La Laiterie (177 Wayland Avenue, Providence 401-274-7177) toasts Spring with beer and cheese. If you yourself are toasting with water and celery in anticipation of summer, don't read this: La Laiterie proposes you cheer in the season imbibing brews from Italy, eating cheeses and sampling porchetta Matt Jennings is making for the occasion. It's all at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. $65.00 per person. Call to reserve.
The story of Jeff Henderson's rise to fame as Bellagio chef, Food Network host, Oprah guest and writer is a good one. Hear him and support a worthy cause at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank's annual fund-raiser. This year's luncheon is Wednesday, May 9 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. $200 gets you a meet-and-greet, and an autographed book, Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove, at the pre-lunch reception (11:15 a.m.); $100 buys a seat at the luncheon (12:00 p.m.).
Forget bad white wine and cheddar cubes. The Newport Historical Society will benefit from a better idea this year - Newport's first Craft Beer Festival, at the historic(1699) Great Friends Meeting House (corner of Farewell and Marlborough) on Saturday, April 28.
Tickets are $45 (and you must be 21) for the afternoon event (2:00 - 6:00 p.m.). The festival is sponsored by Newport Storm Brewery (www.newportstorm.com/) and Pour Judgement Bar and Grill (32 Broadway, Newport, RI 401-619-2115, pourjudgement.com/). Ticket buyers can sample brews from about 30 breweries, mostly from New England but one or two far-flung. Local restaurants will supply the for-purchase food.
The South Shore Brew Club (www.southshorebrewclub.org/) will have a home-brewing set-up to educate the do-it-yourself crowd, which must be growing since you see the gear for sale everywhere.
Craft Beer Festival Saturday, April 28 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm $45 per person
Which, of course, nobody truly needs but that is so beside the point. I stopped by Provender (3883 Main Road, Tiverton 401-624-8084) with the intention of buying a single ginger cookie to split with my passenger. That statement is as truthful as saying I plan to eat one chocolate chip cookie and put the remainder in the freezer to use next week. Provender makes it hard for the sweet lover - the array of good cookies is more than tempting. Not to mention the brownies, the lemon bars, the scones, the cakes and the cupcakes.
I chose the smaller of the two pictured, mostly because it was exquisite. The lime cream-cheese icing, not too limey, not too cheesy, was piped to perfection (i.e. there was lots of it and firm enough to eat without a mess). Lime is not a flavor that pops to mind when contemplating a cupcake. Based on this one, it should.
The icing is sensational and the cupcake itself is moist but dense enough to say assembled after the first bite.
So, not too many days later my car headed again to Provender. I needed to sample the coconut. This cupcake is actually big enough to split (in fact some of my friends would cut it into quarters but I wouldn't go that far). I savored it, the flavor not quite as absorbing as the lime but it's a nostalgic flavor (when was the last time I made a coconut cake?). Now I am motivated to produce the cake because the problem with a really big cupcake is that it's missing a layer of icing ...
Provender is open Tuesday through Sunday until summer when it's open seven days. It's a local favorite for its famous sandwiches. Most people come by car to shop at Tiverton Four Corners but it's a popular bike stop too.
Hours are 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. off season and 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. in the summer