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MIT student blogger Kathleen E. '22

Friday Night, Off-Campus Style by Kathleen E. '23

come along on our evening of fish and wine

Friday nights are great. Assuming you’re not in one of those classes that has assignments due Friday at midnight,01 truly the worst Friday nights bring the freedom of having no impending deadlines. The only struggle is picking something to do. With so many good options (such as: exploring the city, socializing, trying a new recipe, visiting a favorite restaurant, or catching a movie!) it can be a hard decision.

I tend to go to bed pretty early these days, which precludes me from going to the types of social events that are just barely getting started around 10pm (specifically, frat parties), but back before the pandemic you could find me really capitalizing on the entirety of Friday evenings, be it hacking, partying, or just bingeing shows with friends late past midnight.

These days, my Fridays tend to be a bit more low-key. In this blog post, I’ll take you along on an adventure I had last Friday night with my friend Paige L. ‘23 (Harvard). It was my ideal Friday; such great vibes, such great food, and such a great friend!

Immaculate Vibes

We met up at 7pm at a place called Dear Annie, located just off the Red Line in Porter Square. It was a snowy night. The grimy piles of snow lining the sidewalks from the recent blizzard had a fresh coat of sparkly white powder.

It was both my and Paige’s first time visiting Dear Annie. From the moment I stepped inside, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. To quote Paige and I, it just has “immaculate vibes.”

On their website, the Dear Annie team mentions their goal is to “be a center for community.” I think they’re nailing it. At the center of the room is a large table, with most of the guests all sharing the seats around it. There were also seats around the perimeter of the room. Both parts of the design brought people much closer than they would be at a traditional restaurant, where each party has their own separate table.

The decor and lighting were also lovely. Throughout the room were both small tea lights and huge chime candles that gradually melted into bumpy wax sculptures right before our eyes.

candles on table

the large, central table illuminated with plenty of candles

Two other elements I loved were the plants (there were both cut flowers set out on the table and potted succulents throughout the room) and the giant neon eyes that both looked out over the dining room and out at passerby on Massachusetts Ave.

succulents and record player on a large indoor windowsill

flowers! succulents!! a record player!!!!!

neon lights in the shape of eyes hanging on windows

👁 🌱👁

Wine and Fish

We started off with a glass of wine (it is a wine bar, after all), which I enjoyed as much as I can enjoy wine (wine is just not really my thing). I’m honestly not even sure what exact wine we had besides that it was a rosé. They had dozens of wines available, so maybe if I ever get more interested in wine I’ll try them out.

two glasses of wine

all i can say is it was rosé

shelf full of wine

so many wines!

As we sipped our wine, we quietly hypothesized about the lives of those around us: to our right, a slightly awkward pair (perhaps on a first date) and directly across, perhaps a married couple (they looked very comfortable together). We got up from our seats to check out the menu, which was written on a huge chalkboard in the corner.

We ordered one dish at a time and shared each one. I always want to try as much of the menu as I can, so this is my favorite way to order food. In addition to getting to cover more of the menu, sharing everything felt like it fit the communal vibes.

We started with the buttery fish fumet. I didn’t know what a fumet was when we ordered it, so in case you don’t either, here’s the definition of “fumet”: a reduced and seasoned fish, meat, or vegetable stock. It came with a sourdough roll, which we ripped into pieces and dipped into the fumet. I wasn’t sure what to expect. In retrospect, since millenia of people have enjoyed butter and bread, and this was basically that but in brothy fish form, maybe I should have known that I’d love it (it was so good).

Next up: a smoked mozzarella panini with white anchovy and gremolata. Another absolute banger. I was a bit skeptical when I saw it on the menu — I don’t think I’ve ever had a fish panini before, and I’ve probably had anchovies only once or twice before. Since Paige and I are big mozzarella fans, we went for it anyway. I’m so glad we did!

panini sandwich on plate

anchovies in a sea of mozz

We finished off with a smoked mackerel, which came with bread, pickled veggies, and herbs. The combination of herbs and pickled veggies was familiar (extremely similar items are served alongside many Vietnamese dishes). We had fun assembling little open-faced sandwiches out of the many components.

fish, bread, herbs, pickled veggies on plate


open faced fish sandwich


That’s it for this post. All in all, it was a great Friday night. I love going to college in Cambridge because the city is full of gems like Dear Annie. I love that I moved off campus for my last two years here, because it makes it easier to explore parts of Cambridge farther from campus. I’ll be back with more off-campus adventures soon.

empty plate and glasses

the end :)


  1. truly the worst back to text