The Dish: Diner's Update

The latest Rhode Island food, drink, restaurant and dining news.

By Carly Barnhardt and Jamie Coelho

 

August-October 2016

Culinary Calendar

 

8/1-8/31

RI Food Fights is looking to cool down the hottest month of the year with the third annual Iced Coffee Summer Celebration. Get your passport here to gain coupons to sample one free iced coffee from twenty participating coffee shops around the state during the month of August, including Coffee Exchange, Vanuatu Coffee Roasters and New Harvest Coffee. Then cast your vote online for the best java in the state and share your favorites on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BestIcedCoffeeRI.  

8/1-9/30

Calamari is the official state appetizer of Rhode Island and RI Food Fights is in search of the best for its Calamari Throwdown. Buy a "Passport" for $20 and get a coupon for a free calamari appetizer at each competing restaurant. You have from August 1 through September 30 to use your coupons. At the end, vote online for your favorites. The sixteen participating restaurants include the Dorrance, Garde De La Mer, Pizza J, Tomaselli's at Rosario, Sophia's Tuscan Grille, Federal Taphouse and Kitchen,the Fire Brick Oven Pizza and Bar, Fresco / Fresco Too, DiVine, Roma, Caffe Dolce Vita, 84 Tavern on Canal, Perella's Ristorante, TwoTen Oyster Bar and Grill, Wings on 5 and Chapel Grille. Buy a Passport here.

8/15-8/28

Ten Prime Steak and Sushi is hosting its fifth annual Lobsterpalooza! Lobster-inspired specials by chef Lou Cruz will be available in both a three-course prix fixe menu and a la carte from Mon., Aug. 15 to Sun., Aug. 28. Lobster Week’s lunch begins with a choice of appetizers, including lobster and corn chowder and lobster rangoons with apricot Thai dipping sauce. Lunch entrees include a lobster BLT, a spicy lobster maki roll and a lobster Cobb salad. Ten’s three-course prix fixe dinner begins with a choice of lobster and corn chowder, lobster rangoons or the spicy lobster maki, followed by an entree choice of lobster and asparagus salad, lobster risotto or a classic surf and turf with a filet and a crispy tempura fried lobster. Dessert features a choice of banana bread pudding or Gianduja chocolate cake with espresso ice cream. The cost of the three-course dinner is $45; tax and gratuity are additional.

8/18

Project Undercover’s Second Annual Taste of Summer will take place from 6−8:30 p.m. at the poolside lounge Aqua at the Providence Marriott. The organization works exclusively to provide diapers, socks and underwear to children living in Providence. Guests can sample food from the Capital Grille, the Duck and Bunny, Trinity Brewhouse and more. There will also be music from WRIK Entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets are on sale at projectundercover.org for $35 per person through August 17 and $45 at the door (if available). VIP tickets are $75 and are limited to fifty people.

8/18

Join Gracie’s in Providence for an intimate four-course dinner and wine pairing, with special guest winemaker Regan Meador of Southold Farm and Cellar, located in Southold, New York. Meador’s wines (which have recently gained the attention of the New York Times) will accompany four courses from Gracie’s executive chef Matthew Varga, featuring seasonal ingredients from heirloom squash and blossoms to plums and basil. The dinner will take place at 6 p.m. Tickets are $95 per person (not including tax and gratuity) and can be purchased here

8/18

DeWolf Tavern  in Bristol is hosting a festive evening of salsa dancing and sangria for your next date night out – though you don’t need a partner to attend. The evening will include one hour of Latin dance instruction by Sue Young from Dancing the Dream Productions. Complimentary sangria and light appetizers will also be served under the waterfront deck tent, as well as a cash bar. The event takes place from 6−9 p.m. (so you get to catch the sunset on the harbor). Tickets are $30 per person and include a $10 gift card to DeWolf Tavern. Space is limited. Buy your tickets here. More information can be found on the website.

8/19

Hope and Main in Warren continues its August cooking class schedule on August 19 when you can learn to craft your own summertime appetizers and cocktails with Bootblack Brand cocktail enthusiast Paul Kubiski and chef Maggie Mulvena of Feast and Fettle. The class takes place from 6−9 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased here.

8/25

Enjoy a D’Licious Dessert Cupcakes Pairing with beer and wine from 6−8:30 p.m. at Hope and Main in Warren. For $15 per person, the pairing includes a selection of six D’Licious mini cupcakes paired with your choice of beer or wine. For $25, you can enjoy two rounds.

8/25

Pane e Vino in Providence hosts monthly School of Wine classes with wine director Cristiano Labia at 6:30 p.m. for $45 per person. In this class, guests will learn about the wines of Campania, a region famous for producing some of the most ancient wines in Italy. The classes are casual, cover the basics of wine making and share tips on how to best enjoy the wines, which will be paired with traditional small plates. Call 401-223-2230 for reservations or book online.

8/27

Alex and Ani Charity by Design presents Brew at the Zoo at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence from 5−8 p.m. Adults can sample more than 100 beers from more than sixty local, regional and national brewers as they enjoy live music and explore the animal exhibits. The advanced ticket price (through August 26) is $50 and can be purchased online here. Tickets will only be available at the door for $60 if they do not sell out online in advance. Designated drivers can purchase a ticket for $25 that includes admission, a Brew at the Zoo pint glass and a voucher redeemable for a twelve-ounce fountain drink and a snack.

8/30

Chez Pascal in Providence hosts its fourteenth annual Tomato Dinner, featuring five courses, which all incorporate the seasonal summer favorite. Tickets are $73 per person (not including tax, gratuity or beverages). Reservations for the Tomato Dinner must be made over the phone by calling 401-421-4422.

8/31

Benjamin Sukle of birch and Oberlin is teaming up with George and Martha Neal of Windmist Farm in Jamestown for an Outstanding in the Field dinner. The multi-course feast takes place with a majestic view of the Newport bridge and the grassy cow pastures.Tickets are $225 each and can be purchased here.

9/1

The Mirbeau Inn and Spa at the Pinehills in Plymouth, Massachusetts, hosts a seaside oyster dinner for its dinner series Beyond the Bistro, featuring Plymouth Rock Oysters. Reservations are $225 per person ($205 for Club Mirbeau members), and include round-trip transportation, a boat ride to the flats, oyster education and collecting, food and beverage, and tax and gratuity. Call 877-647-2328 to make your reservation. For more information, click here.

9/10

The Warren Heritage Foundation is hosting Oysters at the Beach at Warren Town Beach to help raise funds to save Warren’s historic sites. The event takes place within view of the waterways where many of the oysters were raised. In front of Burr’s Hill, with the Warren River and Narragansett Bay on two sides, enjoy locally sourced oysters along with food stations by 195 Franklin, and Latin jazz on guitar and conga by Julio Amaro and Mike D. Raffle, silent and live auction items feature the artwork and services that have made Warren a hotbed of local art and design. A cash bar of wine, beer and a signature cocktail will be available from Bywater restaurant; cash and credit card accepted. Tickets are $75. Buy tickets at warrenheritagefoundation.org.

9/10-9/11

The Rhode Island Seafood Festival takes place Saturday from 11 a.m.−7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.−5 p.m. at India Point Park in Providence. Experience everything from the perfect lobster roll from Matunuck Oyster Bar to freshly shucked Salt Pond oysters off the Shuckin’ Truck. There’s beer from Newport Storm and 'Gansett for purchase and live bands jamming out by the water in India Point Park. Admission is $5 for adults, with free entry for children younger than twelve. The ticket price includes entry for one day of the festival, with several hours of live music and entertainment for all ages. Food is not included in the ticket price, but is for sale separately at various restaurant vendors. Tickets can be purchased at the gate on the day of the festival, or in advance on the Tickets page.

9/13

Pot au Feu in Providence is hosting a dinner and jazz series. The restaurant is kicking off the fall season with swing and ballads from Greg Abate and a three-course dinner that includes wine from 6−9 p.m. The cost is $65 per person, and tickets can be purchased here.

9/17

The Ocean State Oyster Festival takes place from noon−5 p.m. at Riverwalk Park on South Water Street in Providence. Experience oysters from twenty of Southern New England’s oyster farms, enjoy your favorite local beverages and jam out to local musical acts. There will also be activities for kids, educational exhibits, a shucking contest and you can even hang out with the festival’s mascot, Oscar the giant oyster! Tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door) and include a beverage of your choosing and six oysters.

9/17

Ella’s in Westerly celebrates a seasonal favorite with a special cooking class, All About Apples. The demonstration will feature three courses that incorporate apples into the dishes. Reservations can be made by phone at 401-315-0606.

9/18

The Coastal Table is hosting an Oyster Social at Matunuck Oyster Bar's organic vegetable farm (2236 Commodore Perry Highway in South Kingstown) on Sept. 18 from 3−7 p.m. The afternoon will include a tour of the Matunuck Oyster Farm, followed by a cocktail hour with an open bar featuring wines from Jonathan Edwards Winery and beer from Revival Brewing Co. An intimate dinner prepared by Matunuck Oyster Bar showcasing the restaurant’s seasonal vegetables and oysters will follow. Live music and valet parking will be provided. Tickets are $165 each (plus fee) for the oyster farm tour and dinner, or $150 (plus fee) each for the dinner at 4 p.m. The price includes tax and gratuity. Buy yours here. All sales are final, and the event will be held rain or shine.

9/22−9/25

At the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival, Food and Wine magazine joins the Preservation Society of Newport County for the eleventh annual, four-day schedule of events held at the Elms, Rosecliff and Marble House mansions in Newport. Sample cuisine from local restaurants and hundreds of wines from around the world at the Grand Tasting on Saturday or Sunday from 12:30-4 p.m. (or noon for VIP guests), then watch celebrity chef presentations, like Jacques and Claudine Pepin, who are the featured guests. Ticket prices vary.

9/23

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is hosting its second annual Empty Bowls fundraiser from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. Choose an artisanal bowl, and taste food samples from some of Rhode Island's favorite restaurants. Keep your bowl as a reminder that your support helps fill empty bowls in our state. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Patron admission is $150 per person, which includes VIP bowl selection and one free drink. Purchase tickets here.

9/25

Join Hope and Main in Warren for a classic New England lobster boil and clambake of locally sourced ingredients, prepared by some of Rhode Island’s most talented culinary minds. Hope and Main is teaming up with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) for this fundraiser to support small food businesses, and to provide scholarships for local high school students to further their culinary education. The lobster boil fundraiser takes place at Hope and Main from 5:30−8:30 p.m. and tickets are $100 per person.

9/28

Come out to the Comedy Connection from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to support ecoRI News in the greenest possible way: with a Zero-Trash Birthday Bash. Everything at this fun, ultra-green event will be eaten and imbibed ­­– or recycled, upcycled, reused or composted. The evening will feature a seasonal tasting menu from Julian’s Catering, a cash bar with local brews on tap, a silent auction, raffle and live entertainment. General admission tickets are $45 each (though there are a variety of price levels; see website) and can be purchased here.

9/28–9/29

Warren-based Sage Cellars is hosting four women winemakers from four different vineyards in the wine region of Howell Mountain in Napa, California. A series of special events is happening across Rhode Island, including two dinners with a wine pairing featuring Howell Mountain wines. The first dinner will take place at Besos in East Greenwich on Wed., Sept. 28, starting at 7 p.m. Reservations are required by calling 401-398-8855. Simone’s in Warren hosts the second special dinner on Thurs., Sept. 29, from 6:30−10 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling Simone’s at 401-247-1200. To see details about more wine events, visit the Sage Cellars website.

10/1

We love our microbreweries here in the Ocean State, but sometimes beer (craft or not) just doesn’t cut it. The third annual New England Whiskey Festival showcases the latest whiskey products, trends and innovations. Discover new brands and the hottest beverage trends, along with great food, samples and entertainment at Twin River Casino in Lincoln from 2−6 p.m. Twenty-one-plus only. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Twin River or by clicking here; $5 from each ticket will benefit the Rhode Island Hospitality Education Foundation Association.

10/1 – 10/2

Jonathan Edwards Winery  in North Stonington, Connecticut, celebrates its bountiful harvest season by hosting a two-day, all-day Harvest Festival featuring food trucks, live music, an artisan vendor tent and free activities for adults and children. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the activities go until 6 p.m. One-day advance tickets are $25 each and include a five-sample wine tasting; tickets at the door are $35. Purchase tickets here.

10/6

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State present its fundraising event The Big Toast, an evening filled with samples from more than sixty local restaurants, bars and vendors. The event begins at 5:30 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston and ends at 9:30 p.m.  VIP tickets are available for $85 each and include access to a VIP area with wine, beer and spirits from across the region, a special tasting from guest vendors and general entry into the event. Main event tickets are $60 and can be purchased here.  All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State.

10/14

Get your tickets to Beervana Fest, Rhode Island's ultimate craft beer fest at the historic Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. The event takes place from 6:30−10 p.m. and includes fifty-plus tables pouring more than 250 world class beers. Tickets are $55 (plus fee) per person and include one tasting glass, two-ounce pours of some of the best beers in the world, educational seminars, a fest guide and a bottle of water.

10/15–10/16

Historic Bowen’s Wharf in downtown Newport will host the twenty-sixth annual Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival. The festival offers fresh, local seafood, in addition to other special offers from local restaurants, tempting desserts, signature cocktails and cold New England beer. There will also be live music and activities for the whole family, including face-painting, interactive water and art activities, touch tanks and plenty more alongside the Oliver Hazard Perry, Rhode Island’s new 200-foot official sailing education vessel. Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase. The event is rain or shine under the colorful festival tents.

10/16 – 10/22

The Savory Grape and Easy Entertaining pair up to take you on a personalized, behind-the-scenes culinary and wine trip to Tuscany, Italy. Enjoy luxury villa accommodations in a restored estate, tour vineyards as insiders and enjoy gourmet Tuscan meals and hands-on culinary lessons, olive oil tastings and wine classes. Click to download the e-brochure for complete details and pricing. For questions about the trip, please email Jessica Granatiero at jessica@thesavorygrape.com or call 401-261-4966.

10/21

Taste for a Cause is an evening of wine tasting and gourmet foods presented by Gasbarro’s Wines in support of the program in women’s oncology at Women and Infants Hospital. Taste from more than seventy-five varieties of wine paired with appetizers and food stations. The event takes place from 6:30−9:30 p.m. at Aldrich Mansion in Warwick and the ticket price is $100 per person.

10/22

In addition to a discussion on the different methods for cooking duck, the special dinner Duck, Duck and Duck at Ella’s will feature a creative menu with duck incorporated into each course, from foie gras to duck fat beignets. Reservations can be made by phone at 401-315-0606.

11/4–11/13

Newport’s Restaurant Week for fall 2016 will take place the week of November 4−13. Check out the amazing deals on three-course lunches and dinners and two-for-one deals offered at participating restaurants here, and start planning your reservations.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Luxe Burger Bar’s sixth annual Build Your Own Burger Contest challenges restaurant-goers to craft the burger of their dreams for a chance to win $1,000 in prizes. The winning burger will be featured on the Luxe Burger menu until the next winner is announced the following year. Register here or fill out an entry form at the restaurant. On Sept. 5, the top five finalists will be selected, and the finale will take place on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. at the restaurant.

Simone’s in Warren hosts live jazz on Thursdays from 6:30–9 p.m. with Tish Adams and Friends.

Siena in Smithfield hosts live music every Thursday from 6:30−9:30 p.m.

Every Sunday now through October 2, head to the Schoolyard Market at Hope in Main in Warren from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You’ll meet local farmers and food makers, while shopping for local goods and enjoying breakfast or lunch from area vendors. There is always live music.

Massimo restaurant on Federal Hill in Providence is now hosting a jazz brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m.−3 p.m. There will also be a drag brunch upstairs on the first Sunday of each month. Brunch at Massimo will feature savory favorites like pork cheek carbonara, short rib hash and pork belly grilled cheese and sweets like toffee monkey bread and cinnamon buns.

The Summer Rosé Celebration continues at Chez Pascal in Providence. In celebration of the warmer months, the restaurant offers six different rosés by the glass, carafe and bottle. Flights of rosé are also available, allowing you to sample a selection of the many varieties that will be offered throughout the summer, on rotation. For more information, check out Chez Pascal’s online newsletter.

Evelyn’s Drive-In, known for its clam cakes, lobster rolls and waterside location, is hosting a summer concert series to benefit Singing Out Against Hunger, a charity that provides food to East Bay residents in need. The shows take place at the restaurant in Tiverton on one Friday night each month of the summer (Aug. 18 and Sept. 9) at 5 p.m. Contact the owner, Jane Bitto, by phone at 401-265-2146 or email at bitto.jane@gmail.com for more information.

Sons of Liberty spirits distillery continues its summer sampling series, Freedom Fridays, which takes place on the last Friday of each month. Attendees can sample an assortment of award-winning spirits (including SOL’s new, limited-edition grapefruit hop flavored whiskey), enjoy food from Eddie’s BBQ, soak up live music from James and the Giants and participate in a variety of activities, including corn hole and foosball. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased upon entry. Call 401-284-4006 or visit solspirits.com for more information.

 

LAUNCHES

Red's Food Truck is a new Hope and Main partner that supports the farm-to-table movement through local sourcing and natural, unprocessed ingredients. Chefs and co-owners Max Reeves and Ryan Connors met while working at Michael Schlow's Radius restaurant in Boston, and they offer catering, personal chef and mobile food services throughout Rhode Island as well as parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. They plan to visit Grape and Grains in Barrington every other Friday from 5-7 p.m.

Enjoy food from Ella’s Fine Food and Drink anytime with Ella’s @ Home. The menu features a variety of options, including Asian-French-inspired restaurant favorites made with the same local, fresh ingredients, for individual or family-style meals. Each item comes ready to heat and serve and includes an instructional card so that your meal will be ready in twenty minutes or less. Order by phone at 401-315-0606 or by email at enjoydining@ellasfinefoodanddrink.com.

Jackie’s Restorante has opened its kitchen at the Young Pannese Social Club at 187 Pocasset Ave. in Providence. The restaurant offers Italian specialties including pastas, steaks, chops and seafood dishes, as well as a fully stocked bar with a variety of wine and spirits. Summer hours are Wednesday and Thursday evenings, 4–9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.

Narragansett Beer has added a fourth beer to its Lovecraft series, the Lovecraft White Ship White IPA, a 6.8 percent Belgian-style white IPA inspired by Providence-native H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The White Ship. Narragansett’s White Ship White IPA is available in six-packs of sixteen-ounce tallboy cans. White Ship will be distributed throughout Rhode Island and neighboring states.

Who can resist having fun with Narragansett Beer’s new Bananagrams beer? The latest collaboration in ‘Gansett’s Hi Neighbor Mash-Up Series (along with the Del’s Shandy, Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout and Allie’s Donuts Double Chocolate Porter), the new Hi-Neighbor! Have a Hefeweizen brew requires you to settle in for a word game or two with family and friends.

VURRITO has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a new Mexican-inspired, whole-food, plant-based, fast-casual eatery in Rhode Island. The restaurant plans to source fresh, local and 100 percent vegan ingredients for a healthy, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly product.

Head to Sunday Lunch at the Restaurant at Spicer Mansion in Mystic, Connecticut. The casual dining experience features an appetizer, main course (with choice of vegetable, meat or fish and dessert) inspired by the restaurant’s fine dining dinner menu, and a wine pairing upon request. The menu changes weekly and features the freshest local, farm-to-table ingredients. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 855-679-2468.

 

NOTABLES

The Eddy’s Orange Julius cocktail was featured on Food and Wine’s FWx site. Get the recipe.

Congrats to co-owners Benjamin and Heidi Sukle, chef de cuisine Ed Davis and team for Oberlin’s inclusion in Bon Appetit’s "America's Best New Restaurants 2016."

Oberlin was also named Bon Appetit's #7 Best New Restaurant for 2016.

The ALS Ice Bucket Meets Coffee Milk Challenge, part of Larry Kaplan’s 50 in 30 Challenge, took place at Olneyville New York System in Providence. Learn more and watch the video here.

Locals got a taste of what the future could look like on the Providence waterfront at a preview of the future Eat Drink RI Central Market. On Saturday, Aug. 6, more than twenty-six vendors selling local food and drink products and farm produce were on site at the former Shooters location, now the future home of Providence’s local food market.

On President Barack Obama’s birthday, People magazine highlighted Barack Obama's love for Gregg’s Death by Chocolate cake in this video.

Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Your Yacht Club soda choice says a lot about you! Pop a bottle during Yacht Club’s “Soda Pop Poll” to cast your vote.

Dave’s Coffee Syrup came up number one in BuzzFeed’s article “37 Local Foods That Ship Nationwide.

Johnson and Wales University graduate David Squillante ('09) competed on the Food Network's cooking reality show "Cutthroat Kitchen."

 

TRANSITIONS

PVDonuts will be moving from Sin Bakery on Allens Avenue to a new space at 77 Ives Street in Providence’s Fox Point neighborhood in the near future, to allow for expansion. That means more doughnuts!

The Humble Pie Company is for sale. Started in 2013 by baker Daniel Sheehan, Humble Pie sells its pastries at seven farmers markets around the state and six cafes in Providence. The sweet and savory pies are made with ingredients sourced from local farmers and producers. Sheehan and his partner, Alex Braunstein, plan to move out of the state this fall, and in order for the bakery to stay in Rhode Island, Sheehan needs to find the right buyer. Criteria include upholding the company’s values through high-quality products, relationships with customers and participation in the state’s food economy. Send inquiries to daniel@humblepiepvd.com.

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