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Now Eating Vol 1: PVD/RI 8/14

it seems the majority of posts on here are motivated by one of two extremes: a stellar experience, or a terrible one. i thought it might be useful to have an ongoing thread to discuss the large middleground of meals that maybe don't merit a five paragraph review.

so i intend to make this a running list of restaurant visits, farmers market finds, food trucks, and take out orders; hopefully others will add theirs as well.

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  1. last night: dinner at cook & brown. we hadn't been here in about a year and a half. dining room was mostly empty at 7pm and didn't pick up much while we were there. started with a roasted bone marrow appetizer that was decadent and delicious. wife had baked orecchietti with smoked pork, it was a good hearty one bowl dinner. i had fried chicken with typical sides. the chicken (drumstick, thigh, and half breast) was perfect: extremely crispy and juicy. the grean beans and potato salad sides were good but a bit nondescript. the biscuit was unfortunately VERY dry. it was a lot of food overall and i was very pleased overall. we each tried one of their special cocktails and they were good enough that we went back for seconds. my wife in particular really loved hers (something involving cucumber and hot sauce).

    i was surprised the place was so dead but i guess having chez pascal right next door (doing a great business by the looks of it) must be a challenge to say the least.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wormwood

      I have heard some nice things about Cook and Brown.Before I went I checked their food handling. Pretty deplorable.Actually very bad.

      1. re: Frank Terranova

        Jeez, I just looked up their DOH inspection from last year--it was a little gross! I will note, however, that they closed briefly this summer to undertake renovations in the kitchen, not the dining area. Hopefully some of these maintenance issues are being addressed.

        1. re: RhodyRedHen

          Rhody its food handling not kitchen issues. When you looked there were two of them 2 weeks apart. Both were bad. DOH section is afraid of placing grading marks for food places.

    2. Thanks Wormwood. This thread is a good idea. I'm in!

      I went blueberry picking yesterday and considered posting but thought my experience wasn't chowhoundy enough but It fits nicely in a thread like this.

      Here goes:

      Picked several pounds of blueberries at Rocky Point Farm in Warwick. Quite a large patch, must be hundreds of bushes.

      You get a plastic pail lined with a sturdy plastic bag and head for the bushes. Picking was easy. There were amble ripe berries with many on their way. We were able to stay within one row.

      To cash out, berries are weighed; the charge is $2.50 per pound. My three-plus pounds, about half a pail-full, were less than $8.00.

      The farm is open every day during the summer months from 7 am to noon. On Thursdays from 4 pm to dusk. (The Google map that pops up on the web has inaccurate times.)

      http://www.rockypointblueberries.com

      Now to do some baking!

      1. Good idea! The biggest eating event in my neck of the woods is not restaurant related at the moment--it's wineberry season! Wineberries are an invasive berry species from Asia, and in my family, we consider it part of our civic duty to eat as many as possible to prevent further ecological contamination ;)

        Wineberries are extremely easy to identify and don't really look like any other, potentially poisonous species, so they're a good pick for the novice forager. Of course, always do research before eating any wild berry and double-check your identification with pictures online (or talk to an expert.) They grow on disturbed land, margins, basically anywhere a bird drops them. When perfectly ripe, the berries are deep, ruby red and look a bit like a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. They are a great flavor and not oversweet. I don't think they're commercially cultivated, so wild harvest is your only opportunity to try them.

        We've gathered several pounds so far and been enjoying wineberry buckle, wineberry parfaits, and fresh wineberries by the handful. Wineberry jam is on the docket for this weekend (first time attempting it, but the harvest has been very bountiful this year.)

        On an unrelated note, in addition to butchered meat, Persimmon Provisions in Barrington also offers a limited selection of restaurant-prepared foods. Right now, they've got very good quality pulled pork. It's not cheap (~$10/pound), but one container is enough for around 4 sandwiches. I've also added it to stews, etc. Right now, they also have a homemade salami available called finocchiona. It's small and fennel-flavored. They don't have them all the time, so it's a special treat.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RhodyRedHen

          i'm very interested in hearing about foraged and wild foods in season locally. i'll keep my eyes open for wineberries, wasn't familiar with them (or maybe i have seen them and just assumed they were raspberries).

          1. re: wormwood

            Wineberries are finished, but the blackberries are ready in places. They often grow right alongside the wineberries ( ripe in July) and the wild black raspberries (ripe in June). They're really good, but beware the thorns!

        2. This thread is a great idea.

          In the past week, I've gotten Tallulah's Tacos twice for lunch. Carnitas both times, you can definitely get great tacos, burritos, etc., for less $$, but these tacos are just ridiculous. So good. They serve pickled (not just sliced) radishes on the side, and those are delicious. The pork itself is the best pork I've had in a taco, period. The people there are awfully nice, also. Can't wait to go again.

          Also in the past week, the husband and I had lunch at Taco Mix (Broad St., Central Falls). Had not been there since they moved to this location. The service was really slow but very friendly, and the tacos were great. Not life-altering, but very good, and I'd get them again.

          Also in the past week, I had a beer brat from Chez Pascal's Wurst Window. It was out of this world and I can't wait to get another one---and also try their "pork on pork"---a homemade pork sausage with bacon in it. The toppings and bun made a great brat complete----some kind of roasted onion puree, and homemade mustard. So good.

          As I type this, I'm seeing a pattern. There is no reason I should be getting lunch out this much---I work from home, lol. Just got carried away this week.

          1. We tried Bocado last night, which opened in the old Cuban Revolution space in Olneyville. We've eaten at the original Worcester location and had positive, sangria-tinged memories of our meals there, so expectations were relatively high. Overall, it was a solid-to-good experience. We had reservations, but the restaurant was completely full when we arrived, and we ended up waiting almost a half-hour for our table--not an auspicious start to the meal. The restaurant space is noisy, due to the high factory ceilings, open kitchen, and long bar. The place was slammed from the moment we arrived to the time we left. Still, the kitchen seemed to handle our meal in a timely way. Bocado is a good value for what you get. The menu offers "experiences" for 2, 4, or 6 diners--set price meals to share. We did the two-person program, which included 2 cheese/charcuterie, 4 tapas, 1 large plate (paella or the like), and dessert. Although the listed menu price for this meal is $75, they seem to be running a promotion for $60. In short, a ton of food for a reasonable price.

            The food itself ranged from ok to good. We started with a fried goat cheese (large for two people,) with honey, almonds, pickled pepper, and ham--a satisfying start. We opted for a veggie tapa of greens, pickled golden beets, asparagus, and manchego--not very impressive. There was no discernible salt or dressing on the plate (not even a bit of olive oil or vinegar) so the only way to get any flavor was to have a bit of pickled beet in every bite. For hot tapas, we ordered braised rabbit, shrimp burgers, and piquillo peppers stuffed with veal and cheese. The shrimp burgers and the peppers were very tasty. The rabbit (one braised leg served on a piece of toast) was ok; oddly enough, it tasted like thanksgiving turkey with stuffing. We had a monthly special for our shared large plate--sea bass cheeks with a summer veg succotash and herb sauce. This was also quite good and large enough to feed four. Dessert was churros with chocolate sauce. Hit the spot.

            When it was time to leave, we had some trouble finding a server to get us the check, but it wasn't a big deal. Throughout the rest of the night, we were well looked after--drinks delivered promptly, water glasses refilled, plates cleared, etc. The service was very friendly, and managers were on-hand overseeing everything and pitching in when necessary. Overall, it looks like there's already a lot of interest in Bocado. It's a solid option for Spanish tapas, though nowhere near the authenticity (or, frankly, delicious simplicity,) of Flan y Ajo. Good value, hopping scene, solid food, parking--we probably won't rush back, but I'm sure we'll eat there again come winter.