Monday, May 16, 2016


Since you are venturing to Massachusetts to stop at  Portugalia ( in Fall River, drive next to Sid Wainer & Son (a/k/a The Gourmet Outlet) in New Bedford (2301 Purchase Street  800-249-0447) and check out this well-known grower and distributor's newly redesigned retail outlet. It's bigger than ever and if there is a place anywhere better for a world-class selection of micro-greens and specialty vegetables I don't know where it is. (Warning though, check out the price of that little container of precious greens before you head to the cash register.) Look for special deals as you enter the cheese room - there's usually a table with great cheeses on the cheap due to close sell-by dates. Sid Wainer, where you must bring a sweater to survive visits into the cheese and vegetable/fruit rooms, has the balsamic vinegar you need as well as the one you covet.

Hours are Monday - Saturday  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 



If you haven't been to Portugalia Marketplace in nearby Fall River, MA (489 Bedford Street  508-617-9820) go soon, you won't regret it and you may love it. Portugalia is a feast to the soul (that covers eyes and mouth). For serious cooks of Portuguese cuisine it's the local (and not-so-local) go-to place for ingredients. For the basic food lover who is looking only for some olive oil it's a cultural blast of beauty and promise. Naturally, the food lover will leave with the olive oil and bread, and maybe some wine, cheese, chocolate-covered almonds, beautiful tins of sardines ....

Have lunch in the café - e.g., a grilled Portuguese tuna in oil with cheese. Pastries too. Prices are remarkably low for the sandwiches.

I'm not in the market for fifty pounds of salt cod, or giant quid, or octopus, but it's fun to look at it all. The long windowed "cod" room is very cool, figuratively and literally. Portugalia is an expansive airy warehouse-style shop which covers all things Portuguese from dishes to port (the cheese department covers much of Europe and some local U.S. too). This is an ideal place to buy components for a perfect antipasto platter.

There's a beer and wine section. Non-alcoholic Portuguese beer is available.
Cheapest wines near the floor, prices moving upward.

You're best bet for relatively peaceful shopping and easy parking is to go on a weekday. Weekends are busy, busy and the parking gets tight - you're in a commercial area and nearby street parking is limited. That said, it's fun to be there on Saturday, in the lively crowd, sampling cheeses and olive oils and buying way more than you need.

Hours are Monday - Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll, drawn by Sir John Tenniel in 1871
Walrus and Carpenter Oysters (Ninigret, RI) is running a 4th year of oyster parties. Here are the dates and the guest chefs:

Mon, July 18 - Matthew Varga of Gracie's (Prov)

Tues, July 19 - Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames (Newport)

Wed, July 20 - Meytal Kotik of Blue Hill (NY)

Thurs, July 21 - Nick Rabar of Avenue N (East Prov)

Mon, Aug 15 - David Reynoso of Al Forno (Prov)

Tues, Aug 16 - Benjamin Sukle of Birch and Oberlin (Prov)

Wed, Augt 17 - Champe Speidel of Persimmon (Prov)

Thurs, Aug 18 - James Mark of North (Prov)

Wines selections are from Bottles Fine Wine (, 141 Pitman St, Providence (401-372-2030)

This is all-inclusive oyster adventure which begins on boats departing from Charlestown between 2:30 and 3:00 in the afternoon. Diners will be wading knee-deep and walking a beach on this oyster farm tour and meal. There's an in-the-water raw bar and later, a multi-course dinner. Bring a change of clothes. Tickets are super pricey - $225 per person - but look at the website right now and you will want to be in that picture (

Tickets go on sale on Monday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m. on the Walrus and Carpenter website.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Pizza J (967 Westminster St, Providence  401-632-0555) is a venture of Julian Forgue (of Julian's fame) and co-owners. It's on the near west side of 95, occupying a large airy space in a mini strip center, Pizza J looks like a modern pizza place ought to, relaxed and cool without self-conscious airs. It has an excellent, long wide bar, perfect for sharing a pizza and a couple beers. The pizzas are real, i.e., crusts are actual handmade pizza crusts not the ready-to-load crusts you're seeing everywhere now. And they're squarish. They deliver.

Pizza is the main thing but appetizers abound - most involve a fryer. There are wings and fries, fried mozzarella and vegetable tempura, all the comfort food indulgences. There's also a good sandwich selection, from classic Italian to Vietnamese. For me though, the best thing is skipping all  ancillary items and going straight for the pizza. The white pizza with thinly sliced potato, elephant garlic and onion on a thin crispy crust was a thing of beauty and it tasted great. Even the leftover slices were terrific the next day.

Beer selection is very good, wine is basic and there's a full bar.

Venture to the west side, worth the trip.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Check out the Persimmon (31 State Street, Bristol RI  401-254-7474 ) website for restaurant week info.The Newport and Bristol County Restaurant Week runs Friday, November 6 through Sunday, November 15. Menu looks inviting.


St Mary's 35th Annual Holiday Bazaar - look for Middle Eastern foods, pastries, take-out and bulk food purchases. Friday (Nov. 6) 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 7), 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 8), 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Parish Center  One Saint Mary Way  Pawtucket

Sts Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church - 85th annual food fair and bazaar
Look for Armenia foods, pastries and take-out. Saturday (Nov. 7), 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sunday (Nov. 8), noon to 6:00 p.m.
Egavian Cultural Center  70 Jefferson Street  Providence

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


The Seekonk to Fall River path is short on good dining options so when Aviary (2229 Grand Army, Swansea, MA  508-379-6007) was suggested as a new option it seemed worth a try. Hmmm. The Aviary is a seven-day-a-week lunch and dinner place with brunch on Sunday. It's not in a mall but that's the atmosphere, inside and out. Everything is perfect and the place appears to have been designed and decorated by people who design restaurants at fancy conference centers. It looks like a restaurant at a resort except it's on Route 6. There is not a thing intimate or individual about it. Cocktail too sweet, duck wings not notable, and the fish tacos poor.