A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Providence, RI with my mom, aunt and cousin and had an ah-MA-zing time. When Kristy (my cousin) first suggested it, we were a bit skeptical, but her hubby had completed naval training there and really loved the area so we decided to give it a shot. We ended up getting there at around 11 on a Sunday and met up with Kristy and Aunt Mijung in the city! We were only there for 3 days so it was a fairly short vacay, but we made sure to take advantage of every minute.
Brunch at The District. We started our trip off right with a delicious meal at The District, an adorable restaurant located in the heart of Providence. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much I loved their food! They definitely get 5 stars from me. My mom and aunt shared a very “basic” breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and toast, but my cousin and I went all out. We got Chicken and Waffles + Shrimp and Grits and shared! Both dishes were nomtastic, and everything from presentation to flavor was on point. Their food’s definitely on the richer side, but hey, you only live once! …and yes, I just used YOLO in a sentence, #sorrynotsorry.
Hitting up the Providence Flea. I usually love browsing flea markets, but this one was meh. There just weren’t enough vendors IMHO. It took us less than 30 minutes to walk through everything, which was a bummer, BUT on a more positive note, the location was baller – make sure you take your camera because it’s right by the water – and parking was free because we went on a Sunday. I didn’t end up getting anything, but I was definitely tempted to splurge on handmade jewelry and scented candles.
Getting fat at Three Sisters. After flea market shenanigans, we wanted something sweet so we visited Three Sisters for homemade ice cream. It took us a good 10 minutes to figure out what we wanted to get because everything sounded amazing, but after much deliberation (and yes, I mean deliberation because ice cream is serious business), we settled on Green Tea, Cookies & Mint, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I, of course, sampled everything because I’m obnoxious like that, but I definitely enjoyed my Mint Chip. I was impressed with the creaminess of it all, and the ice cream to cookie ratio was on point! Hands down, the best mint chip I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t get to try their food, but they apparently also serve breakfast and lunch for those of you interested.
TJ Maxx-ing it up in Seekonk. After dessert, we had time to kill before our dinner reservation at Los Andes so we headed to the TJ Maxx in Seekonk to browse their Runway selection. I wasn’t expecting much, but they actually had a wide variety of clothing and accessories. In fact, everyone ended up purchasing something including myself! I got an adorable new planner for the upcoming school year and bought my dad a small present for being a bamf – long story short, he recently saved Daisy (my adorable maltese pup) from a near-death sitch so I got him a “super dad” plaque!
Dinner at Los Andes. Apparently, Rhode Islanders don’t mess around when it comes to food, and that includes Peruvian and Bolivian cuisine. We got there around 5 and there was already a long wait, and that’s saying a lot because this joint was massive! The interior wasn’t particularly impressive (with the exception of their outdoor patio area, which was very pretty) so we knew the food was going to be spectacular. Why else would it be jam-packed on a Sunday night?
We chowed on piping hot bread while waiting for our wonderful waitress to come take our order. Everything sounded awesome, but we ultimately decided to go with the Paella ($17.95) and Parrilada Andina ($42.95, serves 2). We waited a good 40-50 minutes for our food, but that was to be expected since it was made to order. The Paella came with chorizo, strips of chicken breast, squid, mussels, little neck clams, shrimp, and english peas and was sautéed in a garlic butter-wine broth and then simmered in saffron rice. The latter came with angus ribeye, short beef ribs, aji panca marinated boneless chicken thigh, homemade chorizo criollo, fried yucca, ensalada rusa (magical beet salad), and mashed taters (you can get cheesy rice or white rice instead if you so please).
It was SO worth the wait! Everything was to-die-for yummy, with the exception of the homemade chorizo. That was the only thing I wasn’t a fan of because it kind of fell apart? I really loved the chorizo in the paella though. And the ensalada rusa? I have no idea what all was in it, but it complemented the protein beautifully. The meat came with a side of chimichurri verde, and I seriously couldn’t get enough of it! Remember to ask for a side of their housemade hot sauce (free of charge).
Brunching at Cru Cafe. We wanted to hit up the ocean while we were in RI so we headed to Easton’s Beach, which was about 50 minutes away. We were hungry by the time we got to Newport so we started our day off with a scrumptious meal at Cru Cafe. My cousin and I ordered for the table and decided on the following: the grown up grilled cheese ($6.95), the Madeira Mushroom Melt ($7.75), the Straight from PULSE salad ($8.95), fancy tots ($3.50 for a small), a maple scone, and a handmade peach & berry mini-pie.
The grilled cheese was a double decker with three cheeses, thick slabs of applewood smoked bacon, and juicy slices of tomato. The mushroom sandwich came with portobellos, sauerkraut, gruyere + fontina cheeses, and roasted garlic aioli on their signature baguette. Their salad featured organic spinach, tomato, bits of goat cheese, avocado, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, and roasted peppers over artisan greens dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The tots were all sorts of heavenly with bits of bacon and melted cheese.
…if you can’t tell already, I’m a fan of Cru Cafe. The only thing that didn’t impress was the scone! I could’ve done without that pastry, but hey, 5/6 is NOT bad. The mini-pie was stupid good though, and the outdoor eating area was definitely instagram-friendly. I loved seeing the chefs walk out and pick herbs from their garden – talk about fresh!
Tanning on Easton’s Beach. After brunch, we drove to Easton’s Beach and walked along the shore to burn off some of the calories we had just consumed. Parking was difficult so we ended up just paying $10 for a spot at one of their public lots. FYI, if you want to eat at the beach, there’s a restaurant on site so you don’t need to bring your own grub. There was also an aquarium there for those of you interested! We thought about exploring but decided to just chat and collect seashells instead.
Exploring Breakers. We were beached out after a couple hours so we decided to tour the Newport Mansions to get shelter from the sun. We were kind of late to the party so we were only able to see one “summer cottage,” but they had a bunch of different packages available so take advantage. We ended up paying $24 a pop to explore Breakers, and we were grumbling about the price, but once we stepped foot inside the mansion, we all agreed it was worth the $$$. Breakers was the grandest of Newport’s summer homes and was a symbol of the Vanderbilt’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America.
We were given a headset with a pre-taped tour, and it took us about 90 minutes to see it all. Sections were blocked off (like the servants’ quarters on the 4th floor), but we saw the best of the best. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how grand it was. I felt like royalty standing in each room! One even had platinum as wallpaper (!!!!!) Afterwards, we went outside to enjoy the view and snap pictures before heading off to dinner.
Nomming at Anthony’s Seafood. Now, this restaurant didn’t look like much from the outside (…or the inside for that matter), but the food here was straight up ridiculous. I can definitely see why Guy Fieri chose to feature them on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” So, this is how it works! You stand in line to place your order and once you pay, their waitstaff will seat you! Their space isn’t especially large, but food comes out quickly so you don’t have to wait that long. We got a variety of different plates and shared everything: New England Clam Chowder ($3.25 for a cup, $5.50 for a bowl), Kung Pao Calamari ($9.95), Oysters on the 1/2 shell, Lobster Roll, 2lb Lobster Dinner, and 1/2lb Chicken Tenders.
I honestly don’t even know where to begin. We were served the chowder to start, and it was literally the best soup I’d ever tasted. I didn’t think I could enjoy anything more, but that all changed when they brought us their Kung Pao Calamari, which was incredible…like I-still-dream-about-it incredible! It’s definitely one of the most memorable plates I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a LOT because I’ve had some damn good food in my lifetime. It had perfectly fried squid rings with hot peppers, plum chili sauce, peanuts and scallions.
Moving on, I don’t eat raw food so I passed on the oysters, but everyone gushed about their freshness! My cousin downed her lobster roll + fries, and my mom & aunt shared the lobster platter, which came with boiled potatoes and an ear of corn, while I, being the black sheep that I am, munched on my chicken fingers. You’re probably expecting me to say something like, “I totally should’ve gotten lobster because my chicken sucked,” BUT quite the contrary. Who knew a seafood place could do chicken so well! I was beyond impressed with their frying skills – I’ve honestly never had better, and their honey mustard + BBQ sauce was legit. And I couldn’t believe all that food was $5 – talk about a solid deal! The entire dinner came out to be around $80 or so which was very reasonable IMO. The only problem with Anthony’s? They haven’t opened a restaurant in the DMV yet.
Getting donuts at Ma’s. After dinner, we wanted to grab dessert so I got my yelp on! I saw that Ma’s Donuts and More had a promo going on (2 free donuts for a large drink purchase) so I drove my sensible self over to their shop. I really, REALLY wanted to like their sweets, but their donuts just didn’t taste fresh – hopefully it was just an off day since they had fairly good reviews!
Brunch at The Looking Glass Cafe. Day 3 was super stressful because I was dealing with Expedia’s BS, but that’s a story for a different day. After arguing with customer service for a good 4-5 hours, all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and sleep, but I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer so I sucked it up and headed over to The Looking Glass Cafe, a nice homey diner with super friendly staff, for brunch with the fam. I didn’t have much of an appetite so I just got a cup of chicken noodle, but they were like a local Perkin’s or something comparable.
Shopping at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets. Anddd how could I resist? The Wrentham outlets were only 30 minutes away from our hotel so that was pretty much a done deal right from the getgo. My favorite stores there were Allsaints, Barneys NY Warehouse, Saks Off Fifth, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Ferragamo, Ted Baker, and Tory Burch. I didn’t end up getting anything, but it was still fun to browse – definitely make sure to stop by Rocky Mountain and pick up some sweets though. They make everything on-site so their noms are crazy delish, and their store smells like heaven. I bought a dark chocolate oreo, but they’re apparently famous for their candied apples (all different kinds of flavors).
Amazing Italian food at Massimo’s. For our final meal in RI, we headed to Massimo Restaurant located in historic Providence. We wanted to dine at Enoteca Umberto, but they were booked until late-August so that was a no-go. Apparently, you need to call ahead at LEAST a month in advance to score a reservation. We were disappointed but wanted pasta so we hit up a different Italian place instead.
Lucky for us, Massimo’s was a truly incredible alternative. Our hostess led us up to our table on the 2nd floor, and we were immediately taken by the ambiance – definitely bring a date here if you’re looking to impress! They had LED string lights hanging from the windows (tasteful not tacky BTW) over semi-opaque curtains so lighting was spot on, and their table settings were beautiful. We were promptly greeted by our waitress, and she gave us some solid recommendations: Burrata Ravioli ($19), Spaghetti al Nero con Aragosta ($28), Pappardelle alla Bolognese ($21), and Pollo ai Limone ($22).
We decided to split all the aforementioned dishes so we just placed them all in the middle and got sharing plates. The ravioli had burrata filling and was served with chopped asparagus, bits of tomato, and tossed in extra virgin olive oil. The spaghetti was made with black squid ink pasta, local lobster, english peas, seasonal mushrooms, and lobster cream sauce. The pappardelle came out perfectly cooked in a veal and beef ragu with shaved grana padano, and the chicken was accompanied by artichokes, escarole, and a fontina potato cake in a lemon-white-wine sauce.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the squid ink pasta, but I pretty much loved everything else! The pappardelle was definitely the high point for me though – hands down, the best pasta dish I’ve had in years. We were stuffed after devouring all four entrees, but we wanted to finish the meal off on a sweet note so we placed an order for a slice of housemade tiramisu, which was such a good call. If you’re looking to live large and indulge in some seriously nom Italian cuisine, head to Massimo Restaurant for an unforgettable meal.
Alright guys, that’s the end of my (extremely) long travel recap. I hope you all enjoyed reading about my adventures! Have any of you visited RI? If yes, what did you like best about your time there? Definitely let me know by leaving a comment below.