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January 2015 Openings and Closings

Thanks for the help with the settings. I never would have figured it out!

Now Eating Rhode Island: 12/14

Drove by The Cupcakerie on Broad Street in the Edgewood section of Cranston and was surprised to see the awning and window signage were gone. On the windows flanking the front door are large round signs that read, "Lil Rhody Pizza". I could see that work is being done inside.

Seems the Cupcakerie has shut down its retail operation to concentrate on weddings and events. The owner, Kristen, makes a truly delicious cupcake and I am sorry her baking will no longer be available to the retail public. I used to like stopping by for a single cupcake to enjoy with a cup of coffee or a dozen minis to bring to friends.

Does anyone knowing anything about Lil Rhody Pizza? The space is so tiny I can't imagine what kind of an operation it will be.

Now Eating Rhode Island: 12/14

Ice cream in December!

Made a first time visit to the Ice Cream Barn at the Baker Farm in Swansea this week on a very frigid day, 27 degrees F.

We decided to sit on the little wrought iron settee inside the shop and enjoy our ice cream, the only indoor seating.

I had a "small" which was rather large: two scoops, one chocolate chip and the other chocolate peanut butter. The chocolate chip had a multitude of tiny chocolate chips and the chocolate peanut butter had mini peanut butter cups. They were both creamy and delicious. My favorite, though, was the vanilla-based Cranberry Jubiliee, chock full of sweetened cranberries. I sampled a small spoonful and took home a pint for Christmas. I think it will be divine with apple pie. (I will have Brigham's Vanilla Bean for the traditionalists.)

My friend had a "small" hot fudge sundae with fresh whipped cream. It was huge. She said it was scrumptious.

The prices are quite reasonable given the size of the scoops: small around $3.50; the small sundae, around $5.50. Cash only.

The Ice Cream Barn uses milk from Baker Farm for its ice cream which tasted very fresh.

It is an easy drive on Route 195, five minutes off Exit 3 (Swansea Mall).

http://www.theicecreambarn.com

The good news is it is open until the winter solstice, Sunday, December 21st!

Now Eating - Rhode Island, 11/2014

I wanted to have lunch in Warren with a friend who is not a foodie; someplace with a bit of atmosphere where we could have a quiet conversation.

I thought about Eli's where I had enjoyed a terrific lunch a few months ago but it isn't the type of restaurant she would choose so I settled on the Crossroads Restaurant and it turned out to be the just the spot.

We sat in the Pub Room adjacent to the bar and snagged a table in front of the fire place. The room was comfortably mellow and decorated for Christmas.

We each ordered a cup of soup and half a sandwich: she, clam chowder, chicken salad, fries; I, onion soup, a Reuben, and cole slaw.

For me the food and service were decent; my friend loved everything.

There are times when going out is not about the cuisine, the chef, the service. This was such an occasion. The Crossroads Restaurant fit the bill.

West on Centre, a warning

I, too, grew up in West Roxbury and remember when a few of the options for food or drink were the Howard Johnson on Centre Street (now Hess gas station), Charlie's bar (now West on Centre) and the Pleasant Cafe. With this in mind, West on Centre was a very welcomed addition to the neighborhood.

I find the pub-like bar side a casual, comfortable, minimally loud place to stop for a bite to eat and a beer. I have particularly enjoyed the burger.

Granted, West on Centre is not fine dining but it has offered decent fare over the years. I do hope it can recoup its reputation.

Rogue Island - any recent experiences?

I had a cocktail at Rogue's Island a few weeks ago,not exceptional. The space is rather stark, not on the cozy side.

My go-to restaurant for a casual meal is Blaze on Hope Street on the East Side. I find it a comfortable space, a bit bistro-like. The food is a mix of American and global dishes (Caribbean, Asian, Indian) with a nice selection for vegans and decent wine/cocktails.

http://www.blazerestaurants.com

Would love to find more restaurants in Rhode Island with a cozy pub feel to them.

Best wishes!

Now Eating - Rhode Island, 11/2014

We are very fortunate here in Rhode Island to have so many really good coffee cafes: The Coffee Connection, Seven Stars, New Harvest Coffee to mention a few of my favorites. The Shop, that's its name, is one of the newer additions in the Providence area. Its owners recently left a very successful coffee cafe in New York City to begin a new venture in Providence.

The Shop is located in Fox Point, at the top of Wickenden Street near the intersection of Hope Street. It is sleek and minimalist yet cozy. A few tables stretch along the front windows on either side of the front door with padded benches along the windows and chairs opposite. A communal table and several small tables occupy the inner space. In good weather there is sidewalk seating.

The cafe serves Stumptown Coffee, a well-known and very respected coffee in the trade. I enjoy well-roasted coffee, particularly from New Harvest Coffee Roasters, and Stumptown is of that caliber. At The Shop I had a Columbian coffee that was robust and rich just the way I like it. Next time I want to try its iced coffee, "cold-brewed and served on nitro tap". The cafe offers a small but excellent array of baked goods from Foremost Bakery, Humble Pie, and a few other sources. I munched on a truly delicious chocolate chip cookie.

The Shop is a fine addition to the Providence coffee scene. I am glad I stopped by to check it out.

http://www.theshopfoxpoint.com

Sagres Restaurant

A friend who works in Fall River said renovations on Sagres are being made with a targeted opening date around the holidays. He thinks that is a bit ambitious.

I was expecting a friend to visit a month ago and asked for suggestions for Portuguese restaurants. Unfortunately the visit has been postponed but you might find the responses to my request helpful.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9901...

Sagres Restaurant

Fall River usually falls within the Southern New England Board. You are apt to get more responses reposting there.

I, too, am awaiting the reopening.

Now Eating, Rhode Island 10/14

I am glad you enjoyed your stop at Wright's Dairy Farm. Next time I want to try the carrot cake which I heard is quite good.

I am thinking of heading to Swansea to the Ice Cream Barn on Baker Farm. They, too, make products from milk that is produced on their farm.

They are open until Sunday, December 21, Winter Solstice. Seems like it would be a pretty destination for a scoop.

Polar Seltzer Champagne Strawberry

Last winter my favorite Polar seltzer was Champagne Strawberry. However the chemists worked their magic, it is the one flavor I could drink year round.

Last week it was on the shelves again. So glad the company has kept it in its seasonal rotation.

Info on Market Basket new locations?

Thanks for the update.

For a while it seemed the South Attleboro Market Basket would be open for the holidays and I was getting my lists ready.

Early 2015 might mean spring!

Frost Ice Bar Update

Going to the Frost Ice Bar was a great way to celebrate a birthday. It is definitely touristy but one of those things that are fun to do.

We donned knitted gloves, insulated capes and, after a brief few minutes in the acclimation chamber, we entered an ice wonderland where we enjoyed chatting and sipping cocktails on the rug-covered ice settees that line the ice walls. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available. After snapping photos of each other at the life-size ice sculptures that adorn the room including a bigger-than-life swan and a glittering hanging chandelier we were ready to leave. The temperature was 18 degrees F. so we lasted only about 30 minutes.

We then strolled along Atlantic Avenue looking for a place to thaw out the numbed fingertips and have drinks and appetizers.

Our first stop was Trade but being a Sunday afternoon it didn't open until 5 p.m. Same for Nebo next store. On a whim we checked out the neighboring InterContinental Hotel and settled into the comfortable Rumba bar where our high-top table had s view of Fort Point Channel. The extensive wine/cocktail menu offers a wide variety of rums and champagne. Four or five champagnes are offered by the glass, a nice gesture one doesn't encounter very often Appetizers were good for a hotel bar, not outstanding but tasty: hamburger sliders, kalamata calamari, truffle oil fries, guacamole.

We are indeed fortunate having a city like Boston which is easy to explore on foot and which offers an amazing variety of dining/drink options.

For this occasion we chose the touristy route and had a marvelous time.

The Elusive Pizza Strip

I am not a native Rhode Islander. I didn't grow up here. But I love party pizza. I was introduced to it when I moved here as an adult.

Just as "There are doughnuts and there are doughnuts" well, "There are party pizzas and there are party pizzas" They are an entirely different species than the typical Italian/Greek pizza and cannot be compared to them. Party pizzas, pizza strips, are to be enjoyed for what they are.

And, I would no more buy a strip of party pizza at a supermarket than a doughnut.

The gold standard for me, and I've tried a lot, is D. Palmieri on 624 Killingly Street in Johnston, just off Route 6, where they make it fresh daily.
It is their sauce and just the right amount of oil that makes them so delicious. Unless you have tried a D. Palmeiri party pizza you don't know how tasty a strip of cold pizza can be.

http://www.dpalmierisbakery.com

I bring a box or two to my family in Boston for birthdays and holidays and have trained them to eat the strips cold, not heated up in the microwave. It was a struggle.

As with other Rhode Island favorites, in order to really appreciate them, it is knowing where to go to get the best.

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

Thank you all for the terrific suggestions. We come in-town frequently and it's great to have a handy list to refer to.

We went to Frost Ice Bar last Sunday afternoon. I'll post an update soon.

Pawtucket, RI: Pepperoni Grill

When I am in Pawtucket I tend to skirt around Pawtucket Avenue so it's good to know about Pepperoni Grill.

Chocolatier, pastry shop or anyone making jimmies/sprinkles/hagelslag?

I stopped by the fabulous Hilliards Candies on Route 138 in North Easton today for an ice cream before they stop making it for the season at the end of October (resuming after Easter). I always enjoy looking at the candies in the cases and seeing the women making the candies through the kitchen windows. The ice cream and most of the candies are made right there on the premises.

When ordering my ice cream (coconut with chocolate covered almonds) I noticed small jars of ice cream toppings for sale: hot fudge topping, caramel topping, AND jimmies.

According to the website the jimmies are made of real chocolate. The retail bottle of jimmies was maybe 4 ounces. I wasn't paying much attention to the weight as I was thinking how they would make great stocking stuffers for the cooks in my family. The jimmies are also available in a larger size on-line, 1.20 lbs for $11.00.

Hilliards is closing its Canton retail shop and opening a new one in Mansfield. Candies and ice cream will continue to be made only in the North Easton facility.

http://www.hilliardscandy.com

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

In addition to the terrific suggestions for a drink after our experience at the Frost Ice Bar we are also considering a hotel bar in the Faneuil area.

Any thoughts on the Marriott Custom House and the Millennium Boston. Others?

Now Eating, Rhode Island 10/14

Thanks RhodyRedHen.

A first time visit to Wright's Dairy Farm, North Smithfield, RI

Though I have lived in Rhode Island for many many years, it was just recently that I visited Wright's Dairy Farm with its bakery, barns, and cows.

The bakery is an experience in itself. I spent the first ten minutes trying to get a lay of the land. It was initially a bit overwhelming with its amazing array of cakes, pies, pastries, breads, brownies, hermits, biscotti, cookies, eclairs, cannoli and candies, to mention just a few.

Wanting to try something with dairy I decided on a Bismarck and a cheese Danish. The Danish was sinfully good with a thick layer of cheese and a delicate flaky pastry. The Bismarck is unique to Wright's, not the typical oblong doughnut. Whipped cream and raspberry jam are layered between two flat rectangular crunchy pastry shells. The pastry shells cracked and flaked with each bite making it a messy affair but the whipped cream, which oozed from between the pastry shell layers, was delicious.

Took home a half-gallon of milk and a Boston Cream Pie trifle, the size of a large cupcake. It is hard to explain how good the milk was but I loved drinking it. I wish I lived closer to the farm as I think it is the only outlet for their milk.

The only disappointment was the Boston Cream Pie trifle. The chocolate frosting layer was rich but too thick and the layer of pastry cream was almost negligible making the trifle more of a chocolate frosted cake than a Boston Cream Pie.

I am so glad I took time to walk down to the new red barn to see the calves and to watch cows being milked. In a separate holding area are pregnant cows waiting for their delivery time and others that have recently calved. If you think a milk cow is big, you should see a pregnant milk cow.

All in all, it was fun. I'd make a return visit just for a cheese Danish, a gallon of milk and a chance to check out the cows.

Late Night Cocktails and Small Bites in Providence

The new Dean Hotel on Fountain Street, across from the Providence Journal, has a beautiful bar/lounge, the Magdalenae Room.

Walk straight through the Faust restaurant, up a few stairs, through the velvet curtain and there it is, an elegant, spacious and comfortably dark room with subtlely-striking murals adorning the walls, reminiscent of two other Michael Sears' venues: The Avery and Loie Fuller. A horseshoe-shaped bar extends from the rear wall. Leather couches/chairs with low tables line the remaining three sides.

There is no drink menu so you have to know what you want or get suggestions from the bartender. Personally I like to check out the ingredients in the cocktails and find one I would like to try. I decided on a Ward 8 that I had once before and remembered liking but I couldn't remember how it was made.
It was excellent choice (rye whiskey, fresh orange juice, lemon juice, and grenadine) and a generous pour.

Went a bit earlier than usual, around 9:45 p.m. The room was about half full and it was easy to carry on a conversation. By the time we left the crowd was a bit more lively and the music had been cranked up.

It is open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; the kitchen closes at midnight.

I really liked the ambiance of the room, a nice addition to the Providence cocktail scene.

Attention Apple Hounds!

Thank you, Atheorist, for suggesting Rocky Brook Orchard in Middletown. Never thought of heading toward Newport to pick apples. I tend to drive to North Scituate/Smithfield or South County for apple picking.

The sweet/tangy/crisp Macoun is my favorite apple, also, but when its ever-so-short season has passed I find Mutsu/Crispin is a fine eating apple into the winter months.

When I make an apple pie, a mix of three or four different varieties of apples is a must for texture and flavor.

Info on Market Basket new locations?

According to a September piece in the Sun Chronicle, Market Basket is aiming to open its South Attleboro store before the holidays.

Here's hoping!

Portuguese Restaurant. Rhode Island, Fall River, New Bedford

Thank you.

I have friends who also like Antonio's; I'll check it out.

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

Seaport is definitely close enough.

A friend also mentioned Sam's.

Blue Dragon is new to me. Will check it out.

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

Thanks for the Parla suggestion. I'll check it out.

The North End has always been a go-to place for all of us.

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

Thanks for reminding me about J. M. Curley.

Marliave's is a special old haunt AND it is open Sunday afternoon.

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

Thanks for the suggestions. Trade looks like a cool sleek space and is very walkable on a nice day.

Portuguese Restaurant. Rhode Island, Fall River, New Bedford

Thank you for sending along your terrific write-up on Estoril, RhodyRedHen.

The crowds have probably diminished since you were there back in February.

I added it to my list.

Portuguese Restaurant. Rhode Island, Fall River, New Bedford

Thanks Shazz

Thanks for the info about O Dinis and Sagres.

I checked out reviews of Philip's Street Restaurant. The food sounds good but being a hall it seems a bit too casual for this occasion.

Beyond the Frost Ice Bar, Boston

I am planning a birthday celebration for a friend on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in October.

We will start with a drink at the Frost Ice Bar in the Faneuil Hall area but since that space is so cold, I would like to find a venue where we could continue the celebration in warmth.

Probably just for drinks and small plates.

Something within walking distance of Faneuil Hall would be great, but not necessary. I prefer to stay in Boston..