Saturday, April 30, 2011


A little box of John Kelly Chocolates was given to me by a house guest. I loved these enrobed pieces of fudge. For me, the sea salted chocolate was a perfect balance of flavors and the fudge with caramel was luscious.  A little box of John Kelly chocolate is pricey but out-sizes bigger boxes in terms of outright deliciousness. My guest bought the chocolate at Wasiks Cheese Shop in Wellesley ( You can find John Kelly elsewhere in Massachusetts but NOT IN RHODE ISLAND.

They say they can deliver in time for Mother's Day, May 8th.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Minnesota State Fair - Clancy Ratliff

Tuesday, May 17 (6:30 p.m.) at the Jamestown Library, Ms. Martha Smith Patnoad, an extension service specialist at the University of Rhode Island, will instruct you in the basics of canning, freezing and drying. Learn what works and what doesn't - what's safe and what isn't. The library needs 15 people to sign up in order to run the program so give them a call at 401-423-7280.

Jamestown Philomenian Library
26 North Road

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Scott Bauer
Rhode Island Community Food Bank will feature culinary megastar Mark Bittman at its Thursday, May 5 fundraiser. Food Matters: An Evening with Mark Bittman will take place at the Johnson & Wales Culinary Museum (315 Harborside Blvd, Providence).

No surprise, money buys access. The Patron's Reception at 5:30 p.m. ($250 per person) is your chance to meet Mr. Bittman, receive an autographed copy of his latest book, Food Matters, and sample appetizers prepared by Pinelli's of West Warwick using Bittman's recipes ( Mr. Bittman speaks at 7:00 p.m. and his presentation is followed by book-signing and a reception in the museum. ($100 per person if you elect the talk and reception afterwards)

Food Matters: An Evening with Mark Bittman   -   Thursday, May 5

5:30 p.m. - Patron Reception with Bittman ($250 per person)
7:00 p.m. - Mark Bittman presentation and reception to follow ($100 per person)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


slipper shells
Chris Clarendon of Seapowet Shellfish (171 Preservation Way, Tiverton, RI  401-816-0791) has sold us oysters in the past but a few weeks ago at the Wintertime Farmers' Market he talked us into a crazy purchase, a big bag of slipper shells (a/k/a limpets) doing what they do best, sticking to each other (not for nothing is their Latin name crepidula fornicata).

Slipper shells are an invasive mollusk from the wild, found locally in shallow water. The dead ones aren't much too look at and are the most common shells found on RI and Massachusetts beaches. Two inches is a big slipper shell.

Chris supplied us with cleaning and cooking instructions - basically, rinse thoroughly in cold running water and broil for a minute or so. He didn't mention that pulling the little beasts apart takes a lot of time. Separate as many as you can, lay them out in a pan, some still co-habitating (but these may be gritty), and place under the broiler. They're not pretty but looking a bit more promising.

fresh from the broiler

Fresh from the oven the shells look like brass  exposed to seawater: green. The meat is easily prodded from the shells with the working-end of a chopstick. The slipper has a slimy tale which I pinched off. When you eat this sort of shellfish on an island in Greece, say, I'm guessing the tales are still attached. Don't smell your hands - they reek. In the end, for all your effort, there is a giant pile of shells and a small bowl of mollusks. Which are still not pretty - there is no gorgeous tray of oysters at the end of this adventure.

itty bitty mollusks

The slippers are good for chowders, or so we were told, but who wants them to disappear into soup after so much work? Better to add them to paella, but who's got time for paella-making after all this? Alternative three is tossing them on greens, adding olive oil, lemon and pepper.

Serve the little salads to guests and find a way to say, "Oh, these, just some native limpets foraged at the shore."  Then get your head examined.

Now you know you can survive on a desert island. In the interim, buy clams.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shaken not Stirred: Benefit for "The Learning Community"


New Rivers (7 Steeple Street, Providence  401-751-0350) is providing the hors d'oeuvres for this martini fundraiser supporting The Learning Community, a K-8 public charter school in Central Falls. Check out the site and learn more about the school. Join supporters for the 6:00 p.m. party on Friday, April 29 at Hope Artist Village in Pawtucket.
$50.00 per person

Friday, April 15, 2011


Last in a popular lecture series at the Brown Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology ( ) is Planet Taco: The Globalization of Mexican Cuisine. The series, Tastes of the Americas, has featured talks on chocolate, beer and wine, and has drawn great audiences. Overheard at Uncorking the Past in March: "Who are these students? I've never seen them at department events before." Could be the free samples.

Steven DePolo
Jeffrey Pilcher, a food and drink historian at the University of Minnesota, will relate the story of Mexican American food and its movement from southern California and south Texas to an almost world-wide presence. There's a reception at the museum after the talk featuring foods from Restaurant Mexico Garibaldi of Federal Hill (

Wednesday, April 20 -5:30 p.m. at the List Art Building, Rm 20 (64 College Street) Note: Always call the museum the day of the event: locations change! 401-253-8388


This year Garrison Confections will have its Easter eggs and charming chocolate bunnies at Farmstead (186 Wayland Avenue, Providence  401-274-7177) in Wayland Square.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Tina's Jamaican Caribbean Restaurant (223 Atwells Avenue, Providence  401-490-4625) is doing a fundraiser for the Urban League of Rhode Island's Shelter Program. Starting at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, Tina's is serving a choice of four seafood plates (curried lobster, crab, shrimp and red snapper), and donating 50% of sales to the Urban League. Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate.  

Parkside Rotisserie (76 South Main, Providence  401-331-0003)  now has a late night tapas-type menu (from 11:00 p.m.) so you can go in after a movie and snack without ordering a conventional dinner. On the menu are Kobi beef sliders, margarita pizzas, Thai dumplings and tempura oysters. Café Noir up the road a few blocks is doing much the same.

La Laiterie (186 Wayland Avenue, Providence  401-274-7177) has started Wine Down Wednesdays - a selection of wines, some new, some tried and true, will be $5.00 a glass between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.

On Thursday, May 5, La Laiterie is running a Qupé Wines ( dinner featuring courses inspired by rock n' roll. Check the restaurant website for the story and the menu. Sounds good. $75 per person plus tax and tip.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Source at Reconstructure (96 Calverley St, Providence  401-383-1311) is a new home-furnishings shop opened by the interior design architecture firm Reconstructure. Like Simple Pleasures in Richmond Square, Source is off the beaten track. More accurate to say that Simple Pleasures is just off normal shopping routes while Source is way off. Two blocks south of Smith Street on the west side of Route 95, Source sits in a semi-industrial area, in the same location as the design firm. It's offerings are eclectic and include design pieces for persons and for spaces.  Regular store hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
On Saturday, April 9 Source is holding a trunk show (2:00 - 6:00 p.m.) featuring:

Margo Morrison New York - semi-precious jewelry

Andrew Schotts/Garrison Chocolates - chocolate for Passover and Easter

Monday, April 4, 2011


Good news: CHEZ PASCAL'S Hewtin's Dogs Mobile ( will be at the door for the Wintertime Farmers' Market movie series. Wednesday nights in April, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Not exactly a secret but new to me, La Truffiere (in the 5th at 4 rue Blainville, 75005 Paris  +33146332982) was a terrific place for my first meal on a five day spree. This despite the fact that truffles don't do it for me - in fact, truffles don't make the prix fixe lunch menu anyway. And prix fixe lunches are the most affordable way to sample high-end Paris. At today's euro/dollar exchange no meal is a steal but a 30 € lunch sounds acceptable if you skip the math. (Feeling flush? There is a 125 € option on the dinner menu.)

Reserve ahead (same day will probably do) to be certain of a warm welcome instead of an arched eyebrow. A wine case and the days' cheeses greet you when you enter. The cheese display puts you in a proper mood, further established once you are seated and the aperitif cart rolls up.

The 30 € menu is three courses: appetizer, main course and dessert. The same menu runs for a week or more and consists of either/or choices - you can't go to La Truffiere with anyone who needs a laundry list menu. For instance, we chose between a delicate vegetable assemblage (luscious) and a little salmon dish accompanied by cauliflower mousseline. My French being what it is (have more than once been surprised by the actuality of my order versus what I thought I selected from the menu*), I might not swear it was cauliflower but can attest to deliciousness. Main course choice on our visit was between a white fish with miniature greens and a confit of some sort (citron?) and a braised beef dish. The presentation was lovely and the tastes matched. Serving sizes were perfect for lunch. We left not a even a shred of arugula.

The choice range is broader for dessert with a cheese or sorbet plate as well as two composed desserts. The sorbets were lovely but the knockout was a blood-orange jelly with a mousse-like topping. The blood-orange flavor reappeared in the post-dessert mini-cookies. The long, narrow plate with six tiny treats featured two fabulous blood-orange macarons.

La Truffiere is well known for its wines and truffles and it was obvious that our neighbors at the next table were going for it all, price no object. I think the advantage here is that the kitchen is going to do fine work for that price-is-no-object table and we, sticking to the 30€ menu, will benefit from the same skills. We did.

notes: La Truffiere is in a fabulous walk-around neighborhood, near the Pantheon.

* the funniest was in a Provencal seafood restaurant where the menu said, according to my interpretation, large Mediterranean fillet with something crispy about it. Out came a huge mound of tiny, pungent, whole, fried, staring fish. A real challenge.

Friday, April 1, 2011



Rhode Island Whole Foods and ecoRInews (useful site, itself underwritten by the supermarket chain - is sponsoring a free movie series in April. Movies will be shown every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the hall at the Wintertime Farmers' Market (Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket) following the Wednesday market which runs 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

April 6:   BAG IT - Guy resolves to stop using plastic bags, life is changed forever (2010, 79 min.)

April 13: PLANEAT - Culinary journey away from meat & dairy (2010, 78 min.)

April 20: THE VANISHING OF THE BEES - Why are bees skipping town? (2009, 90 min.)

April 27:URBAN ROOTS - Urban Detroiters grow their own food (2010, 75 min.)

Look on IMDb ( for briefs on Bag It, The Vanishing of the Bees and Urban Roots. Planeat is a UK production(