Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where to Eat Breakfast or Brunch in Providence Rhode Island

So I was fortunate enough to attend a conference this month in Providence Rhode Island. Okay, so Providence really doesn't have many exciting things going for it but there were some cool places to eat. Plus, Rhode Island has Johnson and Whales (with a culinary museum), a Botanical gardens, and Brown.

I definitely enjoyed the majority of my culinary adventures in Rhode Island (especially since I had my trusty foodie friend Elizabeth who used to go to Brown, so she knew the area pretty well and was more than willing to share meals with me).

I don't remember the last time I went on a trip and got to eat at so many quality breakfast places. I found three breakfast places which are guaranteed to please just about anyone. Each  restaurant was unique in their own kind of quirky way.

1) Brickway on wickenden: I really enjoyed Brickway. This place is clearly family run and the owner/manager was there both of the mornings I went. You MUST order the hot chocolate which comes out in one of those gigantic mugs (which send little tingles of kitchenware lust through me) and topped with huge dollops of whipped cream and swirls of chocolate syrup. This is not your standard instant hot cocoa from a pouch-this is the real deal people! Get it.  General consensus was that the best dish at Brickway was their eye popping blue berry pancakes. Just what do they use to get them so big, thick and fluffy (maybe there is some kind of magic pancake powder in the back).

I also appreciated the accommodating staff. I requested avocado on my eggs benedict and the owner/manager thought it was such a good idea it showed up on the specials board the next day along with a spicy cheese thrown into the mix-yumo!

The french toast with lemon yogurt and blueberries were equally good and I just loved the decor. It was homey, artsy, comfortable, and just the place you want to go for breakfast on a sunny weekend or weekday morning.

2) Rue De L'Espoir : This place looks like a fancy little french cottage (yes, in the middle of Providence) and you can tell things might get a little pricey if you go for dinner. However, we just stuck to breakfast which was pretty reasonably priced. Rue's real selling point are their popovers. Elizabeth and Meg were crazy about these fluffy muffin shaped creations whose taste reminded me of a crepe or a dutch pancake (light and eggy). The popovers came with some strawberry butter and jam which were put to good use. The first morning we went to Rue the popovers were a little burnt on the edges (hey, popovers are a tricky business, no doubt) but they came out just right on our second visit.

Best dish: The lemon ricotta pancakes. I have made these at home but they never turn out as moist or have the same luscious texture that makes Rue's pancakes melt on your taste buds. Other great dishes includes the Portuguese sweet bread (there is a large Portuguese community in Providence) french toast, the huevos rancheros and rumor has it that the massive cinnamon rolls are a must have. I also got a peak at another couples fruit, granola and yogurt combo which looked heavenly.

The only disappointing dish we ordered at Rue were the crepes with blueberry's, bananas and marscapone cheese. There was barely any fruit or marscapone in our crepe and the dish was topped with a creme fresche that smelled and tasted like stinky cheese/sour cream which just did not seem to fit (and was more than a bit off putting).

3) Julian's : This place is not only artsy its somewhat 'alternative'. At first, from the outside, I thought it was like a biker bar but when I went inside I saw it was just a creatively styled diner with crazy paintings/pictures on the wall and weird names on the menu. You can tell these people take pride in being different and when it comes to food I love to try new and different. It was extremely difficult to choose from Julian's menu because everything sounded so awesome. In the end Elizabeth and I just ordered an enormous amount of food and reluctantly said good bye to our leftovers as we had nowhere to keep them.

We got lemon poppy seed bread french toast with a blueberry compote (one of the many specials of the day), the duck confit hash and the fruit, granola and yogurt combo. The lemon poppy seed bread was thick and fresh, the duck confit was flavorful and the fruit + granola + yogurt combo was full of cool nuts, dried and fresh fruits and what tasted like home made granola (they actually sell bags of the granola at Julian's). There were so many crazy new awesome things on Julian's menu I was almost overwhelmed and would love to go back and try all of them.

All in all I had some great breakfasts at Rhode Island and look forward to a trip back!

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