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Rhode Island specialities [moved from a discussion on the Boston board]

If you make it out of Boston, go to Rhode Island. You can try a clam bake there. Lobsters are available all over (they actually are pretty much anywhere in New England, not just in/from Maine). The chowda (the ah's ah dropped in MA, RI,and ME) is not thick and gloppy, in fact it isn't made with milk (just clam broth). You will probably recognize the Clam Cakes as fritters (just the taste will be different), and the Johnny Cake is from here too. If someone offers you a coffee cabinet, don't mistake it for the place in the kitchen where the food is stored (a cabinet is a milkshake with ice cream - called a frappe in MA, and coffee everything is a specialty of RI). The Italian food is better in Providence than it is in Boston (I'll get flamed over that one).

And when a Bay Stater asks you if you'd like a "co-hog", tell him you just had a stuffie made with quahaug (quaw-hawg).

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  1. I know stuffies, fried calamari with hot pepper rings, and coffee cabs, all fond memories from a youth spent partially in RI. My local dairy delivered "coffee milk" (try ordering that outside of southeastern New England) in quarts and half gallons.

    But I never heard the kwa-hog pronunciation, always co-hog. What part of the state do they say that in?

    Also, can you recommend anywhere that still does East-of-the-Bay (thin-style) johnnycakes (or jonnycakes) like the late lamented Commons Lunch in Little Comptom did? Most places up here do the middle-of-Narraganset-Bay (thick) type, which I don't like as much.

    14 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Unfortunately the Commons has reopened for business.

      1. re: Mr.Og

        I take it you are not a fan of Commons Lunch: I'd love to hear more of your opinion.

        Can you recommend any other places that serve good jonnycakes?

        1. re: Mr.Og

          I guess it is a passable greasy spoon. It's just that my folks live in the LC (yeah, I'm trying to make it stick) and I lament it is taking up space better filled with a decent restaurant. The johnny cakes tasted like cracked feed corn the last time I ordered them. I haven't stumbled across any other decent ones around.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          kwa-hog is what EVERYONE called them when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s. Don Bousquet made a big deal out of co-hog in the 80s, and kwa-hog seemed to disappear.

          1. re: JaneRI

            Absolutely JaneRI. No one that I knew (except transplants) ever called them co-hogs. In fact, if you look in Webster's it offers both pronounciations, but Kwaw-Hawg (they use other symbols) is the first listing. And the etymology shows it as a Pequot or Narragansett American Indian word. These tribes did not live in New Jersey, or Boston.

            1. re: RIChowderhead

              I suspect the way the Pequots or the Narragansetts said it differs from how you do, too. Folks I knew in Tiverton, the LC (there you go, Mr. Og), Warren, Bristol, and Aquidneck Island in the 60s and 70s said "co-hog", and they were natives. Maybe it's an East Bay thing.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Perhaps. But I think it was spelled that way for a reason.

                I also don't know anyone who says "the LC". We always just called it Little Compton. However, I don't know the locals. It's possible that way of saying it is used there.

                1. re: RIChowderhead

                  "The LC" is a jocular usage that I never saw until this post, hence the tip of the lid to Mr. Og. If I were from there, I would probably tout my being "straight outta Compton" in an effort to seem more badass.

                  Maybe "kwa-hog" is a useful Henry Higgins-like marker of your origin and length of time in the state. As most ESL students will tell you, English orthography is ridiculous, as often hinting how a word used to be pronounced as how it is now said. The language borrows from too many sources, and evolves fast. See "rough" vs. "through" vs. "bough" vs. "cough" vs. "though".

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I grew up 10 miles away in South Dartmouth. When shortened, I've heard "Little C". Never heard "LC" before. Quahog was also always pronounced KO-hog. KWA-hog marked you as an out of towner. Scallop was also pronounced SK+ALL-up rather than SK+AL-up.

                    I love clear broth clam chowder and stuffed quahogs. Clam cakes rule but I try not to order them very often. I was born in New Bedford so linguica is my preferred pizza topping and Portuguese sweet bread is my preferred toast at a greasy spoon.

          2. re: MC Slim JB

            Mc Slim,

            Just my personal experience, but it seems to me 95% of the time I hear kwa-hog. However I spend most of my time in the West Bay and I've been told the ko-hog pronunciation is more of an East Bay thing, so that might be it. Ko-hog is the pronunciation used on the show Family Guy, so it might be growing in popularity for that reason, as well.

            1. re: Bad Sneakers

              I grew up in Pawtucket and everyone there said kwa-hog.

              I do recall reading that those "wacky" guys at Dartmouth College, when it first admitted women, referred to those intrepid coeds as "cohogs."

              1. re: Bob W

                I can reliably report that that regrettable locution had died out at Dartmouth by the late 70s.

              2. re: Bad Sneakers

                That's when I knew that the family guy was from LA.

                1. re: RIChowderhead

                  I have no idea if The Family Guy guy is a real local or not, but I know he went to RISD in the 90's. So he at least set foot in Rhody.

            2. You forgot to add that a coney island dog (gaaagga) really has no resemblence to hot dogs served at coney island, NY.

              Clamcake is a bit misleading - when a RI friend was taking me out for some, I thought it would be like a crab cake, but made with clams, and I was excited to try it. What a let down - its just fried dough with bits (if you're lucky to see some) of clam in them. It would be better if they put one whole clam inside each dough ball.

              8 Replies
              1. re: LStaff

                I must have eaten several hundred Tex Barry's Coney Island hot dogs as a youth, too: beef dog, squishy split-top roll, yellow mustard, diced raw onion, and a cinnamony meatless chilli sauce on top, sometimes with a squeeze of melted Cheez Whiz kind of sauce.

                Their provenance is controversial, but most agree that they have nothing to do with Brooklyn, and probably originated in Michigan.

                1. re: LStaff

                  Just to clarify, people looking for "coney island dogs" in RI might be better served to look for "NY System Weiners."

                  And don't let anyone try to tell you where the name NY System came from. The Providence Journal put one of its top investigative reporters on the case, and even he couldn't get to the bottom of it.

                  My long time favorite weiner joint is the NY System on Smith St. near the State House, but if you're over in Cranston check out the classic Wein-O-Rama, which has been featured in Zippy the Pinhead (along with the Modern Diner and other RI landmarks).

                  Order more than a couple and you'll probably get to see them prepared "up the arm."

                  Also, the term "gaggers" (pronounced gaggiz in any case) seems to have two meanings. Some people use it to refer to weiners, others to the hot dogs served at places like Haven Bros.

                  1. re: Bob W

                    They're Wieners, not Weiners (in German ie is pronounced as a long e, and ei is pronounced as a long i). And you're right, NY System is the RI place for wieners. I don't know where this Coney Island thread came in. The only Coney Island hot dog place that I know is in Worcester. And I've never been in the place.

                    1. re: RIChowderhead

                      i think you need to spend some more time doing field research in weiner joints! virtually all of them use the incorrect spelling of "weiner." It's just another quirky aspect of RI cuisine.

                      for a huge list of weiner joints, see http://www.quahog.org/cuisine/.

                      for the Zippy the Pinhead strip set at the Wein-O-Rama in Cranston, see http://zippythepinhead.com/Merchant2/...

                      1. re: Bob W

                        I get too much heart burn from them now (excuse me, hot burrne). I don't know if it's a quirk, or just too much bad spelling. Knowing the place, I'd guess the latter.

                      2. re: RIChowderhead

                        There is a Coney Island System on Taunton avenue in East Providence. In my opinion the best dogs in the state...

                      3. re: Bob W

                        How about Kip's on Newport Ave, and that place in Onleyville?

                        I still say kwa-hog

                      4. re: LStaff

                        I've been told that if you find a clam in your clamcake, it means the string broke. Typically they have one poor clam on a string and drag it through the batter... for flavoring.

                      5. I am so with you on the clamcake let down. Basically tasted like a hushpuppie with a couple erasers in it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jenkins

                          Yes, bad clam cakes can be found all over. George's in Galilee was known for great clam cakes, but we stopped going there in the sixties. The clam cakes just weren't up to snuff.

                        2. I never met a cold RI-style pizza strip I didn't like (well, except for those sad, dried up ones you sometimes see in convenience stores).

                          While I'm at it, qwah-hog. ;)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: a l i c e

                            alice: this great web site also has a list of pizza strip bakeries: http://www.quahog.org/cuisine/

                            1. re: a l i c e

                              Vienna Bakery has the best cold pizza !!!

                              Rod's has the best hot weiners !!!

                              I miss RI !!!

                            2. famousfoods.com sells the packaged wiener sauce mix for those of you who are adventurous enough to try to make them at home. I think there is even some of the wiener's themselves you can buy as well. When we'd visit relatives in florida, we had to get the weiners, sauce and buns packed all separately to travel on the plane. kind of cool... the whole plane ended up smelling like wieners! lol

                              1. Glad to know about famousfoods.com. Think I'll send the web address to some friends and relatives in other parts of the country. I have also found the NY System sauce mix at Roch's on Boston Neck Rd (Narragansett).

                                It's really discouraging to hear that people can't find good clam cakes these days. What about Iggy's on Point Judith Rd? Last time we had clam cakes there we really liked them. I will need to check it out soon, purely for the research value.

                                For what it's worth, I always called them "caw-hawgs" (similar to RI Chowderhead's pronunciation) whether I was in Newport or South County. In recent years I have heard "co-hogs" with increasing frequency. Didn't know about the Bousquet influence. At any rate, I think I'll make it a point to stick to my original dialect.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Blondie NE

                                  Blondie: I don't think it's a matter of people not being able to find good clamcakes. It's a matter of people who have never had clamcakes expecting something far different from what they get.

                                  As for Iggy's, I've only been to the one in Oakland Beach. I liked their clamcakes a lot.

                                  1. re: Blondie NE

                                    We often stay a week in Breakwater Village (down the street from Iggy's) during the summer. I think we went to Iggy's once, and I can't remember how good the clam cakes were (it always seemed to me that Iggy's was one of the greasiest spoons around).

                                    1. re: Blondie NE

                                      IGGY's on point judith rd is good. good clamcakes cooked just right with many clams n them. they have pretty good fried clams too. the iggy's at oakland beach is good too..but doesn't share the same scenery at the beach!

                                    2. To make the NY Sysytem sauce really authentic you need to add black cofee to the mix...

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        I'm pretty sure I've seen Chow Mein sandwiches at Salem Willows in Salem, MA.

                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                          Yes, IIRC, they are sold at the Genghis Chinese restaurant. I haven't tried them, never really seen one, and I don't know the price. If I'm in the area next summer, I'll be sure to check it out.

                                          1. re: Boatrocker

                                            they're cheap, as i recall. i think they were about 2$ last summer. they aren't high cuisine, for sure, but they were better'n i thought they would be.

                                      2. My husband grew up in Swansea, which seems to share alot of the RI food quirks. He speaks fondly of chow mein sandwiches. Sounds pretty awful to me, but he and his family swear they're the best thing ever. I guess the Chinese restaurants they used to go to for them have closed. Does anyone know if they're still served anywhere?

                                        1. I know that Evelyn's in Tiverton has chow mein on the menu. Not sure if it's in sandwich form, but I suppose they could accomodate such a request?


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: a l i c e

                                            Thanks! The menu has chow mein in the sandwich section. I know where we're headed Sunday!

                                            1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                              Showing my age here but, used to get chow mein sandwiches for 15 cents! This was in Pawtucket.

                                              Don't know if I could eat them today, but when I was a teenager they were good and of course cheap.

                                          2. Tha amount of black coffee you add is totally up to you. I add just enough so that I do not not dilute the mixture and make it too thin.

                                            Chow Mein sandwiches are still served at Young China on Warren avenue in East Providence.

                                            1. The following was a very popular food item in my childhood growing up in EP.

                                              Cacoila sandwiches, served at the summertime Portuguese feasts.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Sean

                                                Sean, what is Cacoila? I figured Portuguese since it was E.P., but have less than no idea what it is. Something like Capicola?

                                                1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                  Cacoila (Pronounced Ca-sir-la) is like southern pulled pork but it is mainly slow-stewed beef. The beef is usually marinated overnight in white wine and spices that include bay leaves, cinnamon stick, garlic, paprika and allspice. It is then served on a Portuguese roll.

                                              2. Hey people, is the chow mein sandwich vegetarian?

                                                BTW in New Jersey my parents used to make coffee milk all the time. I knew there was a RI/NJ connection other than universal derision.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: neverclose

                                                  I think the connection must be through the Mafia. It's the Italians who really brought the coffee flavor into prominence in RI.

                                                  It's pretty amazing. If I see a bottle of Eclipse in someones refrigerator, I know to ask them what part of the state they came from.

                                                  1. re: neverclose

                                                    Hey New England hounds. Snooping on the board for my upcoming RI trip I couldn't help but weigh in on the chow mein sandwich. Yes, they're alive and well... for the Japanese...in New York. I've seen them at JAS Marts and at Café Zaiya. I was skeptical- a carb sandwich? But it was quite good. The chow mein is flavorful, lots of soy sauce, with tiny chunks of meat and a ton of hot pink ginger slices on top. The end result is a slimy, soy and gingery sandwich on a sweetish white roll.

                                                    Is this what they used to be like?

                                                    1. Yikes! As I'm scrolling down the comments I learn that I've been pronouncing cohawg the wrong way my whole life....I have NEVER heard any local, self included,pronounce this bivalve kwahaug. I live 15 minutes from the R.I.line and "stuffie" never made it to SE Mass. Cacoila is made with pork as far as i know but if anyone finds a recipe calling for beef I'd be curious. Spoony Bard, I WISH my chow mein sandwiches were like what you describe. The sandwich of my youth cost 25 cents and was nasty brown glop on a nasty "dough ball" hamburger bun....yech. But....the retaurant was next to the bus station and it made the ride back to Boston less of a bore

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: gato

                                                        From my experience Cacoila is made with either pork or beef. I am more familiar with the beef version. Apparently the name derives from the clay pot that it is stewed in.


                                                      2. I've always said QUO-hog (so neither co- or kwa-). Closer to co-hog, I guess.

                                                        Did I scroll too quickly and now redundantly post about Dynamites? I grew up (mostly) in RI but never knew from dynamites until meeting people from...The Place of the Side By Each.

                                                        Agree that Smith St. has the best weiners, but it's been a wicked long time. If you're partaking in some cocktails----NY System weiners are the surefire hangover antidote. They always worked for me, when such things mattered.

                                                        1. Wha nobody hea neva had a "steak la pizzaiol" sandwich?
                                                          Potato Pepper Egg and Sausage Sandwich(sangwich)
                                                          Doughboys at the St Bahts feast at Uny?
                                                          Pigs in the blanket
                                                          Baked stuffed shrimp at Twin Oaks
                                                          Ricotti's Meatball sub "on the heel"
                                                          Roast beef dip at Chelo's
                                                          Fish and Chips across the street from the fire station on Hahtfod Ave?
                                                          Can anyone let the 1025 club ever out of there memory?
                                                          Rocky Point clam chowda and clamcakes
                                                          Caserta pizza and wimpy skippy
                                                          I'll even throw a vote in for Tommy's Pizza on Chalkstone Ave
                                                          Wright's Chicken Farm
                                                          Del's Lemonade

                                                          I know everyone has their own NYS fave...mines(notice no actual contraction) Olneyville

                                                          oh yeah and how could I forget Scungilli(snail salad)

                                                          I think I'll stop for a while.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: Wursthof

                                                            Great list!

                                                            Regarding Caserta's, have you noticed how many RIers refer to the wimpy skippy as a wimpy skimpy? Now what self respecting eatery would call something a wimpy skimpy?

                                                            Something else that's commonplace in RI but hard to find elsewhere: a side of "peppiz" with your spaghetti.

                                                            The much maligned yet now mourned Korb's bakery had a whole host of specialties: meltaways, hermits, huge chocolate chip cookies with a pinch of salt, massive whipped cream cakes, sissel bread, etc. If generations of Pawtucket kids hadn't pilfered so much while working at Korb's, the place might still be around. 8>D

                                                            1. re: Bob W

                                                              Bob W - Once again, you have stirred up fond memories of growing up in RI. I used to accompany my mom to Korb's for special occasion pastries and cakes. For me, the only Asian kid for what seemed like miles around, it felt very special. I don't remember anything specific taste-wise, except for that great, gaudy neon sign of the baker outside (RI's little piece of Vegas!) and ultra-sweet-looking frosting on everything in sight. I do recall that wonderful smell in there, though, and my mom and me peering in the glass display cases. Excuse me now - I have something in my eye...

                                                              1. re: a l i c e

                                                                Haha...I think I just had my Proustian moment! :)

                                                                1. re: a l i c e

                                                                  Oooh, that smell. When I read your post it kicked in immediately!

                                                                  Their chocolate chip cookies were so good that a former camp counselor of mine who went to school at Brown (we'll call him the Louie Lord) made a little extra money selling them on Nantucket one summer. Once I even picked up a box of them at Korb's and drove them to the New Bedford Airport for him.

                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                    What a scheme! And it's so Rud-i-lind! We are enterprising people, if nothing else.

                                                                    Cute kids, BTW! Let's hope you are starting their lives right, with copious amounts of Dels in their formula, cold pizza strips in the morning.

                                                                    1. re: a l i c e

                                                                      Alice: That is tough since I'm an ex-Rhode Islander like you. I do keep Autocrat Coffee Syrup in the fridge, and we picked up a tub of Del's mix at Green Airport on a visit in '05 (still waiting for the right moment to break it open) -- the twins are 2.5 now so this summer they should be ready for Del's.

                                                                      As for the pizza strips, on my last visit to RI, I made a stop at DePetrillo's on Park Ave in Cranston on the way to the airport and shlepped a big greasy bag of them (as well as a few spinach pies; you can't get RI turnover-style spinach pies down here in VA either) home on the plane. Mrs. W (a Baltimore native) has become a big pizza strip fan. Pizza strips rule. The twins will definitely be ready for them when I make my next RI visit.

                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                        I think the shlep to Killingly Street(right off of Rte 6(used to be 195)) and to D. Palmieri's bakery for pizza strips is well worth a quest. I happern to think they are the best pizza strips around. A lot of other great things to, the wine-pepper biscuits that someone mentioned, the pigs in the blankets. They also sell Wandis(not sure on the spelling there) that someone in the silver lake or cranston area makes and are really good.

                                                                        1. re: Wursthof

                                                                          Does Palmieris have another location on Killingly St? I always went to the one on Ridge St. (between Broadway and Atwells).

                                                                        2. re: Bob W

                                                                          I'm ex-RI too, but I don't live that far away thank goodness. My daughter (13 months at the time) discovered Del's while we were at the beach last summer. She loves it.

                                                                          Del's is usually okay (and certainly hits the spot when it's hot), but I really miss Mr. Nick's. Their frozen lemonade was as soft as mashed potato, and tasted more lemony. Del's is always like tiny ice pellets, and sometimes is too watery. And Mr. Nick's served gelato before most American's had heard of it.

                                                                  2. re: Bob W

                                                                    Agreed. But what about the pepper & wine biscuits at Palmieri's Bakery? Fresh & Warm, they're heaven (not to mention their bread).

                                                                    Speaking of smells, does anyone remember driving over (or under) "The Viaduct" and smelling the bread baking (it may have been Wonder Bread, but it sure beat the Providence River at low tide in the summer).

                                                                    And Flo's IS unique, but hasn't anyone been to the original in Island Park?

                                                                    Johnny Cakes can be had at the Johnny Cake Festival in Usquepaugh (I wonder if that's where the Scots got their word Uisgebeatha ;-).

                                                                    By the way, Eatin in Whistah (I know, you say Woostah), if you're from Worcester you do drink from a bubbler, so you sort of have some RI in ya.

                                                                    1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                                      I visited Flo's original in Island Park last fall. I got the chowder with the half dozen clamcakes. Unfortunatly, I chose the "clear" style chowder and was very disappointed. It was mostly celery and over-salted. But the clamcakes saved the day. They were as wonderful as I remembered from when I was a kid growing up in Fall River about 50 years ago. Although I only get back to the area once or twice a year for a few days, I always head for the King Phillip Lunch for hot dogs and coffee milk (have eaten there since they opened back in the 1950's); Hartley's for pork pies (South Main St. location is where my family has bought them since my Dad was young) and Mee Sum for a chow mein sandwich. None of the above is "haut cuisine", but it's my comfort food since childhood.

                                                                  3. I have had all of the above, and have blasphemed our little state by dissing several (like Twin Oaks. grew up going there and it hasn't been good since I was a kid, though they really, really know how to make a drink at that bar).

                                                                    I've had many a doughboy at the St. Bahts (one side of my family originates in da Lake, and my Nana got married at the old church, not the new, round one). And sausage and peppers at the St. Rocco's (w/which I have no affiliation).

                                                                    Heh, clearly, wursthof, you are a West Bay Dweller, because my favorite clam shack food (used to be Flo's Clam Shack in Middletown) is Evelyn's in Tiverton. I discovered these East Bay treats only in adulthood, however. Before that, it was Rocky Point and Cherrystones (or Aunt Carrie's/Iggy's) all the way.

                                                                    1. But I digress.

                                                                      If it's not redundant (as I'm a newcomer here), I'd love to know everyone's favorite chowdah (in state, and white).

                                                                      1. I've loved reading this thread! I married into a family from Fall River and they talk about all of this food and these places at family gatherings, and I'm always just confused. I'd never had a clamcake or anything remotely Portuguese before meeting my husband. I can't say that I've enjoyed everything I've tried, but I can understand the power of nostalgia. And I have to say, chorice and linguica are now my favorite pizza toppings.

                                                                        1. Chaves market in Fall River is a good source of chourico and linguica. It is a great addition to "spaghetti" sauce, called "gravy" in Rhode Island. If you visit you must try some of the restaurants on Columbia St. Sagres is good choice for seafood.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: gato

                                                                            I was once told that "Gravy" contains meat or drippings- otherwise it is marinara. What do I know; I am only in RI for 25 years.

                                                                            My nativemost RI friend who actually worked as a quahogger said co-hog but he put a hint of a "w" in the "co."

                                                                            When we moved here the first two Chinese restaurants we visited brought us, upon being seated, slices of wonder bread with paper-wrapped pats of butter. WTF? Thank heaven that's in the dustbin of R.I. chow history. And the same goes for Chowmein sandwiches, which I never tried, although as a kid I am sure I would have been right there with my 15 cents.

                                                                            Rhode Island specialties I love:
                                                                            Clam chowder, red or clear. ("New England" chowder is absurdly rich).
                                                                            Fried Calamari
                                                                            Clam cakes
                                                                            Pizza strips

                                                                            I have not learned to love:
                                                                            Coffee Milk

                                                                            I have yet to try Jonnycakes. You gotta go to a museum or something to get them so who really eats them anyway? They sound good though

                                                                            If present trends continue, in a few years the only thing left to eat in RI is going to be Dunkin Donuts. Then I will have to take up gardening and fishing.

                                                                            1. re: atheorist

                                                                              How about Willowtree Chicken Salad? This is another thing I miss since graduating from Salve Regina in Newport, 1993...OUCH !!

                                                                              Everytime I visit friends in Newport and Barrington I always have cold pizza, hot weiners and willowtree

                                                                              1. re: jenniebnyc

                                                                                Oh my, Willowtree!!! What memories! For the life of me I cannot duplicate the flavor of Willowtree chicken salad, and it's haunted me for the past 4 years since I left RI.

                                                                                Willowtree is sweet...and the texture is so unique. Delish!!!

                                                                                1. re: Amygirl

                                                                                  I can actually get it once it awhile up in Nashua at Shaw's, but it just doesn't look fresh sometimes.

                                                                                  I still have family in RI so wait til most of the time.

                                                                                  1. re: Amygirl

                                                                                    You want to duplicate the flavor? Make some good homemade chicken salad then ruin it by tossing in some sugar. For the life of me I'll never understand the appeal of putting sugar in mayo-based salads.

                                                                            2. Some of us don’t like to hear the word pronounced co-hog. Maybe because it sounds too much like co-defendant or co-conspirator. : ) I have always heard a “w” in that first syllable and maybe a little bit of “w” in the second syllable. Also, ”stuffies ” did not used to be in my vocabulary. We called them “stuffed clams” or “stuffed qwah-hogs”. When was that word "stuffies" invented, or was it always used? Did I just not happen to hear it?

                                                                              My RI friends make “spaghetti sauce”, but some of my friends who grew up in the North End of Boston call it “gravy” whether or not they include meat. Go figure.

                                                                              My favorite place to get “NY System” wieners/wieners is the Seaview Café in Matunuck. Nice people there. And Twin Oaks still makes great baked stuffed shrimp. I tried some a month or two ago.

                                                                              Jonnycakes? I keep wanting to add something to them for more flavor. Sort of like grits, always want to add (too much) salt.

                                                                              1. Willow Tree is a RI thing? Who knew. Seriously, I figured it was made in New England somewhere, but was marketed (frozen, the pies...) in other parts of the US...I had no idea---never had these until the past ten years, either!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Moonpie1

                                                                                  Not technically RI.....based in Attleboro, MA.

                                                                                2. YEAH willow tree chicken salad with cranberry sauce...J's deli in smithfield does a great rendition.

                                                                                  1. I love coming back to this post....I agree about the"gravy" thing. I do think it indicates meat is an ingredient.I have a cookbook that i love called "We called it macaroni"...Nancy Verde Barr. Apparently she was a behind the scenes with Julia person and her family was from Atwells Ave. Oh, I do love Venda ravioli! and the garlic bread sticks at Schialla's(sp?) bakery. And on a final note...Flo's vs.Evelyn"s for clams??? Flo's at Easton's beach hands down!!!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: gato

                                                                                      Scialo Bakery!
                                                                                      Mmmmm, except that I did have one strangely bad cannoli there once. It was ten years ago, and I've had good things there since, but I can't forget the shock of not liking the cannoli. I am a total die hard LaSalle Bakery loyalist (and it's very inconvenient for me, but I go there anyway) for kids' b-day cakes/pizza strips for their parties, etc.

                                                                                      I have that Verde Barr book too----got it as a gift a while back and didn't really know a lot about her before that. Good recipes in there. She makes appearances pretty regularly at places like Eastside Mktplace, Venda, etc.

                                                                                    2. A bad cannoli sounds like a bad thing indeed! As in bad dairy product in the filling? I'm not familiar with LaSalle bakery,,,Scialo also has wonderful hazlenut biscotti,,,actually they have wonderful lots of things!

                                                                                      1. Palmieri Bakery at the end of Tobey street and Buono on Hartford Ave are impeccable old school Italian bakeries that deserve praise along with Scialo. Crugnales comes close, too.

                                                                                        I love to break up the trip home from the beach at the Flo's in Island Park.

                                                                                        1. Palmieri's is one my family always used. Solitro's on Cranston St (Knightsville section of Cranston) also...but they place my dad always loved as a kid, and the place they always went, was DeLouise's on Chalkstone (at/near corner of Mt. Pleasant)-----until recent years (she's now too old), she'd get him a jelly stick there every b-day and he's over 60.

                                                                                          My Bad Cannoli wasn't so much bad dairy as just...something off w/the filling. It didn't taste BAD as in spoiled---just weird. I do think it was a fluke, as Scialo's really is good.

                                                                                          NOT an Italian bread bakery, but must mention Pastiche for desserts for it is the absoloute bomb and must not be missed if you're on Federal Hill for any reason. This is hard to do, because so many places you'd eat also have great dessert----but skip the dessert and go to Pastiche. Take it home if you're too full. Everything there is absoloutely terrific.

                                                                                          My favorite whine----East Side has no good bakeries (Italian) and one must travel for it.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Moonpie1

                                                                                            Amen to both your points Moonpie. Pastiche is the only commerical bakery I have found that comes close to what my mother can bake.
                                                                                            As excellent as 7 Stars is, (We call it 7 dollarsigns) it burns me up that I have to go crosstown for regular old crusty Italian rolls or bread. Seven stars does motivate me to sharpen my baking game! I make a tray of cinnamon buns, look at it, do some math, and feel like a millionaire.
                                                                                            Anyone remember Simones?

                                                                                            1. re: atheorist

                                                                                              I do not remember Simones----you'll have to elaborate!

                                                                                              I love Seven Stars----you an east sider? I do cook, but rarely bake bread, unfortunately. Har on the 7$$$----I have to make some Whole Paycheck comment every time I'm in Whole Foods as well.

                                                                                          2. Rod's Grill in Warren RI makes the greatest hot dogs I've ever had the privelege to taste. Anybody else blessed like me? Had one? I live a stone's throw from Pink's in LA and they've got nothing on that little diner that could.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Dover Sole

                                                                                              Love 'em. My former college roomate lived above Rod's after college for a few years. Very easy commute downstairs when I visited her from NY!!!!!!

                                                                                            2. Wow, I can't believe Rod's got such a quick response. Used to be a few for a buck, chopped onions and celery salt or something like that on 'em. Heaven.

                                                                                              1. I can't believe the passion I unleashed with this thread. I used to think it was just a sort of RI chauvinism.

                                                                                                I guess we are the biggest little state in the country.

                                                                                                1. RIChowerhead’s comment about the aroma of bread baking by the old Viaduct struck a note in my memory. I asked a friend who remembers where almost everything “used to be” (another RI thing, according to quahog.org). He said that the aroma was coming from an Italian bakery near Fox Point. When he was a kid, he and his friends used to ride by there on their bikes and stop in for a loaf of bread, sliced while they waited. The Italian bakery moved or closed a little while before the Viaduct was taken down. Their bread was probably good for soaking up the sauce/gravy that came with your side order of “peppiz”.

                                                                                                  I remember Rainbow Bakery on Reservoir Ave, and I think it’s still there. Anyone been recently? I wonder if they still sell all those deli-style breads. I have never been to Seven Stars. It’s not far off RT 95. Is it worth the stop-over? What are their specialties?

                                                                                                  By the way, has anyone mentioned using vinegar on French fries? It seems to be pretty much a RI and SE MA custom, although as time goes on I think I get fewer raised eyebrows in other geographical/cultural areas when I ask for "some malt vinegar for my fries, please".

                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Blondie NE

                                                                                                    "I have never been to Seven Stars. It’s not far off RT 95. Is it worth the stop-over? What are their specialties?"

                                                                                                    Their specialties, as far as I'm concerned, are their sourdough baguettes and croissants. It's worth a stop-over if you swoon at a perfect, flaky, chewy, crisp-ended croissant. Or if you dream at night of the ideal baguette, with a tender crumb, a chewy crust, and a beautiful wheaty flavor. Can you tell I'm a fan?

                                                                                                    My foodie sister-in-law, who lived and worked in Paris for two years, said that Seven Stars' croissants could pass for Parisian.

                                                                                                    I prefer their sourdough baguette to their regular—it's not very sour, it just seems like a more flavorful bread.

                                                                                                    1. re: Tartinet

                                                                                                      How is Seven Stars' Portuguese sweetbread? I went by there on my last visit to RI and they were closed -- this was on a Sunday. A local fellow also was there and he seemed surprised that it wasn't open.

                                                                                                      I know I can buy a King's Hawaiian Bread at the local supermarket, and that's basically sweetbread, but darn it when I visit RI and I'm in Fox Point I expect to leave with a sweetbread.

                                                                                                      I go back to the days of Faria's on Wickenden St., the mother church of sweetbread. My brothers used to sell hunks of it at summer camp -- for $0.25 their friends could rip off a hunk. It was that good. Made some incredible french toast, too.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                        Well it turns out I was thinking of Silver Star Bakery on Ives St., not Seven Stars, which is way down Hope St. towards Pawtucket.

                                                                                                        So my question is now: "How is the Portuguese Sweetbread at Silver Star?"

                                                                                                    2. re: Blondie NE

                                                                                                      Last time I bothered to drive by, Rainbow was there. But they're just not the same anymore. Their bagels were the comfort food of my youth.

                                                                                                      The vinegar on fries is a definite marker of a Rhode Islander (although that's how they like them in England too). I must admit though that I'd rather have plain distilled white vinegar than the Heinz Malt stuff that they serve everywhere. The Heinz doesn't seem to flavor the fries (or F&C) as well. I also like mustard on my fries.

                                                                                                      BTW, where is Seven Stars? And something else I've seen on Chowhounds often is "IIRC". I haven't figured out what that means yet. Can anyone help?

                                                                                                      1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                                                                        Seven Stars is on Hope, directly across from Festival Ballet, sort of diagonally across from the CVS and GARRISON CHOCOLATES (another whole topic of discussion----Tito, get me a tissue)....if those landmarks help any.

                                                                                                        Two bits of Seven Stars trivia. The bldg used to be a gas/service station and has won an award for preservation/reuse of a bldg (article is posted inside and kind of neat to read if you're into preservation). And----Hope St was a royal mess a few months back, as they were filming an upcoming Disney movie there, w/none other than Steve Carell and others. They turned Seven Stars into a high school/college hangout for the movie, and hung a sign over the Seven Stars sign (now I can't remember the name they gave it but it was stoopid). So in the upcoming year, there will be a movie w/all sorts of Hope Street and surrounding neighborhood scenes, including Seven Stars. Their breads just truly rock----you can't go wrong there. They make their scones w/cornmeal---wicked!

                                                                                                        1. re: Moonpie1

                                                                                                          I'm not familiar with those landmarks. Are we talking about where Blackstone Blvd. meets Hope?

                                                                                                          Yeah, cornmeal. That's why we called Jewish rye "corn bread" (yes, from Rainbow)

                                                                                                          1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                                                                            Yeah, it's more on the end of Hope where it meets the Blvd. Not all the way down, but more on that end. Between Rochambeau intersection and India restaurant----that stretch of Hope.

                                                                                                            1. re: Moonpie1

                                                                                                              It's at the intersection of Hope and Fourth Sts -- sort of at the Pawtucket end of the Hope St. business district. Now I remember seeing it when I went to Garrison Confections on my last visit to Prov.

                                                                                                          2. re: Moonpie1

                                                                                                            Seven Stars update: I just heard from the horse's mouth (the horse behind the counter who took my order) that they're opening a new location on Broadway! West Siders rejoice!

                                                                                                            I just heard him say it to another customer, so I didn't pump him for details (like where exactly and when), but it sounded like a sure thing.

                                                                                                            1. re: Tartinet

                                                                                                              Now if only LaSalle Bakery opens on the east side, all will be right w/the world!

                                                                                                              1. re: Tartinet

                                                                                                                I left the area not too long after 7stars opened, but the one thing I do remember (obviously besides the stellar bread & croissants) was that they made their Iced coffee with cubes of frozen coffee instead of ice. Genius! So as it melts, your coffee isn't watered down! Do they still do that? Just a simple thing, but really stuck in my memory.

                                                                                                            2. re: RIChowderhead

                                                                                                              to ri chowderhead..somewhere in one of your blogs...you mentioned the smell from the wonderbread bakery! wow....I remeber it well! I keep trying to get someone to send me some Korbs bread and now I know they are gone...I grew up on the East side and love summers eating fries on the beach out of cone with the malt vinegar...I still crave clam sandwiches from the Eastside Diner and meatball sandwiches from Federal Hill.. Providence's food is hard to beat! I haven't had a good piece of rye bread in years! Now I'm eating Tortilla's and Green chili in New Mexico......boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                          3. http://www.sevenstarsbakery.com/direc...

                                                                                                            IIRC = "if I remember correctly." Just internet jargon - do a google search for internet abbreviations/acronyms and you're sure to find a whole list of them.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: a l i c e

                                                                                                              Thanks Alice. I usually figure those things out, but I couldn't get this one.

                                                                                                              By the way, I remember strip pizza being available in most convenience stores (the types that sold penny candy and such - not the Cumby's types - or maybe I should say Sunnybrook types - they came before Cumby's)

                                                                                                              1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                                                                                We used to get pizza strips at the local Cumberland Farms or Dutchland Farms, which were basically the same as Sunnybrook Farms (I don't know Cumby's, having not lived in RI for a long time). I definitely remember paying less than a dime for a pizza strip.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                  Yeah, 5 cents sounds about right. The cones at Newport Creamery were only a dime.

                                                                                                                  Cumberland Farms are all over the place. At least in southern New England. They definitely became the giant amongst the milk stores. What state are you in now Bob W?

                                                                                                                  1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                                                                                    LOL call me dummy. I didn't know that Cumby's was short for Cumberland Farms. We never called it that. The family of one of my old friends -- in the small world department, a cousin of the guy who owns the Modern Diner -- was pretty tight with the family that owned Cumberland Farms back in the day.

                                                                                                                    I'm down in Virginia now. Cumby's hasn't made it down here, but thankfully Dunkin Donuts has a few outposts, and they do a fine job with the iced coffee -- as hot as it gets down here, that's very important.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                      I don't remember when we started calling it Cumby's, but I think it was after I got out of college (mid-'70's)

                                                                                                                      I don't care for Dunkin's coffee in general, but the iced is okay.

                                                                                                                      BTW, do you know what the original name/idea of Dunkin Donuts was?

                                                                                                            2. Thought I would revive this message thread to report to you all that I did stop at the Rainbow Bakery recently. RIChowerhead was right. They're just not the same anymore, although I can't say specificaly in what way. Somehow, the ambiance is not as it was. However, I did pick up some sissal bread which turned out to be almost as good as I remember. Seemed a little more heavily salted than it used to be, but the flavor is there, and it was good enough that I will stop in again when I'm driving by. Also picked up a loaf of Challah that went right into the freezer and It made an excellent French toast the following weekend. I would buy that again, also. My visit there was in the late afternoon and there wasn't much left, so my strategy will be to shoot for a morning visit next time.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Blondie NE

                                                                                                                Drove by there a couple of times. They have signs up promoting apple turnovers, cappuccinos, etc. Looks like it could be a good place to run in and grab something on the way to wherever you’re going in the AM. Don’t know how well it works as a café.

                                                                                                                1. re: Betty Boop

                                                                                                                  LaSalle Bakery on Smith Street in Providence has expanded its seating area and remains consistently slamming. White cake with buttercream frosting is my family's birthday cake staple. The strip pizza, a/k/a party pizza, is excellent. Cannollis, lemon squares, eclairs, apple dumplings, bear claws ......what can I say.
                                                                                                                  I grew up in Silver Lake and remained in RI. We always said caw-hawg and gravy was gravy whether it had meat, tuna, peppers, or nothing in it.
                                                                                                                  Nothing was better than Olneyville or Smith Street NY System at 2 in the morning after the clubs. Sometimes however you had to consciously avoid making eye contact with any of the other patrons.
                                                                                                                  We called them stuffed clams not stuffies until some time probably about 15 years ago.
                                                                                                                  Lentil soup, polenta, american chop suey, delmonicos fried with onions,
                                                                                                                  pork chops fried with home made pickled peppers, casseroles of potatoes chicken pieces, sausage, and peppers, lasagna, and home made spaghetti, all staples of our RI Italian table.

                                                                                                              2. I just learned something at quahog.org...

                                                                                                                qua-hog is the Narragansett Indian pronounciation. Western Rhode Island.
                                                                                                                ko-hog is the Wampanog Indian pronounciation. Eastern Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. I was born in New Be-fuh and grew up in Sout Dahkmuth so I use the Wampanog ko-hog.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: GeoffD

                                                                                                                  That's interesting. I've lived in RI all my life and until about 10 years ago I never heard ko-hog -- always qua-hog. My father, an English professor and also a life-long Rhode Islander, was asked to review a dictionary for the Prov Journal about 25 years ago and the major criticism he had was that the pronunciation given for quahog was ko-hog -- he was horrified. My mother, by the way, won "best stuffed quahog" at the Wickford festival one year and Don Bosquet presented the award. I don't remember him saying ko-hog.

                                                                                                                  On other matters, I've never met a clamcake I didn't like as long as it was fresh from the fryolater (sp?). But at home I do put more clams in them.

                                                                                                                  And on chowder, our family always added a little milk to what is considered true RI chowder -- all broth. But if you want that floury, "my spoon sticked straight up in my bowl" stuff, go to Maine or Mass. One thing I still like with my chowder -- and getting harder to find -- are Pilot Crackers.

                                                                                                                2. After hearing such good things about Seven Stars, I did have the perfect opportunity to try their croissant, since they come to Casey Farm's Coastal Grower’s Market (North Kingstown) on Saturday mornings. Liked the croissant, but really loved the cherry pistachio biscotti that I picked up while there. Definitely will go back and get some more. The Coastal Grower’s Market is open every Saturday into the fall from 9 - 12, but I think the croissants and biscotti might run out pretty early.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Blondie NE

                                                                                                                    Their scones are pretty darn good too.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ccferg

                                                                                                                      Ok, I'll "bite". What flavor do you recommend?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Blondie NE

                                                                                                                        (unsolicited recommendation)

                                                                                                                        The one w/the cranberries and pecans----not its official name, but it's the only one like it. There's some cornmeal in that one, and it makes for a great and different texture.

                                                                                                                        Every one of their scones are the best I've had.

                                                                                                                        And from upthread a bit, LaSalle Bakery rocks like nothing else. I've gotten many, many a b-day cake from there, and the pizza strips (something I don't eat, so I'm going on others' response) are the best. Every time I have gone in there, just for kicks, I'll ask when they're going to open on the East Side, and the answer is always, "nevah".

                                                                                                                        And in this world of automated food delivery systems and crappy customer service and uppity attitude for the wedge of iceberg-----LaSalle runs their business like a business should be run. It's a pleasure dealing with them on any level, whether for a kid's b-day cake or dessert items for 100 (which I did one year). They are a class act and I hope they're there forever. My own kids are even complete LaSalle loyalists.