The Grange-Bar Food (Providence)

After meeting with a friend and enjoying a cocktail on the patio of one of the local establishments, Kristin and I were experiencing a fierce hunger. We were using Google on our phones, looking at menus, and trying to figure what we want to do when we noticed there was a restaurant no more than a 5-minute walk from our car! The proximity of the restaurant was the sole factor that determined where we are heading, and boy am I thankful we were in a mood to work as little as possible (aka lazy) for some grub.

We walk into The Grange and there are a handful of people sitting at the bar but not many others in sight. That threw us a bit, so we didn’t know what to expect. The server sat us at a table and informed us that dinner didn’t start for 35 minutes, but if we like we could look at the bar menu. Somewhat disheartened, we asked for the bar menus because we didn’t want to wait 30 or more minutes.

On the menu there were a handful of items, and on them two phrases stood out to me because I have had them at previous restaurants and found them delicious; those were “gochujang” and “Korean BBQ tacos.” We actually had Korean BBQ tacos a few nights before at Garden Grille, so we ordered the tacos and a carrot dog.

I take one bite into the carrot dog, and my mouth explodes with flavor. I immediately exclaim that it’s the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. My mind was blown. Halfway through I finally realized that “carrot dog” actually meant a carrot took the place of what is traditionally a hot dog; it tasted nothing like carrots! The sandwich was incredible, and when we take a road trip up that way again we will stop off in Providence for another round at the carrot dog, for sure.

Admittedly I didn’t try the Korean BBQ tacos because I was entranced with the carrot dog, but Kristin finished them off fully satisfied. The food was so satisfying that despite being full, we stayed around and ordered off the dinner menu. That post will be coming around the corner because I believe this “bar food” experience deserved its own blog post.

  • Carrot Dog – Glad I had them and wish I could transport myself to Providence to try one right now (in fact, we have created our own carrot dog on two occasions since our visit)
  • Korean BBQ Tacos – Kristin is glad she had some, and she wishes there was a plate sitting in front of her right now, and I promise next time we are in Providence I will try them.

Stay tuned for my post about our experience eating off of the “night menu.”

Nice Slice – Providence

We arrived on Thayer Street with absolutely no intention to eat food in the near future, for it hadn’t been long since we finished lunch. I think it was the combination of knowing there was vegan food nearby that I have not  tasted and walking around the street that worked up my appetite, so we headed down to Nice Slice.

The menu was incredible; so many different pizza variations and sandwiches to choose from. The menu initially overwhelmed me, and I didn’t know what to get. As we perused the menu we noticed they had a couple of pies already prepared, one of which was a vegan buffalo chicken. I decided to order a slice of the buffalo chicken so I could focus on what would be the bulk of my order, but that’s where something went wrong.

Two girls were working, one of whom was the initial girl that helped us was incredibly pleasant. The second girl, who was on her phone texting at the counter during the initial decision phase of our visit, looked up from her phone after we ordered the buffalo chicken and took over, and she came across as incredibly unpleasant and rude. Kristin and I looked at each other perplexed by this encounter, dumbfounded even. We ended up ordering only the one slice of pizza and moved on in search of a more pleasant experience.

A little disclaimer; both Kristin and I work in businesses in which our interaction with and how we treat our customers directly affects our livelihood, so we have certain expectations when it comes to customer service, but I don’t believe we are demanding. I also don’t know what was going on in this woman’s world that put her in the mood she was in. Maybe she received dire news on her cell phone at the moment we walked in. Maybe she was going through something that she could not suppress in that moment we were in there. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, and not long after we left we walked by the building again and she was outside getting some fresh air, so perhaps something was going on.

  • Loved the pizza; the experience left something to be desired, but I would certainly give them a second chance.

After doing a little bit more walking on Thayer St, we headed over to Federal Hill to meet up with a friend for a few. On it we accidentally stumbled across an all veg restaurant where I had the greatest sandwich that I’ve ever tasted. Stay tuned for that post!

Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub (Pawtucket)

I don’t know if it’s just Kristin and me, but anytime we are traveling and we find a restaurant that serves up a vegan brunch it’s Christmas come early for us, so when we found out Doherty’s has a vegan brunch menu we were ecstatic. I have to admit I was a little skeptical because I have never come across an Irish pub that serves up vegan food; didn’t realize the combination existed.

Even after pulling up to Doherty’s I wasn’t sure we had our information correct. After being seated by the waitress, the first question I asked was to confirm that they do in fact offer vegan brunch selections. Now that I had my paranoia out of the way, my mind was free to peruse the options. To our delight, they had french toast, pancakes, scrambles, white bean tempeh sausage, and the ability to “veganize” other menu items. I tend to steer clear of veganizing items because I have had a number of experiences where the dish didn’t turn out as well as I had expected or hoped.

We each went with a scramble: Kristin did the “Amanda Hugandkiss” and I went with the “Hellen Back.” We loved the names! Check out their menu if you want to see other cool menu item names. The Hugandkiss consisted of the aforementioned white bean tempeh sausage, baby spinach, plum tomatoes, olives, and soy cheddar, plus each scramble came with a side of home fries and toast. Hellen was chimichuri, salsa fresca, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, and soy cheddar. Absolutely delicious! The servings were huge! The white bean tempeh sausage was different than any other vegan sausage that I’ve tried, so that was a nice bonus. The scrambles were as good as we’ve had. I only have one regret; we took the rest of our dishes in a to-go container but we forgot them at the restaurant!

Under normal circumstances no food dish is too big for me to consume, but we had a lot of eating to do while in Providence and I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for our next meal!

  • Hugandkiss – Glad we had it, and we wish we had one right now!
  • Hellen Back – Glad we had it, and we wish we had one right now!

After taking our stomachs to just before the point of erupting, we headed toward Thayer Street, which is a really cool street to do some walking. On it we stopped at Nice Slice, which has a separate vegan menu! Check out a review of our experience there!

Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co (Merrimom)

After close to a 12 hour drive and fasting nearly the entire way, we were exhausted and ready to crush some local vegan fare. In our typical fashion we didn’t have much of a plan as we arrived in Asheville; Kristin had a few places saved on her phone but nothing concrete. After some Google searches we decided on Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company on Merrimom Ave. The exact quote from their website that lead us there was “maybe it’s a delicious vegan sandwich you’re after.” Bam! I was sold.

To my disappointment there were no vegan sandwiches on the menu; there were only about 5-6 items on the menu that were vegan, which included a couple choices for fries, hummus, a salad, and a bean and rice dish. Vegan Daiya cheese was available on the menu.

Despite being mislead by the website, I still LOVED the place. Our waiter was incredibly friendly, spoke passionately about the beers they brewed, and ran back and forth from the kitchen to see what we could “veganize.” We ended up going with a pizza covered in banana peppers, green olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, and Daiya cheese; it was one of the most delicious tasting pies I have had, but that’s not a surprise considering it was voted the best pizza in Western North Carolina.

  • Veggie Pizza with Daiya Cheese – Glad I ordered it and I wish I had a slice right now

PS Not far from this location of Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company sits The Hop Ice Cream Cafe, which features features vegan ice cream and vegan smoothies.

Garden Grille Pt 2

On our last morning in Providence we headed back to Garden Grille to sample their weekly brunch offering (Sundays only). The menu had a lot of offerings from which to choose, including a tofu BLT, French toast, and pancakes, but each of us went with the breakfast burrito, which included tofu scramble, black beans, salsa, guacamole, potatoes, and vegan cheese. I have been a huge fan of potatoes within a burrito for a long time, so seeing potatoes in this baby made my mouth water. Both Kristin and I have been on a massive breakfast burrito kick since discovering The Cinnamon Snail in 2012, and this burrito did not disappoint. We absolutely destroyed them without leaving much time or room for conversation during brunch (this is often the case when we find food that we absolutely love)!

When we sat down I asked the server about fresh press juice, and he suggested we get one to go at Wildflour Bakery and have it with our breakfast. We loved the set up – juice, drinks, entrees, and dessert. What more could a couple of vegans ask for?

  • Breakfast Burrito – glad I had it, and I wish I had one right now

Garden Grille Pt 1

After Kristin revealed that she was planning a surprise trip to Rhode Island for my birthday weekend, thoughts about food immediately began to fill my head. Where we go almost always depends on the vegan fare of that community, so I knew Kristin did her homework and picked Providence for a reason.

After a four and a half hour drive both of our stomachs were rumbling, so instead of checking into our hotel we headed directly for Garden Grille, a vegetarian cafe in Pawtucket (just north of Providence), RI. Dining here immediately lead to a conversation about opening our own cafe with a similar style; it had a full service bar, outside seating, and a communal table (where we sat and enjoyed). Kristin ordered a cocktail and I ordered a Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout, a beer that I really enjoy and often order it at one of my favorite New York City restaurants, Cafe Blossom.

I didn’t know what to expect dining at a vegetarian restaurant; most I have dined at contain a huge array of vegan fare, whereas others have had minimal. The menu was a pleasant surprise; almost all of the items were vegan except a few that had either cheese or egg prepared in the dish. Garden Grille offered a handful of starters on the menu, and Kristin and I went with the Korean tacos and at the recommendation of our server the zucchini fritters. We loved both, a lot! The zucchini fritters were a blend of shredded zucchini and likely bread crumbs lightly pan fried, and they came with a chipotle aioli sauce. The Korean tacos contained a flavorful blend of sweet chili sauce, tempeh, cabbage, chipotle mayo, and guacamole on flour tortillas. The tempeh was a primary factor in ordering this dish; often starters and similar items fail to contain a vegan protein source.

The dinner menu contained nine unique items, some of which contained dairy cheese, but Garden Grille offers vegan cheese as an alternative. Kristin went with the black bean burger, and I ordered the gluten free vegan mac & cheese. Anytime I see vegan mac and cheese on a menu, I have to order it because I have been on a quest to find the greatest vegan mac and cheese. This version contained broccoli and crimini mushroom in the dish, which was something I had not tried. The dish didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t reach the level that I am seeking. I say this remembering that I burned my mouth a couple times impatiently trying to finish the dish.

Neither of us were a huge fan of the black bean burger. I say this with somewhat of a disclaimer; Kristin makes the most ridiculously delicious black burgers I have ever had, which is why I stopped ordering them after she perfected her recipe. The burger could very well be delicious to another who hasn’t tried Kristin’s recipe but not to us. The burger contained sweet pepper relish, avocado mayo, and tomato with a salad and potato wedges on the side.

We are definitely glad we went here, and we would certainly go back (which we did for brunch on our last morning in Providence).

  • Zucchini Fritters – Glad I had them and wish I had some right now
  • Korean Tacos – Glad I had them and wish I had some right now
  • Vegan Mac – Glad I had it, but I probably wouldn’t order it again
  • Black Bean Burger – Unfortunately it didn’t compare to Kristin’s

PS Another great note about Garden Grille is its proximity to an all vegan bakery, Wildflour, which is located a couple doors down in the same strip mall.

After getting some sleep that night we set out to find some vegan brunch, and you’ll never guess where did! Check out our review of that experience!