provreviewsandrecipes

Food Blog with delicious recipes and also reviews of Providence, RI restuarants

Local 121 Restaurant Review December 29, 2013

local121

Local 121 has become my fiancée and I’s favorite restaurant for a few different but mainly because the food is absolutely delicious. But more on that in a moment. We have been here multiple times and our most recent trip was by far the best. How often can a person say the food keeps getting better and better each time the go to a restaurant. In my opinion it is very few and far between.

The restaurant itself is located in downtown Providence, RI. When you first walk in you are immediately greeted with a warm smile by one of the hostesses. I have almost always made a reservation but the one time I didn’t they were more than accommodating to get us seated even though it was a busy night. Let me just say that my favorite part of their decor is the chairs they have at their tables.  These most comfortable chairs that I have ever sat upon in a restaurant. They are white leather and wide and extremely soft. This is one of those chairs that I would not mind sitting in for hours it is so comfortable.

The wait staff at Local 121 is always excellent. The waiters and waitress are always polite and know how to come over and check on you but not seem intruding on your conversation or taking away from you enjoying your mail. This most recent visit was no exception. Our waitress promptly came over with lemon flavored water for the table and asked us if we had any questions about the menu. We of course did not. The rest of the service was great. Even the back waiter when bringing out our food and clearing some plates took the time out to chat with us for a moment which goes to show that everyone on their staff is great and personable.

Now on to the food. We ordered the ‘Crispy Point Judith Calamari’ as an appetizer to share. The calamari came with bagna cauda, almonds, white anchovies and Picholine olives. The calamari was crispy and cooked to perfection. So many times I am disappointed with pieces of calamari on the plate that are chewy which means they were over cooked. That did not happen here. Let me say by taking a bite of the calamari, olives and a piece of anchovy together tasted delicious. I would never have thought the taste of anchovy would go with calamari but it does. I would highly recommend if they have this on their menu to get it. Now they do change their menu by what it is in season, so do not wait too long to go if this sounds like it would be right up your alley.

For our main dishes my fiancée ordered the ‘Grilled Hangar Steak’ and I ordered the ‘Pineland Farms Red Wine Braised Beef’. The steak dish came with fingerling potatoes, pearl onions, bacon lardons, chanterelles and sauce chasseur. He ordered it medium rare and it came out cooked perfectly, nice and red in the middle. The sauce that went along with the steak complemented it so well and the steak was melt in your mouth tender. The bacon lardons were crispy and added a richness to the steak. The fingerling potatoes (which our a personal favorite of mine) were cooked to perfection and seasoned perfectly. This dish was a strong dish and all the components worked together perfectly.

Now on to my dish. The description of ingredients was what intrigued me on the menu and made me want to order the dish. The braised beef was served with creamed sauerkraut, chioggia beets and pickled caraway. Let me start off by saying the beef was cooked until it was fall apart tender and I only had to use my fork to break apart bite sized pieces. The seasoning was perfect and the red wine that was used was a perfect complement to the beef without being overpowering. When I took a bite of the beef by itself at first it reminded me of a brisket. But however when I took a piece of beef and combined it with the creamed sauerkraut and the beets the dish took on a completely different taste. It was rich with a slight tang. The creamed sauerkraut added the tang and did have a slight creamy taste that I had never had before with sauerkraut and the beet added a slight sweetness to it. Those two components combined with the delicious beef made it the ultimate bite. This is one of the best dishes I have had this past year. I could not complement this dish enough as I was devouring it and when I say devour I mean I ate every last bite on that plate.

In summary I would recommend Local 121 as a must to try if you are in downtown Providence, RI. The service and atmosphere are great but the food is always exceptional. Not to mention they always have a past of the day dish and a vegetarian selection as well on their menu. The restaurant details are below.

Local 121
121 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-274-2121
Website: www.local121.com
 

Figidini Wood Fire Eatery Review December 12, 2013

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figidiniWe went to Figidini Wood Fire Eatery the beginning of September and the weather was pleasant enough to be able to sit at one of the small tales outside on the sidewalk. This was great as it was not as tight and hot like inside the restaurant.

Let me start by saying that Figidini is great at pizza and at seafood dishes. Those are the ones that were delicious. Any of the other dishes we had were lacking. But more on both of that in a moment as I go into some detail.

The service was nice. Our waitress was prompt and sweet. Even though it was a busy Friday night she took the time to make sure we didn’t have any questions on any of the menu items and once our food arrived that it was to our liking and that we did not need anything. Which sometimes on a busy night in a restaurant is a hard thing to come by.

We ordered a few different small plates and a pizza for myself and my fiancee to share as we wanted to experience as many things off the menu that we could on this visit. First we ordered the ‘Speck’ which is smoked prosciutto and pickled vegetables. The proscuitto was good but of a lower end quality. The pickled vegetables for whatever reason did not taste well when eaten with the proscuitto but were delicious on their own. I just wish there had been more of them on that plate.

Next we had what they call the ‘Combo’ whcih is lamb and sausage with local herbs. Both the lamb and the sausage were cooked perfectly both were lacking in flavor.

My personal favorite dish that we had was the ‘RI Calamari’. This was a different take on the traditional calamari. First off they cooked the calamari in the wood fire item. Let me just say that the smoky woody scent and taste of being cooked in a wood fire item lends itself beautifully to calamari. It was cooked perfectly and was tender. It was served with chili pepper and chives. This dish worked on so many levels and I wish I had a wood fire oven at my apartment so I could make this dish to devour at least once a week. (Yes it was that good).

Finally we ordered the ‘Cremini’ pizza. This pizza has smoked mozzarella, truffle oil, cured olives local chives and delicious mushrooms. Thesse pizza are individual sized and if you were with someone else and were only ordering pizza you would each want to order one. This particular pizza had a crispy crust with just the right amount of sauce to toppings ratio. It was one of the better pizza I have had in a long time.

Here’s the restaurant’s info:

67 Washington Street

Providence, RI 02903

figidini.com

 

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Arugula Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Warm Goat Cheese August 13, 2013

pan roasted chicken with arugula saladSo I went to the Farmer’s Market this past Saturday with my parents. There I scored a large bag of fresh arugula for $3 and a pint of fresh tomatoes for $2. I mean the prices were great for the amount of produce I got. Well needless to say I decided to use the arugula and tomatoes in the salad that I served along with pan roasted chicken and green beans. The salad was simple and delicious. It highlighted all the fresh ingredients that I got at the Farmer’s Market. The warm goat cheese was the perfect balance and added creaminess to the slightly spicy arugula. This salad was the perfect complement to the pan roasted chicken thighs. The skin came out nice and crispy, just the way I like it. Now I did a quick butter baste before putting the chicken in the oven and I feel like that a difference in the chicken being juicy and tender on the inside.

Finally on to the green beans. Now a friend of mine at work gave me a large bag full of fresh green beans from her garden. I was so excited when I saw the bag because it meant that I could make my favorite and simple green bean salad multiple times in the upcoming week. Now this recipe is very easy to put together as all you have to do is steam the green beans quickly and mix with the simple dressing. It is a great side dish and easy to make while cooking other things, in this case while the chicken is in the oven.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 MInutes if making all the elements

Servings: 2

Pan Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

2 Chicken Thighs

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 Teaspoon of Pepper

1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil

2 Tablespoons of Butter

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat in a large pan. The oil should be what they refer to as ‘shimmering’ before you add the chicken thighs. This usually takes about 5 minutes or so.  While the oil is heating up take the chicken thighs and season both sides with the salt and pepper. Once heated up at the chicken thighs to the pan skin side down. There should be an audible sizzle when you add the chicken. Cook the chicken skin side down for 8 minutes. Make sure to shake the pan every so often to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.

Then take the two tablespoons of butter and put into the pan. Now here comes the part where you need to put for a few minutes over the pan. The butter should melt and start foaming. Tip the pan slightly towards you so that the foaming butter all comes to one side of the pan. Take a large spoon and ladle the foaming butter over each piece of the chicken repeatedly until the butter has stopped foaming, about 3-4 minutes.

Finally take the chicken and place it in an over proof dish. Place in the oven for 25 minutes with the skin side facing up. Flip the chicken once halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

While the chicken is in the oven you can prepare the rest of the meal.

Arugula Salad With Roasted Tomatoes and Warm Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

6 Cherry tomatoes

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of black pepper

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

2 Cups of Arugula, coarsely chopped

8 Ounces of Goat Cheese, cut in half

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Take the tomatoes and place them in an oven proof dish. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Put in the oven for 20 minutes on the top rack (Since the pan roasted chicken goes in the oven at the same temperature for almost the same amount of time I put my tomatoes in while the chicken was cooking. This saves so much time in the cooking process).

Once the tomatoes come out of the oven toss them with the balsamic vinegar. Place the arugula in a bowl and take the tomatoes and the juices and toss together thoroughly.

Next take the coat cheese and place on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler on high for 4 minutes  or until it starts to melt and is warm. Finally take the arugula and tomato mixture and split between two plates and place the warm goat cheese in the middle and enjoy.

Green Beans with Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped

1/4 Cup of Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Tablespoon of Salt

1/2 Tablespoon of Black Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

Take the green beans and place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Place on a burner over high heat until it begins to boil, about 4-5 minutes. Then lower heat to simmer and cook the green beans for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain the green beans.

Place the green beans in a bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. While the green beans are cooling mix together the Red Wine Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt, Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes and garlic together in a small bowl. Once the green beans have cooled add the Red Wine Vinegar mixture with green beans and mix together thoroughly.

Enjoy immediately and try and tell me you did not go back for seconds from this delicious dish. Yes, it is that good.

 

 

Tilapia ‘Stuffed’ with Asparagus and Onions served with Haricot Verts and Beet Salad July 15, 2013

tilapiaSo for health reasons and at the urging of my doctor I now have to avoid eating Gluten. Not good for someone who loves pasta and bread like I do. But I have been focusing on making delicious dishes that do not make me miss the gluten ridden items I had once enjoyed and devoured. This easy dish of fresh Tilapia and vegetables is delicious. Make sure you make extra as once you eat your first portion you are going to want seconds. Yes, its that good.

I had frozen asparagus spears on hand that I had picked up at Trader Joe’s. I pulled out the amount I needed and stored the rest of the bag back in the freezer. Its so convenient. I also had purchased beets that were roasted, peeled and ready to eat. Which saves time when whipping up the dish. The whole cooking time takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. While the fish was in the oven I made the salad. I had gotten Haricot Verts but green beans would work out just as well in the salad.

My recipe is for two as it was just my fiancee and myself, but the recipe could easily be doubled. Plus its a great dish to impress company. Here’s the recipe for the Tilapia and following that is the recipe for the delicious Haricot Verts and Beet salad I made to go along with it. I served mine with rice as well but it could be served with potatoes or just with the fish and salad.

Tilapia ‘Stuffed’ With Asparagus and Onions

Ingredients:

2 Tilapia Filets, about 6-8 ounces each

10 Spears of Asparagus, trimmed

1/2 White Onion, sliced

4 Slices of Lemon

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 Teaspoon of Pepper

1 Teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning

1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder

Direction:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together in a small bowl the salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and garlic powder. Next take the Tilapia filets and sprinkle both sides of each of the filets with the seasoning mix. Lay the filets on a foil lined baking sheet.

If you are using frozen asparagus place in a microwave safe dish and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover and microwave on high for 2 and half minutes. Drain the liquid from the dish. Do not be worried if the asparagus pieces do not seemed fully cook after microwaving as we will be putting them in the oven. If you are using fresh asparagus you can of course skip this step.

Place 5 pieces of asparagus on one end of each of the Tilapia filets. Next place half of the sliced onions over the asparagus. Starting from the end which the asparagus and onions are on and roll each of the filets up. Mine did not quite want to stay together after I rolled them so I flipped them over so the two ends that were touched were underneath. They stayed and cooked together perfectly.

Finally place two slices of lemon on top of each filet. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then because I wanted my lemons to get a slight char on it, I turned the broiler on for 4 minutes.

Take out the filets and serve immediately while they are still hot from the oven. Serve with the haricot verts and beet salad along with rice or another choice of side for a delicious dish.

Haricot Verts and Beet Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 pound of Haricot Verts, trimmed

1 Roasted and Peeled Beet, diced

1/2 White Onion, diced

3 Cloves of Garlic, sliced

1/4 Cup of Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 Teaspoon of Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes (if you don’t like or are sensitive to spice, can be omitted)

Directions:

Boil 4 cups of water in a small saucepan. Once boiling add the Haricot Verts and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl.

Mix together the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and then pour over the Haricot Verts. Mix thoroughly. Add the beets and onions to the bowl. Mix again to make sure that all the ingredients are combined. Now it is ready to serve.

 

Geoff’s Superlative Sandwiches Review June 18, 2013

geoffsI have been to Geoff’s twice and each time it is a great experience. The sandwiches have been amazing and the service is always outstanding. My two favorite sandwiches are ‘The Frigid Bitch’ and the reuben sandwich.

Now let me start on the reuben. I have had many of reubens over the course of my life some amazing and some awful. Let me just say that the both times I had this sandwich it was great. The corned beef is cooked and season to perfection. They put the exact right amount of sauerkraut on the sandwhich. Which in my opinion is one of the crucial points, because if there’s too much it dominates and is overwhelming. The final and most important is the russian dressing. Geoff’s taste delicious and they know not to over douse the top of the sandwich as the bread will then get soggy. All in all the best reuben sandwich I have found in Providence.

Finally the atmosphere is great at Geoff’s. There are so many different choices of sandwiches lining the walls on a chalkboard that even the most pickiest eater would be able to find something. Also they have a barrel full of house made pickles that are delicious and free to anyone who purchases food. Let me just say that the pickles were delicious.

All in all a great place and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a great sandwich in Providence.

 

geoff's menu pic

 

Los Andes Restaurant Review

los andesI have been to Los Andes Restaurant twice and have been impressed on both my visits. It is a The fist time I went it was on a Thursday night and little did I know that they would have live music in the restaurant area. It was a great addition to my experience.

Now on to the food and service. The service was spectacular from the host getting us a table even thought it was crowded rather quickly. To the waitstaff that is always welcoming and willing to give their honest opinion about a dish on the menu. Which an honest opinion when asked at a restaurant is hard to find. The food in general on both of my visits has blown me away. The taste and quality are very high in my book.

On my first trip I ordered ‘Pollo a Los Andes’ which was very tasty and a very large portion of food. The dish has pieces of chicken breast, round slices of sautéed with chorizo, cherry peppers, banana peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It is then finished in a garlic-wine broth. Let me just say that the broth is delicious and packs a decent garlic punch. Finally it is served on a bed of steak fries topped with mozzarella cheese and scallions. Let me start off by saying that this dish is very filling and I wasn’t able to come close to finish the whole dish and I can eat a lot of food. If you are not a person who likes spicy I would avoid this dish as it is spicy due to the chorizo, banana peppers and cherry peppers. This has been one of my favorite dishes that I have had in quite some time. It seems like an odd combination of ingredients when you read it but when you take that first bite all the flavors come together.

On my second trip I ordered ‘Envuelto de Pollo’ this was a delicious dish and was a large portion as well. The ingredients that make up this dish are fresh chicken breast, layered with fire roasted peppers, queso blanco, spinach, and mushrooms, rolled and encrusted with seasoned Ritz crackers, finished in the broiler, topped with an aji Amarillo cream sauce. Let me just say that this dish was creamy, crunchy and delicious. The chicken stayed nice and moist while being cooked and the cheese and vegetables inside added to the delicious taste of the dish. This dish either comes with your choice of either mashed potatoes or white rice. I ordered the white rice and it was tasty and complimented the dish.

I would highly recommend ordering either of the dishes I mentioned above as they will not disappoint. The restaurant has a full bar and also does take-out. Their web address is http://www.losandesri.com. Go on over and check out their website and plan your trip to this great restaurant. I know I will keep going back for more.

Los Andes on Urbanspoon

 

Shrimp Fra Diavolo May 20, 2013

Shrimp Fra DiavloNow I love spicy. This recipe was near my limit for spiciness but I enjoyed each and every mouthful that I shoved as quickly as possible into my mouth. I would say that I inhaled my first and second bowlful of this delicious dish. Now with that being said if you do not like spicy or enjoy a more milder taste, please use 1/4 of the recommended crushed red pepper flakes I have listed below. This dish is quick and easy to make. I like to serve mine with pieces of crusty bread to dip in the sauce and soak up all the delicious goodness that may have been left in the bowl. But serving it with rice or pasta would work as well. I like enjoying this with a glass of wine, usually some from the same bottle I used in cooking this dish, on a warm spring evening with the windows open and enjoying the fresh air blowing in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prep: 18 minutes

Cooking Time: 19 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Servings: 6 adults as a main dish

Recipe:

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of white wine

2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 pound of medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 Large Yellow onion, thinly sliced

6 cloves of garlic, diced

1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth

3 Tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 Tablespoon of salt

1/2 Tablespoon of black pepper

1/2 Tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning

Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add butter and half of the crushed red pepper flakes. Once butter has melted add onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, but make sure the garlic does not brown. Add the white wine and tomatoes, salt, pepper, remaining half of the crushed red pepper flakes and old bay seasoning. Cook for 7 minutes. Finally add the vegetable broth and shrimp. Cook for 7 minutes longer or until the shrimp is just pink and cooked through. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Make sure to serve with some crusty bread, rice or pasta. That is if you can make it that far without succumbing like I have before with this dish and just start dipping pieces of bread right into the warm pot and devour while standing over the stove top.

Buon appetito from my kitchen to yours.

 

 
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