Posted in Uncategorized

My Latest Obsession

Being that it’s the winter and it’s getting chillier and chillier outside, I’ve been trying new methods for staying warm. Last week I shared a recipe for some soup with a kick. This week I shared some information regarding my exercise habits, which is another way to keep warm (trust me).

Another thing I’ve been doing is adding some daily spice to some of my favorite things. And they are associated with breakfast, which is my favorite meal of the day.

 

The Perfect Over-Medium Egg

 

What you’ll need: 1 large egg, red pepper flakes (a pinch), butter to melt before dropping.

Methodology:

Melt butter (a sliver, make sure it covers the bottom of the pan enough that the egg can slide around in it) in a skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes into the butter.

Crack and break egg into the pan, be sure the yolk stays in tact, be gentle!

Cook the egg until the whites are almost cooked through (about 2-3 minutes at most), then flip using some wrist action, or a spatula if you’re not on that level, and turn off heat, let the whites finish cooking without fully cooking the yolk (about 1-2 minutes).

Slide the deliciousness onto a plate. BOOM! Spicy egg.

For an added level of awesome: toast a piece of bread, spread a tiny amount of butter on it, then sprinkle some of your favorite shredded cheese. Slide the egg on top of the cheese and give it a few seconds to get nice and melty. Cut the piece of toast down the middle, fold into a sandwich and sop up any yolk that falls on the plate in the meantime. YUM!

 

The Perfect Cup of Christmas Season Coffee

I very much enjoy the amount of alliteration I just used in that title. So, I enjoy flavored coffee as much as the next basic white girl. Especially in my home state and town. We Rhody girls are big on our flavored coffee, though some of us drink what to most would be considered coffee milk and not actual coffee. For me, the best cup of coffee tastes like coffee and is smooth, nutty, medium-brown, warming and round.

Instead of drinking pumpkin spice first thing in the morning during this fall and holiday season, I have been adding the tiniest bit (probably 1/4 teaspoon) of cinnamon to my coffee in the morning. And it is magical.

The important thing to note: the best results come from putting cinnamon in the cup before adding the coffee. Especially if, like me, you have Keruig. The reason for this is simply that the cinnamon can stay in one giant clump if you add a little spoon of it to a cup o’ joe. However, if you have a shaker of cinnamon instead of a plastic container from your dad’s restaurant, like most normal people?, you can shake a little bit at a time and stir it in with ease.

 

Enjoy all, and Happy Holidays!

Until next time,

Food Snob

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Posted in Uncategorized

True Life: I have bad exercise habits.

As I typically provide some notes regarding my health and lifestyle amidst my food indulgences and tastes, I would like to clear the air on one of my biggest battles. I do not have an exercise routine. Nor have I developed any habits over the years which would help to boost my lifestyle towards a ‘picture of health’ like the one featured here—that’s not me, by the way. But I liked the colors.

In a last effort to defeat the seasonal depression aforementioned (in my last post), however, I have decided to finally join the other side and create routines and habits which will result in more physical activity. Physical activities—as we all know—tend to release endorphins, which make us happy and promote a healthier lifestyle. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion and all those good things to say with unidentified speakers and such. In the past, I have worked in the service industry and was so physical at work, especially around the holidays, that I did not take any steps toward being active outside of work. This year, however, I am not working in retail or a restaurant and I am seeking some movement in my daily life.

I’ve been practicing yoga semi-regularly for the last three years and have become addicted to not only the feeling of being stretched out, but the complete quiet in my mind when I go into final meditation. Unfortunately, I’m not addicted enough to go every week but, fortunately, there’s a studio less than ten minutes away from my house that offers yoga twice a week for $5/class which is amazing and unheard of. The young yogini who teaches the classes is wonderful, insightful and ultimately mindful of her students. I tend to get myself to go to a class at least once a month, so I’m not completely melted into a chair, the couch or my bed. Yoga is sort of a commitment, as I have found that when I take too much time away from the mat, I am almost back to square one when I return and I have to rebuild much of the flexibility, balance and strength I had built up. When I’m going to yoga regularly, I’m happy and I’m calm, I feel a sense of peace between my body and mind, and I’m more observant and receptive of the environment around me. So, as a part of this attempt to build a healthy exercise routine, I am going to be including a yoga class at least once a week.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to let Mike convince me to join a gym near us. Mostly it’s because he gets a free month of membership if I sign up and because this month they were offering $0 down and $0 until January. How could I object? Plus, he’ll usually be able to convince me to go and spend some time exercising with him and won’t let me give up early because I’m tired or don’t feel like it. When I’ve gone through brief stints of exercising regularly, it’s always been because I felt good, but I’ve never had a gym membership and I’ve never stuck to a routine. The gym membership will force me to use the opportunity for exercise and provide an excuse to spend time doing something productive with my boyfriend, rather than drinking or watching endless hours of movies and sports—not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In the cold it is important to stay warm and to stay active. I’m getting a little too old to be so careless about my health and well-being. Taking some steps toward a better lifestyle overall during a more difficult time for activity seems like the right move. Exercising in the summer is usually easier because it’s appealing to be outside and the idea of being active is more welcoming in warm sunlight. Challenging myself to be more active when it’s cold and dark outside should (hopefully) encourage the habits to stick. And for good measure, to keep myself honest, I’ll be tracking my exercise using my FitBit—which I own because of my issues with developing healthy habits—and I’ll have to give a report in about a month regarding how often I’ve gone to the gym or taken a yoga class. This tiny pink clip-on device will be my witness and I will only be able to prove what she has tracked of my activity. Including, but not limited, my calorie intake vs. my calories being burned off by physical activity.

And so, with this promise I have made with myself, I will offer you to try and do the same this holiday season. I have learned that our gym, Retro Fitness, has a mobile app by which I can create and track goals, enter challenges and earn rewards points. The contest they’re running for December is geared towards working off those holiday calories. C’mon, let’s be honest, the holidays are delicious in November and December, but they’re also loaded with sugars and fats that we probably don’t need. So I’ll be forcing myself to indulge moderately,—compared to my usual binges—seek healthy alternatives, and get to the gym or yoga a few times a week. And, just in case you didn’t know, Retro Fitness is a large chain of gyms that are all over the country. If there’s one by you, maybe give it a shot and join me in the holiday challenge!

In the meantime, feel free to comment with any tips, questions or notes of encouragement. Any and all will be greatly appreciated.

Until next time,

Food Snob

Posted in Recipes, Soup, winter

Soup for the Soul – with a Kick 💥

 

The winter is coming and the little hints of darkness in the world sometimes seemingly become larger and more ominous as we lose hours of daylight and warmth. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the events that took place on the Ohio State campus on Monday morning. I could not express enough how important it is to create in times of the world’s troubles. Throughout my college and post-graduate education at Emerson College, I was constantly reminded by poets, novelists and memoirists of the 20th century that these dark times are ours for making beauty, ours for remembering and for brightening.

I have been attempting to make better habits out of submitting my works of poetry and have a selection of magazines I’d like to send individual pieces to. If you’re a practicing writer looking to submit, the Poets & Writers website is a great place to seek suggestions for submission. Once I’ve done a more substantial amount of submitting – and by substantial I mean some instead of none so far – I’ll be sure to share more about the magazines.

As the title of this post calls for, I have found a soul-encircling soup that is perfect for when the weather begins to deter our happiness. (I like to make the New England winters sound really ominous because I find it both interesting and humorous that I most definitely suffer from seasonal depression.) The bones of this recipe—not literally—originated in an issue of Bon Appetit magazine. The magazine is a personal favorite of mine and the subscription certainly keeps me interested and excited about adding new things to my kitchen resume.

Although I was not a huge fan of kale, I recently learned that it is much tastier when those pesky ribs in the middle are stripped away and the leaves are all that’s being eaten. Yes, I started eating kale before it was a huge trend and I did not know the ribs were supposed to be removed. Yes, I consider myself an intermediate-to-expert level home cook. Yes, I am OK with admitting this is silly and incorrect. I am mostly just excited that I can finally enjoy kale prepared at home because I couldn’t figure out why everyone else’s seemed SO good in comparison to mine.

In addition to the greens I am trying to fit into my diet, hence creating a soup that involves kale, I have been dying for a little kick. I’ve always been more comforted by a really good chili or tortilla soup than chicken soup when it comes to the coldest days of the year. This is because the spice that is typically included when it comes to chili or tortilla soup sort of extends the warming effect. If I eat something hot, brothy AND spicy, I feel like my chills will just go away and I’ll be able to focus on more important things. Instead of adding the obligatory hot pepper rings, cayenne pepper, jalapenos, hot sauce or other staple heat packing ingredients, I used my chili and garlic infused olive oil. I am obsessed with this olive oil. I used it on everything. I bought it over the summer at the outdoor Italian market in Philadelphia—I’m dying to go back—when I was visiting a friend and I need to either a) Venmo for more or b) order it from the website. The lovely little shop where I bought it is called Cardenas Oil & Vinegar Taproom and they have all kinds of wonderful goodies you might want to add to your pantry like infused oils, vinegars and different herbed salts, etc. It is absolutely magical and I need to find a place like this closer to me.

Now that I’ve rambled quite a bit, let’s get down to the recipe I have promised and thank you for your faithful readership until this big reveal.

 

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. olive oil (or 4 tbsp. olive oil + 4 tbsp. fancy infused Chili & Garlic olive oil)

1 lg. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic (3 if not using garlic-infused oil), chopped

8 c. low-sodium vegetable broth (or 4 c. vegetable broth + 4 c. chicken broth for added flavor)

1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 c. pearl barley, rinsed (you can get this in bulk at Whole Foods without buying a package)

1 sm. bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves cut into small pieces (collard greens also an option)

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed

2 pinches of red pepper flakes (optional KICK)

Salt & pepper

Grated cheese for garnish

 

Methodology and Execution:

  1. I usually eyeball my olive oil, but for the sake of the recipe, my instructions are 8 tbsp. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once you can see that the oil is moving around easily, you’ll know it’s hot. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. (Hint: A friend of mine recently informed me after taking a culinary class in Italy that garlic need not be peeled to have the same effects. I crush the cloves, inside their casing, with the flat end of a large knife, then throw in. The casing also has nutrients that add some extra benefits to the soup. Remove the cloves—if you wish—when the soup is done.)
  1. Once the onion is tender and translucent, about 6-8 minutes, add the tomatoes (Hint: Use whole, peeled crushed tomatoes if you don’t like chunky soup) with their juices and the broth(s) and bring everything to a nice boil. Add the barley to the boiling soup, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, about 20 minutes.
  1. Add the kale, beans and red pepper flakes (optional) and simmer until the beans are heated through and greens are wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. I ended up simmering the soup almost an additional 20 minutes to ensure the kale had cooked down and all of the flavors had developed. I also did a few taste tests to make sure my lips got a little tingly from the spice—or else I would have had to add more flakes.
  1. Serving suggestion: ladle into bowls and add freshly grated cheese, toast some Italian bread for dunking.

I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as I do—I wasn’t sure I would like it this much, but it is DELICIOUS! This is the desired result for testing out something new and developing along the way. I’m going to freeze some of this in small batches to have throughout the frigid winter. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Until next time,

 Food Snob

Posted in Food & Travel, Restaurant Experiences

Little Bites of Paradise

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.


Providence, RI

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

 

Posted in Chicken, Emotions, Hangover, Recipes

Good morning, America: My latest hangover.

“The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” – Jonathan Larson, Rent

My head and stomach are in an extreme battle for who can make my entire physical being feel worse today. Things took a bad turn when Campaign 2016 commandeered all of the judgement left within my sound(ish) mind and forced my hand toward that last beer. It was the kicker, yet I’ll survive.

It’s not that I’ve never felt a hangover, a headache so overpowering I fear it may never leave, but this morning was different. This morning I recognized the opportunity to be a hopeful creative in a place that has turned not only against creativity throughout this presidential campaign (Though some of my fellow writers have gotten slightly more humorous of late and for that, I thank you.), but has given up hope entirely based on some ill-intended comments meant to incite a terrible nightmare. The gig is up and the trick only worked on half of us.

In my achy, fragile grey morning–though I swear I saw fire on the horizon!–I am able to only stomach some toast and a cup of English Breakfast tea. However, this feeling of mixed up confusion and slight hope that hope is still alive has lead me back here. Back to a platform I had created to incite my own destiny, to pump my life with my two favorite things whenever I so choose: food and snarky blog writing. And today I promise myself to force this practice into my routine and to give the Internet the Rhode Island Food Snob it deserves. If you’d like to be a part of the journey, please subscribe. Please comment or like and share anything you might like to add, see, learn, explore, laugh at, cry about. I’m game for all of it and I’m here to join a community of individuals I feel strongly about–those who use platforms like these to share what they love and look to connect, to heal. This is what we will need, now.

Please end the destruction, please stop tearing at a scrap that is already nothing, was already nothing before we began to divide it. Please, I urge you, go back to a place of creativity. Create anything: anger, humor, fear, animosity, excitement, light, hope–express what needs to be expressed in a constructive way. There are outlets all around us, please choose one and show us what you cannot live without.

In the meanwhile, for those of you seeking comfort, I have chosen an appropriate recipe for this post that I hope you’ll enjoy. Wake up with me and give the day enough time to ease your headaches.


Crustless Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, cleaned and quartered

6 stalks of celery, halved

6 carrots, peeled and halved

2 small white or sweet onions, quartered

2 c. potatoes

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 sprigs fresh thyme

3/4 c. flour

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. heavy cream

salt & pepper (additionally peppercorns, optional)

 

Methodology & Instructions:

For this particular recipe, I pulled from some strong sources. One being my mother’s experimental style of knowing how food should taste and messing around a little bit to create deep flavors and comforting feelings in my food. Additionally, as it was my first time making pot pie, I referenced some basic online recipes–specifically one from the Pioneer Woman because she offers multiple suggestions throughout the recipe. Thus, the below steps should be followed somewhat strictly by a beginner, referencing additional tips for certain prep work as needed, and loosely but with attention to detail for a pro.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine garlic, thyme (remove from sprigs–Tip: There are tools for herb stripping.), 2 tbsp. olive oil or canola oil, 3 tbsp. salt, 2 tbsp. pepper. Toss chicken, half of the celery, half of the carrots, half of 1 onion in mixture to coat.
  3. Place in a deep roasting pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through, celery and carrots become tender.
  4. Remove all ingredients from the roasting pan including any accumulated fat or juices and place in a bowl to cool. Once cooled, pull chicken meat from bones (Tip: Use two forks to shred the meat most easily.) and dice carrots, celery and onion. Toss together and let sit.
  5. Broth: Place chicken bones with remaining carrots, celery and onion in a large pot. Add 4 tbsp. salt, 3 tbsp. pepper or a pinch of black peppercorns. Fill pot with cold water before placing on stove to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  6. In the meanwhile, place potatoes in a small pot, cover with cold water, add 2 tbsp. salt and bring to a boil on stove top. Boil 5-8 minutes or until just tender. (Tip: Poke with a fork to test for tenderness.) Once cooked, dice and mix with roasted chicken and vegetable mixture.
  7. After broth has simmered to full flavor, drain and discard bones and vegetables. Set aside broth and make the rue/pot pie filling.
  8. Rue: Place 2 1/2 cups chicken broth in a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add butter and cream, mix together until smooth. Begin to slowly add flour while whisking constantly. Once rue runs smooth, begin to stir in roasted chicken and vegetable mixture, coating with rue. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and chicken broth for desired consistency.
  9. Serving options: Serve in bowls, or over toast or with buttered biscuits for dipping in place of crust.

 

Until next time,

Food Snob

Posted in Quick Dinners, Recipes, The Market

My Mean Tomato Cream

This month’s issue of Bon Appetit was the Winter Survival Issue for 2014 and provided me with some delicious dishes to serve up while trying to keep warm. Yesterday, I threw together my own rendition of warming comfort food for a quickly assembled Sunday night dinner.

There are a few things I’ve been meaning to make this winter that I haven’t gotten to yet: French Onion Soup & my own homemade Tomato Sauce. I still had some Turkey Tortilla Soup left in the freezer that I defrosted for the week, so I decided to spend yesterday making sauce and baking some Bacon Oatmeal Raisin cookies (recipe here) which I saw in Bon Appetit some time ago – that recipe needs some tweaking because my cookies came out hard as rocks and I don’t know if it’s my fault or the recipes, I’ll have to check with the experts (Mom, Grandma & Aunty Jen). My sauce recipe isn’t anything crazy special, but it caters to my desired taste & I really look forward to eating it once it’s simmering on the stove. For my own purposes, I only make about a quart at a time – I usually end up freezing half of it, too, since at this point in my life it’s really only me eating it – so you can double or triple this recipe if you please! I almost always make at least one of the meals with it as tomato cream sauce because it’s easily one of the most delicious things you can do with tomato sauce. It’s similar to a vodka sauce but easier to make! (I’ll add the steps for making the tomato cream at the end.)

The Food Snob’s Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 c. sweet or white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (your choice, I use Del Monte’s Italian Recipe) stewed tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste (I use Hunt’s, no salt added)

2-3 very ripe on-the-vine tomatoes, or any others you need to use up (I usually clean at least the seeds out)

2-3 TBSP olive oil

salt, pepper, sugar, basil (for flavor!)

Method/Preparation:

First, start with any ripened tomatoes you have lying around that you need to use up or some soft, bright red ones you might find hanging out with the vine-ripes at the market. I always start my sauce with fresh tomatoes to give it a little added sweetness and chunkier texture (I like lumps in my sauce, but nothing crazy). Start by heating the olive oil – I use half Canola, half EVOO so the flavor isn’t overpowering – in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, use just enough to coat the bottom so that your garlic and onion don’t burn. Once it’s up to temp, add your garlic and onions and stir them in to coat them in the oil. Add salt and pepper to flavor both ingredients. Once the onions are translucent and soft, add all your tomatoes, along with salt & pepper to season them, and bring the heat down to a simmer. Cover this mixture and let it ‘sweat’ for about an hour, the tomatoes will start to break down. Once the tomatoes start to look like a puree, you can add your canned tomatoes. Bring the heat up to medium and fill the can from the tomatoes about 1/3 of the way with water, swirl it around so you get all the rest of that good stuff and then pour it in the pot. Sprinkle about 2 tsp of sugar over the top and add the tomato paste. Return heat to a simmer and cover. Cook about 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, or until all tomatoes are tender. I sometimes use a potato masher to make sure none of the tomato pieces are too big.

Once the sauce is put together, making the tomato cream is the easiest thing in the world. I also like to make my own garlic bread (yesterday I got lazy and bought some frozen) to dunk in the sauce because I’m gluttonous about my pasta, with no shame. For a green yesterday I reheated some leftover broccoli rabe, but almost anything goes with this including a small portion of salad.

For the Tomato Cream Sauce: Heat 1 parts heavy cream to 2 parts Tomato Sauce over medium-low heat in a medium pot/large sauce pan, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, boil pasta in a separate pot (I used Rigatoni yesterday) to just before al dente. Add a small amount of the pasta water into your sauce before draining – this will help the sauce and pasta come together better. Once drained, add pasta into sauce and turn heat up to medium. Stir occasionally until sauce bubbles and thickens, then remove from heat and add about 1/8 c. grated cheese. Stir until cheese melts into the sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!

For Garlic Bread: Finely chop some garlic early in the day, like when you’re making your sauce, and store it in just enough Canola oil in a small cup in the fridge. Before you put the sauce and pasta on the stove, use a kitchen brush or the back of a small spoon to spread some of the garlic oil onto both sides of slices of Italian bread. Set the oven to BROIL. Let bread stand for a few minutes so the oil soaks in. Broil about 4-6 minutes on a baking sheet in the oven or until golden brown. Sprinkle immediately with grated cheese and fresh finely chopped parsley if desired. Serve with your pasta.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with this meal last night! As I said, the cookie recipe that I was juggling while I was making the sauce needs some tweaking, but otherwise I was pleasantly full by the time I went to bed and warmed to the core! I hope this brings as big a smile to your face.

— Until the next,

❤ Food Snob

Posted in Food & Travel, Restaurant Experiences

New Favorite Bites

Happy Monday all!

I’m not satisfied with the small list of bites that I included in my last post, so today’s post will be completely devoted to sharing bites that I enjoyed in 2013 & 2014.

Waterman Grille (Providence, RI): I visited here with my grandmother for my birthday this past summer and the food was absolutely excellent – as was the service. Sunday-Wednesday they offer a 3-Course Pre Fixe which we chose to sample. I had a delicious mushroom crostini with a soft Narragansett Creamery cheese spread (having trouble remembering the type of cheese) followed by duck confit mac & cheese. The mac & cheese was out of this world, though it was very rich and very filling, and I ate every bite I could handle. For dessert, I had a small piece of chocolate cake that was also wonderful but I could hardly enjoy it from being so full!

Harry’s Bar & Burger (Providence, RI): Harry’s is a ‘sister’ restaurant to Luxe Burger Bar (mentioned in my earlier post) in Providence. They serve sliders that are more delicious than most regular burgers I’ve had in my life and their beer selection always offers something new. My favorite is the M.O.A.B. (The Mother of All Burgers) which is loaded with fried onion strings, pickles, bacon, cheese, lettuce, special sauce, mushrooms and tons of happiness. I never say no to visiting.

The White Horse Tavern (Newport, RI): This place is Newport to me. It is the oldest operating  tavern in America (1673), it’s fine dining with a perfect touch of colonial America and the feeling of being right by the ocean. My dad used to run the kitchen here and every childhood memory I have of Newport has something to do with this place. Mike & I visited for my birthday this year and had some of the best New England clam chowder either of us has ever had – I’ve been dying to have it again ever since. I had sirloin steak fritte with hand-cut fries, Mike had the lobster mac & cheese and I would definitely return to try their beef wellington among other things!

2 Pauls City Grille (East Providence, RI): The atmosphere was a little funny here and the restaurant wasn’t very busy but both the food & service were perfectly fine. I visited with a friend and we shared a few appetizers and each had an entire (way too much food) and a glass of wine. I tried this out because of a recommendation and because I had Living Social deal that proved to be very helpful. For appetizers we tried the polenta fries, which were different but I wasn’t crazy about them, and the shrimp mozambique which I loved and were absolutely delicious. For dinner I had shrimp scampi and my friend had crab cakes, both were tasty and the portion sizes were certainly more than we could handle. I was not upset about the amount of food we ordered, I love leftovers depending on what they are, but I’m always pleased when a server recommends based on serving sizes!

Red Stripe (Providence, RI): Mike and I tried Red Stripe for one of our date nights this fall. The atmosphere was funny here as well, though for different reasons. With this one, the tablecloths were paper but mostly everything in the restaurant said ‘fine dining’ but the bar area was very casual and the entire place was an open floor plan. Regardless, the food was not something I particularly regret but we haven’t been back to visit again. We started with the truffle fries – a favorite indulgence of mine – nothing out of the ordinary, but I always enjoy the option of having them. I had the duo of duck confit with mushroom risotto and I just wasn’t crazy about the flavor, plus my risotto wasn’t up to temperature which kind of put me off. The duck could’ve been a palette thing, but I’ve never tried a duck dish I didn’t like.

Chapel Grille (Cranston, RI): This is perhaps the only really ‘bad’ one out of the bunch. This restaurant was built just a few years ago and it is absolutely beautiful. The bar area is perhaps one of my favorite spots around, including in Providence, and it’s the only thing that would bring me back here. I visited on two occasions and I was disappointed by both. With the first, I tried some shrimp cocktail that tasted funny – if I ever taste seafood in a restaurant that isn’t 100% fresh I almost immediately dismiss it from my list – and the caesar salad which had a very fishy taste (probably too much anchovy in the dressing) but the strange part was a strong flavor of cinnamon on the croutons. I could see maybe a hint being interesting to taste, but to be eating something that tastes like it should be dessert with a caesar salad was very odd. The margarita pizza we had with that meal was the only saving grace: thin crust, fresh tomatoes, cheese & basil. On the second visit, I decided to stick with the pizza but tried the four cheese & scallion pizza this time. We were sitting at the bar and the food was brought out – not by the bartender – and set in front of my on a large pizza tray without my having a plate for close to 10 minutes. The pizza was also not up to temperature and the cheese wasn’t completely melted nor were the onions fully cooked. Mike tried a rigatoni bolognese which wasn’t bad but wasn’t anything extraordinary, especially since the pasta wasn’t cooked through. Needless to say, if we visit again it would only be for drinks.

So, there they all are. The good and the bad, with more to come in the future.

For now,

❤ Food Snob