Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

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Last night, we thought we’d check out the grand opening of Tom’s Bao Bao on Westminster Street in Providence. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones. After waiting in line for about 10 minutes, we decided to head to Faust down the street for yet another fine meal.

But we promised the kids to return for breakfast—well, Sunday brunch at least. This time, there were only a handful of people in line, and the service was fast.

We tried several kinds of bao—sweet potato, vegetarian, chicken, pork, and beef. For the uninitiated, a bao is similar to the pork buns in  Chinese dim sum—it’s basically a steamed doughy bun filled with vegetarian or meat ingredients. My favorites were the vegetarian, which contained lots of greens and tofu, and the fragrant sweet potato.

Tom’s Bao Bao
326 Westminster Street
Providence, RI
http://www.tomsbaobao.com/

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Chicken, Collard Greens, Black-eyed Peas, Biscuits and Souther Fried Shrimp.

The chicken was the star of the show. There was nothing left of this meal but a small amount of whipped, honey-flavored butter.

Bucktown Chicken & Fish
471 W Fountain St
Providence, RI 02903
(917) 861-0644
http://www.bucktownpvd.com/

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Johnny cakes with strawberries.

Johnny cakes with strawberries.

To give you that Revolutionary War feel, you might be greeted at the door.

To give you that Revolutionary War feel, you might be greeted at the door.

Since moving to Rhode Island, Geoff has wanted to attend a May Breakfast, an annual tradition since 1867 in celebration of Rhode Island’s Independence Day—May 4, 1776, the day Rhode Island declared itself independent of the British crown.

Currently, the May Breakfast usually takes place at a local church between late April and early May throughout the state, and it often doubles as a fundraiser for the hosting organization. We finally made it to one today at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. The girls definitely took advantage of the all-you-can-eat menu of fresh cut fruit, johnny cakes, pancakes, french toast, custom omelettes, bacon, sausage, and an array of baked goods—including strawberry-rhubarb pie.

A traditional breakfast.

A traditional breakfast choice.

Volunteers from the community bake goods, cook food, serve coffee, and bus tables, so it truly feels like a community event.

Perhaps it makes us officially Rhode Islanders now that this has become our annual tradition as well.

To find the May Breakfast near you, you might want to check your local churches or do a search for May Breakfast with your town name, since there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list of them across the state. Or here are a few other resources:

Strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Warwick Beacon/Cranston Herald
Quahog.org
Providence Journal

 

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I’ve now been to Den Den Café for Korean food at least a half dozen times, and it’s one of the few places in Providence that we often bring visitors. Their variety of dishes seems to have something for everyone in the group—noodles, soups, rice dishes, vegetarian or meat-heavy.

Their menu features many of the standards like Stone Pot Bibimbap, Agedashi Tofu, and Kimchi, but I’ve also discovered some new favorites here to add to my list—Kimbap, a korean seaweed roll (my favorites are the vegetable and the tuna rolls), and Tofu Kimchi, a spicy combination of kimchi with soft tofu served on a hot stone plate. Our daughters love the Bento Boxes, especially the Teriyaki Salmon, but my favorite is the Chicken Karaage, ginger garlic deep fried chicken.

When it’s crowded, a host/hostess will help you find a table before you order at the counter, and they always bring your order to your table for you. I’d also recommend reserving a table in advance if you’re planning on showing up with a group on a weekend night.

Den Den Café
161 Benefit Street
Providence, RI
www.dendencafe.com

 

 

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The traditional caprese salad is made even better at Roslina with burrata cheese.

The traditional caprese salad is made even better at Roslina with burrata cheese.

It wasn’t quite a Griswold Christmas Eve, but it was close. First, it was hard to get into the spirit when it was about 65 degrees on Christmas Eve as we walked downtown to see A Christmas Carol at Trinity Repertory Theatre. It got worse when we discovered we had arrived at the wrong time, and the show we had tickets for was just letting out.

Then, later that night after the girls left cookies for Santa, we discovered a bat flying through our house. And it got away.

Gnocchi, also made better with burrata.

Gnocchi, also made better with burrata.

Fortunately, our day was redeemed by a late lunch between those two events at Rosalina, which for me included a caprese salad made with burrata cheese, kumato tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil followed by gnocchi sorrentina baked with tomato, burrata and basil.

The girls both ordered the meatball sandwiches, and Geoff had the eggplant, mozzarella and marinara sandwich. Since there was no burrata in any of the desserts, we settled for some blood orange and coconut gelatos, along with a cheesecake ‘imported’ from the Carnegie Deli.

I think Geoff was a bit disappointed to skip La Vigilia (the Italian Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes) – but not me. I’ll take a meal full of burrata and marinara any day, including Christmas Eve.

And things are looking up. We caught the bat. And Trinity Rep kindly helped us get tickets for another night. And it seems it’s finally freezing outside (be careful what you wish for).

Rosalina
50 Aborn Street
Providence, RI 02903
www.rosalina-ri.com

Trinity Repertory Company
201 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02903
www.trinityrep.com

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Providence is not much like Berlin – we’ve got a fraction of their population, we lack subways, and you’ll find a lot less people speaking German. But last weekend, we spent a day in Providence that we could have easily spent in Berlin: using the 3D printers at AS220, skating to music at the Alex & Ani downtown skating center, and eating dinner at Faust.

In my opinion, Faust is German food, only better. I’ve never been a huge fan of wursts, which seems to be the default German food, and of course, Faust has plenty of those. But I also found roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries, schnitzel and mashed potatoes, latkes with apple jam, and warm pretzels with mustard.

We liked it so much that we were back just a few days later. And it was just as good the second time around.

Faust
The Dean Hotel
122 Fountain Street,
Providence, RI
www.faustpvd.com

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After living in Providence nearly six years, we finally made the day trip to Block Island. I’m not sure what took us so long exactly, but now I know what we’ve been missing.

Not surprisingly, the first thing we sought to do was eat – although the smell of bacon and long line at Ernie’s suggested it would be worth the wait, we decided to go somewhere we could eat outside without a wait, which turned out to be the Surf Hotel. Breakfast turned out to be perfectly fine (egg sandwiches on brioche, and reasonable kids’ meals).

We decided to rent a car so we could more easily explore. With six of us in our party, we opted for the circa 1980s minivan on the lot, which was offered to us for an absurd fee — oh but don’t worry, it hasn’t been cleaned, it’s on ‘E’ and it may not start. I’m not kidding – the agent actually had trouble starting the car.

With our cool ride, we drove across the entire island (it didn’t take long). We drove past rolling hills with cows and horses and impressive ocean views around nearly every corner. We parked by Settler’s Rock and walked the rocky beach over to the lighthouse.

I’d say the highlight was Mohegan Bluffs, where you climb down a winding staircase of over 100 stairs down to the water. As if that’s not enough of a barrier, the stairway ends abruptly at a treacherous cliff with a sketchy rope to ‘help’ you make your final leg down to the beach. It is quite beautiful once you make it down – with the ocean up against an enormous cliff, and it’s impressive how many people of all ages actually seemed to be able to make it down and back up without harm (including our four-year-old, although I’ll admit to not being very ‘relaxed’ about the whole experience at the time).

After we returned the car, we walked over to Ballard’s Beach, where we sat on the beach, got a snack, and enjoyed our last ocean swim of the season.

I can’t wait to go back (and I definitely can’t wait for it to be summer again). The only thing that’s missing seems to be great ice cream (and no, Turkey Hill ice cream at the Ice Cream Palace does not count, in my opinion), so next time, I’ll plan to stop at the Sweet Spot in Narragansett when I get off the ferry.

Ernie’s
212 Water Street
New Shoreham, Block Island, RI

Surf Hotel
32 Dodge Street
New Shoreham, RI
www.thesurfhotelbi.com

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