Rhode Island’s Culinary Tricks + Treats 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Trick: Making the Humble Shine...Burger at Nick's on Broadway, Providence
Amongst cooks, the thing that impresses the most is elevating cheaper menu items into sublime dishes. So it is with the burger at Nick's. Truth be told, you can say that about most things on Derek Wagner's menu. The burger, however, is near perfection. The earthiness of the Blackbird Farm beef set against the sweetness of the onion jam and the sharp flavor of the mustard and Swiss cheese all combine to sweep you away to burger nirvana. The expertly-crisped fries don't hurt either. 500 Broadway, 421-0286, www.nicksonbroadway.com
Treat: Local Oysters in a Month that Ends in "R"...Hemenway's, Providence
Trick: Aging Gracefully...Al Forno, Providence
Bless the folks at Al Forno. They have mastered the art of aging gracefully in the restaurant industry. That is a very difficult business to survive five years in, let alone the better part of 35, but they have flourished. Staying true to the original mission of local and seasonal food, they stand today as good as they have ever been. Classics like the grilled pizza and baked pasta get refined and, somehow, improved. We wish we could grow older as gracefully as this grande dame. 577 South Main St. 273-9760, www.alforno.com/
Treat: Heritage Breeds Being Saved in Newport...SVF Foundation/White Horse Tavern, Newport
Trick: Knowing When to Stop...English Cellar Alehouse, Providence
One of the hardest things in life is restraint. For a restaurant it's even harder. Look at the size of the menus at some chain restaurants and you will see what we mean. Hundreds of options, spanning every form of dining known to man, leave you shell-shocked. We hate the same thing in local restaurants. If you are a pub, have the best pub food you can, not every dish imaginable. We like reaching, not stretching. English Cellar is an English pub and that's it! It's got what a pub should have: fish and chips, pot pie, shepherd's pie, meatloaf and good burgers. The beer selection is appropriate and the staff very knowledgeable. Just the way it should be. 165 Angel St. 454-3434, www.englishcellaralehouse.com
Best Trick or Treat Neighborhoods in Rhode Island
It's Halloween, and we've got a round-up of what are considered the best spots for lots of great decorating, tons of jack o' lanterns, and great candy houses. Get your best costume on and enjoy the holiday!
On Providence's East Side, there are some terrific pockets of candy, spooky houses, and great pumpkin carvings. On College Hill, Keene Street is renowned for its jack o' lanterns and haunted houses. Meanwhile, the cluster of houses on Freeman Parkway has a reputation for lots of great decorations, spirit, and attending good candy givers. Olney Street, near Moses Brown School, is also well loved for its looming Victorians that owners really dress up for the night. Grotto is famous for great grabs, and kids from Mount Hope are known to commute to the Blackstone Boulevard area.
In Cranston, locals know that Dean Estates, the old-fashioned tract near Garden City, is full of young families who love the holidays and their little ones fill the neighborhood for early trick or treating (kids come from other areas to enjoy this destination neighborhood). On the other side of the city, Edgewood's quaint Pawtuxet Village gets the nod for charming houses that are close together (more treats in less time!), lots of pretty trees for spooking up, and it's full of young families with kids and dogs who give out great treats.
Word on the tree-lined streets here is that the ‘Roberta Plat’ neighborhood, just off Lincoln Avenue, between Middle Highway and Washington Road is fantastic with lots of modest, family houses, close to each other for ideal trick or treating… maximum candy collecting with minimum walking, plus very little auto traffic… always a success. Photo: Valerie Everett/flickr