Well, I didn't guess your identity as the new blogger, but at least I mostly guessed the content of the paper plate (I erred on the NY system weiner's exact name, but I did ID it as some variety of chili dog). I know, I know ... that and a dollar will get me a cup of DD coffee (or however much it costs these days). Sorry to hear you haven't found the Ur-Cannoli yet--I recall going on similar quests in Boston back when I lived there.
First, for an app, we have nime chow, a.k.a. goi cuon, a.k.a. fresh spring roll. This is a staple item at the many pan-Southeast-Asian restaurants found throughout the Providence area, and the familiarity of the dish is an indication of the wide dissemination of Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, and Hmong cuisine over the last few decades. I ordered this particular one at HON's (House of Noodles, a great pho joint just over the Cranston line on Rt 2, a.k.a. Reservoir Ave) by requesting "goi cuon" as written in the Vietnamese menu, but the hostess made sure to confirm that I wanted "nime chow," using the more familiar Cambodian word for a fresh spring roll. Like last week's bloggers, Susan and Kristin, I'm hoping to make a southeast Asian meal this week.
We're pretty flexible about names, as you can also tell from the main course, the NY System weiner. Many would tell you that this short dog, topped with mustard, minced onion, chili sauce, and celery salt, sitting in a center-split bun, is the official food of Providence. Its origins have been traced to Coney Island, but that's probably apocryphal; it's more likely that a canny weiner vendor several decades ago thought he could sell more franks to hard-working folks if he gave 'em the NYC seal of approval. I bought this one at the Olneyville NY System shop down the road from Hon's on Rt 2, the closest source to my house for good weiners; you'll likely see one of these making its way toward my mouth sooner rather than later!
For dessert? Why, the longer-than-it-is-wide dessert of choice among the fine folks who turned Providence into a foodie haven in the mid-20th century: the cannoli. I have yet to find a perfect cannoli in Providence -- if you know a contender, please post here -- but, given its central place of Federal Hill in the establishment of the city's culinary credibility, leaving Italian-American food off my little paper plate would have been a travesty. This baby is from Scialo Bakery, nearly 100 years old and still in fine art deco form.
As to suggestions for stuff for you to check out on our behalf:
I've only been through Providence on (many) trips between New York and Boston, but when I was a kid my parents used to take the family on vacations to the Rhode Island seashore nearly every summer--the icy cold waters didn't bother us because the beaches were so gorgeous and uncrowded. And there was yummy food! Chris, is there any possibility of you making a field trip down to the Narragansett area? I know it isn't all that far a shlep. And I wouldn't mind knowing if Aunt Carrie's still lives up to my (inevitably nostalgia-encrusted) memories.
And speaking of Emeril, I recall he's an alumnus of Johnson and Wales. How much of a presence is that school in the Providence culinary scene? Is there anything photogenic over there that you might be able to check out for us? (I'm guessing they probably have some kind of training dining room open to the public, like other culinary schools I've lived near...)
And oh yeah--anything in the way of Portuguese food would be lovely to see too.
Edited by mizducky, 11 October 2005 - 12:39 PM.