Category Archives: eats

Memphis BBQ

We went to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago, and took every opportunity to sample some barbecue…

Memphis BBQ

The first photo was actually in Nashville, coming from the airport – stopped at at Jack’s for lunch (http://www.jacksbarbque.com).  I had a pork shoulder plate and enjoyed trying all the sauces (there were at least 6).

Exhibit B, a rack of ribs from Rendevous (http://hogsfly.com), a bustling joint that people have been walking down an alley to dine in since 1948.  Second barbecue of the day for us, and my first rack ever in the dry style.

And last but not least, a chicken plate from Corky’s (http://www.corkysbbq.com), one of the few places open for Sunday lunch. I’m glad fate led us there!

End of Summer

Fall is my favorite season, but the end of summer still fills me with regret for all my unrealized summer plans.   Like taking the Newport ferry, which will no longer set sail next year.  Or renting bikes on Block Island – I’ve still never been.  But sometimes you can take a bit of summer with you into the fall, like we did one night at Iggy’s in Warwick.  The line was shorter but the food, and the walk along the beach, were just as good.

Iggy’s in Warwick

We compensated for the summer’s lack of fried seafood by ordering in overabundance – chowder, clamcakes, calimari, fried clams, seafood platters…

Food for Thought Giveaway

This year’s Food For Thought is coming up on September 25th, and it’s going to be RI’s largest food & wine pairing, showcasing some great local restaurants and vineyards.

Want to go?  The first person to comment here (who is able to attend on the 25th) will get on the guest list for the event.  If you’re not quick enough, you can buy tickets online at http://foodforthoughtri.org.

fft2008logo.jpg

If you want to see my post on last year’s event, it’s here.

What I’ve Eaten

Thought you’d all enjoy this one. Join me and post your results!

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Strike out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects

43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Local Love

Last night’s dinner was delicious! It was inspired by yesterday’s post-work trip to the Wickenden farmers’ market.

First, we started with a caprese salad made with a striped German tomato from White Barn Farm, mozzarella from Narragansett Creamery (also from the market, sold by Wishing Stone Farm) and basil from our garden plot. The tomato was giant and so sweet. I thought we’d have leftovers, but it was impossible to leave any.

Caprese Salad

Then, Jeremy grilled a chicken breast stuffed with arugula from the garden, spicy dried sausage and hot pepper cheese, both from Tony’s Colonial on Atwells. Meanwhile, I sauteed beet greens, also from White Barn Farm, with some garlic and hot pepper flakes.

What a feast! And what a great city we live in.

Boston Barbecue

Early one Thursday morning, I was blearily explaining to my co-workers that I had been out late in Boston the night before. I explained that no, I wasn’t out dancing – I was eating barbecue.

You can imagine their surprised looks. It would be quite a stretch to say that Boston is known for its barbecue, but the city was fortunate to have the Phantom Gourmet host a “BBQ Beach Party” right next to City Hall. The festival, which lasted five days, had ten vendors serving up some of the best barbecue out there. Different styles and regions were represented.

First, we tried a large sampler platter from Virginia’s Johnson’s Bar-B-Que, which included ribs, pulled pork and chicken. Our stomachs happy but still ready for action, we moved over to Florida’s Porky n’ Beans for a double-decker Kansas City sandwich. The sandwich had one layer of brisket and one of pulled pork. I especially liked their spicy sauce and wished I could have brought some home. For dessert, we tried a decked-out cannoli from Wholly Cannoli. No meat in this one, just a sweet finish.

Treats from the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party
A Johnson’s Bar-B-Que Sampler, the grill at Porky N’ Beans. More photos here >

My favorite part of the festival was obviously the barbecue. I wished I would have had a larger appetite, more friends along to nibble from, or another day to go back. On the other hand, I thought the festival could have done without the “beach party” and offered a better beer selection. But I would gladly go again.

The event is slated to take place again next June. My recommendation is to skip the crowds and go as early as possible on Wednesday or Thursday. We were lucky to experience instant barbecue gratification, but heard the lines on the weekend meant over an hour wait! Also, bring friends so you can share and sample.

Down the Coast

Before I launch into my weekend I wanted to point you to a new site addition – the “What’s Cooking” item on the right. This is pulling from a Twitter page which I can use to make quick updates without getting into a whole blog entry.

The Memorial Day weekend found me in New Jersey. We first shot over to New York City where we visited Loreley for beer and pretzels and Pasticceria Bruno for dessert and cannolis to go.

Berry tart from Pasticceria Bruno
Berry tart from Pasticceria Bruno. Photo by Jeremy May

Back in New Jersey we poked into an Indian grocery store in Parsippany called Subzi Mandi, where I picked up rosewater and some jars of spicy condiments and marveled at the unusual produce like Luffa (aka Chinese Okra).

Lobster
Lobster and corn, eaten outside at my parents’ house

Later my family made lobsters using my dad’s new method – a turkey fryer (filled with water, of course). It’s a great way to cook a lot of lobster while keeping the mess and smell out of the kitchen. I love eating steamed lobsters at home. Not only are they much more expensive in restaurants, but they definitely don’t taste as good if you can’t make a mess.  Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Ribs for Breakfast

A few days of bland food finally helped me recover from the Wings from Hell, and I was ready for another food adventure. Jeremy caught a segment about Parker’s Maple Barn, a southern New Hampshire sugar house and restaurant, and once we saw ribs on the breakfast menu, we decided it would be the perfect Saturday morning outing.

After a surprisingly short and pleasant drive, we arrived to find the giant barn hopping. We ordered two huge breakfasts: him, the Maple Baby Back Ribs and Eggs with a side of pancakes, and me, the Mini Parker’s Special. My breakfast was anything but mini, with pancakes (I loved raspberry – the flavor of the month), an egg, bacon, sausage, ham, large pieces of toast, and Maple Baked Pea Beans in place of the usual home fries. As for the ribs, I’ve never had ribs cooked outside of the barbecue style, and these were good, but we both agreed that once is enough and our next visit would probably be for a “normal” breakfast.

Ribs for Breakfast at Parker’s Maple Barn
Maple Baby Back Ribs and Eggs at Parker’s Maple Barn

After breakfast we stopped in the store and picked up some maple syrup. I love the more flavorful Grade B syrup, especially because its flavor holds up better in baking. The next day, I discovered it made my maple granola even more delicious than usual. I can’t wait to return to Parker’s Maple barn during sugaring season next year.

Wings from Hell

As a 10-year-old tomboy, I always rose to the dare of eating something spicy. I’d chomp a hot pepper and try to convince everyone that it was nothing, even if the steam circling out of my ears belied my suffering.

I guess that part of me hasn’t died, because last night I went to Providence’s new BBQ joint Rick’s Roadhouse and insisted on finishing their Wings from Hell so I could get my picture on the Wall of Flame.

The waiver we had to sign hinted at how hot the wings would be. And they were HOT. My dining companions were only able to get through one or two, but once I hit four I became one with the pain and made my way through the rest. These weren’t tasty wings for spice lovers – they were a potent weapon slathered with as much capsicum as a wing could hold. Strangely enough, they were so hot that the Beamish Stout we were drinking tasted like pure sugar. I managed to survive, though we canceled our movie plans for the evening so we could all go home, clutch our stomachs and feel sorry for ourselves.

My Place on the Wall of Flame
My Place on the Wall of Flame

This was my second meal at Rick’s. The first as a bit more modest – a shared deluxe barbecue platter. We thought Rick’s was the best barbecue we’ve had in Providence, but I know barbecue is a very subjective and touchy subject, so you should find out for yourselves. A lot of the menu items are a very good value, like the pulled pork sandwich which is just $5.49. They have a bunch of whiskey flights and you can get pitchers of beer (which is a necessary accessory to wash down really hot wings).

If any of you decide to rise to the hot wings challenge, let me know what happens!

Rick’s Roadhouse
Map Marker 370 Richmond St., Providence (in the Jewelry District)

RI’s Secret Gourmet Store

You probably think I’m going to write up some little charming food boutique in a hidden corner of the state. Wrong – it’s a store that you’ve probably already seen. Even more, it’s a chain: Ocean State Job Lot.

Job Lot has been around since the late 70s and sells items unwanted by the manufacturer or stores, like overstocks and overruns. This includes everything from clothing to tools and, as you can guess by my title, food.

Since my first visit a few years ago, the store has become a regular stop in my shopping rotation. Sometimes I pick up staples there, but often I go for the unusual and international products.

My top Job Lot food picks (in no particular order):

1. Teddie Natural Peanut Butter – This natural (non-homogenized, peanut only) peanut butter is delicious and usually around $2 a jar.

2. Gnocchi – Vacuum-packed soft gnocchi are available with or without herbs for only $1. These cook up in minutes and are a tasty alternative to the usual pastas.

3. Israeli Couscous - If you haven’t had Israeli couscous, it’s a larger version of the usual small grains. I’ve seen it in restaurants now and then, but it’s pretty rare – and expensive – in stores. Job Lot’s $1 packages disappear from the shelves fairly quickly.

Danish Garden jam

4. Danish Garden Jams – These jams from Denmark come in a huge blue bucket for only $2. My favorites are the blackcurrant and raspberry. The low-sugar versions don’t have artificial sweeteners, just less sugar, so they are the perfect consistency for stirring into yogurt. Lately we’ve found smaller jars with more exotic flavors, like strawberry mango and orange pineapple with lime and carrot.

5. Dried Figs – catch them in stock and you can get the traditional ring of figs for only $1. If you’re even luckier, you might find luxurious bags of soft miniature mission figs. Also check out other dried fruits like dates and apricots.

It’s hard to stop there. Some of my other Job Lot finds include Apfelschorle, crispbreads and crackers, Lindt truffle bars with flavors like cherry-chili and guava, oh…I could go on and on!

Do you frequent Job Lot? What do you usually buy?