Hartley’s Pork Pies

Homemade meat pies from Hartley's

The beef and pork meat pies from Hartley’s

10:30 am is not too early to enjoy a housemade beef (stamped with a capital B) pie (the pork pie is unmarked). At Hartley’s Pork Pies in Lincoln, that actually may be the only time you’ll get one since they can sell out before 1pm. The hot pies fresh out of the oven have a thick homemade crust providing the perfect balance to your choice of meat. The ring of liquid on the top of the crust hints at the savory broth within.

Hartley’s Pork Pies
871 Smithfield Ave
Lincoln, RI 02865
(401) 726-1295

(open until 1pm or 2pm, whenever the pies run out)

Gold Stone: Chili Oil Fish

Chili Oil Fish from Gold Stone.

When I go to a new diner, I always order corned beef hash–I find it’s a leading indicator of general diner quality. Is the corned beef homemade? Is the hash crispy and flavorful?  When I first tried  Gold Stone, I came for the Mapo Tofu–my Szechuan corned-beef hash–and it was as satisfying as my standard, from Mary Chung.

When I returned to Gold Stone, I asked them for a specialty that I have been ordering more often than Mapo Tofu: Chili Oil Fish (pictured), which was rich with a thick slick of chili oil and perfectly cooked pieces of white fish (flounder?). It may become my new standard.

Gold Stone
840 Allens Ave
Providence, RI
(401) 781-8887

New York Quick List

Bo Ssäm @ Momofuku

It was a busy weekend, but here’s the gastronomic sequence:

1. Petrossian. Coffee & Orange Brioche. Much fawning over caviar.

2. Roasting Plant Coffee. Espresso and own-made Ding Dong (michele only).

3. Kin Shop. Spicy Duck Laab, Duck Breast Roti, Grilled Trigger fish. Roasted bone marrow.

4. Fedora. Martinis and Manhattans

5. Bakehouse. Coffee and Short Rib Hash

6. Kava. Espresso.

7. Magnolia. Cupcake (michele only)

8. Red Farm. Not open 😦

9. Momofuku Ssam bar. Bo Ssam. Vieux Carre.

10. Think Coffee. Espresso.

11. Arthur’s Tavern. Beer.

12. Joe’s. Slice of pizza, eaten outside in Father Demo Square.

13. The Breslin – curried lentils and poached eggs. thrice-cooked chips,

14. Stumptown. Espresso.

15. Eataly. Fresh bread and mozzarella for the train ride, spicy salumi.

Espresso, in order of preference:

1) Kava

2) Stumptown

3) Think Coffee

4) Roasting Plant

5) Petrossian

Rocket Fine Street Food

The latest addition to Providence’s food truck scene.

“It’s the hottest sauce you’ve ever had,” I was informed as I asked for the sauce to be added to my green chile cheeseburger. Whether it is or not, we’ll never know, since it was artfully diluted within the green chiles. The burger was good, the west african sweet potato and peanut soup, better.

Rocket Fine Street Food
near Thayer Street

A Perfect Cortado

My Cortado

A perfect cortado–a shot of espresso or two with a matching volume of steamed milk–can be found the excellent Flan Y Ajo. Here you can also find a Spanish pinball machine, a quiet place for an excellent lunch, and a worthy replacement for Farmstead Downcity.

Flan y Ajo
225A Westminster St
Providence, RIwww.flanyajo.com

Another perfect Cortado?

Blue State Coffee
300 Thayer St
Providence, RI

At Blue State, if you can, order the cortado to stay–not to go. The glass makes a big difference.

Rasoi: South Indian Cuisine in Pawtucket

Chef Sanjiv Dhar from Rasoi (stop #3 on the Rhody Food Tours: Immigrant Cuisines of Providence).

When I miss New York after reading that there is a fancy new yakiniku place around the corner from our old apartment, Michele takes me to Rasoi. I remember that Indian food was lousy in the West Village. And South Indian food? Forget it.

The Thali at Rasoi.

Not in Providence. There are several great South Indian places nearby, and Rasoi is one of them. Upon every visit, I order Thali — but I never have the same meal twice. Six or 7 small bowls surround a mound of rice, and tonight the bowls were filled with spinach and homemade cheese (Saag Paneer); yellow lentil stew; a thick, sweet sambar; red-roasted cauliflower; homemade yogurt; a sweet potato curry; and a little dessert.

As an aside, I should mention the mixed pickle at Rasoi. For me, mixed pickle is the corned beef hash of the Indian restaurant world — it’s a barometer of how good the food is. The mixed pickle here is a delicious mixture of pickled lemon, peas, and bitter melon — and it’s tender (I don’t like that hardened lemon skin in most store-bought Indian pickles).

The traditional Indian dishes here are great too. The simple Chicken Tikka is delicious, with a crisp shell and fresh herbs instead of the more common red pellicle-crust that covers it after a bake in the tandoor. Their version of Biryani combines a sweet and savory assortment of whole spices. And a bowl of their Idli Sambar is as good for dinner as I imagine it’d be for breakfast in India.

Rasoi Restaurant
727 East Ave # 6
Pawtucket, RI 02860-6184
(401) 728-5500

Rhody Food Tours

La Sorpresa

At La Sorpresa, this little sampler is ideal.

When I walked into La Sorpresa’s new location on East Avenue, I immediately noticed some thick slices of crisp pork belly. But it was an enticing little sampler dish that the customer ahead of me ordered that piqued my interest.

A fresh paper tray of plantains, morcilla, smoked sausage, tiny potatoes, crisp-skin pork belly and thin, roasted rib meat (seen in the photo, wedged between the morcilla and the plantain, in the center) was prepared for me, and I ate a beef empanada while I waited. I spotted a particularly puffy pastry on my way out, which turned out to be their delicious homemade version of a raised Colombian doughnut filled with dulce de leche.

La Sorpresa Bakery
498 Broad Street
Central Falls, RI 02863-2844
(401) 475-0032

La Sorpresa
385 East Avenue
Pawtucket, RI
(across from the Modern Diner)

Ebisu for Winter Treats

Making Takoyaki at Ebisu

It was cold and rainy when I came home on the train from Boston. I remembered a note sent from Ebisu restaurant that they were making Takoyaki – a pan-fried sphere of creamy batter, crispy on the outside, with a little piece of octopus in the middle. As tasty as a Rhode Island clamcake with a Japanese spin to it.

They make shabu-shabu too, which is delicious with their homemade dipping sauce.

My next trip will be all about sitting at the bar and ordering plate after plate of yakitori. I saw their shishamo (little grilled fish) which looked like they would go great with a tall cold beer.

Ebisu Japanese Restaurant
38 Pontiac Avenue
Providence, RI
(401) 270-7500