If you haven’t heard of the Eat Drink RI Festival, you’re definitely missing out. This past weekend, April 28th – May 1st, a huge culinary showcase took place for the fifth time. So what exactly is it? It’s four days of events celebrating food, drinks, and Rhode Island…and it’s awesome.
Dinner by Dames Event
The Festival kicked off this past Thursday from 6pm-10pm, with the Dinner by Dames event, a multi-course dining experience brought on by some of the state’s best female chefs and bartenders. For $140, guests got to enjoy a decadent meal paired with cocktails, at a beautiful location, the Casino at Roger Williams Park. Sounds pretty good to me.
The Truck Stop
What’s better than food trucks?! Absolutely nothing. On Friday of last week, the second event of the long weekend took place at the ALEX AND ANI City Center in Kennedy Plaza from 5:30-8:30pm. The Truck Stop, which benefitted The Rhode Island Community Food Bank, featured many of Rhode Island’s local mobile food vendors such as Friskie Fries, Like No Udder, Mijos Tacos, O’Crepe, and many others. A $75 ticket includes food from all the trucks plus one beverage of your choosing, and musical entertainment. A portion of all ticket sales supports the Rhode Island Food bank, so not only are you feeding your empty stomach, you’re ultimately feeding dozens of others as well. Buy your tickets in advance next year because this event was sold out!
The Grand Tasting
The Grand Tasting was held on Saturday from noon-4pm in the RI Convention Center, and featured over 50 sampling tables serving locally-produced beer, wine, and spirits, as well as some really really good food. For $75, tickets included all food and beverage samples, a informational packet, and a tasting glass, as well as the opportunity to watch demonstrations from experts in their respective culinary fields..From the kindness of our friends at the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, I was lucky enough to attend this event, with Jacqueline Paez, the Johnson & Wales Chapter’s Social Media Manager and we found some interesting companies selling some pretty kick-ass products. Check them out below.
This raw cold-pressed juice company really knows how to make healthy taste good. Pictured above on the lefthand side is the “Get Your Glow” Juice, which contains carrots, apples, and beets, and to the righthand side is the “Green Lemonade” Juice which contains apple, cucumber, spinach, celery, and lemons. Seems pretty simple right? These juices have body benefits such as improving blood flow, boosting energy, eliminating toxins, aiding in muscle performance, and nourishing the skin. You can learn more and see their full list of flavors on their website. Head to local farmer’s markets to score this juice while you can!
What says summer better than lemonade? What about spiked lemonade? This vodka, whiskey, and natural juice and flavors drink is the perfect poolside sip. At 9% alc/vol you can leisurely drink this delicious concoction that’s being sold in both Connecticut and Rhode Island. Lemonade being one of my favorite drinks, this drink sample was mandatory in my book, and it should be in yours too.
Tapas, tapas, tapas. All I need in my life is tapas…and sangria of course. Guess what? I got both at the Bocado sampling table along with manchego cheese, chorizo, marcona almonds, and spinach dip. Major YUM. I’d be lying if I said I only visited this table once…or even twice. If there’s any location I’m urging you to go to, it’s Bocado on Valley Street in Providence. I was completely amazed with their passion for the industry, as well as with their Spain-imported bottles of wine. Bonus: They have free parking on-site!
If you’re addicted to coffee, or even if you’re not, Dave’s Coffee on S Main Street in Providence. They offer a wide variety of craft-roasted coffees, as well as coffee syrup which is pictured above. At their sampling table, they served their take on a White Russian, which contained their coffee syrup. Buy it online here for only $21! Do it.
If you’re a local, you’ve probably heard about these elusive donuts. I know I’ve spent weeks trying to get my hands on these bad boys, and I’m glad I finally did. Providence’s first specialty donut company has been serving their creations in local coffee shops, but has recently released the news that they will be opening their own location on Allens Ave on May 28th. Follow them on Instagram (@pvdonuts) to keep up with the new flavors!
These crunchy biscotti were the perfect mid-day treat. They come in three flavors – “The Traditional” which consists of toasted almonds, fennel seeds, and orange rinds, “The Innovative” which consists of cocoa nibs and vanilla, and “The Luxurious” which consists of roasted Macadamia nuts, white chocolate chunks, and lemon zest. Pair them with some tea and you’re set. They can even be ordered online.
Fish may be friends, but they’re certainly food too because these were gooooood. These tuna tacos can be found on their dinner menu as well, so I’ll definitely be spending the next date night on Tower Street in Westerly, RI.
I was lucky enough to taste this small batch artisan granola on campus earlier this year, and even luckier to have some more at The Grand Tasting. This super food mixture contains whole grains, nuts, seeds, Organic New England maple syrup, local cranberries, sea salt, exotic ginger, and toasted coconut. Even better, there’s no trans fat and this granola is vegan! It’s perfect for adding to your yogurt, ice ream, or pudding, or even as an on-the-go snack. You can purchase it at local markets!
If you know me personally, you know that pickles are by far my favorite food group (yes, I’m aware that pickles aren’t actually a food group but they should be). If you didn’t know that, now you do. When it comes to pickles, I’m very brutal in my judgements merely because I know what’s up. These pickles were damn good. My personal favorite was the Spicy Dill Pickle, partially because it was unique, and partially because I actually felt the heat. These pickles have won numerous awards. Do yourself a huge favor and snag a jar here.
Overall, The Grand Tasting was an amazing experience with delicious food and amazing drinks. I look forward to next year’s festival, and you should definitely consider purchasing tickets next year! It’s a great way to discover new culinary and beverage endeavors, and network with local businesses.
The Grand Brunch
Sundays were made for brunch, and this brunch was made for you. Last but not least, this event took place from 11am-2pm at the RI Convention Center Ballroom and cost $75 per person. Each ticket covered entrance, all food and beverage samplings, as well as a donation to the Victoria Alviti Music Foundation. Some of Rhode Island’s best chefs, bartenders, and pastry chef come together to prepare the Festival’s closing event. The supporting restaurants included, but were not limited to, The Dorrance, Julians, El Rancho Grande, and The Salted Slate.
If you’ve been to the Eat Drink RI Festival in the past, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say it’s a must-see event for foodies everywhere. If you haven’t been, I strongly encourage you to attend next year, to at least one of the four days. You will have the oppurtunity to EAT, DRINK, and explore the wonders of RI.