:http://egseah.mindsay.com This past Saturday I went to visit [Emily] and Robert in Providence, Rhode Island. The mission: eat authentic Italian food. So we went to Federal Hill on Atwells Ave, which regarded as the area’s Little Italy.
First stop was Venda Ravioli, which was a small indoor market bustling with counters piled high with fresh Italian meats, cheeses, and pasta. The building itself was pretty cool, particularly the polished tin ceiling. It was around 1230PM, so the place was a bit crowded and we couldn’t sit down. Everything looked really good…if I wasn’t starving, I would have liked to spent more time browsing. Em said that they liked to get some antipasto there and a tomato and basil and mozzarella salad.
We walked along Atwells Ave looking for a restaurant. We saw the sign for Camille’s, which Robert said had some kind of Frank Sinatra connection. It was closed for lunch, but we peeked inside and saw the richly-appointed interior and lounge area.
On the way back we stopped by some touristy looking place that Robert said was actually well regarded by some. It was very empty looking and we liked the menu, so we went inside to the “AAA 4-diamond rated” Mediterraneo.
And here’s where I realize I should have taken notes, because I didn’t remember the names of anything we ordered. Emily though has filled me in from their menu:
- CAPRESE CAH-PRAY-ZEH “Balsamic marinated grape tomatoes, homemade mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.” One of my favorite combinations. The tomatoes weren’t that amazing, but overall very nice.
CARPACCIO DI MANZO CAHR-PACHOE DEE MAHN-ZOH “Paper-thin raw beef tenderloin, arugula, extra large caper berries, topped with fresh squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.” The extra large caper berries were surprisingly tasty. The beef was kind of hard to scrape off the plate, but it was a tasty dish.
MOZZARELLA IN CARROZZA MOTZ-ZAH-RELL-AH EEN CAH-ROTZ-AH “Fresh homemade mozzarella stuffed with prosciutto di Parma and fresh basil then breaded and pan-fried. Served with a side of San Marzano tomato-basil sauce.” Deep fried and filled with cheese! Yet surprisingly not as heavy as I thought it would be. Probably because it wasn’t super salty.
PENNE ALL’ ARRABBIATA PEN-NAY AHL ARA-BEE-AH-TAH “Pen-shaped pasta in a hot and spicy San Marzano plum tomato sauce, sautéed in olive oil, hot pepperoncini, garlic and parsley.”
FUSILLI ALLA VODKA FOO-ZEE-LEE AH-LA VAWD-CAH “Spiral-shaped pasta in a pink sauce made from San Marzano plum tomatoes, butter, onions, pancetta (Italian bacon), vodka and cream.”
TAGLIATELLE ALLA BOLOGNESE TAHL-YAH-TAY-LEH AH-LA BOW-LOAN-YEZEH “Fresh egg noodle pasta topped with a sauce composed of chunks of stewed veal, beef, pork, San Marzano plum tomatoes and a touch of cream.” This is what I ordered. The various meats were blended together into a kind of tasty hash, and mixed in with the tomato sauce. The balance between the texture of the egg noodles and the complexity of the sauce was quite a revelation.
p>(Em notes: We drank whatever chianti that they gave us…we didn’t ask for more details. :)
Lunch was a little pricey, but very good. The pasta was served al dente, which Robert said was pretty rare to find these days. He also said that Mediterraneo was a pretty “hip” place for things like celebrity signings and so forth, so he’d never gone. For lunch at 130PM on an overcast Saturday, we practically had the whole place to ourselves. Not bad at all.
For dessert, we went to Dolce Vita, a neat little cafe that served gelato and ice cream truffles. I got some kind of giant ice cream truffle with an espresso, and we hung out. Em says they have good sandwiches, so I think it’s definitely worth a trip back.
We also stopped by a cool stationary / furniture store called Figments Design. It had all kinds of interesting cards, stationary, and personal office objects that I would have wanted to buy…I forget how cool it is to visit a real stationary store, as opposed to some soulless office warehouse place like Staples. We chatted with the owner for a good hour…really nice place. I saw an aluminum checkbook cover that I wanted for no good reason.