Friday, August 3, 2012

Maggiano's: Boston: A Food Blogger's Dinner

Current Italian Restaurant in Boston Ranking: Last

I got to attend a free dinner of the summer grill menu that Maggiano's put on for bloggers, in hopes that we'd put the word out (Perhaps you've also seen their ads posted up on columns in the Back Bay and downtown Boston areas. They're really trying to rev up their advertising.)



I'd never been to any Boston Food Bloggers events, so I was excited and a little nervous to see what the heck this would be like. I walked into the private room they were hosting us in and checked in with the PR woman whose idea this dinner had been since she's apparently a fan of Rachel Blumenthal's blog, Fork It Over Boston. When I told her I was Foodie Asshole, she grinned a bit and said she'd been checking out my blog today. "You have an interesting style."


"Yes, I do, thanks."

Of the twenty-three bloggers, I believe four were guys.

They served us sangria, as many refills as we wanted, though I doubt anyone went over two. It was a bit watery., at least by the time it got into my glass.



"Heirloom Tomato & Shrimp Flatbread - a great first impression among friends" - with shrimp, heirloom tomatoes, pepperoncinis, red onions, cucumbers, various greens and a basil pesto cream sauce  

Some of the pieces didn't get much coverage, so I had to go back in for another one:

A little better, but this was kind of a difficult dish to share properly, with toppings falling off all over the place.

"Grilled Chicken & Sausage Spiedini - A classical dish with chicken, sausage and crispy red potatoes, roasted red peppers and herb vinaigrette"

"Grilled Carbonara Orzotto - Grilled Mahi Mahi, topped with roasted pepper almond pesto, sugar snap peas, with a side of carbonara orzotto"

New York Style Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce and Strawberries

Personally, if I'm going to get cheesecake from a chain, I'm getting Adam's Peanut Butter Fudge Cup Ripple or some othe hyper-indulgence from The Cheesecake Factory.

"Fresh Strawberry Pie"

The perfect description for all of this food is "unremarkable," so that'll be that. If you're the kind of person who can enjoy generic Italian chain restaurant food despite the fact that you're about a mile away from Boston's North End, then this is the restaurant for you!

My favorite part of the night was just meeting other food bloggers and seeing a bit about how they operate, since I'd really never met any before. This picture is actually really unrepresentative of the fact that at any given time, there were about fifteen middle to high end real cameras out shooting photos from various angles.


Before we got up to leave, the manager of the joint told us he had goodies for us to take with us. Besides takeout menus, his business card and some coupons, he told us that they had Maggiano's CDs for us that each had a $20 Maggiano's bonus card in them. He told us we could probably even each take two and suggested we might like to do give-aways of our second ones on our blogs.
The only was I'd ever go to Maggiano's again is if it's free, so, sure, I took two.


Oh look, the "bonus cards" are just $20 off $50 coupons, which is less value than you get from most Groupons. Lame. Oh and as for give-aways, if anyone wants 1-2 of these, let me know and they're yours.

I should say that they were very generous to open their doors to a bunch of food bloggers and gives us piles of free food and sangria. Obviously they did it out of hopes for good press that might drive up business. I wonder if it'll help.

Let's check in with the other bloggers who've covered it:

Notes on Lifestyle By Georgina - I really enjoyed talking to her, and, as you can probably tell from the name, she blogs about a lot of cool stuff. I've already learned some great things from her blog, one of which is that I really have to get better about actually reading other people's blogs. Some of them are really worth it.

I Take Pictures of My Food

The Boston Foodie

Wicked Potatoes

Mac & Cheese & Peas - She actually did a giveaway of her two CDs and "bonus cards." Since she called them "gift certificates" in her post, I bet she didn't even realize they were just coupons.


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