The Newport Burger Bender is Back and Bigger Than Ever
Thirty local chefs will be crafting creative, savory and sensational recipes in the hopes of taking home the “best burger” trophy.The Newport Burger Bender returns for its second edition this February 16 to 25, 2018, once again coinciding with the Newport Winter Festival. This simple burger contest, which recognizes the bevy of culinary creativity throughout our destination, challenges local restaurants to compete for the lauded “Newport Burger Bender Best Burger” title, burger bragging rights and the coveted Burger Bender trophy. This year’s burger battle was open to an increased 30 entries with the contest reaching capacity in a matter of weeks. “It’s clear that there’s even more enthusiasm – and friendly competition – among the chefs and restaurateurs this go-around,” said Brittany Lauro, Discover Newport’s social media manager and the contest’s organizer. “There are some truly inventive burgers being planned specifically for the Newport Burger Bender and if I have one piece of advice for the public it’s this: come hungry.” To vote, diners can go to the Newport Burger Bender website to see the entries, plan their burger tasting adventure accordingly and then vote for their favorite burger. The burger with the most votes at the end of the contest will be crowned the winner. A “Critic’s Choice” will be named by Providence Journal Food Editor Gail Ciampa and a “Creative Champion” will be named by Jamie Coelho, Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly and author of The Dish, the magazine’s popular monthly newsletter. Mouth-watering entries include a dry-aged beef burger topped with butter poached lobster, roasted tomato and parmesan cheese from Forty 1 North, the “Confit Pork Belly Burger” from Bristol Oyster Bar featuring a 50% prime ground beef and 50% confit pork belly patty served with house cured bacon, Four Town Farm lettuce and pickled mustard slaw on a griddled sesame bun, and the “Fork & Knife Burger” from Speakeasy, a 10-oz. double burger with chourico, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno and sour cream – all sandwiched between a “bun” of bacon and cheddar loaded potato skins. The 2017 defending champion, Jo’s American Bistro, is looking to keep the crown with a barbecue spice-infused natural ground beef burger topped with roasted jalapeno peppers, barbecue glazed house pork belly and melted cheddar cheese topped with frizzled onion straws and drizzled with Carolina-style “Que” sauce served on a griddle-toasted Kaiser bulkie roll. Diners can tag their burger photos on social media with the hashtag #NPTrightnow. Tagged photos will be automatically entered to win giveaways from Discover Newport. The public can vote throughout the entirety of the contest.
Condesa opened its doors in Warwick
A Rhode Island staple comes to WarwickCondesa recently opened its doors on 721 Quaker Lane in East Greenwich, Rhode Island 02893! A staple of RI, they opened their first location in Smithfield. This establishment is family owned and operated, with a Mexican scratch kitchen. Along with the delicious food is a full bar, accompanied by hand-shaken margaritas and more of your favorites. Unlike many restaurants, Condesa, both in Smithfield, and now Warwick is also known for its Vegetarian, Gluten Free and Vegan selections on their menu. As Condesa owners Roberto and Ernesto remark, “Scratch kitchen. Hand-crafted drinks. Vegetarian and GF option to cater to all our wonderful team.” Prices range from $5 appetizers to $19 entrées. Make sure to stop by soon to check-out their brand-new location, and bring along your family and friends to try their unique foods and drinks that are catered to everyone’s needs. Condesa Warwick is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (401) 828-1005 or visit www.condesarestaurant.com.
Sweet Victory: Two Rhode Island Makers Receive Coveted National Good Food Award
Hope & Main-based SanoBe Superfoods and Halvah Heaven beat out more than 2,000 contenders from across the country for recognition by the Good Food FoundationTwo Hope & Main member companies, SanoBe Superfoods and Halvah Heaven, came home victorious earlier this week from the 2018 Good Food Awards in San Francisco, CA. The annual national competition recognized 199 food companies out of more than 2,000 entrants this year. The awards were presented in style by culinary pioneer Alice Waters and actress Madhur Jaffrey, in categories that included sustainably sourced and crafted charcuterie, cider, beer, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, preserved fish, honey, oils, pantry items, pickles, preserves, spirits and elixirs. Getting a nomination for this competition is rigorous, and starts in August with blind taste-testing among 25 judges from around the country. The judges are charged with meeting strict standards on ingredients, sourcing and certifications. Once nominated, entries are judged by over 250 food crafters, chefs, farmers, journalists, retailers and thought leaders. One of those leaders is Sue AnderBois, the Governor’s Director of Food Strategy who confirms that the national contest was “incredibly competitive.” Working with the Good Food Foundation, she has organized an opportunity for a number of Rhode Island food brands, including many Hope & Main member companies, to host a table at the Good Food Mercantile in New York City later this year to shine a spotlight on the rapid expansion of the new entrants into the marketplace that are coming out of our State. SanoBe Superfoods founder Jennifer Beauregard developed her peanut butter product line to be super nutritious and delicious complete meals — in a jar. Each variety is produced with whole body health and wellness in mind. SanoBe, which translates to “Be Healthy” contains high concentrations of more than 30 trace minerals. Beauregard’s winning peanut butter is her Crunchy Cacao flavor. Says Beauregard, “This Good Food Awards is and honor and a blessing. To be included among some of the most creative and most responsible food producers in the country fuels my passion for inspiring others to heal their lives and to make healthy, conscious choices for themselves. This recognition inspires me to remain constant in my desire to offer quality at a reasonable cost, and to create additional delicious and healthy foods that the consumer will continue to love for their flavors and appreciate for their health benefits and value.” Halvah Heaven founder Victoria Wallins decided to make her delicious tahini-based candy because she saw an opportunity in the world of small, creative purveyors. Halvah is mass-manufactured across the globe with mostly artificial flavors and preservatives, but Wallins takes a traditional approach, making each batch meticulously by hand, using all natural, gluten-free, vegan ingredients and organic sweeteners. Wallins’ winning halvah is her Silk Road flavor. “The experience was so gratifying,” says Wallins “my obsession with halvah and years of trial and error is bearing fruit…Imagine, Alice Waters and Madur Jaffrey presented us with the awards. They shook our hands and gave us hugs and kisses. So warm!” Lisa Raiola, Hope & Main’s Founder and President notes that both of these women- owned companies, exemplify how a dream for an original food product becomes not only a reality, but a true success driven by the vision and persistence of the entrepreneur. Raiola says, “Victoria and Jen have been so clear about what they want to achieve with their businesses, and Hope & Main is proud to support them on this journey that has put Rhode Island on the national artisanal food map. These companies are helping to redefine Rhode Island’s food culture, and are bringing recognition to a flourishing food manufacturing economy by leading the way towards a more authentic and conscious food system.” The wins kept coming for both Beauregard and Wallins all weekend long. Each participated in a wholesale show and mercantile event related to the awards, which resulted in new customers and connections with premier buyers from across the country. Nominations aren’t promised to any of this years winners for 2019, so both women are already preparing to defend their titles. As the State’s premier food incubator, Hope & Main provides an environment for entrepreneurs like Beauregard and Wallins to test and develop, adjust and pivot, scale up and reach new markets.