Farm-fresh devotees find big flavors In Providence

 

New Rivers restaurant is in an 18th century river warehouse near Brown University. It is one of the city's favorite foodie hangouts -- and specializes in cured meats.
New Rivers restaurant is in an 18th century river warehouse near Brown University. It is one of the city’s favorite foodie hangouts — and specializes in cured meats.

Take a weekend trip to experience the small city with big taste. Here’s a rundown of  the area’s hottest culinary spots.

As home to culinary school Johnson & Wales, Rhode Island’s capital city tends to snag its share of new graduates. For dining patrons, that means there is always a steady supply of talent in the city’s restaurant kitchens. Add to that, a rich cultural heritage from generations of Portuguese and Italian immigrants —and proximity to rich agriculture New England and the ocean — and the small city of Providence has become a big destination for foodies, especially those who appreciate the farm-to-table approach.

One of Providence’s most essential reservations is New Rivers (7 Steeple Street, 401-751-0350), located near Brown University in an 18th century river warehouse. Last year, the long-time chef Beau Vestal took over the restaurant as owner. His speciality? Cured meats including sweet and salty pork belly that melts like candy on the tongue, strips of succulent pastrami beef tongue and smoked fish. The menu leans into seasonal ingredients and showcases Rhode Island’s natural bounty of seafood with dishes like the maltagliati — a pasta dish served with local clams and tuscan kale.

Gracie’s (194 Washington Street, 401-272-7811) in downtown Providence is another stop for farm-fresh junkies: The best way to eat here is to leave it to the chef. After a few questions from the server — who are among the friendliest and most helpful in the city — the chef will send out a surprise five-course tasting menu ($75) — perhaps with things like a slow-poached farm egg or sea scallops served with a maple-glazed pork belly, all flavored with herbs grown in the restaurant’s rooftop garden.

Pork belly and brussel sprout hash at XO Cafe.
Pork belly and brussel sprout hash at XO Cafe.

Sunday brunch is a sleepy affair in Providence but well worth rising for to down two things: Pork belly and brussel sprout hash and a Dirty Red Snapper, a house special bloody Mary mix with gin and olive juice at XO Café (125 N. Main Street, 401-273-9090). The restaurant defies the farm-to-table stereotype and instead rocks more of let’s-do-one-more-shot-of-whiskey atmosphere. Fittingly, the menu is has all kinds of hangover busters, like the XO Benedict, a local short rib served with chive potato pancake and chipotle Hollandaise.

Antonelli's Poultry is one of the last live-chicken shops in Providence where shoppers can pick the chicken they want to eat for dinner. This is one of several stops on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Antonelli’s Poultry is one of the last live-chicken shops in Providence where shoppers can pick the chicken they want to eat for dinner. This is one of several stops on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.

For the serious foodie — as in you like to pick out the chicken you kill for dinner — a visit to Antonelli Poultry Company in the city historic Italian Federal Hill district is another must do. The best way to navigate the area is to sign up for the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour (401-934-2149, $50) with chef Cindy Salvato. Salvato, a former professor at J&W, escorts folks through local purveyors — like the live chicken shop and bakeries —to view and taste some of the most authentic just-like-your-noni-made-it Italian goodies. One word of advice: Reserve early, the popular tour has a months long waiting list.

Just like your noni used to make: Grandmas still hand-make raviolis at Costantino's Venda Ravioli, a stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Just like your noni used to make: Grandmas still hand-make raviolis at Costantino’s Venda Ravioli, a stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Just like your noni used to make: Grandmas still hand-make raviolis at Costantino's Venda Ravioli, a stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.
Homemade torrone – a kind of Italian nougat – is a specialty at Scialo Brothers Bakery, another stop on the Savoring Federal Hill culinary tour.

News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.