Saturday, August 31, 2013

Providence, Rhode Island (Aug. 2013)

I recently spent the night in Providence, on my way to a wedding in rural Rhode Island, and couldn't resist treating myself to two nice meals.  After all, the first billboard I saw after leaving the airport boasted that Providence in 2012 was voted America's #1 Food City.  So, wanting only the best of the best, I headed to Pane e Vino, which, according to its website, that same year was named Providence's Best Italian Restaurant.  

Pane e Vino is located in Providence's historic (mostly Italian) Federal Hill neighborhood, so it was a great choice both for a meal and for seeing a bit of historic Providence.  The restaurant has a very cozy, romantic atmosphere and an extensive wine list.  And, as every good meal should begin, a meal at Pane e Vino begins with freshly baked bread, extra virgin olive oil, and olives.

Freshly baked bread, extra virgin olive oil, and olives

Like most first-class restaurants, Pane e Vino was more than willing to prepare a special vegetarian meal for me, despite the lack of meat-free options on its menu.  The server told me to look at the menu and let her know what combinations of ingredients looked good to me, and that the chef would whip something up.  I told her that the "Funghi" dish, served with seasonal mushrooms, marsala wine demi glace, asparagus, and a side of herb roasted fingering potatoes looked great, but without my choice of veal or chicken.  That turned out to be no problem, as the chef substituted a layer of perfectly prepared pasta and another layer of cannellini beans (protein!), for a dish that was so delicious and satisfying, that I didn't have room for the side of potatoes.

Spaghetti topped with cannellini beans, seasonal mushrooms, asparagus, and marsala wine demi glace

The next day I had time for a quick lunch, so I stopped by one of Providence's only vegetarian restaurants, The Grange.  The place had a fun and funky vibe, and the food was really tasty.  I opted for the ramen noodle bowl, served with shaved veggies, smoked miso sauce, sesame, and herbs.  It was supposed to come with grilled chili-lime tofu on top, but the server forgot to bring it so it came later on the side.

Ramen noodle bowl with shaved veggies, smoked miso sauce, sesame, and herbs

Grilled chili-lime tofu

The Grange, a "vegetable restaurant' in Providence, Rhode Island

Pane E Vino on Urbanspoon

Grange on Urbanspoon