30 June, 2009

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Mexican fast food has a stigma in modern society. Many legends persist involving mystery meats to foodbourne illness to deter people from enjoying a quick taco. The modern fast food movement contains a restaurant to dispel all these myths and produce a high quality and delicious Mexican meal. That restaurant? Chipotle.

Inside, you are confronted with a modern White Castle layout; stainless-steel and an wide open kitchen. The menu is simple; a style (burrito, taco, soft taco, or rice bowl), a protein (chicken, beef, pork, or vegetarian), and then a topping bar including pico de gallo, authentic Mexican sour cream, and guacamole. Another feature that sets this restaurant apart from other chain Mexican restaurants, beer and margaritas. They also boast a large collection of authentic Tabasco sauce at the tables.

The food just tastes amazing, though be warned it is spicy. This is to be expected for a restaurant named after a smoked jalapeno. The flavors are all there. Their rice is cooked with cilantro and lime. Everything melds together to form a filling and relatively cheap Mexican meal.

Chipotle Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Rating: B

17 June, 2009

Pastiche Cafe and Bakery

Consistently rated the top eatery in the Providence area, Pastiche retains that reputation through quality. Its unassuming location off Atwells hidden by the best parking area makes it easy to miss, but you shouldn't. Not now, not ever.

The dining room is a small and intimate one, but the service is exceptional. Me and my wife sat down and wanted a snack, which we soon discovered was impossible. We first ordered coffe, her a Latte Macchiato and I a cafe Americano. Both were wonderfully rich and perfectly prepared (too many people just mess up the finer coffees). The sizes were great compared to the price, especially considering other places would triple charge for a smaller portion.

We then ordered our 'snack', choosing summery dishes. I ordered a raspberry blueberry tart. When it came out, it looked like a great slice of blue berry pie topped with a single raspberry. I was concerned, until I saw the brilliant red swath of raspberry coolie. The tart shell was the best I've ever tasted, and the blueberrys sat atop a perfect custard, and I don't even like custard that much! The true star was the fruit, the blueberries were perfect, sweet and tart, plump and juicy. All together, it made me enjoy the summer.

My wife ordered a lemon velvet cake. What came out looked like a disk of sunshine next to a cloud of real whipped cream. We've been to very high-end bakeries and been served cool whip, so this was a very welcome surpise. On top of the zen-balance of lemon and cake was a small glaze, which just accentuated the lemon flavor. We ended up taking some of the raspberry coolie from mine and putting it ontop of the cake, something the waitress commented was a good idea. It totally was. After both offerings, we were too stuffed to try something else on the hill and retreated happy and full.

There was nothing wrong with anything at Pastiche. Both desserts were perfect. The coffees were perfect. The service was perfect. Please, visit this gem to experience true desserts. Pastiche has a website with all their information. http://www.pastichefinedesserts.com/pastiche/
Pastiche on Urbanspoon

Rating: A+

15 June, 2009

Beef Barn

The Beef Barn is a landmark to Northern New England Cuisine. This does not mean that it is necessarily good. For a quick bite to eat, it seemed like a good idea. Me and my wife ordered the sandwiches and immediately the dinning room felt dirty. We sat and noticed open wells of condiments. Not very sanitary.

Our food arrived, and it was nothing special. The roast beef was overcooked. The chew was tough also, and the stringiness left that horrid feeling inbetween the teeth. Because of this, the meal just never came together. The food was cheap, and others seemed to like their meals, but we did not.


Beef Barn on Urbanspoon

Rating: C-

Thai Garden

Good Thai cuisine is something rare outside of South East Asia. I first heard of Thai Garden from my brother. He told me that Thai Garden served fresh, delicious food that was both high quality and affordable. Me and my wife ventured to the small location hidden away across the street from the famous Chan's Chinese. At first glance, it looks like a hole in the wall that would serve mass-produced Chinese food.

First impressions are sometimes wrong. Mine was. We stepped into a very quaint dinning room, where the husband is the host/waiter and the wife is the chef. We ordered Chicken Satay, Chicken Rice, and an order of White Curry and a side of sticky rice. The meal was amazing. First, the Chicken Satay was as good as I've had it, served along with a wonderful peanut-cucumber sauce. My wife ordered the Chicken Fried Rice, which in itself sounds ordinary. The flavors were perfect and the mix of fresh vegetables, nice tender chicken, and fluffy white rice just accentuated the overall taste of the dish. My White Curry featured a rich coconut sauce served with chicken (we were in a Chicken mood), and contained a nice mix of fresh vegetables, pineapple, and peanuts. We ordered a side of sticky rice because we are suckers for it, and it was perfectly executed.

Thai Garden looks unimposing, but it's genuinely a delicious place to eat on the cheap. I hope these immigrants realize the American dream and secure a larger establishment to feature these wonderful recipes. Thai Garden is located on 280 Main Street in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Thai Garden on Urbanspoon

Rating: A

08 June, 2009

Cuban Revolution Restaurant and Bar (West Side)

A former resident of Miami, Providence's offering of Spanish-Carribean food intrigued me and my wife. She is Puerto Rican and a very picky eater. The lure of the original location trumped the ease of parking offered in Providence's West Side. The restaurant itself is in a former textile factory. Fitting, giving the communist theme of the workers rising.

We each ordered from the Tapas menu, though it seemed more of just an ala carte menu (tapas sounds more ethnic?). I ordered the tostones (double fried plantains, squished between frying) with a garlic sauce and the ropa vieja (shredded beef in a garlic and tomato sauce). My wife ordered the quesadilla (a Mexican-American dish? again, sounds ethnic) and the rice and black beans. The iced tea I ordered with the meal tasted off, but I honestly wanted birch beer that was on the menu yet they did not serve anymore.

The plantanos were delicious, as good as I have tasted from Cuban and Puerto Rican kitchens. They were dusted with adobo seasoning, a salt-pepper-garlic-oregano mix common in carribean cooking. The garlic glob was unappetizing and it looked visually like something you'd rather not see near food. The ropa vieja stole the meal with both me and my wife devouring both the perfectly cooked and seasoned meat and the succulent broth. The dish was served stew-style with some slices of Cuban bread. My wife is a cuban bread snob, yet she loved the freshness and it was also dusted with some adobo.

Her Quesadilla was quite delicious, despite looking like it was filled with cheddar cheese. The unknown cheese inside was actually tasty and reminded me more of macaroni and cheese. Thankfully, the tortilla was perfectly griddled with that nice crispy outside. The rice and beans showed some amateur cooking. The rice was fine (if it wasn't, I'd have burnt the establishment down since miscooked rice is a cardinal sin), but the beans had several problems. First and the worst was they weren't properly soaked, so they were a tad hard. This created a texture problem that conflicts with traditional dishes of rice and beans. Secondly, the seasoning just tasted... well off. It missed something we could not put our fingers on. Finally, they weren't saucey! What little jus from the beans just sucked up into the rice. Normally, the beans possess a thick sauce that the rice has difficulty sucking up. It wasn't a total loss, since the dish also came with some delicious Cuban bread.

Despite a few misteps, Cuban Revolution reminded me of Miami. The restuarant itself reminded me of the openair clubs common on calle ocho and the food was really good. We both want to return to try their famous sandwiches. The ropa vieja is just perfect and better than most I've had (aside from my mother-in-law's, who makes a flawless dish).

Cuban Revolution West Side in located on Valley Street in Providence. The parking lot is across the street, but don't worry. There are plenty of signs posted so you cannot miss it. They also have a website; http://www.thecubanrevolution.com/

Cuban Revolution on Urbanspoon

Rating: B+

07 June, 2009

Kay's Restaurant (Woonsocket)

Hidden deep within Woonsocket is an unassuming bar off Mendon road. Across the street is a large vacant lot, and they fill it. Kay's Restaurant is basically a bar with a dining room that serves simple sandwiches and a plate of nachos and cheese. Why bother with this small pub? Because of the Steak Sandwiches. If they're not world famous, they should be.

The menu is the first indicator that this place isn't a normal restaurant. You sit in nicely decorated settings that call more to an English tearoom or an upscale steakhouse rather than a simple sandwich shop. You sit and the waitress hands you... a napkin? That's right, simplicity is zen, right? Kay's nails it. They over standard sandwich meats; tuna, turkey, ham, etc. You want the steak. It's tender and perfectly cooked and compliments the buttery bun they serve it on. You then can choose toppings to go on top, ranging from lettuce and tomato to sauteed mushrooms and onions. Every sandwich is served with potato chips, pickles, and a pepperoncini. A simple sandwich with a perfect taste.

The chips and salsa/cheese are a generic offering, and that's basically it for the menu. Perhaps some more variety could help? Still, the steak sandwiches are perfect. If you want a perfect steak sandwich, well I am repeating it for a reason.

Kay's is located on 1013 Cass Ave in Woonsocket, RI, their phone number is (401) 762-9675. It is moderately priced, with everything costing about 10 dollars a person.

Kay's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Rating: B+

04 June, 2009

Asia Grille

Amid a sea of cheap Chinese advertised with tri-fold mailers shines a silver coin. Lincoln's Asia Grille maintains its reputation as best Asian food in Blackstone Valley. Asian can be a bit of a misnomer, since Asia Grille serves mainly American Chinese food, but the food is so delicious no one seems to care. The only really negative to this resturaunt is their name claiming to serve Asian food, despite a lack of overall pan-Asian cuisine (which could include Turkish, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and even Russian food).

Easily excused with a bowl of their delicious Chicken Won-ton soup. So cheap yet so high quality you'll want to eat it daily. Wonderfully tender wontons float like koi in a delicious golden chicken broth. A slice of cured pork and chicken breast float with the dumplings, and it's finished with a leaf of lettuce, wilted by the heat. If you're feeling hungry, order the larger size with noodles for an extra treat.

The entrees are mainly American Chinese favorites, like Chop Suey, Egg Foo Young, assorted flavored chicken dishes, and Lo Mein (a vietnamese entry, the Asian extension?). I've yet to have a bad meal, so I can't really complain about anything. Maybe their Egg Rolls aren't the best, but I tend to not like fried foods. Their Steak and Chicken Teriyaki are just amazing and make a much better (and healthier) appetizer.

Service is always wonderful, with the staff being both knowledgable and helpful when managing through the massive menu. The bar was a tad small for a restaurant that size that also boasts kareoke, but then just give me a bowl of chicken wonton and I will forgive anything.

Asia Grille is located at the Lincoln Mall plaza next to the Mall itself.


Asia Grill on Urbanspoon

Rating: A-

02 June, 2009

Wright's Dairy Farm

A true gem is hidden on Woonsocket Hill Road in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. Wright's Dairy Farm peaks out down a winding country road. Pulling in, you see a sign stating "BAKERY IN BACK" followed by a small parking lot. The smell of farm in unique and sometimes quite putrid, though just quickly run inside the bakery away from the Mike Rowe 'Dirty Jobs' love fest, and you enter a confectionery paradise.

First thing, the milk coolers stretch throughout the left wall containing hundreds of gallons of milk of all varieties. Why have all this milk? The massive bakery counter holding assorted sweet and savory pastries, with them all being very affordable. The true star is the fresh whipped cream that is just light years beyond anything available in the grocer's cooler. Seasonal items like hot cross buns for lent and Christmas cookies allow you to celebrate seasons the right way. Other products like the assorted fruit squares (my favorite is the raspberry) and cakes just blow the competition away. The savory selections are decent, but the sweets overshadow them.

One thing the farm is missing is a place to sit and enjoy, perhaps featuring a small cafe. This would make the farm's bakery a perfect spot, since having the drive-home wait before eating such things is one of the worst forms of torture. Perhaps the best product are the small cup-sized milk jugs filled with regular, chocolate, or coffee milk. They're so fresh, you can taste buttery notes in the milk.

Wright's Dairy Farm is located on Woonsocket Hill Road in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. They milk the cows daily and the milk is as fresh as hygienically possible.


Wright's Dairy Farm Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Rating: B+

About Me

Rhode Island, United States
I am a lover of Food. I review restaurants, markets, snacks, wine, beer, and spirits. Life is too short to eat bad food.