The Secret is Out at Public Kitchen & Bar

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Public Kitchen & Bar has quietly become one of the best new restaurants in Providence. In fact, you may not have even heard of this Modern American eatery yet. Located at the Renaissance Hotel, Public Kitchen opened in September 2013, replacing Temple, the hotel’s original restaurant. Don’t be fooled though. Public Kitchen is NOT your typical hotel restaurant. Chef Willis Stepp has created a fairly simple menu with complex flavors using intricate techniques. This culinary mastermind is reinventing comfort food with an upscale twist. From locally sourced produce to grass-fed beef, Public Kitchen boasts some of the best quality ingredients you will find in Downtown. All at very reasonable prices to boot!

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Year in Food Review – Our Favorites of 2013

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It’s hard to believe that 2013 is officially coming to a close. Once again, it was another great year for the Front Row Eats team as we immersed ourselves in Rhode Island’s local food scene. We tried everything from trendy food trucks to swanky five-star restaurants. Let’s not forget all of the amazing events we covered too. The Lamb Pro-Am was especially memorable. We teamed up with Chef Champe Speidel of Persimmon Restaurant to cook our Leg of Lamb recipe for hundreds of hungry carnivores as we represented RI in an exciting culinary showdown!

We thought it would be fun to reflect back and pick out our FAVORITE dining experiences of the year. It wasn’t easy but we narrowed it down and created our TOP TEN LIST. In case you missed any of our original reviews, just click the links below:

10. Coco Pazzo – Providence, RI

9. FuGo – Various locations (food truck)

8. XO Cafe – Providence, RI

7. Providence Coal Fired Pizza – Providence, RI

6. Noble Knots – Various locations (food truck)

5. Zooma – Providence, RI

4. The Dorrance – Providence, RI

3. Los Andes – Providence, RI

2. Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern – Smithfield, RI

1. Wurst Window at Chez Pascal – Providence, RI

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Providence Restaurant Week Returns January 5th – 18th, 2014

providence restaurant weekFrom January 5th – 18th, you can celebrate Providence Restaurant Week at TONS of  different locations throughout Rhode Island. This popular event is back again this winter with an ever-growing list of participating restaurants and eateries. Is there a restaurant that you have been dying to go to? Here’s your chance. Enjoy 3-course lunches for $14.95 and 3-course dinners for $29.95. It’s a great opportunity for you to dine at some of the state’s best restaurants at incredibly affordable prices.  Just don’t forget to make reservations!

Check out the entire list of participating restaurants and menus by clicking the link below.

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The Supper Bowl at Fred and Steve’s Steakhouse!

Fred and Steve 3 - editedIn my humble opinion, there are few things in this world better than food and football. Combine the grid iron with some grilled red meat and it’s like a match made in pigskin heaven. Former NFL players, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie, have taken tailgating to the next level and created the ultimate steakhouse experience. Located at Twin River Casino, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse boasts some of the best quality beef you will find around Rhode Island. Their versatile menu also offers the perfect mix of land and sea.

We recently had the opportunity to sample a variety of dishes from their regular menu. OK, I may have understated that. It was actually like an episode of Man VS. Food featuring Front Row Eats and some massive portions. I’m talking 5 lb lobsters and 48 oz Porterhouse Steaks just to name a few. Let’s move the chains and talk about some of the highlights from our meal at Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse!

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Trattoria Zooma Reveal their Italian Roots on Federal Hill

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Federal Hill has become a melting pot in recent years, offering a wide range of ethnic cuisines, as opposed to traditional Italian fare that we’ve become accustomed to. Sure, you can still find plenty of Italian eateries, pizza parlors, and sandwich shops, but “the Hill” is still quite different than it was many years ago. Just ask the old-timers. Other than a few longstanding restaurants that have become landmarks on Federal Hill, newcomers have been scarce and very few there have been able to compete in the “authentic” category. Trattoria Zooma first opened in 2004, but recently underwent a number of exciting changes to catapult themselves into the upper echelon of authentic Italian.

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Food Network Star Auditions Coming to Providence!

food network star auditions providenceDo you have a creative and unique food perspective? Do you think you have what it takes to host your own show on Food Network? If you have a captivating personality and believe you are at the top of your culinary game, Food Network wants to hear from you!

Food Network Star, the hugely successful culinary reality series, will be holding auditions at the Hilton Hotel in Providence on October 26th between 10am – 2pm. In case you are not available to attend the open call, you can still apply by submitting a home video. Click here for more details on casting events and how to apply. Good luck and say hello to Giada for me!

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What You Missed at Sun BrewFest 2013…

sun brewfest 19The Sun BrewFest was in full swing last weekend, offering beer aficionados the chance to sample from a variety of 200 different beverages. The selection included everything from Crafts and Microbrews to Domestics and Imports. Guests were given a Mohegan Sun signature pilsner glass for tasting and to later take home as a souvenir. I made sure to make each 2 oz. fill count, choosing from plenty of Oktoberfest brews to celebrate Fall like the Germans taught us. Maybe it’s just me, but Fall doesn’t actually seem to start until the Pumpkin Ales hit the market…forget foliage and leaves changing colors. It’s really all about the Pumpkin Ales, and luckily, there were plenty to go around.

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Coco Pazzo: A Fresh, Modern Take on Classic Italian Eats

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You might not notice it, but within a rock’s throw of Thayer Street, you can enjoy modestly priced, traditional Italian fare. Tucked neatly off the corner of Thayer and Angell St. in Providence’s East Side, Coco Pazzo has quietly become a favorite among families, couples and students who call Providence home. At first it might seem overwhelming, but their menu is chockfull of classic dishes and familiar favorites. It’s versatile too, with apps (or tapas), salads and grilled pizzas. Coco Pazzo is an ideal place to grab a bite with friends/coworkers or impress your date with your expansive knowledge of fine cheeses and imported hams. Hey, do whatever it takes to succeed. Ha! Ok, moving on.

Last week we were invited to try out some of their signature dishes and each plate was handpicked by Executive Chef Ryan Keough. After hearing the news, I knew we were in for a treat. What’s neat about Coco Pazzo is that it sits directly above the English Cellar Alehouse and as a result, provides patrons the opportunity to order from their menu as well as a list of over 200 different brews. Pretty sweet deal right?

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Unleash the Feast at Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern

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I love the feeling of finding a new favorite grub spot. As a food blogger, it’s my job to dine out at different restaurants in order to continuously provide new content, but it makes it difficult when I find a place I can’t get enough of. About a month ago, I discovered Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern. Since then, I have already been back several times. Let me just say this: every single dish I’ve tried has left me dreaming about it at night. Lately, I can’t find a reason to venture anywhere else!

Blackie’s is a small, cozy pub bursting with attitude. Take for example, the lime green walls and funky decor. On the other hand, there are also tall columns and elegant wood-framed paintings that dress up the dining room. At times, the interior feels like a bit of an identity crisis, but it’s all quickly forgotten once the menu is opened. Blackie’s specializes in comfort food elevated to a higher level and then kicked up another notch. Creativity and quality are the two most important ingredients on the menu, and from my experience, apparently you can’t go wrong with anything you order!

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Class in a Glass at the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

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I look forward to this event all year round. The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated and anticipated events on the East Coast. Both wine connoisseurs and foodies come from near and far to enjoy an unparalleled selection of food and drink. This past weekend, the Marble House hosted the Grand Tasting, and it was bigger and better than ever! There were hundreds of wines from around the world and an endless offering of cuisine from local restaurants and caterers. Even if you are not a wine enthusiast, there are still plenty of beer, spirits, and bite size delights, so you are sure to have a great time!

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