The positive side to my nearly three-year hiatus is the lengthy list of New England spots I have to share. Along with each item on the list, I’ll give some tips or a brief description of what was yummy or a reason why I might not go back (which rarely happens these days, thankfully). If you’re from New England or traveling in the area of Providence, RI or Boston, MA, I suggest you check out most or all of these places if ever possible.
Ken’s Ramen (Japanese): I can’t begin any list of my favorite food in the entire universe without beginning here. This is a legitimate ramen shop, as authentic as it can get stateside. They serve amazing pillows of deliciousness (bao-style buns) filled with slabs of roasted pork belly and big, over-sized bowls of steaming hot soup. Be aware: for quality control, take out and leftovers are (mostly) not allowed.
Ogie’s Trailer Park (Comfort Food): I’ve been to this place a few times for drinks with friends and am unable to resist the food they crank out of Granny Boo’s kitchen in the back. After ordering, you’re given a license plate and orders are called by state. It gets pretty busy on weekends and they only serve beer in cans, trailer style. Their specialties are tater tots and fried mac & cheese bites. This is what bar food should look like.
Milk Money (New American): This year for my birthday, my mom joined my best friend and I for dinner at this amazing new gem on the east side of the city. The inside is rustic, the wait staff is excited to share the restaurant’s story and the food is off the charts. Specialty cocktails are made with local and organic alcohols, dishes change often but are made expertly with bold flavors and interesting pairings. We had some oysters with grapefruit ice pearls and cucumber mignonette, deviled eggs with smoked salmon, and baby back ribs with the most righteous mac & cheese I’ve ever had outside of my own household. I cannot wait to get back as their menu always offers something jaw-dropping.
XO Café (New American): A few years ago, Mike and I tried this place for a Valentine’s dinner and every time I want to have a slightly more romantic experience, we go back. The atmosphere is funky and artsy, the menu is locally-sourced and often changed with the season. Their bread is the only in the world I’ve had that is close to the fluffy stuff my uncle serves up at Culinary Affair on a daily basis. We’ve been for both brunch and dinner and the experience never disappoints. If they’re ever serving the brussels sprout hash with bacon, try it.
CAV Restaurant & Antiques (American): One of my closest friends recommended this place a few years back for restaurant week. We had ourselves a quiet girls’ night dinner as it wasn’t so busy and I had one of the most delicious duck dishes I’ve ever enjoyed. The sweet potato puree they serve with pan-seared duck breast and duck leg confit is unbelievable. A few months later, Mike, who never orders steak at restaurants, tried a filet mignon which was served with its own delicious mashed potatoes and a seasonal vegetan;e. We will surely be back.
Red Fin Crudo + Kitchen (Latin American): The menu here has been enticing me for quite some time and I always forget to try it out. For my first experience, I dined with one of my gal pals and all we had were oysters and wine. However, the service and overall experience was wonderful and we have been meaning to return. Since this is a newer spot, I am hoping the menu doesn’t change too much before I can make it back.
bocado Tapas Wine Bar (Spanish-style Tapas): Other than Ken’s, this may quite possibly be the first place I think of whenever I’m going out to eat. Especially if I want a casual experience in which I can control my portions. Dried chorizo and manchego cheese have become regular pieces of my diet as a result of visiting bocado so many times. The tapas plates occasionally change, but one thing is for certain: the Kobe beef burgers, stewed rabbit and mussels with sun-dried tomatoes are always on point.
I’m going to save the rest of the ever-growing list for now, as it’ll keep me honest in my promise to continue posting often. In the next edition, you can expect some spots in Cranston and Warwick as well as in Boston and Salem.
Until next time,
♥ Food Snob