to talk about Hungry Mother and how I don’t ever want to eat anywhere else ever again.  It was so – so – good.

We decided to go a little early and have a tipple at the bar.  Dan got a No. 43 (rye, port, maple syrup, bitters) and I got a No. 64 (Mezcal, green Chartreuse, carpano antica – whatever that is).  Seriously delicious drinks, very friendly service, tastes of a phosphate (soda mixed with acid phosphate).  My drink packed a wallop, so I was thrilled when we were ushered to our table and promptly presented with some bread and butter.  We then proceeded to wine (Dan a glass of Riesling and me a glass of Syrah Rose) and food.  And let me tell you – the food at Hungry Mother hits all the notes that I think are most important – old school simplicity and charm, a little inventiveness, nice-but-unfussy presentation, good value, unexpected touches, the kind of unpretentiousness that comes from confidence that the food is amazing.

Here’s what we ate: (And I’ll warn you – the photos are crap because I still haven’t figured out how to photograph food by the light of a Cambridge candle – read: a fake plastic candle because Cambridge doesn’t think we can handle some hot wax and a little flame.)

To Start, Dan had a Pork Plate (the menu just said “pork deliciously prepared,” which it was – I think it was braised belly with crisp, sweet salty skin, served over a corn and grain deliciousness.)

I had the Bourbon Braised Rabbit (with grilled plums, cipollini onions, and grits), which was maybe the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

For main courses, Dan had the French style gnocchi, which was beautifully complex and rich for a vegetarian dish.

I had Catfish Pecan Meuniere, which was divine.  The catfish was, as all catfish should be, coated in cornmeal and fried up crisp and brown and served with slightly sweet pecans and a savory white wine brown butter sauce over rice pilau.  To. Die. For.

For dessert, Dan had the special brown butter honey cake with raspberries and buttermilk ice cream (the better of the two desserts) and I had a Peach Brown Betty.  This was the only course that I didn’t swoon over, but I blame that on the season and being too far north to get real peaches.  The Brown Betty part was sensational.

All in all, a stupendous meal and one I’d happily repeat today.  And tomorrow.  And the next day.

Hungry Mother: 233 Cardinal Madeiros Avenue, Cambridge, MA

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 8.August 2011 12:55

    We love this place – big fans. Great review!

  2. 27.August 2011 21:51

    I’m considering travelling half way around the world on the basis of the Hungry Mother pics! And Daniel and Emily, that’s a great anniversary pic of you both. It’s good for me to now be able to put faces to your names!

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      28.August 2011 17:45

      Ha! It is a really great restaurant – not sure if it merits a trip all the way from Down Under. Thanks for the kind words!

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