It’s that time of year again!!

It’s time for Summer Restaurant Week in Providence!!

Which restaurants will YOU be trying this time around?

Check out the link below!
http://www.goprovidence.com/rw/

Check back here for recommendations for restaurants to go to!

Alexandria, LA

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About two weeks ago flew out to Alexandria, LA for work and you bet I took advantage of me being in Louisiana to try real Louisiana styled food.  Alexandria is a small town, but its size definitely did not take away from the fact that the few places we found had some damn nice food.

Cajun Landing

The first restaurant I tried in Alexandria was a quaint restaurant called Cajun Landing.  When I first walked in, it felt like I was walking into someone’s home.  It was carpeted and had a lot of southern home decorations hanging, as well as decorations and furniture for sale.  There was even a section where you could buy different spices and sauces for cooking!  The seating area was fairly large and hada comfy and warm atmosphere too.

Cajun Landing had a number of items on the menu, but I wanted to try strictly-Louisiana styled foods.  So, I went with the classic etouffee (I know… I’ve never had it before).  Before that was even served, though, I was presented with a lovely little cup of lobster bisque.

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I’m not usually a fan of thick seafood soups like this (apart from New England Clam Chowder — hollaaaaaah!!!), but I actually did like this very much.  This lobster bisque that they served was not overwhelmingly lobster-tasting.  It was more spicy, if anything.  Not that unbearable spicy that’ll make you feel like you’re melting spicy, but a nice kick of “oomph tasty!” spicy.

 When I was served the etouffee, I was as excited as a little kid on Christmas.  It looked like everything I always thought of when I thought of Cajun Louisiana food — seafood with that saucy kick!  It tasted just as I had imagined it tasting.  What I didn’t expect was how spicy it actually was.  After eating a few spoonfuls, I found myself actually having to drink some water to cool my mouth down.  As a fan of spicy foods, I actually enjoyed this as it made the dish not as bland.  The dish was also served with the staple fried sweet bread.  It was good, but I wasn’t able to finish it with the etouffee since it was served with rice.

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The atmosphere was nice and the wait staff was friendly, despite a few hiccups in service (like forgetting to return a glass of water and forgetting to get hot sauce) but I’ll give it to them — it was busy.  Overall, the food was good and I thought it was a nice introduction to Louisiana food for me.

 

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Quick Breakfast stop — Sentry Grill

I didn’t manage to take any pictures for this quick breakfast stop, but enjoy this picture of the bridge over the Red River in downtown Alexandria!

If you’re ever in town, be sure to stop by the Sentry Grill.  It’s an old fashioned diner, and if you didn’t know about it, you’d probably miss it.  The food is awesome there and it’s really cheap too!  Do try the grits!

Robbie G’s

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Robbie G’s.  Oh, Robbie G’s.  Among the locally recommended restaurants, Robbie G’s was always at the top of everyone’s list.  It’s a cool little seafood shack with a bit of a biker’s edge to it.  The restaurant served foods from po boys, fried fish, to (pounds of) boiled crawfish.  Initially I couldn’t decide between the a crawfish po boy and the pound of boiled crawfish, but I eventually went with the crawfish po boy.

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After putting the dressings on the sandwich, I was finally able to enjoy the po boy.  The sandwich was overflowing with fried crawfish.  I wasn’t complaining though.  I had just enough crawfish to eat with the dressings in the sandwich and eat some on the side. I loved the tartar sauce that it was served with and I think it made the sandwich taste all the better.  Otherwise, the sandwich would have been dry and hard to eat.

I was definitely satisfied with the crawfish po boy, but was just a little disappointed with the serving size of the tartar sauce that came with it.  With that much craw, I wished that there was just a little bit more sauce to go with it.  I think the next time I try po boys, I will be trying the BBQ shrimp or beef.  I hear that’s all the rage in po boy eatery.

Debarge’s

Since I had the po boy at lunch, I decided I must get the pound of crawfish for dinner, especially after a few texts back and forth with my foodie sister.  She sent me a picture of the type of craw dish she wanted and you bet I found just the place to get it (after all, it’s in the little sister job description to make their older siblings’ lives miserable, yah?).  On my last night in Alexandria, I went to Debarge’s.  Debarge’s is a little Louisiana take out restaurant that serves mostly fried seafood and boiled craw.

Because this was my last night in Louisiana, I figured I should try all that I could.  I ended up ordering: one jalapeno cheddar boudin ball, one pound of boiled crawfish, one boudin sausage, one boiled corn, and a pack of their house sauce for dipping.

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First, the boudin ball.  For those who aren’t familiar, boudin is a type of sausage.  Cajun boudin balls, though, are not encased in the pork casings and is, instead, rolled into a ball and fried.  This one had jalapeno cheddar.  Jalapeno.  Cheddar.  What could be better?  Not a whole lot I tell you.  These boudin balls were good.  Like really good.  Like melting cheese and tiny chunks of jalapeno peppers good.  I think that explains itself well enough.  Now onto the crawfish…

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At only $3.99 a pound, I swore that the crawfish was just going to be plainly boiled.  Boy, was I wrong.  The crawfish was boiled with other spices that were so tasty and potent that you could taste it through the shell in the actual meat.  It was so good, in fact, that I barely even used the house sauce that I bought with it.  And, although it took almost an hour to eat a pound of these babies, it was sure worth sitting in the lobby of having people walk by and exclaim things like, “Ooo, you’re making me jealous!”  With exclamations like that, you knew the crawfish was good!  I was just a little sad when I got to the boudin sausage.  I had spent so much time eating the craw that by the time I got to the sausage, it was cold… as was the corn.  The sausage was still yummy nonetheless and the corn. Oh, the corn.  The corn was so soft and the corn must have been boiled with the crawfish because you could taste the seasonings so well!

By the time I finished my pound of craw (and yes, I ate the whole pound of craw by myself), I was absolutely and positively satisfied with my trip to Louisiana.  My last meal there was just the cherry on top of an amazing visit.  I’d say the only thing that disappoints me right now is that I live sooooo far from Louisiana, or anywhere I can get good crawfish for that matter, and I’m probably not going to make another trip down soon.

Until then, I’ve enjoyed eating those little suckers and I sure as heck will miss that Cajun kick!

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Restaurants Visited:

Cajun Landing
2728 N MacArthur Dr
Alexandria, LA 71303
(318) 487-4912

Sentry Grill
1002 3rd St
Alexandria, Louisiana 71301
(318) 445-0952

Robbie G’s
5859 Jackson St Exd
Alexandria, LA 71303
(318) 443-8621

Debarge’s
1807 Andrews St
Alexandria, LA 71301
(318) 445-6745

Lunch Time Quickie: Hong Meas in East Providence, RI

Here’s a lunch time quickie!

I usually post about different restaurants in Providence but, considering I’m working the East Providence/Seekonk area, I figured I should try to expand outward.

I love to east Asian food and apart from Four Seasons on Reservoir Ave in Providence, RI, I haven’t been able to find the same type of restaurant that serves a multitude of foods ranging from Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Lao foods.  After doing a quick Urbanspoon search for a restaurant of the same type in the East Providence, RI, I stumbled upon the hole-in-the-wall Hong Meas.

On my lunch break, I picked up to-go food from Hong Meas — Vietnamese Bee Bong with Beef and a small Hot & Sour soup.  Upon walking in, I noticed an interesting smell.  It reminded me of a farm almost… I felt conflicted on the inside.  Unsure if this meant that the ingredients they used were just really fresh or otherwise… I had plenty of fresh fresh meats before and the food was awesome so I figured I would give the place the benefit of the doubt.

I tried the Hot & Sour soup first and I’ll have you know I love Hot & Sour soup!  This soup had a weird aftertaste though.  It tasted a little too sour — like it had too much vinegar — and just had a weird taste overall.  I was not the biggest fan of the soup so I had to add a great amount of black pepper in an attempt to neutralize the sour taste.

When I opened the Bee Bong, I noticed that there were SO MANY NOODLES.  The noodles were okay. The texture was a little soggy (I think they were a little overcooked) but the sauce was good!  What got me was the beef.  For some reason I just got a bad taste in my mouth.  I’m not sure if it was just cooked differently from what I was used to, but it looked fine.  It just didn’t taste great.  I felt like I might have eaten something that was just slaughtered, though not in the fresh sense…  Needless to say, I was unable to finish my Bee Bong.

Overall, I was surprised that my experience was not great as I had expected.  I glimpsed over the Urbanspoon reviews and saw that the Projo reviewed it too.  Little did I realize that the review was from 2009 or 2010 (I can’t remember off the top of my head).  I don’t know if it’s just been a while since the better reviews were written and the restaurant might have gone “down” since, or if I just happened to go on a bad day.

I mean to give Hong Meas another chance and give them the benefit of the doubt that I just went on a bad day, but I don’t think I’ll make that visit for a while at least.

I’m back!

Alas! I’ve returned to the blogosphere after a hectic last semester of college and, of course, my college graduation!

For starters, here is a picture of the dish I had last night with my sister at Bacaro in Providence, RI.  I veered away from my typical Pasta Con I Funghi dish and ordered a specials dish which was a soft shell crab over fettuccine in a red pasta sauce.  I’m not usually a red pasta sauce type of girl, but this one was great!  It wasn’t so tomato saucy as I had expected — it was a little lemon-tangy and tasted like their normal Linguine dish!  I’m just ashamed I couldn’t finish the dish in one sitting and, of course, accidentally left my leftovers on the table….  Still a great dish and return to Bacaro though!

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With school out of the way now (for now), I’ll definitely have more time to post more.

I’m also proud to announce that my boyfriend made the move from New York to Boston so, considering the close proximity of Boston and Providence, you can expect me to post about restaurants and trips in the Boston area too!  And, considering I’ll probably be traveling around the US a lot more frequently, you bet I’ll be including trips from around the nation too!

:)

For more information about the restaurant Bacaro that I visited, check out my past entry on a previous visit to the restaurant!

Asian Restaurants: Thai Star

Who loves Thai food? Hardly anybody hates it! Of all Asian foods, Thai food is probably one of my favorites (if not my favorite!). Thai cuisine is known for their spices and plethora of flavors used in the cooking. AND IT ALL TASTES SO AMAZING. I promise I’m not being biased. Promise.

While there are many Asian restaurants in Providence, RI, Thai Star has got to be one of my favorites to go to for Thai food. It’s especially quick, cheap, and super authentic. Thai Star doesn’t really sweeten up their food for American taste buds, but that’s okay! Everyone loves it still! Plus, the owner is awesome. She’s super friendly and I don’t think I know anyone who’s been there and hasn’t said anything nice about her!

Order Recommendations

While you’re there, check out their Angel Wings. They’re simply fried chicken wings served with a sweet sauce, but their perfectly crisp and not heavily floured so that they’re so cakey. If you’re a fan of crab rangoon, I’ll have you know they’re also awesome here. For entries, I do recommend getting a noodle dish. My favorites are the classic pad thai, pad see ew, and spicy vegetable noodles. My boyfriend’s favorite is the crunchy pad thai, so if you want a little crunch, it’s definitely worth trying! Not a huge fan of noodles in general? PLEASE try the chicken in the garden. Chicken in the graden is a spicy chicken dish made of ground chicken and an assortment of vegetables, tossed in a spicy sauce that mixes ever so greatly with white rice.

Eat in at Thai Star or pick-up! Dishes usually range between $9-$15 and is relatively cheap with great portion sizes.

Thai Star is located at 1088 Chalkstone Ave in Providence, RI and is not too far from Rhode Island College and Providence College. Check out their website here for more information!

Asian Restaurants: Dumpling Cafe

Happy Chinese New Year!

If you’re in the Boston area, please check out Dumpling Cafe! My sister and her boyfriend found this little restaurant in Chinatown Boston and ever since, we would occasionally drive almost an hour out from where we live just to eat their soup dumplings, otherwise known as Xiaolongbao (小籠包). Believe me. They’re AMAZING.

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The first time I had the soup dumplings filled with crab, I almost cried. Have you almost cried because you ate something that tasted so good? No? Then I advise you to go to the Dumpling Cafe, even if it’s just to try the soup dumplings. Still not impressed? Well, I’ll have you know that the second time I ate the soup dumplings, I was so happy I felt drunk. These are some seriously amazing soup dumplings.

The Dumpling Cafe has an assortment of others foods. I haven’t really tried the other foods yet, except for some grilled squid and crab rangoons (which were also amazing), but I’m sure the food is great too. And when I say that the soup dumplings are great, believe me. I would not want to drive an hour out to Boston otherwise.

The Dumpling Cafe is located at 695 Washington St in the Chinatown area in Boston, MA. Check out their website for more information!

Asian Restaurants: Ebisu

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Now that Restaurant Week in Providence, RI is over, I’ve found more time to go to other restaurants that did not take part in Restaurant Week, one of which is Ebisu. Ebisu is a Japanese restaurant located around the Reservoir Triangle/Edgewood area in Providence/Cranston. Unlike typical Japanese restaurants in the area, Ebisu specializes in authentic ramen and shabu shabu (which is like a Japanese hot pot).

Occasionally Ebisu will have specials for the night, which usually include really amazing Asian fusion dishes. As an Asian person, I’m very picky about my Asian fusion foods. Some “Asian fusion” foods I find are not made with nearly enough love and usually taste empty to me — I don’t generally believe that foods made with typical Asian ingredients should be considered “Asian fusion”. But Ebisu does it well. SO well, in fact. So, if you get the chance make sure you try one of their awesome Asian fusion dishes, like a Japanese Surf and Turf!

On my last trip to Ebisu I ordered:

  • Takoyaki balls as an appetizer
  • Tantanmen ramen from the Special’s menu

If you ever get the chance to go to Ebisu, please order the Takoyaki balls. Takoyaki is a traditional Japanese food made of octopus and fried into a ball shape and also made with a sweet sauce. These are probably my favorite things to eat when I’m at Ebisu, but I’ll let you know it’s not the only amazing thing.

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As usual, my ramen was amazing. Now, don’t get this ramen mixed up with the $0.10 Maruchuan ramen that you get at a supermarket — the ramen at Ebisu is FRRRRRRESH! The broth isn’t powdered and you can tell that the ingredients are made fresh and the broth is probably made from a paste instead. Regardless of the matter, Ebisu ramen isn’t packed with sodium but rather packed with so much more flavor of all meats and vegetables!

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Also to try while you’re at Ebisu — the grill menu! Another feature of Ebisu is the grilled skewers menu. Ebisu has so many meats on the grilled skewers menu from chicken heart, liver, gizzards, and chicken skin. My personal favorite from the grilled skewers menu are the gizzards. Although it sounds a little scary… believe me. The gizzards are amazing!! As are the rest of the menu… Lots of the skewers on the menu are also grilled with a special sauce so as to make the meat even more tasty.

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In the end, Ebisu is definitely a different type of Asian restaurant around and the foods aren’t greasy and are still packed with lots of flavor! It’s not expensive either! Packed with a full bar and awesome food, there’s no reason to not try something new at Ebisu!

Ebisu is located in Providence, RI at 38 Pontiac Ave. See their main website for more information.

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