The best local food and beverage information in Rhode Island. News, events, chefs, restaurants, wine, cocktails, farms, artisanal goods, the annual Eat Drink RI Festival and coming soon the Eat Drink RI Central Market.
Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee. Photo by David Dadekian.
The annual Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee Day is being held on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 and this year area Dunkin’ Donuts locations are partnering with the local Providence tradition Good Night Lights to raise even more money in support of Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
For every iced coffee sold at Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts, Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees in the area will donate $1 to the hospital. This annual Iced Coffee Day has helped raise well over $2 million since its inception in 2010.
Good Night Lights is a daily tradition in which local residents, businesses and law enforcement officials let the kids at Hasbro Children’s Hospital know we’re thinking of them. Every night, at exactly 8:30 p.m., Good Night Lights participants shine flashlights (and police cars, firetrucks and ambulances turn on their lights) toward the hospital from various locations in downtown Providence. In return, patients in the hospital flicker their room lights on and off and shine their own flashlights from their windows.
Iced Coffee Day is all about helping the brave kids and their families at Hasbro, and so is Good Night Lights. So, this year, anytime you buy an Iced Coffee at most area Dunkin’ Donuts starting the first week of May, you will receive a small key chain flashlight that is marked with the date of Iced Coffee Day. Post to social media and let everyone know about the May 23rd Iced Coffee Day using the tag #IceDD4Hasbro.
All day long on Iced Coffee Day, Dunkin’ Donuts will be hosting mini events at various store locations with local celebrities and even a Patriot player. They’ll be at the stores working the windows and encouraging customers to take part in this great cause. The Iced Coffee Day celebration will conclude on the evening of May 23rd with a block party at India Point Park, where everyone who has received a flashlight are invited to head on over for a night of games, food and fun, all leading to a huge 8:30 p.m. flashlight flash to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
The 7th Annual Eat Drink RI Festival is a celebration showcasing the best of the culinary world in Rhode Island. Presenting farmers, chefs, bartenders and food & drink artisans from across the region, this year’s Festival offers a brand new wine tasting experience, the return of Dinner by Dames, the largest food truck event in the area, and culminates with the Grand Tasting, an All-Local Tasting featuring even more culinary & beverage presentations than before. Tickets and more information can be found at eatdrinkri.com/festival.
This year’s festival kicks off with Rhode Island’s first Sommelier Smackdown at the gorgeous, newly renovated Café at Easy Entertaining! This brand new event is co-hosted by Certified Sommeliers Ian Magiros of M.S. Walker and Jonathan Feiler of Rhode Island Distributing. The Smackdown will pit Certified Sommeliers Justin Bothur of Ocean House and Weekapaug Inn, Alan Freudeman of Gracie’s, Ali Innes of bin 312 wine cellar, and Alí Quero of Los Andes against each other in a wine theory quiz, a blind wine tasting, and a food & wine pairing collaboration with a local chef. Guests will vote on the fan favorite pairing and judges will tally the points of all three components of the competition to decide who reigns supreme in RI’s wine world. Tickets include wine tastings, food & wine pairing, and hors d’oeuvres.
One of Rhode Island’s most popular dining series, Dinner by Dames, returns on the Thursday evening of the Festival. This dining experience brings together five of Rhode Island’s most talented chefs—Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith of Moonrose Farm, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Ashley Vanasse of Easy Entertaining Inc. and Jessica Wood of Fire and Water Restaurant Group—for a multi-course dining event. For the 2018 Eat Drink RI Festival three guest chef Dames are joining the team: Lisa Lofberg of Little Moss, Rebecca Lentrichia of Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel and Caitlyn McGuire of Ellie’s Bakery.
To make the evening that much more special, Jen Davis of The Eddy, along with a group of RI’s top bartenders—Cassie Coutard of Courtland Club and New Harvest Coffee & Spirits, Megan Freitas, Sam Royds of Gracie’s, Elizabeth Sawtelle of Nicks on Broadway, Britt Simons of Persimmon and Kayleigh Speck of The East End—are creating cocktail pairings for each course with spirits very kindly provided by Origin Beverage Co. Dinner by Dames will once again be held at the beautiful Skyline at Waterplace in downtown Providence. In addition, Dinner by Dames coincides with this year’s Paint the Town RED to benefit AIDS Care Ocean State and Eat Drink RI is proud to donate a portion of Dames proceeds to ACOS.
Every year the Truck Stop to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank continues to grow! The event is back at the Food Bank’s huge lot in Providence with twenty-three mobile food vendors and a trio of local beverage greats! This sixth annual Truck Stop showcases even more of the excellence and variety of Rhode Island’s mobile restaurants, features local musicians the Superchief Trio, and also benefits an organization dedicated to ending hunger. Trucks include: Citizen Wing, Friskie Fries, GottaQ Smokehouse BBQ, Noble Knots, Portu-Galo and more.
The Eat Drink RI Festival Grand Tasting features samplings of over sixty locally produced beer, wine & spirits, as well as an abundance of local food artisans in Hall D of the Rhode Island Convention Center. Grand Tasting participants include: American Mussel Harvesters, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Los Andes, Narragansett Creamery, Revival Brewing Company, Seven Stars Bakery, Yacht Club Soda and so many more.
During the Tasting there will be all-new local food & drink presentations on the Frigidaire Professional Presentation Stage sponsored and provided by Wickford Appliance featuring Rhode Island’s top chefs paired with a local producer to wow attendees with some of the best food in the country, all included with admission to the Grand Tasting.
Easy Entertaining’s Chef Ashley Vanasse and Narragansett Creamery’s Pattie & Mark Federico
Nicks on Broadway’s Chef Derek Wagner and Blackbird Farm’s Ann Marie Bouthillette
Tallulah’s Taqueria’s Chef Jake Rojas and American Mussel Harvesters
In addition, a 2nd food & drink presentation area has been added at this year’s Grand Tasting. Get a floor-level, up-close look at the detail work & techniques of these chefs and artisans with this more interactive and intimate show area.
Pastaio’s Chef Adam Baffoni on Pasta
Ellie’s Bakery’s Chefs Melissa Denmark and Caitlyn McGuire on Decorating Desserts
El Rancho Grande’s Joaquin Meza on Cocktails
The key to the Eat Drink RI Festival is that it is dedicated to showcasing Rhode Island food and drink. This Festival, unlike many others, is about local chefs, bartenders, farmers, brewers, distillers, producers and more—the people who have elevated Rhode Island to national renown for its culinary scene. Tickets and more information can be found at eatdrinkri.com/festival.
Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.
Newport Vineyards Cultivate Committee Raises over $8,000 For Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts
Newport Vineyards Puerto Rico Fundraiser. Photo by Marianne Lee Photography.
Newport Vineyards, an award winning winery located in beautiful Middletown, RI, raised over $8,000 for Puerto Rico recovery efforts via their Una Noche Para Puerto Rico event put on by the Cultivate Committee. Born out of the passion of Newport Vineyards employees who have immediate family and friends in Puerto Rico that have been devastated by the storms in 2017, over 200 guests were welcomed to the event held on Friday, February 23, 2018.
The over $8,000 raised is being split between the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation – Cosa Nuestra’s Hurricane Relief Fund, who’s goal is to feed warm meals to those who are still in need and get small restaurants back on their feet. The organization will use 100% of funds raised to pay local restaurants and local chefs to produce meals that will be delivered to those in need. The funds will also go to help rebuild La Estación in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, the restaurant owned by Chef Kevin Roth, who is a long time friend of Newport Vineyards Executive Chef Andy Texeira.
Guest chef’s Chef Kevin Roth of La Estación in Puerto Rico, and Chef Giovanna Huyke of La Fabrica Central in Cambridge, MA joined Newport Vineyards Executive Chef Andy Texeira’s culinary team in creating truly authentic Puerto Rican fare including; Pork Pinchos, Matahambre and a Lechon Station. Maris Corujo, Newport Vineyards Event Manager, worked with Narciso Moreno, Sales Director of Puerto Rican Tourism Company, who helped procure jaw-dropping silent auction items including a grand prize trip to Puerto Rico that encompassed airfare, hotel and attraction vouchers. Silent auction, as well as food and beverage sponsors included; Don Q Rum, Goya, Foley Fish, Newport Storm/Thomas Tew Rum, Rail Explorers, ESJ Azul Hotel, TRYP by Wyndham, Courtyard Marriott Miramar, The Water Club Hotel, JetBlue. The night was a celebration of Puerto Rican culture, and included dancing to the music of Robertico Y su Alebreke of Providence.
Founded by brothers John & Paul Nunes in 1995, Newport Vineyards is the largest grower of grapes in New England. The winery produces nearly 30,000 cases of estate-grown wine each year through sustainable farming methods on 75 acres of historically preserved farmland. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2015, the winery has become a culinary and wine destination offering multiple experiences including daily tours and tastings, 100% from scratch culinary programs at Brix Restaurant and The Vineyard Café, The Marketplace, seasonal live music, private events and year-round public activities.
The Newport Vineyards Cultivate Committee is a team of employees who strive to do good, give back and be green through volunteer, charitable and sustainable efforts.
Rhode Island’s first food business incubator is bringing its small businesses online with a virtual “Makers Market.”
Hope & Main has partnered with Providence-based food technology company Crave Food Systems to create its custom online marketplace – the Hope & Main app. The app will allow shoppers to discover new favorite makers, pre-order their desired items and select convenient pickup locations, all in support of Rhode Island’s local food economy.
The app will complement the suite of resources Hope & Main offers the food entrepreneurs who grow their businesses in the former school house on Main Street in Warren. Hope & Main provides a broad suite of technical support and industry resources to give members a distinct advantage in a competitive marketplace. Frequent community events, farmers markets and trade shows foster a robust variety of connections with both retail and wholesale consumers year-round. The app will amplify this approach, significantly boosting makers’ access to a range of customers otherwise unreachable.
“We are witnessing major disruption in the food industry, and Crave Food Systems is at the leading edge of the an important trend: shortening the supply chain in food retailing,” Lisa Raiola, founder and president of Hope & Main said. “Amazon is certainly the best example of this, but has offered no path for local producers. That is why we are so excited to partner with Crave Food Systems. This app puts the power of purchasing local directly into the hands of the consumer. No distributor or grocery store shelf necessary. We love that it will connect Hope & Main makers to the consumers who are seeking their products at farmers markets across the state.”
While offering eaters new access to a wide variety Rhode Island made goods, the Hope & Main app is also a powerful eCommerce tool to strengthen entrepreneur’s growing businesses, at no cost to them. To make business more sustainable for makers, the app charges no signup, transaction or credit card processing fees. It has the potential to directly strengthen Rhode Island’s food economy by making it more convenient for Rhode Islanders to buy local.
“Hope & Main has been the foundation for so many amazing food businesses in our state – and Crave Food System’s unique technology will help their members reach new customers and markets,” Sue AnderBois, director of food strategy for the State of Rhode Island, said. “Partnerships between food businesses like these are part of what makes Rhode Island’s food economy so vibrant and innovative.”
To get a taste of some of the best Rhode Island-made goods from the convenience of a mobile device, anyone can now download the Hope & Main app for iOS or Android.
About Hope & Main: Hope & Main is a nonprofit food business incubator on a mission to help local entrepreneurs jump-start early-stage food companies and food related businesses by providing low-cost, low-risk access to shared-use commercial kitchens and other industry-specific technical resources. Hope & Main’s goal is to help grow the local food economy by creating a community of support for food entrepreneurs and cultivating an environment where emerging culinary startups can test, create, scale and thrive.
About Crave Food Systems: Crave Food Systems Corporation (CFS), established in 2014, is a food technology company that brings eCommerce and marketing tools to farmers, fishermen, artisans and the local communities they serve. CFS believes the right technology can open the door to healthier food for all.
Bon Me Opens Food Truck in Providence
Miso-Braised Pulled Pork Rice Noodle Salad
Bon Me, an award-winning Boston-based food-truck-and-restaurant company will start serving its Asian-inspired eats in Providence on March 14th. They will be bringing their food truck to Brown University starting Wednesday and to Kennedy Plaza on March 27th.
Bon Me’s menu features dishes with bold flavors, fresh vegetables, and housemade dressings. From their customizable menu, you can order a sandwich, rice bowl, or noodle salad with tasty proteins like spice-rubbed chicken or miso-braised pulled pork. They also have a full lineup of housemade drinks, including a special new drink that’s exclusive to their Providence food truck. To honor their new locale, they created the Dirty Chai in collaboration with Rhode Island-based New Harvest Coffee Roasters.
To celebrate their grand opening at Brown, Bon Me invites you to come out on Wednesday, March 14th from 11:30 am-2:30 pm for a free taste of their signature sandwich. They will be handing out half-portions of their take on the classic banh mi with your choice of Chinese barbecue pork or roasted paprika tofu.
For their grand opening at Kennedy Plaza on March 27th 11 am-2 pm, the socially conscious food truck will partner with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Customers will be encouraged to “pay what you want” and all proceeds will be donated to the non-profit, which works “to improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders by advancing solutions to the problem of hunger”.
Following the grand openings, you can find the bright yellow truck slinging sandwiches on Waterman Street by Brown University on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:30 am-2:30 pm and at Kennedy Plaza on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am-2 pm.
Rhode Island Kicks Off Third Annual Quahog Week on March 26
Quahog Week 2018
Governor Raimondo – along with Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Jim Langevin, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and other partners – will kick off the 3rd Annual Rhode Island Quahog Week with a special launch event at Save The Bay in Providence on Monday. Quahog Week, which runs March 26 to April 1, highlights the importance of Rhode Island’s wild shellfish harvest to the state’s history, traditions, and economy.
WHERE: Save The Bay 100 Save The Bay Drive Providence, Rhode Island
WHEN: Monday, March 26, 2018 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At the launch event, local shellfishermen will be on hand to educate guests about their profession. Guests will also enjoy a raw bar courtesy of the Rhode Island Shellfisherman’s Association, and creative preparations of the quahog, courtesy of participating local restaurants including Easy Entertaining, Eli’s Kitchen, Matunuck Oyster Bar, and Nicks On Broadway. Beverages will be provided by Rhode Island’s own Yacht Club Soda.
Rhode Island is known for its food and diverse food cultures. Our booming local food sector supports more than 60,000 jobs and continues to attract and inspire the imagination of entrepreneurs and innovators. The local fishing industry has been, and continues to be, a vital part of the equation. The commercial industry, which includes both wild harvest and aquaculture operations, generates close to $200 million in annual sales, supports nearly 7,000 jobs, and generates about $150 million in annual income. Last year, more than 22 million quahogs (off-the-boat value of $5 million) were harvested from Narragansett Bay and local coastal waters. To support continued industry growth, the state, along with its partners, developed the RI Seafood brand to uniquely identify local seafood in the marketplace and to provide a brand under which local seafood events and activities can take place.
As part of the week, participating restaurants and markets will feature quahog-inspired menu items and deals. Among the special menu items are quahog carbonara at The Mooring in Newport; quahog bruchetta at Trio in Narragansett; littlenecks, clams casino, and littlenecks with chourico at Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingstown; quahogs over angel hair tossed in red or white sauce at Harmony Lodge in Harmony; New England clam chowder with quahog cakes at Federal Taphouse and Kitchen in Providence; and unique versions of stuffed quahogs at 22 Bowen’s in Newport, Gulf Stream Bar & Grille in Portsmouth, Hemenway’s in Providence, Providence Oyster Bar in Providence, 15 Point Road in Portsmouth, and Plouffe’s in Pawtucket.
Quahog Week partners include Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Brown University Dining Services, Dave’s Marketplace, Discover Newport, Eat Drink RI, Eating with the Ecosystem, Go Providence, Narragansett Bay Lobsters, RI Commerce, RI Department of Environmental Management, RI Shellfisherman’s Association, Save The Bay, and the University of Rhode Island.
Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.
LaForge Casino Restaurant Sweeps the 2018 Newport Burger Bender
The winning restaurant, a Newport institution for more than half a century, wowed diners with The Crowley Burger.
They took an all-beef patty, cooked it to perfection, topped it with Gruyère cheese, layered it with creminis and tempura cornichons, generously drizzled it with truffle aioli and wedged it all between a buttery brioche bun. And the result won over the hearts and taste buds of Newporters and beyond. LaForge Casino Restaurant’s Crowley Burger, which has now become a part of the regular menu, won the coveted popular vote in the second annual Newport Burger Bender.
“We are thrilled to hear that we have won the Burger Bender Competition!” said James “JR” Rodrigues, the restaurant’s general manager, when informed of the victory. “We are extremely proud of our staff for the effort and support. The Crowley Burger was delicious and proudly honored a great Newport family. Thanks to all who came out for it.”
But the Crowley Burger isn’t the only entry in the spotlight. Providence Journal Food Editor Gail Ciampa has crowned 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grill’s Secret Burger her “Critic’s Choice.”
“Don’t assume the toppings of foie gras and butter-poached lobster are why this was my favorite of the 2018 Burger Bender. No doubt the richness of the ingredients makes this a winning combination on any plate,” said Ciampa. “It was all about the burger, the dripping-with-juice Wagyu dry-aged beef. Made from one the Japanese breeds of beef cattle known for superior marbling, the flavor was amazing, the meat tender. Starting with that beef gave Bowen’s Executive Chef Walter Slater’s burger an edge. Pickled red onion, truffle garlic aioli and house-made pickles are the perfect complementing condiments for the stellar burger on a house-made onion bun. Several restaurants amped up their burgers this year and I loved them all. But nobody did it better than 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille.”
Jamie Coelho, Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly and author of The Dish, the magazine’s monthly newsletter, declared The Wharf Pub’s Antipasti Patty the “Creative Champion.”
“It’s an Italian take on a bacon cheeseburger, subbing in prosciutto and mozzarella in place of bacon and cheddar. The balsamic roasted red peppers, onions and Rhode Island mushrooms gave it an epic presentation while rounding out the flavors with a bit of sweetness from the caramelized vegetables and cherry pepper aioli. The toasted ciabatta roll held up to all the toppings and gave the perfectly cooked burger a nice and sturdy foundation,” said Coelho. “And I’ll never look at French fries the same way again after munching on those truffle tater tots!”
The Newport Burger Bender is now an annual simple burger contest which recognizes the bevy of culinary creativity throughout our destination. There is no participation fee for restaurants nor has there ever been. Participating restaurants must be in Newport or Bristol County, Rhode Island, and this year’s contest was limited to the first 30 restaurants to register. Participants receive complimentary promotional materials including custom menu inserts and Burger Bender coasters. Each entry is photographed and featured on DiscoverNewport.org.
March Madness at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market
Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market
March can be a challenging month for local farmers. It signals the start of a long thaw after winter and the beginning of planning for next season’s harvest. Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to support local farms year-round. But March is a time of year when local farmers need your business and support most of all.
To celebrate these local heroes, Farm Fresh Rhode Island is hosting a month of special events at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market, called March Madness. Shop at the market every Saturday in March to enjoy fun events like cooking demos, take advantage of seasonal sales, and participate in a one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt for a chance to win amazing prizes! Participating in March Madness is a great way to support local agriculture, empower small businesses, and build vibrant community with local food at the center of every table.
March Madness: Free Events
Demos and Food Pairing to be held in the New Harvest Coffee Roasters Training Room, Hope Artiste Village Suite 110, during the farmers market.
Every Saturday in March, 9a-1p – Scavenger Hunt through the Market!
March 3, 10a – Cooking Demo by Harvest Kitchen
March 10, 10:30a – Beer Tasting by Revival Brewing Company
March 17, 10a – Local Producers Spotlight by Hope & Main
March 24, 10a – Cooking and Ceramics Demo by the African Alliance of Rhode Island
March 31, 10a – Coffee Roasting Demos by the New Harvest Coffee Roasters
The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market is open every Saturday, 9a–1p, until April 29. Located in two spacious hallways of the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI, it is easily accessed via the R-Line bus and off-street parking is available. For more information: www.farmfreshri.org/winter
Norey’s, Newport Named CraftBeer.com’s Great American Beer Bar in Rhode Island
Norey’s, Newport has been recognized as the best beer bar in Rhode Island in the annual Great American Beer Bars competition conducted by CraftBeer.com —the Brewers Association website for beer lovers.
With more than 4,100 small and independent craft brewers operating in the country, there are more options than ever to enjoy great beer. To help beer lovers navigate their way to the best places they can take advantage of this phenomenon, CraftBeer.com readers were recently polled to determine the best beer in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
“CraftBeer.com readers know craft beer and 9,000 of them took the time to cast their vote rewarding their favorite beer bar in each state,” said Julia Herz, publisher of CraftBeer.com. “Cheers to each of the winners and the ever-increasing diversity of our local beer movement here in the U.S.”
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Skyline at Waterplace for the VIP treatment at their first ever, Dine with Skyline by Russell Morin Catering and Events! I have to say, I was honored to be surrounded by some of Rhode Island’s culinary and press-related royalty. However, nothing was more exciting than seeing Eat Drink RI’s own Katie Kleyla walk through the doors! It’s rare that she and I just get to enjoy an event without having to run around directing volunteers, setting up vendors or fronting a 20-piece big band. (That last one is obviously Katie.)
As we sat down we were greeted by a Russell Morin staple, the Forage Board. Served on a cutting board made from a slice of a tree, piles of berries, pickled artichoke, grilled asparagus, braised Brussels sprouts and these amazing cranberry baked goat cheese cakes that were beyond decadent. Through some bizarre miracle, this cheese was both smooth when it was spread on the perfectly toasted baguettes, yet crumbly when eaten whole! It was sweet but also savory. It was like a seasonal cranberry cheese cake? Is that a thing? I guess it’s a thing!
I was so excited for the brown butter lobster raviolis! They were packed with lobster! The next course was a hearty roasted tomato bisque served with roasted bacon jam! I don’t like soup. It’s concerning to me. However, this particular presentation made an impact on me. The full strip of bacon, parsley leaves and Parmesan crisp made this dish much more than soup! The most amazing piece of this dish is the bacon jam. It’s flavor was intense! It was bacon heaven. Like grab your halo, you’re gettin’ in to bacon-heaven. SO GOOD!
The next course was a lamb ragout in a deep fried hash brown bowl served alongside glazed and grilled yellow carrots. The dish was topped with the most beautiful beet greens. I wish the lighting did them justice! Now, I LOVE salad served as a last course. Salad is the best digestive tool. I will speak no further on that. You could tell the chef took his time arranging the greens. The endive, Gala apples and chevre were on point!
For dessert, the pot de creme was a nice treat! That you need to taste for yourself! After dinner we went upstairs to see Frank Young! He’s shakin’ his stuff at the Skyline Lounge on Friday nights! Go say “Hi” after dinner!
Their next dinner is TONIGHT! February 23, 2018 and the price includes: 5 Course Dinner, Complimentary Valet and Access to the Skyline Lounge.