A Trip to Providence, RI


It's been a while since I made a travel post.

College Hill
Providence, Rhode Island

My expectations for a chill and easy-going senior year were completely wrong.
This year has been anything but chill. And it's my fault. My school workload is almost nonexistent, but I'm willing to bet the weekends I've stayed at home since August is less than 10. In fact, I've been out of town 7 off the 10 weekends in 2019 so far. 

Ever since all of my best friends left me for college this year, I've sacrificed my weekends (which is typically when I cook the most) to visit them. So, actually, I think it's fair to say we can just blame my recent lack of content on them. 

Honestly, I can't remember when the last time I actually attended a full-week of school was. Oh, well. I guess that "senioritis" is finally kicking in...

I wish I could say I found some time to test out my pages of recipe ideas that have been stacking up for the past 6 months, but sadly, I haven't.
And even though I've been traveling a lot, I feel like none of the places have been worthy enough of a post.

Until this week... 

I've always had this fascination with New England, but I've never had the chance to go. Anytime we go somewhere in the north east, it's usually New York. 
Back in August I posted about my trip to Europe. 
That trip replaced my school's typical senior spring break trip to Europe. So instead of just sitting at home over spring break, my mom and I decided to go check out Providence, Rhode Island for a couple of days to look at colleges. I was just excited to finally go somewhere on the east coast.... but what I didn't know is that Providence is a foodie's dream town. Obviously I knew the seafood would be amazing because of it's location, but the amount of restaurants in this city was incredibly overwhelming. It makes sense now, but I guess I wasn't thinking about Providence being the capital of Rhode Island at the time.
We had the hardest time deciding on what three restaurants we were going to go to on our short trip. Everyone we asked recommended a different list of restaurants than the last person. It was like the town had a never-ending need for restaurants.

We had already booked Hemenway's for our dinner the first night, and it was for sure both me and my mom's favorite meal. It was definitely a fancier restaurant and although it wasn't very vibey, the atmosphere was still nice. The food though-- everything was crazy delicious. My mom and I were in heaven.

Since we didn't have that many days to try as many local favorites as we wanted, we tried to maximize our food at every restaurant we did get the chance to hit. 
At Hemenway's, we started with two types of raw oysters--Dutchies and Dutch Island--both from Rhode Island. The Dutchies were extremely fresh and clean tasting, and the Dutch Island were very briney and salty (obviously my fav). We had the "stuffies" as another appetizer: clam shells filled with a baked mixture of clams, chorizo, sourdough, herbs, celery, onions, and clam broth. I can't emphasize enough how freaking amazing these were. They tasted like a New England version of Thanksgiving dressing... but better. We were given a bottle of Rhed's Fermented Rhode Island Hot Sauce (not that spciy, but so tangy and flavorful) to top the stuffies off with and let me tell ya... this made something I didn't think could get better, so much better. Our waitress even told us to take the bottle with us, but we accidentally left it in the restaurant... I'm ordering some asap, though, because it was one of the best hot sauces I've ever tried. And I'm a dedicated Lousiana hot sauce kinda girl. 
Next, we shared two cups of soup, lobster bisque and Rhode Island clam chowder. The lobster bisque was literally the most divine soup I've ever tasted. I'm not a huge fan of creamy soups, but this one was buttery without being greasy and creamy without being thick and goopy. It was perfect. 
Rhode Island clam chowder has a clear base--just made with clam broth and no cream. I loved this version of it because the clam, herbs, and bacon flavors were really able to stand out without being overwhelmed by heavy cream. It was also bomb.
Finally, for dinner we shared the paella. It wasn't as amazing as everything else we tried, but it didn't disappoint. And after drowning it in the hot sauce from earlier, it was definitely next level.

Raw Oysters

"Stuffies"

The BEST Hot Sauce

Lobster Bisque

Rhode Island Clam Chowder

Paella

 If you ever get a chance to go to Hemenway's, get the Stuffies and the Rhode Island Clam Chowder. 
Oh, and if you're a hot sauce aficionado.... order a bottle of Rhed's!!!

After that we wandered around aimlessly looking for an open coffee place, failed to find one, and then attempted to ice skate. Providence as a city is so cute and definitely my type of town! Now I know I have this problem when I go to a new town for the first time... I always fall in love with it and plan to live there some day. So, right now it looks like I'm going to be moving a lot in the future.
But I am serious when I say it's a very livable town. It has a quaint, cozy, "Hallmark christmas movie" feel, but it also has a big city vibe with it being a huge college town and having so many fun stores and restaurants. It's overflowing with an abundance of cool boutiques and antique stores, farmer's markets, and the cutest traditional "New England" neighborhoods to explore. I love that it's close to the water, too. And the bridge that connects the downtown area and college hill is gorgeous, especially when covered in snow.

Anyway.... we went to bed that night, woke up early and had a busy day full of touring colleges ahead of us.
We stopped in a local coffee shop, Ellie's Bakery, right next to our hotel and got our morning caffeine fix. I usually stick to a basic latte or an americano, but this morning I was feeling a little festive. So, I branched out and got a red chile chai latte with coconut milk (and a shot of espresso because I needed it). I'm not a huge chai drinker, but it wasn't bad.
In between visits we had brunch at a super funky local breakfast place, Julian's. We sat at the bar and watched them make our food in the kitchen. One thing I thought was so cool is that they don't own a freezer.... everything they buy and cook is fresh that day!
I got the shakshuka with lemon tahini, grilled naan, and breakfast potatoes (if you can't tell, I've kinda been obsessed with shakshuka lately), my mom got the daily eggs benedict (poached eggs, bacon, charred shoshito peppers, and pepperjack cheese on Italian bread w/ hollandaise), and then we shared a vegan coffee cake pancake with chocolate chips and a banana coconut cream whipped cream.
Everything was SO yum!!!

"Winifred Sanderson Pancakes"

Eggs Benedict

Shakshuka + Lemon Tahini

Later that day we stopped in a cute tea place near Brown's campus and sipped on (very, very hot) tea.
After all of our tours, we went to get an appetizer before dinner at a "bar and snackery" called Eddy. Once being seated and almost waited on, we were kicked out because I was underage...

So instead we went to a place called The Grange and had a few bites and drinks before dinner, just to kill time.
We went to Providence's "little Italy" and had dinner at Pane e Vino. We shared the meatball with ricotta and an octopus special as small plates and the linguine frutti di mare for dinner. The octopus was cooked perfectly, but the char on it made it extremely bitter.
The pasta was good, but the meatball was undoubtedly the star. Its texture and flavor were both phenomonal... and it was also covered in fresh ricotta... so you can't go wrong.

Charred Octopus + Chickpeas

Meatballs + Ricotta

Linguine Frutti di Mare

Finally, for our last bite in Providence, we walked to a little cafe and bakery called Pastiche, also in Little Italy, where we sipped on some coffee and indulged in a buttersotch crumb cake to finish off the trip on a sweet note.

And that's it... 31 hours, 4 restaurants, 2 caf├ęs, and 1 very amusing attempt at ice skating in Providence, Rhode Island.


XOXO 
Cecilia A.


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