Girls night out at Casa Romero and the M bar

Last night I finally met up with my girlfriends from college for a fun night out. We live relatively close to each other but with our busy schedules and “adult responsibilities” somehow months go by between our meetings. Last week I had to put a stop to this and finally organized something. It was SO good to see them and we decided we need (at least) a monthly stand-in date so we don’t let this much time to pass again.

Of course every fun night out includes some really good food in my book ๐Ÿ˜€ The four of us met at Casa Romero, a Mexican restaurant hidden in the valley behind the famous Newbury St. I’ve heard a lot about this place but somehow none of us have ever been there. The restaurant is definitely a little bit hidden so we were surprised at the sheer size of it once we stepped inside. I couldn’t take pictures of the decor (the restaurant is in the basement so with no natural light, I was forced to use my flash which is extremely abrasive) but it was very colorful with large ceramic plates on the walls and lots of character. We were seated in smaller back room, which made it cozier (but with bright colors everywhere around us, still fun!).

Latin restaurant + fun atmosphere calls for sangria!! We got a pitcher to start (and then ordered another one with the meal). It was sweet and girly – perfect! :)

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Some chips + salsa were served right away. I had a few dips but the onion flavor was overwhelming. The salsa was quite fresh and the girls gobbled it right up.

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Casa Romero’s menu is extensive and everything sounded very creative and delicious. I loved that they marked some items in each section as “heart healthy” and was happy to discover that those items did not include the so often found steamed chicken with veggies or some other boring variety. We all know that healthy food can be exciting and flavorful, right? Thankfully Casa Romero got that message too, and I’m happy to report that my (heart healthy) camarones rostizados al chipotle (broiled shrimp in a chipotle sauce) were definitely one of the best Mexican meals I’ve ever had!!!

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All meals come with rice and refried beans. You can also sub grilled asparagus or roasted veggies for an extra $2. I did that and somehow got 3 sides. [I ate all the asparagus and rice and only a few bites of the beans]

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Everyone loved their food. I tasted a few dishes and think I made the right choice with mine. Seriously, the shrimp and the chipotle sauce was SO SO good. I am ready to go back there right now for another round! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was Dina’s birthday weekend and Pran quickly mentioned it to the waiter as soon as we sat down. She was trying to get us some free drinks out of the deal. We didn’t get any drinks but we did get free dessert with a special birthday candle.

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I should mention the restaurant’s birthday ritual. They actually start playing the “happy birthday song” out of the speakers (somehow the song sounded Mexican – don’t ask me why), turn the lights off in that room (for the candle) and make a bunch of noise. Dina blew the candle really quickly so the charade did not last long, but at some point during dinner it was clearly someone else’s birthday (in another room) and the song was playing for a loooong time. And it is LOUD. We of course thought it was hilarious but I have a feeling that if on one particular night there were many birthday diners, it could get annoying fast. Anyways, this is a good example of the kind of vibe the owners were going for. With free flowing (not free!) sangria, great food and lots of noise, a good time was had by all. Oh yeah, back to dessert…

Pay de chocolate cafe – rich flavored coffee, chocolate & Kahlua mousse & caramel on a chocolate & walnut crust, served with vanilla ice cream

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SO good. It was like nothing I’ve ever had before. The walnut crust was especially good and was nicely complemented by the creamy rich chocolaty mousse. I didn’t have any of the ice cream. I think warm cakes must come with ice cream but this cake was cold so I found this combo odd. With that said, I’m pretty sure my husband would say every dessert should come with ice cream so maybe the restaurant owners share the same sentiment. What do I know, I’m just a food blogger. ๐Ÿ˜€

VERY happy customers – Pran and Liz:

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(Birthday girl) Dina and I:

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Next stop – the M Bar (at the Mandarine Oriental hotel) for some drinks! The M Bar is super swanky. Good thing because we were in the mood for some fancy cocktails. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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The cocktail list was quite extensive and all the drinks sounded pretty cool. I went with the mo-del – hendrick’s, rose syrup and lychee juice with fresh lemon and angostura bitters. The lychee juice really drew me in.

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Mmm, yummy cocktails :)

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My cocktail was definitely creative but I didn’t love it. The rose syrup stood out so it was more floral than sweet (I probably had 1/2 of my cocktail for this reason). I tried everyone’s drinks (love that I can do that with my girlfriends!) and mo-nsier was my favorite. Just in case you ever go there – that’s my personal recommendation. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Oh yeah, there were also some candied almonds and really great olives. I definitely dug into the olives bowl one too many times. Healthy fats, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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But wait, there is more! Our friend Katy ended up meeting us at the M Bar as well. She had a few drinks by then so instead of ordering another round she got the mo chocolate brownie – vanilla, coffee, caramel cream, chocolate tuile

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Wholly shit, this was good. The brownie was WARM – it tasted like heaven. I definitely ate my share of food by this point and did not think I wanted dessert but with a spoon in my hand I dug in and was so happy I got the chance to try this dessert. I may come back to the M Bar just for that next time. It was close to my ideal dessert (molten chocolate cake is my favorite if you’re wondering – I just love that oozing chocolate center).

I think this was my perfect kind of night with my girlfriends. How would you spend yours?

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