Friday, December 21, 2012


the start
iced sugar cookies

decorated gingerbread

attempts (bad!) at red fox and brown bears
new favorites: snails and porcupine
packing tins

 ginger spice cookies

heading to bed

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The plan was to give my book-group friends jams, as usual, for Christmas. But, wanting to do something more luxe this year, I consulted the books and decided hot fudge sauce would be perfect. Most people love hot fudge but never make it. And buying? Commercial hot fudge is often low on chocolate, high on sugar syrup, and blah on the tongue. So, decision made, the first pick-up of the day was a box of pint jars from Adler's (no, Home Depot does not carry them). A pint jar of hot fudge is generous (in my not-so-humble book) and may be more than some skinny persons want, so consider half pints (jelly jars). Then I bought cream, chocolate and butter, a lot.

I have some favorite hot fudge sauces. One, from Jacques Pépin, is slightly bitter, exceptionally smooth, and has only two ingredients, heavy cream and high-end bittersweet chocolate. The other is classic Maida Heatter - thick and fudgy, made with butter, cream, Dutch process cocoa, and light and dark sugars. The third has no name attached to it but is nearly identical to one recently printed in The New York Times and it's rich and creamy.

Figuring how much you need: a class jars has two parts, the main container and the top glass where the screw lid fits. I filled the main container to about 1/2 inch under the glass screw-top band. The following recipe gives you a little more sauce than needed to get to this level so I poured the extra into a second jar and immediately started making another batch of hot fudge. This is easy to do - recipe is fast and simple - so the chocolate will stay warm. I didn't double or triple the recipe, just made batch after batch in the same pan.

Salted Hot Fudge

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped a bit)
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa, sifted
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (should be very fine if you use sea salt)
2 tsp vanilla

• In a heavy pan melt the chocolate and butter over low heat until melted; stir or whisk

• Add cocoa, sugar and 3/4 of the heavy cream, one at a time. Turn heat up to medium low and stir or whisk constantly for about 3 minutes until sauce is warm and thick (need to whisk constantly so sauce doesn't burn)

• Add the remaining cream and whisk another minute. Sauce will be very smooth.

• Take off the burner and mix in the vanilla and salt. Pour into jar/jars and cool on a rack. Cap the cooled jars and store in the refrigerator.

Cut squares of wrapping paper (Container Store solids are just the right sturdiness) for the lids and use rubber bands (mine are fruit department green from Whole Foods) to hold the paper down. Be creative with tags. I painted cheap packing tie-ons with watercolors, easy enough. Put the jars back in the original carton and all that's left is delivery.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Edwards' (Surry, Virginia 1-800-222-4267) Virginia hams are my go-to hams (old post: ). You can order small hams, giant hams, fresh hams or smoked hams but always popular is a little one - the Petite Boneless Ham. Looks are deceptive; the ham is flavorful, salty (definitely not a holiday spiral ham) and meant to be sliced thin. A little goes a long way.  

Edwards also cures their own version of a traditional Spanish ham. It's called American Surryano and last year we tried it, and loved it. Maybe it won't trick your friends from Madrid, though it might.You can buy a bone-in whole ham, a boneless ham or four vacuum-sealed 3-ounce packages of ultra-thin slices. Whole hams begin at $200 and then you need to come up with a surgeon friend with the right knives to produce paper thin slices. We bought the vacuum-sealed slices ($34.95 plus shipping) and it was enough to stretch through two cocktail sessions of eight+ persons.


Sure, you hope to bring along a home-made Buche de Noel* when you visit friends but here are some easy alternatives if you're pressed for time:

• Stop in at Simple Pleasures (6 Richmond Square, Providence  401-331-4120) and pick up all sorts of small chocolate treats not available elsewhere in Providence. The tiny shop looks especially pretty for Christmas. Buy yourself a luxurious scarf.

• Visit Garrison Confections factory store (72 Ledge St, Central Falls 401-725-0790) Thursdays through Saturdays until Christmas, and on Sunday, December 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Select French-style macarons, chocolate-covered, sea-salted matzoh, elegant small chocolates. The chocolate-covered ginger is terrific.

• Order from semi-local Sweet Lydia's, a small Massachusetts vendor who showcased her wares at Craftopia in November. Personally taste-tested by my friends and me were toasted-coconut covered marshmallows (soooooo good), Lydia's version of a s'more, and one super-delicious chocolate bar.  Use discount code Craftopia12 to get 10% off online orders until December 17th.

• And order from John Kelly Chocolates, the Santa Monica purveyor of possibly the best fudgy sea-salted chocolates, some with caramel, you will ever taste. Expensive, totally worth it.

• Need to arrive with pastries or tarts but don't have the time or inclination? Susan VandenBerg operates the french tarte (774-280-4803) out of Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. I wandered in and purchased flaky pastries while shopping the Saturday Farmers' Market. She can be your new friend for the holidays.  Order ahead.

* And, if you do have time, try either of these easy Bûche recipes: or

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Work your way from Ivy Tavern (yes, it reopened) to India, eating half-price appetizers, drinking $2 beer and $3 wine. All the big names are participating. Rochambeau to Fifth will be foot traffic only but walk a few short blocks more for Cook & Brown, Chez Pascal and India.

Thursday, December 6   4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Chez Pascal (960 Hope Street  401-421-4422) hosts local artists and their wares for a Holiday Show on Sunday, December 2. Shop for artisan-made gifts, eat from the Wurst Kitchen menu, buy a drink. It's comfort shopping and part of the proceeds aid Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Sunday, December 2   11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Look around Waterman and Thayer at prime eating times and note the food truck caravan, selling a cuisine spectrum from Korean to American grilled cheese. New entry: Clam Jammers of Galilee. You expect chowder and clam cakes but this truck offers fish tacos too.

Check the site ( for sitings. or Twitter @CJammersTruck

And downtown at Kennedy Plaza

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Maybe better than Christmas shopping: sample cheese and sip wines from MS Walker (a distributor not a vineyard) at Farmstead (186 Wayland Avenue  401-274-7177) from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, December 2. Per the Farmstead website it's $45 per person. Call to reserve.


Sunnyside, the popular breakfast and lunch spot on the water in Warren has closed. Owner Joe Simone says he's looking for a place nearby where he can also serve dinner.


Jacques Pépin will be at Barrington Books (184 Old County Road, Barrington  401-245-7925) on Friday, November 23 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Always gracious and charming, Mr. Pépin will be signing copies of his latest cookbook - Jacques Pépin: New Complete Techniques.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Garden Grille's (727 East Avenue, Pawtucket*) annual Vegan Harvest Dinner is Wednesday, November 14. Five courses for $40 cooking as much as possible with locally sourced ingredients. Seatings are between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.

Call 401-726-2826 to reserve

*727 East Avenue is in the little strip mall on the left just across the Providence border at the top of Hope Street


Visit Johnson & Wales' harborside campus (315 Harborside Blvd, Providence) for three new exhibits:

1. Hometown Diners  - Robert O. Williams' photographs selected from his book of the same name

2. The Biltmore: Story of a Hotel - stories of two long-time employees, the former executive chef, Adolf Schrott, and Jim McDonnell, catering director

3. Edible Nanoscape: Food in the Scanning Electron Microscope - artwork by Geoffrey Williams of the Brown University Leduc Bioimaging Facility

Reception for the show is Thursday, November 15  6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
$5.00 admission. Refreshments based on the exhibits.

Make a reservation: 401-598-2805

Thursday, November 8, 2012


• Every year Providence has two Armenian fests where Armenian cooking is front and center. This week it's the annual fair held by Sts Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church, Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Broad Street, Cranston. Enjoy savories and sweets while browsing the markets and listening to music or purchase food to take home (they're prepared for this). The fare: kabobs, kufta, falafel and Armenian pastries. Fair is open Saturday, noon to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 8:00 p.m. Check the website for the enterainment schedule.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


• The Mount Hope Farmers' Market moves indoors this weekend, Saturday, November 3d. The market offers local veggies, seafood, meats, eggs, cheeses, flowers, coffee, prepared foods and on and on. The winter plan is for cooking demos by local chefs and workshops on hot topics like composting. The market is in a heated barn on a farm with its own historic point of interest, the Governor Bradford House, a circa-1745 inn.

Saturdays   9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.     250 Metacom Avenue, Bristol 

• And church fairs are getting into gear with one of the majors this weekend. Saints Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church runs its 82nd annual Armenian Food Fair and Bazaar this weekend at the Egavian Cultural Center (70 Jefferson Street, Providence). Go for the food.

Friday, November 2   5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 3   11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 4   12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

• And it's Restaurant Week in Newport and environs, Friday, November 2 through Sunday November 11. Okay, it seems like it's always restaurant week in Newport.

p.s. my compost heap now features sea salt

Monday, October 15, 2012


Not much free time on a quick trip to New Orleans, a city about which I know zip. We followed advice and headed to Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas Street  504-588-2123) in the warehouse district and ordered the gumbo and the redfish (as we had been instructed). The gumbo was terrific but maybe gumbo is not a culinary high mountain. Getting fish perfect is a Kilimanjaro scale and Cochon's redfish was amazing, a right-on-the-money combination of spices and grilling. The fish slid from the skin.

Before and after pictures tell all: a clean-plate-club night. Ordering pineapple upside-cake is excessive - who needs pineapple upside-down cake? You do. Walk a mile to a restaurant and a mile back and you'll knock a few calories off the gumbo, and the fish is pretty lean, but the butter and sugar in this sensational little cake will do you in if you're putting a thought to calories. Or maybe you were already done in by the lunch-time shrimp po-boy at Domilise's (5240 Annunciation Street,  New Orleans 504-899-9126) another go-to from the unnamed advisor (for whom our respect is climbing) where you sit between cops with glocks and Tulane students.

Said advisor suggested breakfast at Elizabeth's (601 Gallier St. New Orleans 504-944-9272) with specific instructions: order fried chicken livers and eggs and a side of praline bacon. This rich over-the-top flavor was beyond good and our guide hadn't mentioned that even the biscuits and grits were worth the trip. Have you tasted praline bacon? Not for the sugar shy, it's proper home could be the dessert plate, but when you're in this deep with the fried chicken livers and biscuits you may as well wallow.



Saturday, October 13, 2012


At the time of my first visit, Hourglass Brasserie (382 Thames Street, Bristol  401-396-9811) was in its fledgling days. Our group was divided, those in favor, those not. I thought the menu veered to the "French" we Americans tend to like - what we think is proper brasserie food, i.e., familiar. And I admit that cheap French prints on the wall put me further off, which is STUPID since we were there for food not decor, but I was put off nonetheless.

Since that first outing we've had a good night and a great night. On the good night just about everything worked (and my wee little spicy shrimp soup was near perfect) but nobody raved (and I complained about salty bacon overpowering the monkfish). And when prices are high relative to the neighborhood the food/price ratio matters a lot. If you say, "Wow, that was expensive but it was sooooooo good" you'll probably return; if you say "That was a price performer" you'll probably return too. But if you find yourself mumbling "Seemed kind of pricey to me" on the way to the car that's another story.

Next dinner was perfect, four diners, four A grades. Hughly successful: citrus-marinated salmon - so delicious I'd be happy to have it again and again. Cod was perfectly cooked, braised short ribs robust but not heavy, sole delicate, etc. Accompanying vegetables were tasty works of art. I check the Hourglass menu occasionally and it changes. This annoys some people but it thrills me because I already have established (secret?) haunts for comfort foods, I know where to go for broiled scrod and chicken pot pie. Hourglass needs to raise the bar, show me a good time, really insist that I return because the experience is so positive. It has to be tough for an owner/chef to pull this off, tough enough in Providence but triple tough in Bristol where the dining crowd shrinks in the winter and the sidewalks roll up at 8:00 p.m. (seriously, we tried to make a reservation for 8:00 one winter Thursday at Persimmon and they asked if we could come at 7:00). Here's hoping.

P. S., the prints on the wall were replaced with posters.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


People keep looking for the barbecue place on Ives. United Barbecue is closed, gone, done.


I just received my Local Harvest email. It came with a reminder that Thanksgiving is nearer than I like to think. Click and type in your own parameters. Do you want a nearby farm where you do the pick-up or are you looking for delivery - the site covers the options. What I found was that some farms are already sold out.

Monday, October 1, 2012



La Laiterie (184-188 Wayland Ave., Providence) calls it HOGtoberfest and it's Sunday afternoon, October 14th. Owners Matt and Kate Jennings are serving up German-style charcuterie (hog-based of course), beers and cheeses and whatever they happen to be pickling (everybody seems to be pickling these days, me too). The food and drinks are German-inspired, i.e. not necessarily German-bred. The Jennings add their own zing.

Buy tickets on line or call the store
$50 per person

La Laiterie
184-188 Wayland Ave., Providence 401-274-7177

Looking ahead at La Laiterie: Sunday November, 14 (4:00 - 6:00 p.m.) Italian Craft Beer Tasting

Tuesday, September 18, 2012



Learn about cheese, East Coast vs. West, at Farmstead/La Laiterie (188 Wayland Avenue, Providence  401-274-7177) on Sunday, September 23. Sample and note the differences territory makes: can you tell it's an East Coast beer or a West Coast cheese? Do you "taste" the regions?

Sunday, September 23 - 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Buy a ticket on the website or call 401-274-7177


Szurdak & Pepin
The Preservation Society of Newport holds its 7th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival September 21-23. Among the food talent are featured guests Emeril Lagasse and Jacques Pepin with his daughter Claudine Pépin.  Alas, if you were hoping to have brunch on Saturday with the Pepins and twenty others, move on. Monsieur Pepin is a guaranteed fund-raiser and the $500 a person tickets sold out fast. But check out the site for Emeril, wine-tasting events, etc.


On Saturday, September 29, Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of Put 'em Up!,  ( guide you through jam-making and teach you the boiling-water-method so you can preserve your own vegetables. Best part: this is a hands-on class, held at the Ocean House in Watch Hill ( where you will learn, have lunch, and learn some more.

Sponsored by Edible Rhody (, Ms. Vinton and Ocean House, proceeds will benefit the Bradford Johnnycake Center of Westerly which provides emergency assistance to local residents.

Saturday, September 29, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  $58 per person

Reserve at or call 401-584-7083

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


If you've been wondering what Neath Pal has been up to since he closed Neath's (where Bacaro is now), read his abbreviated bio, taken word-for-word from the Johnson & Wales website:

"An instructor in the College of Culinary Arts, Chef Neath Pal specializes in international and Asian cuisines.

Chef Pal studied at France’s prestigious LaVarenne cooking school. After working in several Parisian restaurants, he returned home to Rhode Island, where he spent a year at Al Forno’s. From there he helped establish L’Epicureo, which quickly gained national attention, as well as Grappa, another celebrated bistro.

In 1998 Pal opened Neath's New American Bistro. Bryan Miller, former food critic of the New York Times, praised the restaurant as a "giant leap eastward" for the Providence food scene. Blending French and Asian influences, the eclectic menu highlighted the flavors of Pal’s native Cambodia, such as coconut milk, lemongrass, Kaffir lime and Thai basil.

After nearly a decade, Chef Pal closed his successful restaurant to spend time with his children. In 2008, he joined JWU as an instructor and in 2010 was given the Outstanding First Year Teacher Award."

Anyway, Neath and Bill Russell of Westport Rivers Vineyard ( are getting together next Monday, September 10 for one of Gracie's Star Chef dinners (194 Washington Street, Providence  401-272-7811)

It's pricey at $100 but it should be fun and delicious. 

Call 401-272-7811


Andrew Davidoff
If you missed your chance to savor souvlaki or an oozing gyro in Pawtucket last month, here's a chance to set things right. The Church of the Annunciation, Greek Orthodox Parish of Greater Providence (a mouthful kind of title) holds its annual festival, rain or shine, September 7 through 9. Greek goods, Greek music and dancing, and Greek savories and sweets. Dance performances are at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 12:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Go to the website for specifics:

Monday, September 3, 2012


Tickets are $50 each for a five-course sustainable seafood dinner at Cook & Brown Public House (959 Hope Street, Providence  401-273-7275) on Monday, September 10, 6:00 p.m.

To reserve call 401-273-7275 or email

Saturday, September 1, 2012


german wurst - tup wanders
The Gennusos, well known for their beloved Hewtin Food Truck (often at Roger Williams National Park on North Main in Providence and Saturdays at the Farmers' Market (Lippit Park in summer, Hope Artiste Village in the late fall, winter and spring), and locally appreciated for the weekday hot dog cart on the edge of Lippitt Park, have bested the cart by opening the Wurst Kitchen Window across the street at their restaurant, Chez Pascal (960 Hope Street, Providence  401-421-4422).

The Wurst Window is on the side of the building and has a patio, so sit or take out. It's open Tuesday – Saturday from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. On Saturdays, beer is available and you can sit on the patio or inside in the Wurst kitchen.

A sample of the menu: knackwurst with sauerkraut and house mustard; beerbrat with curried onion sauce; kielbasa with caraway, red cabbage and dijon

Friday, August 31, 2012


The plan is to eat at every waterfront restaurant in Bristol, Warren, East Greenwich, etc. It looks, from the street, like Wharf Tavern (215 Water Street, Warren  401-289-2534) has an enviable view so we gave it a try. What's to say? First, what you think is an upstairs deck is not. The only deck space is a narrow band around the indoor restaurant (which has a Holiday Inn kind of look). We sat outside and it was a lovely night - setting sun, boats heading in and out, breezes. The menu is very long (red flag) and has chicken fingers as an option (not a good sign in my book). The mussels were served with a tiny bit of broth (which wasn't good and it's so easy to make delicious broth). The scallops and swordfish tasted the same, maybe because they were both topped with a garlicky butter before serving. Best not to describe the pale green broccoli.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Scott Bauer, USDA ARS

Coastal Growers Market is at Casey Farm (2325 Boston Neck Road, Saunderstown) and Saturday, August 25 is Tomato Tasting Day. Sample conventional red ones and funny-colored heirlooms before you buy tomatoes and other produce at the market, often cited as one of the best in New England. Check this link for a view:

Saturday, August 25     9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


greek pastry/richard arthur norton
When you're really really hungry what's better than a freshly made gyro or souvlaki?

From Friday night (August 17) through Sunday (19) indulge in Greek treats, shop the market and enjoy the dancing at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church's annual Greek Festival in Pawtucket.                                     
 This is the festival's 85th year.

Friday 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 12:00 to 10:00 p.m. 
Sunday  12:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


The new Olive del Mondo (815 Hope Street, Providence  401-383-5733) has a tasting bar for its Italian olive oils and vinegars (featuring products from Modena). The shop, in the space where Garrison Chocolates once had a retail shop, also sells pastas, tapenades, salts, etc.

Visit upper Hope Street - the shopping is varied, fun and local, local, local. Lots of lunch options.

Olive del Mondo is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m.


New Rivers (7 Steeple, Providence  401-751-0350), now owned by chef Beau Vistal and Elizabeth Vistal (yes, teary eyes when people learned Bruce Tillinghast sold New Rivers but it's a good story, really), began serving lunch on Monday, August 6. This is great news for 1) persons living on the East Side near downtown, 2) for RISD museum visitors, 3) shoppers on North and South Main, 4) office people across the river 5) food lovers. Lunch options in this area are minimal. A Beau Vistal BLT with home-made chips sounds good to me. 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Friday, August 3, 2012


So, the onion ring fryer at Blount's Crescent Park location (684 Bullocks Point Avenue, East Providence  401-628-0485) scored high in my book yesterday. The onion rings were thinnish and slightly crisp and the batter wasn't thick, hard-shelled or weird-flavored. Blount's stand is nothing to look at but walk thirty or so yards and you're in a pretty park alongside the river and across from the Loof Carousel (beautiful). Devour the rings, guiltily, on a bench with a breeze. Add fried clams of course. Probably 99% of Rhode Islanders have no idea where Bullock Cove and Bullocks Point are. Rhode Island has a great shoreline.

Blount hours here are Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. I recommend Wednesday and Thursday.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The food truck wagons will circle (sort of) at the Roger William National Memorial site on North Main Street in Providence on Thursday, August 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Billed the Healthy Food Truck Throwdown the event is organized by the city, the Rhode Island Department of Public Health and the Roger Williams Memorial staff (a great group, responsible for Shakespeare in the park in June). Twelve food trucks are participating. Details are sketchy but the idea is that the trucks compete to create the tastiest/healthiest offerings. And it's a good park to have lunch in - an urban oasis with lots of tables, plenty of shade. Music too. 

Monday, July 30, 2012


Looks pretty good doesn't it? From one of my favorite NYT food writers, this recipe calls for a buttery almond cookie crust, a rose-infused custard and fresh raspberries. I followed the directions exactly for the crust and it was undercooked. The custard looked beautiful but rosewater just didn't do it flavorwise - this is a case where vanilla would have saved the day. It was immediately clear, as we all cut in, that the best solution would be to scrape off the raspberries and pull out the Haagen Dazs.


Bristol is good for dinner but its best places aren't oriented to the water. DeWolf's ( sort of is but there's a lot of chatter between you on the top deck and the actual water. Head to neighboring Warren for cafés feet from the busy harbor traffic. On Wednesday nights, for instance, watch sailboats in different classes head out and in from the races. Plug Warren, RI into a map site and you'll see why sitting dockside is fun - you're across from one of Barrington's prettiest neighborhoods and the waterway is relatively narrow and loaded with action.

Tav-Vino (267 Water Street  401-245-0231) occupies the space you may know as Sunnyside (, a popular place for breakfast and lunch. By night Sunnyside slips off its daytime persona and, in the hands of a totally different crew, dresses up to become Tav-Vino. Tav-Vino's website isn't up today but its relatively simple menu is fish/seafood oriented. There is a steak, of course (in RI there is always a steak) but the emphasis is not on meat. Prices are good - not lunch-counter low but not swank-place high either. Entrées are mostly in the $20 neighborhood, some less. And if you order only a drink and a first course, you don't get an aggrieved look from your waiter.

Red sauce, southern-Italian style, is in a few dishes - pictured with clams above. Crusty bread was okay, not great. The menu overall is only semi-Italian. In fact, I had dragged my feet about going to Tav-Vino at all because I had images, faulty it turns out, of veal chops and heavy sauces. But there was a butter overdose in the fish chowder, too bad because the fish was overwhelmed. The chowder, itself cream-based, was poured over barely toasted and heavily buttered baguette slices. All redeemed by the free-form strawberry rhubarb tart which was light, sweet-sour and delicious. Overall, nice place, good-enough food and a great patio.

A little note about the location. The savvy reader will know from the geography that we were facing westward on the dockside patio which means this is a hot location on a steamy day and, once the sun falls beneath the awning edge, sunglasses (and maybe a hat) are a must.

Monday, July 9, 2012


As usual, lots of restaurants - the really good, the in-between and the pretty-bad, are participating in two weeks of deals. And as usual, don't look for Al Forno (can you even imagine?) or the Broadway venues (don't they want your grandmother to visit? no).

Check the site ( for specifics.


Dorie Greenspan's ( many fans will be happy to hear that she and her son Josh will be opening (in August?) retail cookie shops, each named Beurre & Sel, at city-owned market facilities - downtown at the Essex Street Market (120 Essex Street, at Delancey, and uptown at La Marqueta (Park Avenue, under the tracks, between 111 and 116th Streets,

La Marqueta was big, loud, vibrant in the 1950s and 60s - people visited to market and  socialize under the continuous rumble of trains. The marketplace stayed in business but lost its appeal until a recent revival began to take shape. Love it or hate it, gentrification is making this happen.

Rhode Islanders, go take a look when you're in New York. Also visit Eataly (200 Fifth Avenue) and imagine how Federal Hill might improve its destination prospects as a food scene instead of a hookah bar let's-brawl location.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Perro Salado, Newport's very charming Mexican restaurant (19 Charles Street, Newport  401-619-4777), has opened Perrito Taqueria at 190A Thames Street. It's an eat-in/take-out sort of place featuring tacos, tostadas and other street food (using house-made tortillas). As a fan of Perro Salado's Sunday brunch/lunch (the El Perro Domingo - scallion corncakes topped with eggs, black beans, salsa verde, cheddar and jack cheeses and sour cream - is a satisfying food fest but the more basic Huevos Americanos - eggs, jalapeno hashbrowns, toast and grilled bacon or choriso - is also a good reason for fasting until noon. Add the cocktail list (including the spicy cucumber margarita) and it's a day. Reason enough to try the new place (


Re the Coastal Wine Trail event held at the Westport (MA) Fairgrounds last weekend - an attendee had this to say:

"I attended this festival. They really need to put some work into making it better. Too many tickets were sold and the inside area was actually so crowded it was unsafe. You could not maneuver to taste wines and if you bought wine you were not allowed to open it on the grounds...but you were not told this when you purchased the wine. All in all...a very poor execution of what could have been a great idea. I hope they get their act together next year. It was not worth the 4 tickets I purchased."

And I note that Oyster had listed the fair as Saturday, June 24. Oops.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The Coastal Wine Trail runs from Westerly, RI to Truro, MA on Cape Cod ( Check the site for individual winery events scheduled for this summer and fall. The next big do with participants from member wineries is Saturday, June 24 at the Westport, MA Fairgrounds (200 Pine Hill Road). Billed as the 1st Annual Wine Cheese & Chocolate Festival, it's a walk-around sampling afternoon (where you practice your skills at getting repeats at tables you favor). Tickets are $20 now, if you purchase them from any of the participating wineries, or $30 at the gate.

Saturday, July 24  1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Contact Maggie Harnett at 401-847-3777 for more info


n. ivanov
It's time for strawberries and the annual festival at Smith's Castle. The original Smith's Castle (155 Richard Smith Dr., Wickford, North Kingstown  401-294-3521), built by Richard Smith, was the first "English" residence in the area then known as Cocumscussoc. Home to the Narragansett tribe, Cocumscussoc is where Roger Williams established a trading post in 1637. The castle was burned in 1676 following a very bloody period between colonists and natives; Smith junior rebuilt in 1678. In 1740 the Updike heirs remodeled the home to what it looks like today. The history of Smith's Castle is a story of the good, the bad, the ups and the downs of Rhode Island fortunes over four centuries but only the good is celebrated in June when homage is paid to the local strawberry.

Saturday, June 16  12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Rain date: June 17

Smith's Castle, 155 Richard Smith Dr. (off Route 1), Wickford, North Kingstown. 401-294-3521

Monday, June 4, 2012



The new Farm Fresh Rhode Island Farmers' Market in the Jewelry District will be open every Tuesday through October.  It's at the corner of Ship and Richmond across from Brown Medical School.

It features goods from nearby Olga's Bakery and three food trucks: Mama Kim's Korean BBQ, Mijos Tacos and Rocket Fine Street Food.

Hours:11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.