Showing posts from October 4, 2009

Rhode Island, O Rhode Island, How You Have Changed

In the mid-1970s, when I lived in Providence the food wasn't very good. Sure there was great local seafood, especially clams and lobsters, but if you wanted to eat out, your choices were pretty much limited to diner food and Mafia Italian.

To get decent food I traveled to New York to buy ethnic ingredients, read cook books and taught myself how to cook.

Recently I had the chance to return to Rhode Island to write a series of food and travel articles. I spent two weeks traveling around the state, eating in a great variety of settings, from diners and beach-side clam shacks to upscale bistros and fine dining restaurants.

I discovered a lot has changed in Rhode Island. The state is now home to dozens of passionate chefs with incredibly smart palates.

JohanneKilleen and George Germon (Al Forno), Brian Kingsford (Bacaro) Kevin Thiele (One Bellvue in the Hotel Viking), Kyle Ketchum (Spiced Pear in the Chanler Hotel), ChampeSpiegle (Persimmon), Matt and Kate Jennings (Farmstead and La L…

The Nugget's Best of the West Rib Cook-Off is a Recession Buster

If you've never been to a barbecue rib-cook off, let me paint you a picture.On either side of a long street, booths are set up with sellers hawking their wares. You'll hear laughter and a hundred conversations as people walk down the crowded street or stand in line at the booths.

Imagine a midway that looks very much like a county fair only instead of having rides, baking contests, and pens with animals, at a rib rib-cook, everyone is selling meat.

Pork ribs, beef ribs, brisket, turkey drumsticks, barbecue chicken, pulled pork, and hot links.

Ok, that's a slight exaggeration. Not everyone is selling meat.

You can buy sides that go with meat: cole slaw and baked beans and you can buy lots of fried things--thick fried onion rings, zucchini strips, hush puppies, garlic fries, and potato chips piled high on a plate looking very much like a small mountain.

For those watching their diets, there is fresh fruit on a stick and freshly squeezed lemonade. If you want something sweet, th…