Degustabox

This past summer I was contacted by Degustabox – they wanted to know if I’d give their product a shot. Why not?

I didn’t want to review anything before I had given it some time.

So first of all, what is Degustabox? It’s a monthly subscription box that contains 10-15 full size products.

degusta

I’ve received three so far, and all three have been interesting to say the least.

My family was kind enough to set the box aside for me and not open it until I got home. In no time at all, the arrival of my Degustabox has become a family event. After dinner I’d place the box on the counter and my entire family would surround me as I opened it.

I got my first @degustaboxusa in the mail…! Can’t wait to show you all what I received!

A video posted by @goodeatsmundial on Jun 3, 2016 at 5:14pm PDT

As a family, there has been something that each of us like individually and thinks that we really enjoy as a family.

As a food blogger I get inundated with new products and sometimes it’s hard for me to even think about trying something new. This has been the perfect opportunity to try things I never would have and introduce my family to things they wouldn’t have normally bought while rushing through the grocery store.

For $20/month I would definitely label this a steal.

Have questions about how Degustabox works or my experience with it? Let me know on Twitter!

Advertisements

Faust

Faust
122 Fountain Street
Providence, RI 02903

Phone |

404-455-DEAN

Hours |

Sunday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Friday – Saturday 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Kitchen closes at midnight.

There is a lot of good food in Rhode Island. Seafood? You got it. Authentic Italian and Sicilian? Yep. Portuguese? Duh. But how about German food? I don’t know about you, but when people say, “I’m going to Providence.” I don’t automatically respond with “OH MY GOD THEY HAVE THE BEST GERMAN FOOD!”

With that said, Faust – which is located off of the Dean Hotel in downtown Providence is a surprisingly authentic take on German food and drink that should not be missed.

Now you might be asking what a Portuguese girl knows about German food. The answer is absolutely nothing at all. My best friend is engaged to a man from the UK but he is also German. I mean that in the sense that he is fluent in German, has adorable wee German grandparents, and cooks authentic German food when he’s home AND can down a liter of beer in a hot minute. So we took him to get some food that we hoped might take the edge off his homesickness.

There is nothing more nerve wracking then taking someone to a restaurant that claims to be super authentic. I wouldn’t know authentic German food if it walked in the room and slapped some lederhosen on me. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

I’ll just list out what we ordered and then briefly go into the entire meal. Spoiler alert: it was ridiculously fantastic.

Starters |

Bavarian Pretzel + Mustard $5
Obatzda (Beer Cheese) + Baguette $6

Dinner |

Bratwurst: All pork + Traditional Spices $13
Currywurst: Bratwurst + Curry Sauce $14
Roasted Mushrooms: Pretzel dumplings, Greens, Pickled Kale, Poached Egg $16
Side of  Spätzle

The pretzel was unlike any pretzel I’ve had before. It was so soft and flavorful – nothing about this pretzel was like the tough thick ones you get at baseball games. I used my pretzel as a spoon to devour the spicy mustard that came on the side.

The obatzda was…well…beer cheese. Do I need to say anything more? Let’s just say I was upset when the waitress took the plate. Sure, the bread was gone but I would have just used my finger to get the rest of the cheese to be completely honest.

I ordered the Bratwurst with the traditional spices. It came on a plate with sauerkraut, mustard and fries. According to Tony, in Germany I wouldn’t have gotten the fries but would have gotten something like rye bread.  It was probably the most obvious thing they could have done to Americanize the dish, but I forgave them due to the fact that these fries were perfect and so delicious I couldn’t stop eating them.

Fun fact about the writer: I’m not a huge fry fan. I know, I know. Blasphemy. But your fry has to be something real special for me to pay it any attention.

Anyways…

What has always been the characteristic that I’ve remembered about German food is that it’s all brown. Honestly, the color palette on these plates is just beige. Now that I think about it, so was the color scheme in the restaurant itself. DO NOT BE AS FOOLISH AS ME! Don’t allow that to make you think that some how the flavors will be bland just because the colors are. Everything was so dynamic and complimented each other so well I was in heaven. The rich flavors of the bratwurst were complimented by the coolness of the sauerkraut and an extra kick could be added if you added a bit of mustard as well.

Obviously I wasn’t far off because Tony continuously commented about how good the food was, how it reminded him of how his Father makes it at home or how his grandmother makes it…sure things there were a bit different than you’d get on your kitchen table, but he seemed very impressed. That right there should sell you on Faust alone.

I sampled the mushroom dish…the pretzel dumplings were delicious and the mushrooms were meaty and flavorful. The only other dish I’d like to talk about a bit more was the spätzle.

Chelsea and Tony both told me that his Father pretty much makes the best damn spätzle that ever did spätzle. He said that instead of turkey or ham for Christmas his family will make this with venison.

Sign me up.

Although the both of them said that his Father makes it slightly different then how Faust presented it (with brown butter) it was still phenomenal and brought them right back to his family’s kitchen.

I never thought in a million years I would be day dreaming about bratwurst…or texting my Mom saying “You HAVE to go check out this German place…” but I whole heartedly encourage those of you in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to step out of your shell a little bit and head down to Faust, grab a beer and for the love of all things sacred order some of that obatzda for me will you?

Sun & Moon

Sun & Moon Korean Restaurant
95 Warren Avenue
East Providence, RI 02914

Ph: 401-435-0214

Hours
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Saturday  11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.

There is probably nothing more exciting then introducing your friends to a new cuisine (or is that just me?).

When I was home last week, I took my best friend to Sun & Moon Korean Restaurant for her first Korean food experience!

This family owned and operated restaurant opened in 2002 under the direction of “Mother of the Family” Chef Lee on Warren Avenue in East Providence. If you aren’t paying close attention, you might miss the sign hanging outside. When you step inside, you are standing in a narrow room where there is a ‘bar’ to the right, which faces the very small open kitchen. It honestly feels like you’re walking into someone’s home. That’s how intimate it is. We were brought into the next room of the restaurant (you could call this the living room!), which had four tables. This room was attached to another private dining room with a table that could fit six or more.

Truthfully, it has always been my experience there that you might have to wait a few minutes to be greeted by your server. Don’t let it turn you off. Whenever I have been in there, she’s been the only one serving…but once she is at your table you can expect everything to come out in perfect timing.

What we ordered:

Steamed Vegetable Dumplings ($7.99)
BiBimBap with Chicken ($13.99)
BiBimBap with Shrimp ($13.99)

Complimentary on the table:

Kimchi (a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. It is often described as spicy and sour.In traditional preparation kimchi is often allowed to ferment underground in jars for months)
Pickled Cucumber (OiMuChim)
Pickled Celery

We happily munched away on the small dishes that were placed on our table – the pickled cucumber is always my favorite. It’s sweet, cool and refreshing. I always have the kimchi when I when I’m there but honestly I have a love hate relationship with this dish. I love the spice, but there are some kinds of kimchi that sit oddly on my taste buds! Almost like it’s a bit sour. I think everyone is different, but I never go without having some when I am having Korean food.

Our steamed dumplings came out shortly after. I was so happy and so was Chelsea. Our waitress brought over the steamed basket and removed the lid. Through the steam I could see Chelsea’s eyes light up (haha). Talk about fresh! The dumplings were a delight and I could have eaten three more baskets.

I wanted to ease her into Korean cuisine and I thought there was no better way then BiBimBap. If you’re not familiar with the dish:

The word literally means “mixed rice”. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

There is nothing better than the BiBimBap at Sun & Moon. It’s easy to taste how fresh it is, and every dish is definitely made to order. I made sure to snap a picture of our bowls before we stirred them all together and devoured them. One of the best little treasures when eating BiBimBap is scraping up the crunchy rice at the bottom of the pot. It’s absolutely to die for.

If you are looking to support a great local family restaurant please remember to think outside of the box (the box being Providence) and visit Sun & Moon!

 

The Salted Slate

The Salted Slate
186 Wayland Avenue
Providence, RI

Ph: 401-270-3737

Parking: Although their website says that they validate parking at the Wayland Square parking lot, this is has not been finalized and neither the restaurant or parking attendant will honor that. We mentioned it to the hostess who said that they were aware of the situation and were thinking of removing this piece of information from their website until it’s finalized – if you’re going for dinner give them a call ahead of time and see if anything has changed.

Hours

Mondays CLOSED.

Lunch
Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Brunch
Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Dinner
Tuesday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The Salted Slate is the newest addition to Wayland Square, and we were lucky enough to be treated to lunch there (thanks Mom).

From their website:

We search for and promote the best possible ingredients from local and international growers and producers.  By focusing on whole animal purchasing from nearby farmers and fishermen, we can ensure that these animals are humanely raised and harvested and fully utilized.  Nothing is wasted at The Salted Slate.

I was extremely excited to try this place out. Although I had not had the privilege of trying Taza, where Chef Benjamin Loyd was the head chef – his reputation has preceded him and we knew we had to jump at the chance to try out his first restaurant.

I was impressed at the interior. From the outside it looks like a very small venue, but once you step in you are looking at a large bar to the left with some high top tables by the windows and to the right a dining room that extends further back then I thought the building went. They also offer patio seating, which I would suggest taking advantage of if you have the chance!

We had taken a look at the menu ahead of time so we knew what we wanted. On our table:

Cucumber Vesper
cucumber infused vodka, lillet, orange bitters (stirred and up) $10

The Bacon Burger
freshly ground Blackbird beef with our own bacon, braised shortrib, herbed goat cheese and a house bulkie choose fries or chips $15

Herb Crusted Roast Beef
slow roasted Blackbird Farm round, caramelized onions, upland cress, Atwells Gold, house bulkie
$12

When the Cucumber Vesper’s arrived my first thought was “this better be a strong drink.” The glasses were small and I admittedly know close to nothing about liquor, mixology and what makes a drink worth $10. So I go on what I do know: taste. My Mother and I both took a sip looked at each other and said “Oh.” It was delicious, strong (in a good way) and refreshing. It lasted me through my entire meal and I enjoyed it immensely. Phew.

My sister and I ordered the Bacon Burger…

ATTENTION, ATTENTION!

When I ordered this I first though it was a burger, with slices of bacon on top. Then I read it again and mused, “Maybe it’s mixed in to the burger.” Then the burger came, and I didn’t ask the waiter for clarification because I was so hungry I was about to eat my own hand. Then when lunch ended, I got upset that they had seemingly forgotten the bacon on my burger (although in fairness, had this been the case I could have given the waiter the chance to fix it, but instead I decided I was too hungry to care). I gave them a call once I got home because not knowing bothered me so much! They confirmed that the bacon was mixed in to the burger patty itself. So don’t panic if you don’t see the bacon. It’s there…silently adding to the flavor! The bun was absolutely delicious and you could tell from the way it looked and tasted that it was homemade and really, that can make all the difference. The short rib on the burger melted in your mouth. I couldn’t help it and I took the top of the bun off and just ate the short rib off the burger it was that good. I got my burger cooked Medium Rare and my sister got hers done Well. They looked about the same when you cut into them. Hers was a bit more well done on the outside…thankfully we’re not picky eaters and she inhaled hers anyways. But it was a curious observation. Maybe it’s just being new, but they will need to be sure burger temperatures are accurate and consistent. Nothing worse than having picky eaters send back their meat to be re-cooked!

My Mother had the Roast Beef sandwich. She generously allowed me to take a couple of bites and oh my goodness…that is a sandwich. The roast beef melted in your mouth, the caramelized onions were sweet and added the perfect compliment to the heaviness of the bread and meat.

I won’t lie, the entire time I ate my burger I watched her eat her roast beef sandwich and wished I had ordered that instead (it was my second choice).

As we waited for our food and as we ate I noticed that there were a lot of people there for lunch, but they were all taking their very sweet time. One table ordered coffee, which was served to them in their own individual coffee presses. A table inside was littered with cocktail classes and laughing women. I’m not sure if they will establish themselves as a quick lunch go-to but I don’t know if that’s a bad thing either.

They very obviously have a small menu because they want to focus on making a few dishes great and I can definitely get behind that.

We enjoyed ourselves and certainly didn’t leave hungry. I think that before I come back here for dinner, I might give them a month to get in the swing of things. Service seemed a bit slow but I think it just comes with the territory of being a new restaurant. The food was in point, and it’s easy to picture a line forming out their door on a balmy summer or fall evening for dinner service.

Chef Benjamin Lloyd and The Salted Slate are a much welcome addition to Wayland Square!

Red Stripe

The Red Stripe
465 Angell Street
Providence, RI
02906

Phone
401-437-6950

Reservations?
Yes

Hours
Monday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. (with late lunch running between 3 and 5)
Sunday Brunch 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday Late Lunch 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday Dinner 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

I know there are times I come off a little bit…err, conceited or arrogant when it comes to my seafood. I’m from SE Massachusetts and Rhode Island, are you really that surprised?

My best friend of 10 years took me to The Red Stripe on the East Side of Providence to celebrate my birthday. She had raved about this place FOREVER, so I figured I’d be in for a treat.

We were sat immediately by the window (I love to people watch) and immediately tackled the menu.

Since Chelsea is a somewhat regular (I don’t think she’d argue that point with me, she is a member of their loyalty program!) we decided to steer away from her normal appetizer order – The Risotto Croquettes ($9) and go with something different. That’s where we enlisted the help of our very patient waiter, Dana.

“What would you suggest?”

“What do you like?”

“What goes in this?”

He answered all of our questions with a smile and convinced us (not that it took all that much) to go with the Basque Calamari with hot peppers, cherry tomatoes and roasted red pepper rouille ($10).

Can we just all take a moment of silence at this point? Shut your eyes and take a moment to thank Poseidon for blessing us with CALAMARI. Okay, that’s dramatic but man when it’s good, it’s THAT good. And The Red Stripe did not disappoint! The meat was incredibly tender. It melted in your mouth. The batter was well seasoned and didn’t slop off like most sub-par batter tends to do.

If anyone from The Red Stripe is reading, can you all send me a tweet or email and let me know what herbs go into the roasted red pepper rouille? UPDATE: it’s roasted red pepper aioli scented with white wine and saffron, thanks guys! Chelsea and I couldn’t put our fingers on it and got too distracted by our main dishes to ask Dana. It was a wonderful change from marinara sauce you sometimes see served with RI calamari or (if you really took a wrong turn somewhere) tartar sauce.

I spent oh, I don’t know, nothing short of 45 years perusing the menu. Not because it was too large to navigate but because everything sounded amazing and I had no idea what I should get. Chelsea insisted I try the Moules & Frites ($12) – so I went for it!

You can choose from ten different styles to have your mussels. Although my instinct had me leaning towards the Portuguese style, I took a step out of my comfort zone and got them done Normade. This meant the broth they were cooked in had mushrooms, lardon (wee pork pieces), garlic, shallot, apple brandy and cream. Chelsea got them done in the Poulette style. The broth had parsley, chive, garlic, shallot, white wine and cream.

Ugh, these mussels. Once again – let’s take a moment to close our eyes and take a moment to bask in the epic that is a pot full of perfectly cooked mussels placed, covered, in front of you…then your waiter removing the lids so that you are punched in the face by the most delicious aroma of (insert the style of mussels you got here).

I say punch in a good way, by the way.

We got to work, slowly devouring these super tender mussels and using every ounce of self-control to not ask for a serving spoon to eat the broth like a soup. Dana recognized our struggle and offered to bring us over bread to soak up what was left of the broth. He must see this all the time…

The fries? They were good – but not the highlight of the meal. They were a great compliment but I barely got through half of them!

The only sad/disappointing thing was that I had to head back to Atlanta and don’t know when I’ll be in Rhode Island next! For those of you reading – please head to The Red Stripe, leave Dana an awesome tip and tweet us your pictures (@_goodeats) and let us know what you have!

Jacky’s Waterplace

Jacky’s Waterplace & Sushi Bar
200 Exchange Street
Providence, RI

Phone
401-383-500

Reservations
Yes – and highly suggested during the summer and the weekends.

Hours
Monday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Friday 11:30 a.m.  – 11 p.m.
Saturday 1 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Happy Hour
Monday – Friday 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Valet Parking
Yes

With four locations all over Rhode Island, Jacky’s Waterplace has become a Ocean State staple for fresh sushi and an unreasonably wide variety of classic and contemporary Asian Cuisines including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian and more.

I went to the Providence location to celebrate my birthday with my family! And boy, did we celebrate. They spoil me.

We started off with the chicken lettuce wraps, shrimp lettuce wraps, spring rolls, honey glazed boneless ribs and gyoza.

The lettuce wraps come four per order, and Jacky’s has my favorite version of this appetizer that seems to be on every appetizer menu now a days. Each piece of lettuce comes filled to the brim with the chicken (or shrimp), water chestnut, carrot, shiitake mushroom, and pine nut mixture. And each piece of lettuce sits on top of an oversized wonton. This is by far the best solution to the sloppy-messy-falling apart-soggy lettuce wrap problem I’ve ever seen. I always tell myself I won’t eat the wonton to save room for everything else, but, uh – let’s be real. I devoured it.

The spring rolls were tasty and traditional. There are only two per order but they come cut in half – this is a great appetizer to share that won’t fill you up too much. What I like most about these spring rolls is that the outer crust is crunchy without being slimy from the oil they were fried in.

The honey glazed boneless ribs were phenomenal. They were tender and delicately sweet! However, try to show some self control and don’t go for the pickled radish and carrots that are on the plate. You don’t always have to eat the garnish but I don’t have any self control and always try them! They were…interesting. I tried it paired it with the ribs themselves to see if they were supposed to compliment each other. And just…no. Pass. Focus on the highlight of the dish!

The gyoza were tasty but small. I mean, real small. Bite size. Not that their size should be considered a negative, they’re just appetizers! The pork inside is extremely well seasoned and delicious! These sure as hell aren’t those flavorless fried dough pockets you have to drown in dipping sauce from the only Chinese take out place opened at 3 a.m.  (you guys know who I’m talking about).

My brother and mother ordered from the sushi menu for dinner. My brother got the spicy tuna maki roll entrée. Here’s the thing – I have nothing negative to say about these rolls. They’re good. Tasty. Spicy. But they taste like every other spicy tuna roll you can get in Rhode Island. That’s not a bad thing, it is what it is.

But I cannot say with enough emphasis that when you come to Jacky’s you are much better off ordering the sashimi! If you love raw fish, you cannot go wrong here. Every piece is fresh and just melts in your mouth. It’s rare to find a place that can consistently, visit after visit provide such a quality product. And raw fish is nothing to mess around with! If you ever had the unfortunate experience of having a piece of sashimi that just doesn’t taste quite right, you know how amazing it is to find a place that delivers! And Jacky’s most definitely does.

My Dad and I went the noodle route – he ordered the Singapore Noodles and I ordered the Japanese Udon noodles with shrimp.

The Singapore Noodles are listed on the menu as having jalapeños and curry…so why my father (who doesn’t like spicy foods) ordered this dish is beyond me. He swore up and down that when he orders this dish normally it’s “not THAT spicy.” But apparently this night, it was. We ended up trading. I guess the lesson here is the spice level is inconsistent. So if you’re not sure if you can handle it, try something else! But if you’re like me and love a kick to your meal: go for it. It’s delicious.

The udon noodles were freakin’ awesome. I got them with shrimp and I love, love love, that I didn’t get a dish filled with those creepy ass tiny little baby thumbnail size shrimp. You know, those creepy ones you get in much crappier Chinese restaurants? None of that here. At Jacky’s they know that no self respecting Rhode Islander would tolerate such nonsense. HUGE SHRIMP IN YOUR UDON NOODLES: CHECK.

Finally, at the end of the meal our waitress (who was fantastic) surprised me with a birthday cheesecake! It was just enough for the entire family to get in on – it was so creamy! I don’t know if they make it in house, but it didn’t taste out of a box.

Jacky’s Waterplace has consistently delivered great food and wonderful service across each location. The only thing that puts the Providence location over the rest is the view! It directly overlooks the river where waterfire takes place and when the river isn’t on fire, the skyline lights up at sunset to provide a unique perspective over the city of Providence!