The annual EatDrinkRI festival isn’t just the best Rhody-centric food festival out there, it’s also a great opportunity to catch up on what’s new and exciting on the local food scene. As we ate and drank our way through Saturday’s grand tasting at the Rhode Island Convention Center, we also picked up some cool tidbits between bites:
- The in-the-know ask down at South Kingstown’s Sons of Liberty distillers is their small-batch Oloroso sherry-barreled whiskeys, a limited edition takeoff of their Battle Cry single-malt available only in 375 ml bottles. So smooth!
- Narragansett Creamery’s pan-seared grilling cheese: OMG. Bacon, you have some serious competition for domination over my arteries.
- Open Season is an awesome new addition to the Rhode Island food truck scene. Think you don’t like game dishes? Their “CamoChefs'” venison chili will quickly convince you how off-target you’ve been.
- Mixing Granny Squibb’s lime iced-tea and some good white rum makes an awesome poolside cocktail for summer!
- Speaking of cocktails, try a local take on Bermuda’s classic Dark & Stormy by mixing with Yacht Club’s ginger beer, made with real sugar and a nice alternative to the burn-the-back-of-your-throat strong ginger flavor of Barrett’s.
- With or without that generous gift certificate (thanks, Becky!), Ella’s in Westerly has moved to the top of our must-try list.
- New chef Robert Sisca definitely has his tentacles wrapped around Garde de la Mer at the Providence G — and that’s a good thing for anyone who thinks octopus is about more than calimari.
- Nobody in Rhode Island knows more about Spanish wines than Bocado’s Nate Brian.
- Watch out, Dunk: Providence is no longer a one-donut town: Lori Kettelle will open PVDonuts later this month, featuring hand-made and locally sourced little circles of heaven.
- Los Andes’ salmon ceviche is reason #1,000 why we need to get up to this South American dining pioneer on Chalkstone Avenue. (Reason #1,001: a chance to bite into a piranha, instead of the other way around.)
- You don’t have to break the bank to dine at the beautiful Chapel Grille in Cranston: go on Wednesdays for their new $10.99 pasta specials.
- Even a gin hater can learn to love the honey-distilled gin from Barr Hill.
- We would happily gorge ourselves to death on the butter toffee popcorn from Biggest Little Popcorn Company.
What else did we learn this year? Well, first of all — next year we need to get tickets early the festival’s awesome food truck event: it sells out quickly. Second, festival organizers Dave and Brenda Dadekian and Amy Bernhardt are a force to be reckoned with: don’t bet against their dream of creating a central market at the old Shooters property on the Providence waterfront. And finally, once again, EatDrinkRI is a reminder of the incredible culinary talent and creative energy in the Ocean State. Proud of you, Rhody!