Monday, January 30, 2012


Spend your afternoon learning to mix, shake, stir, whatever, at TiNi's (200 Washington Street, Providence  401-383-2400), Saturday, February 11.

Per the Al Forno website (Al Forno being the "parent" of TiNi, the truly teeny small-plates bar across from Trinity Rep), the plan is to educate participants in the workings of cocktail culture, teach basic skills, create four drinks and provide snacks, between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Then turn you out wobbly onto the downtown streets (this last note mine not theirs).

The class is $50 per person, includes 4 cocktails,  snacks, and printed cocktail info.

To reserve, call Darius at TiNi (401-383-2400) or Lexi at Al Forno (401-273-9767)

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Cook with Johanne Killeen and George German, Rhode Island's most famous restaurant duo. And do it in France.

The location is the La Combe en Périgord cooking school in Dordogne, southwest France. The agenda is cooking in the Johanne and George manner with specifics of the Al Forno ( menu being taught - grilling, making pasta, etc.

The school is in a food-famous region, Périgord Noir, known for truffles, foie gras, walnuts, etc. and the class includes tours of markets, meals at local restaurants, and wine to wash it all down.  Check out La Combe's website: which pictures a beautiful "rustic" setting - i.e. pampered country. The Al Forno duo are well-known for being fussy but be wise, do some research.

Dates: June 4 - 11, 2012

The class is 3200 € ($4,226 today, 1/29/12) with a non-refundable 500 € deposit when you sign up, which you do at the La Combe website.

The price is inclusive, all meals all wines.

Questions, call La Combe's US rep at 1-888-522-6623

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Le Central (483 Hope Street, Bristol  401-396-9965) has a big brasserie-style room and a menu which manages to evoke brasserie without screaming kitsch, neatly marrying New England and France. Right now it's open daily for dinner at 5:00 p.m. and open for lunch on Saturday, brunch on Sunday. But, if you are driving from out-of-town thinking "It's Monday, we don't need a reservation", I say call ahead anyway. This is advice for all smallish out-of-town restaurants because if the space is taken over for a private party that news is unlikely to reach you via the website.

Anyway, if you want to sample oysters, raw or roasted, eat a country pȃté or savor a saffron-infused broth with cod and clams, Le Central offers you all. The prices (e.g. $9.75 for the pȃté and $17.75 for the cod and clams) won't kill.

Especially right now, in cold cruel January when for $30 you can dine pretty well on three courses and a complementary glass of pinot noir or pinto grigio. And, truth be told, you can even dine here for less.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Providence Restaurant Weeks began yesterday. The basic outline is $14.95 for a three-course lunch and $29.95 for dinner. But check the site ( because there are variations - some restaurants offer two-for-one deals, some offer dinner but not lunch, at least one has even cheaper dinners, etc. etc. The participant list is really good this year. I note Providence locations here but there are out-of-town restaurants too (e.g., Meritage in East Greenwich, DeWolf in Bristol).

Don't look for Al Forno on the list, or the Broadway contingent - they're above the fray - but you'll still find some of the best restaurants in town.

Here are a few options, by neighborhood:


Bravo Brasserie (123 Empire Street  401-490-5111) (  It is what it is, a generally decent place in a good location. Two-for-one dinner special includes a bottle of wine instead of a dessert course

Capital Grille (One Union Station  401-521-5600) ( - Here's your bargain steak opportunity

Dorrance (60 Dorrance Street  401-521-6000)  (
Time to try downtown's newest venture

Gracie's (194 Washington Street  401-272-7811) (
Choice-of-three dinner menu. Gracie's and Bravo are as close to Trinity Rep as you can get

Tazza (250 Westminster  401-421-3330) ( Open for lunch and dinner. Good shop-and-eat location. Go to Symposium Books next door and Craftland  (, good shop for local art despite the dumb name, across the street

Downtown/Brown Med:

CAV (14 Imperial Place  401-751-9164) ( Lunch and dinner  - with fish tacos (!) as one lunch-time option. It's out of the way but you can browse art supplies next door at Jerry's Artarama

Federal Hill:

Cassarinos (177 Atwells Avenue  401-751-3333) ( Where locals go for basic Italian, lunch or dinner

Don Jose Tequilas (351 Atwells Avenue  401-454-8951) ( If you thought Federal Hill was all Italian you've been sleeping

Along the River/Point Street end:

Bacaro (262 South Water  401-751-3700) ( Open for dinner only. Take advantage

Along the River/Steeple Street end:

Cafe Nuovo (One Citizens Plaza  401-421-2525) ( Offers the deal for dinner only. Admittedly, this is a not-outstanding lunch spot for a strictly business crowd but for dinner the room can work

New Rivers (7 Steeple Street  401-751-0350) ( Open for dinner only. Be cozy in the ambient light of Providence's prettiest landmark

Upper Hope:

Chez Pascal (960 Hope Street  401-421-4422) ( It's dinner only,  with warm bread pudding on the menu

Cook & Brown (959 Hope  401-273-7275) ( Also dinner only. Hmmm, pork meatballs

Check out the restaurant weeks website for menus and prices:

Continues through Saturday, January 28

Friday, January 13, 2012


Love cheese? La Laiterie (186 Wayland Avenue, Providence  401-274-7177) is serving cheese fondue and raclette, two seriously good winter comfort foods, along with wines, on Sunday afternoon, January 29. It's $45 person (or $110 with a fondue pot).

Sunday, January 29   $45 per person 
Call 401-274-7177

Monday, January 9, 2012


You expect to read that Ocean House (1 Bluff Avenue, Watch Hill  401-584-7000) is hosting a specialty dinner featuring a well-known member of Rhode Island's chef corps, cooking with local products, blah, blah. All very nice but this time Ocean House is going true Rhode Island local - cooking Portugese. Billed as a "Cuisine of Portugal" demonstration, it's a three-course dinner with hors d'oeuvres and wine.

Wednesday, January 18         7:00 p.m.         $85 plus tax and tip

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Chez Pascal (960 Hope St, Providence  401-421-4422) opens for its annual brunch this Sunday, January 8. Eggs, pastries and house-cured meats and bacon. Call to reserve.

Sunday, January 8        10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

And if you're hungry for a Chez Pascal sandwich, the much-loved Hewtin's Dogs Mobile is parked in front of the Wintertime Farmers' Market (Hope Artiste Village, Pawtucket) every Saturday morning, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.