There’s been a lot of smaller bridge tournaments around New England in the last month. I love these opportunities to explore local gems and this weekend Steve and I were in Warwick, RI.
Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder house, Warwick
The schedule only allowed an hour for lunch, and Iggy’s was only 5 miles away from the tournament site. However, my heart sank as we pulled up to the restaurant; the line was a dozen people deep. Steve and I debated whether we should give up and find some other grub, but I really wanted to try the doughboys. We persisted and happily the line moved quickly. I got the chowder and clam cake combo ($7.5), Steve opted for an order of onion rings ($3) and we got doughboys ($3) to share.
The fry station knows their stuff: everything was crispy, crunchy and not at all greasy. The onion rings were thick and had great onion flavor, but the same can’t be said of the clam cake, which was mostly dough with a suggestion of clam. The doughboys are small saucers of fried dough, topped with cinnamon and sugar. There are 6 in an order and after consuming one each, we were done. Luckily, I found Kim and Robin and gave them the rest. My chowder was thick and creamy, but committed the cardinal sin of under cooked potatoes. I hate that.
Iggy’s is right on the water and we enjoy a quick walk as we waited for our takeout. The prices are quite affordable; even the lobster roll is only $14, and the amount of food is generous.
La Laiterie, Providence
The website states that “La Laiterie offers honest, seasonal, handmade food. We serve seasonal influenced bistro-style cuisine,” Descriptions like this make me roll my eyes – it begs the question: what are we going to eat? The answer is some extremely delicious seafood and the best bread basket I’ve encountered this year.
The meal didn’t start off in a very promising fashion. We got the homemade pasta special, a beef shin cappeletti in a beef morrow broth and it was underwhelming at best. The broth lacked depth and the little stuffed pasta was a shade too al dente.
We then waited for our next course, and waited some more. Steve and I often like to share an appetizer, a pasta course and then an entrée. We asked for the mussels next and then the whole roasted branzino. 40 minutes later we were still waiting. Luckily, we had the outstanding bread basket to nosh on. Since the price of flour has been steadily increasing, more and more restaurants are foregoing the bread basket. La Laiterie charges for their bread; there is a basket of assorted bread ($4) or herb biscuits ($7). We opted for the basket with included warm focaccia, corn bread and oatmeal rolls. I was really impressed by all, especially the focaccia. Additionally, when the mussels finally came, it was accompanied by generous amount of French baguette, which rivaled ones I had in Paris. The mussels were cooked in a flavorful broth of bone marrow, pork belly and leeks. We sopped up the delicious broth with the excellent baguette. Unfortunately, the mussels and the fish came at the same time. We wanted a second plate, so that I could split the fish, but our server was nowhere to be found. Eventually, I had to flag down another server and she said that she would bring a plate, but she forgot about us as well. Finally, I spotted our server and waved him over to ask for the plate. 10 minutes later, it was clear he forgot as well. Meanwhile, the bronzino is getting cold and I’m getting more and more annoyed. I give up and start feeding Steve forkfuls of fish. The only redeeming thing was how delicious the fish was. The menu description “Thai style, whole fish, coconut rice, ham, housemade sriracha & fried ginger” was misleading – the fish was stuffed with spinach, which is not a vegetable I associate with Asian flavors. But, I’m not complaining, the fish was exceptional. The best meals always inspire me, and I think I’ll try my hand at roasting a whole fish soon.
We considered dessert, but I shocked Steve by eschewing the vanilla panna cotta. After all, the meal had already taken over 2 hours. I’m sure dessert would have tacked on an additional 45 minutes. I was ready to leave. I did buy a caramel ganache tartlet from the cheese shop that is attached to the restaurant. I ate it for breakfast the next morning and it was delicious. Now, I’m sad our server was so neglectful – I bet the panna cotta would be been excellent.