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.