It's no secret that I love dining out. However, I have a confession to make . . . I hate the awkwardness that comes with splitting the check, especially in big groups. A celebratory meal can be completely ruined when the bill arrives and everyone starts taking out pens and calculators. You know exactly what I mean.
Enter: Circle. Circle is an app that's like texting, but for money. You can set up a group chat with as many as 20 people and easily settle up at the end of a birthday dinner, bridal shower or Bachelorette bracket (you know you do those).
In addition to sending (or requesting) payments you can also share gifs. The app is integrated with Giphy (one of the best companies on earth), making it easy to send your payment with the perfect animated note. Emojis are so 2016, am I right?
Earlier this week I joined the Circle team and a group of Boston's most fabulous bloggers to give this check-splitting idea a whirl. We met at chef Matthew Jennings' restaurant, Townsman, which is spectacular. I had been once before for a client dinner (hence why it was not documented) and I had been dying to go back.
It was a freezing night and Townsman was the perfect refuge from the blistering cold. We had a private table opposite the bar. I found my way to my seat and at our waiter's urging, started reviewing the cocktail menu.
The Circle team wrote a custom poem for each of us and used them for place cards. How fun is that? Here's mine:
To drink, I decided on the Harvest Moon, which is bourbon, allspice, apple cider, lemon and bitters.
This may be the best cocktail I've ever had. It tasted like pure apple cider. The bourbon flavor was super subtle, but a few minutes later I felt it warming me from the inside.
Had I not been driving, I would have had at least one more. Probably two.
To begin, each of us was delivered a bowl of minestrone soup. I love the branded bowls with the letter T at the top.
The soup had such a generous amounts of fresh veggies, as well as farro, making it very filling. In fact, you could have this and a few pieces of Townsman's house made brown bread and call that dinner.
For the main course the carnivores were enjoying steak with fingerling potatoes and braised greens, while the vegetarians dug into butternut squash risotto with a slice of grilled bread.
Now, had I not already had farro in the minestrone soup, I probably would have loved the farro risotto. But unfortunately it was a bit too much of the same thing for me.
The third and final course was dessert. I selected the chocolate pecan tart with maple ice cream.
I made that tiny scoop of ice cream disappear faster than you can say "chocolate pecan tart." Pecan pie is my favorite at Thanksgiving and this mini version, combined with rich chocolate, was perfection. I may come back for the Harvest Moon cocktail and then skip right to the tart!
As the dessert plates were being cleared, it was time to test out Circle. Our hostess for the evening invited all of us into a group chat (appropriately called "Foodies") and requested payment from each person. We could see the requests being made and the payments being sent back. The real fun began when people starting messaging with gifs. We were all in hysterics watching the gifs roll in, especially since they all seemed to be some version of a person stuffing his or her face!
I sent this Michelle Tanner one:
I couldn't get over how fun it was to use Circle, especially while we were all still together and able to react to the messages in real time. With Venmo, I feel like I always open the app, send my payment and close it again. Less than 60 seconds. With Circle, I actually wanted to hang out in the app with my dinner dates.
If I've got the wheels in your head turning, here are a few more fun facts about Circle:
- They offer instant cash out. No waiting or delays - your money hits your bank account immediately.
- You can send money internationally with no exchange fees. Vacation planning just got a little bit cheaper.
- Running the Boston Marathon? Doing the Avon Walk? You can fundraise by creating a special event page in the app. Collecting donations from friends and family has never been easier.
*This post is sponsored by Circle, an app I've recently become obsessed with. As always, all opinions are 100 percent my own.