Guys, I finally did it.
I went to a favorite restaurant and ordered something new. Not even something on the official menu. Something I trusted the chef to produce well, and something that’s normally out of my seafood comfort zone.
And the reason I was able to do it was because I know the quality of food, service, and experience is A-grade.
I give you…(drum roll please)…Red Stripe of Providence, RI.
Jake and I discovered Red Stripe during our freshman year of college. He was visiting me for a long weekend, and we asked my foodie aunt for nearby restaurant recommendations: “somewhere cozy, yummy, but not pretentious and outrageously priced.” This was in the top three on her list, and I don’t even remember the others because this place is still our go-to for date nights, four years later.
Usually, we split some dishes. The paella is a personal favorite, accompanied by some pasta dish or appetizer (or meat, when it’s Jake’s turn to choose), and occasionally a dessert. This tends to be our pattern because I can never finish a meal by myself and he pushes me to try new things. Though I instinctively leaned towards the paella this past weekend, something told me to hear the specials. And thank G-d, because it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had. Sea scallops with butternut squash risotto, grilled asparagus, and lindonberry chutney.
Anyone who has ever had a meal with me would be floored by this selection. Sea scallops? Lindonberry? (“Julie, do you even know what a lindonberry is?”) (The answer is no) Chutney? I love my taste bud comfort zone, and I love looking forward to those same favorite restaurants and meals, but this was truly fantastic and i was grateful for my trust in their cooking. I paired it with the red wine special of the evening based on our waiter’s recommendation (Meiomi Pinot Noir), and spent the next 45 minutes in a glorious dinner experience.
Though I can’t completely recall Jake’s particular thoughts – blame it on the wine; some words along the lines of “tender” and “delicious” – he definitely enjoyed his beer-braised short ribs and the local beer on tap. And yes, you guessed it, he’s a beer guy. Who knew we had it in us to be such cuisine connoisseurs?
** I should note here that the manager paid for Jake’s beer after some minor spillage. Great guy with a passion for perfect service! **
Anyway, every few months we come back for the smart-casual attire (read: excuse for me to wear heels without being judged), soft lights, and a comfortable volume of conversation so that we’re never whispering or yelling across the table. And the fact that it makes me want to eat something I associate with this moment in cinema history…well…all the better, I think.
Do you have any favorite restaurants that earn your loyalties year after year? For date night? Or girls night? Or guys night, for that matter? Leave your comments and suggestions for a potential post in your honor.
Stay beautiful (and hungry).