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Dec 28, 2009 07:24 AM

Providence--leave your warm house in the snow? For what?

I will be in Providence with my wife and child for 36 hours. I am a professional chef with a background in fine dining--but I am really a beer drinking kitchen monkey at heart. I want to know what you would be willing to get up off of your couch, with a screaming hangover, in the snow, to go eat. I have quit jobs because I am tired of serving beautiful people-- do not send me trendy, so-so (i.e., polenta fries), culinarily arrogant suggestions please (and no 'we had a great tortilla soup when we went 3 years ago...'). From what I have read, it sounds as though one foray to cranston might be justified--and the crazy farm place that serves 2000 might be worth a WTF moment.

But here it is: when you are blue, and famished, and you don't care how hard it is to get--what MUST you have to eat in that area?

I thank you for being unreconstructed gluttons and sharing.

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  1. Gingerbread pancakes at Julian's (not for kids, these have a BITE). Oh, and the broccoli, swiss cheese & sweet potato hash there as well. perfect combo when you don't want to choose between sweet & savory for breakfast (or lunch come to think of it).

    By Cranston might you mean Mike's Kitchen at the VFW Hall? Polenta there would be on my list.

    Wright's Farm wouldn't make my list and I only live 15 minutes away. It's not bad by any means, but I just wouldn't put it into the category of must haves.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JaneRI


      Cranston seemed to come up a number of times in posts...

    2. unpretentious, delicious, and well priced food you are look for?? Mikes Kitchen in Cranston is a must try - the hours are a bit crazy so find out in advance when they are open (I believe they are closed on Saturdays???)

      Wrights Farm is an experience all right, Its not great but it just satisfys something inside you.....I must have it every few months!

      United BBQ in Providence is pretty good too.....I dont love the sauce but in temrs of smoke, rub, cook temp, portions, price they do BBQ well. If you are visiting I might even pick up some take out along with a bottle of your fav bbq sauce and feast back at the hotel or where ever you are staying.

      You are also going to want to visit Iggys in Warwick for some chowder, clamcakes, and fried seafood. If you have a nice day (weather wise) the kids will love the beace right next door.

      If you are in Providence and want a good pizza, and like thin crust, go to Nice SLice on Thayer St. My personal favorite pizza in RI. About $20 for a huge brooklyn style pie.

      Please be advised - none of these choices will be ch top picks, but they do RI well and match what you are looking for. Take care!

      1. Wright's Farm is always a great experience. Expect a long wait as a lot of people disagree with the other posters here.

        Another place I like is the Beef Barn in North Smithfield. Great roast beef sandwhiches. Forget Arby's.

        A few miles away from the Beef Barn is Wright's Farm Bakery. I have yet to dfind a better bakery and they have a working dairy farm where you can watch the cows being milked.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bigboy

          Thank you for setting me on to some good clues!

        2. Ditto,

          Feel the same way. Try Luxe burger. Your chilld will love it. Interesting array of beer's, soda's interesting burgers and its not bust out either. Its just a fun place.

            1. re: jim14th

              Here is the list I have compiled for the trip:

              Atwells: Piaxtla, Lili Marlene's, Roma, Bob & Timmy's, Angelo's
              Hope: Not Just Snacks, Rasoi, Aspara,
              Thayer: Byblos, Nice Slice, Via Via
              Elsewhere: Spike's, Red Fez, Chilango's, La Arepa, Sandwich Hut, Mike's Kitchen, Luxe Burger, Rick's Roadhouse

              1. re: jim14th

                That's an ambitious plan for 36 hours, even for an unreconstructed glutton.

                1. re: jim14th

                  I spent ten years eating and drinking my way through PVD and I wouldn't hit most of those places in a week, let alone 36 hours.

                  -Haven't been to Piaxtla
                  -Lili Marlene is a dark bar with a couple items. It's not get-off-the-couch grub.
                  -Roma is pretty good for lunch. I can see this one.
                  -Bob and Timmy's pizza is good, but PVD isn't much of a pizza city in general. Can be
                  -Angelo's is good for red sauce. I like their eggplant parm and they have pretty good soup. Very homestyle food.
                  -Not Just Snacks is okay for quick Indian with zero atmosphere.
                  -I've only had the vegan buffet at Rasoi, which is decent.
                  -Apsara on Hope can't touch the Apsara on Public St. Ghetto area, pretty ghetto inside.
                  -Byblos has acceptable falafel.
                  -Nice Slice and Via Via have good, thinner pizza, but it's definitely not a must.
                  -Spike's in fun. Not so Chowish, not a must, but kids like it and it's novel.
                  -Red Fez has great grilled cheese and makes big, strong drinks. Still, not a must.
                  -Haven't been to Chilango's or La Arepa, nor Sandwich Hut or Mike's, although Mike's was on my list. Based solely on hearsay, it's a must.
                  -Rick's wouldn't make the cut in a month, let alone a day and a half. I'm not a fan of John Elkhay in general, which is a pretty common consensus on these boards. Luxe is, like Spike's, fun for kids.

                  This would be my list:

                  Atwells area: Julian's or Nicks for brunch, Loie Fuller (same owner as Lili, beautiful space), I'd keep Roma or Angelo's but both are similar, Bombay Club for the best Indian in the city, easily.
                  Hope: Burgers and drinks at Ivy Tavern, Chez Pascal if you have time for some French bistro (normally regarded as the best joint in the city overall)
                  Thayer: Hmmm. I don't really consider anything a must on Thayer. Mostly cheaper, student-friendly places, but nothing even jumps out.
                  Elsewhere: Drinks at Local 121, Haruki East is generally know for excellent sushi, Caffe Itri in Cranston has a great winelist and low-key Italian, Garden Grill has pretty great veggie stuff, Modern Diner specials board.

                  EDIT: Apparently Roma has closed.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    Depending on the day of the week you are here, you might be able to catch Chez Pascal's truck for lunch. The schedule changes but this week, they are out this week on Wednesday and Thursday. It will be cold so you would have to sit in your car or bring the food someplace to eat. It is fantastic food. It will be on North Main Street, near the corner of North Main Street and Smith Street. Near the Roger Williams Memorial Park (not the zoo park). They are there 11:30 - 2:30 weather permitting. They will also be at the Pawtucket Farmers Market this Saturday 11:00 - 2:00.

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      I agree with everything invinotheresverde writes. Please don't bother with Not Just Snacks, Via Via, Sandwich Hut and Rick's Roadhouse. Apsara is our neighborhood go-to place but the one on Public Street really is better.
                      We prefer East Side Pocket to Byblos—especially for falafel. But, again, for folks on a 36 hour visit to PRO, it's not really worth the effort to find parking on Thayer.

                      Enjoy your time in our funny little city!

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        invinotheresverde, gotta say, I rather dislike the use of "ghetto" when describing the original Apsara. I have a lot of experience in that area and if the you ghetto you refer to = lower income, hard-working folks who know how to eat really well, then so be it. This board was created in the spirit of discovering "ghetto" food, IMO. There's just a really negative connotation to that word that makes me bristle.

                        jim14th - Your agenda is pretty ambitious. Sounds like you want pizza (didn't look at your profile, so don't know where you coming from). Bob and Timmy's is pretty good for thin, wood grilled. If you are in the Thayer Street area, I'd take Nice Slice over Via Via.

                        I'd forget all John Elkhay places as ivtv recommends.

                        Mike's Kitchen rocks. Especially the polenta. Make sure you check the hours.

                        Ivy Tavern is forgettable.

                        Ama's might be too fancy with the kid in tow. Avery for an adult

                        I love Julian's but I am biased since I live in the hood. Your child (how old) will go unnoticed since it's loud and there are plenty of distractions in there. Nick's is great for breakfast.

                        Down the street is Olneyville wieners.

                        AS220 for fun, cheap, and cheery Mexican.

                        1. re: digga

                          fyi- as220 no longer has mexican. the taqueria pacifica was evicted and ceased operation september 30th. very unfortunate.

                          1. re: pork_chop

                            Egads....Porkchop, do you know what the hell happened?! We haven't been in since early fall. Will they fire up the truck again?

                            1. re: digga

                              Technically, they were evicted for lack of rent payment- 3 days after the due date. It seems that the relationship between as220 and the taqueria had been strained for a long time and when the taqueria slipped up as220 seized their opportunity to get them out. I have friends on both sides and the whole thing was very ugly and unfortunate. No plans to bring back the truck or reopen somewhere else at this point, but hopefully that will change. I miss those tacos!

                          2. re: digga

                            I lived on Elmwood for 3 years. We had gunshot holes in our glass entrance. I assure you, I use the term with a familiar fondness.

                        2. re: jim14th

                          OMG I love Chilango's! I used to make my friends take me there everytime I made the trip down from Boston. They have the most amazing rolled enchiladas.