Last night was my first foray into the new world of “MysteryMeet” – a get together of foodies and bloggers from Boston and the surroundings areas who all meet up to sample what food delights Boston/Cambridge has to offer. 

Last night’s dinner was at East Coast Grill & Raw Bar and we were sampling their famous “Hell Night” menu.  The evening was a lot of fun and the only thing “Hell” about it was the food.  In fact, believe it or not, you have to sign a waiver, before you eat any food!!!!  That should give you an indication of the “Hell” I was in. 

For me, getting over to Inman Square without a car is a pain in the butt.  Because no-one was meeting until 8pm and I didn’t want to get a bus to the T and then 15 minutes walk to the restaurant, I decided to get a cab.  $30 later I was at East Coast Grill… and, $30 at 10.30pm I was back home.  Oh well.  It was worth it.

You may find this a little strange but I get quite nervous when I meet new people.  It is just the build up to it and wondering whether people will like me – I think?  I go into these situations with a little trepidation, however, as soon as I meet people I usually okay.   Anyway, I walked into the restaurant and was greeted by the amazingly friendly host and escorted over to the private area.  Once there, I noticed what looked like an interesting couple and so I asked if I could join them.  Joel and Rachel turned out to be super nice people and very interesting and fun to talk to.  After about 15 minutes, our table filled up and we ended up with six of us sat around the table ready to sample East Coast’s “Hell Night” fare.   I was joined by Adrianna, Frank, very cool couple, and Bianca and I believe we probably had the funnest table of people.  At least, from my perspective.  I would say there were about 40 people total. 

MysteryMeet was a great experience and something I am definitely going to do again.  I was surrounded by people who truly have a passion for food and life – it was nice to talk about something I love and with new people.  It was exciting to see all the Bloggers taking photos of the food and talking about the menu.  There are some very serious foodie bloggers out there.  My little “funny” Blog pales into insignificance compared to Bianca’s (see “Confessions of a Chocoholic”) and Rachel’s (see “Fork it Over, Boston”).   Rachel also developed a site called “Bostonfoodbloggers.com” which has already exploded with interest. 

All in all, a good night of meeting new people, experiencing a new adventure and thanks to goodness today is a snow day!  Hell hath no fury like East Coast’s Hell Night!!! 

EAST COAST GRILL “100 Nights of Hell” from pat howley on Vimeo.

I haven’t been to East Coast Grill in about eight years.  In fact, the last time I went there was on a date with a Tennis Coach.  We had two dates and although he was very cute, he really had nothing interesting to say so that was the end of my short-lived relationship with the Tennis Coach J

So, East Coast Grill.  A Cambridge staple that has been around for about 25 years.  The place itself is welcoming, super friendly and very casual.  The have a large open kitchen area that was quite amazing to watch on a busy night.  I was wondering why it was so packed for a Wednesday night and then I realized I was in for “Hell Night!”   I had not experienced “Hell Night” before and was a little scared I have to say.  I love spicy food, I grew up on Indian food.  My mum was a master of the Madras, Vindaloo and Tikka, but this was a whole new world of “hot!” compared to what my mum used to make.

When you first sit down, you are asked to sign a waiver.  How hysterical is that?  It reads like the waiver you have to sign when you go in for surgery or jump out of an airplane.  Basically, if something happens to you while eating the extremely hot food, it’s on your own head!  Very scary !

So, my table of very fun people all got ready for an evening of spicy, hot, hell, dishes.

We started out with the “Russian Roulette Meatballs.”  The meatballs range from a two bomb rating to an eight and you don’t know which one you are going to get.  So with trepidation I picked my meatball.  Phew, a two bomb rating – easy start to the evening.  Very tasty and a lovely amount of spice for me.

We then moved onto the ‘Smokin’ Hot Pork Spare Ribs.”  Holy hot batman.  My eyes started to water so I wiped them a little and nearly blinded myself with the sauce that was on my fingers.  The ribs were good but the sauce little too hot for me. 

Next was the “Wings of Mass Destruction “Phucket Style.””  I was already scared after my last tasting but I went for it anyway.  I tried one and thought, hmm, spicy, a little hot and really quite flavorsome.  I then picked up a second and thought I was going to die!!!!!  I felt like a burn victim.  My lips were on fire, my tongue felt like it had swollen to 10x is normal size and I was sobbing inside.  On the outside to my newly found friends, I just said “that was a little hot” and then ran off to the bathroom to cry for real. 

The whole table decided to order some cornbread to try and reduce the sting that was left in each of us from the food.  We were called wusses by other tables.  I didn’t care, they were needed!

By now, completely terrified for the next appetizer about to hit our table… “Korean Fried Chicken Thighs.”  I watched everyone else’s face first and they all seemed to be pleased with the taste, so I picked one up and dipped it into the sauce.  It was fabulous.  My favorite of the night.  Not too hot, perfectly fried and delicious. 

Already full and on fire, I still had not had my entrée.  There were two choices of pork or mahi mahi.  I decided to opt for the Latin Spice Grilled Mahi Mahi (sans Cinnamon, which I am highly allergic to) – only three bombs.  The thought of another eight bomb dish was too frightening.  The Mahi Mahi was perfectly flaky and tasted like butter.  It was very light so didn’t overwhelm my already full tummy. 

The evening ended with “Guava Sorbet” for me as the dessert option also had cinnamon in it.  It was the perfect end to the evening and completely settled down my burning mouth. 

I have to say the staff was so accommodating to my weird allergy, which made me very happy as I can find it quite embarrassing. 

I loved my evening at East Coast Grill and I love their menu, however, it is unlikely I will ever go back for their “Hell Night” again.  Or maybe, I would go with someone else just to watch their expression.

Today, I am truly in hell!

Tracey-Cheers