Fellini Pizzeria

Review by Sandi Cook –  Special contributor to Fork in the Rhode

Thanksgiving Pizza - Fellini Pizzeria

Thanksgiving Pizza – Fellini Pizzeria

Thanksgiving Pizza comes but once a year, and man is it worth the wait!  Every November my anticipation for this delicious slice of turkey day wonderment grows until the day before Thanksgiving arrives when I can get my special fix of this comfort food. This special pie has been on the menu for 10 years and is so popular that folks order their pies days in advance to be sure they can get their hands on one in time for Thanksgiving Eve dinner. Lines begin at lunch and get so long at times that the friendly staff provides a large thermos of hot chocolate and cups on a table outside to make the wait more comfortable. 

Fellini Specialty Pizzas

Fellini Specialty Pizzas

Although Fellini Pizzeria makes this special pie available only at Thanksgiving, they are also scoring it big with their over-sized thin crusted specialty pizzas such as the Kitchen Sink [ Penne pasta, garlic, parmesan, peppercorn, roasted red peppers, scallions, pepperoni & feta cheese], and the Turkey Club [ Smoked turkey breast w/ a creamy honey mustard sauce, topped w/ tomato, onion & bacon].  

So even with this year’s Nor’easter bearing down on Little Rhody, we made our way to Fellini’s to wait in line with all the other loyal Fellini Followers to get our slice of heaven. 

We arrived late in the afternoon and felt fortunate that the line was manageable. Surprisingly we were still able to order a pie, but shortly after we ordered, the line began to grow and they announced that only slices remained because whole pies were sold out for the rest of the day. Whew…. 

So what is Thanksgiving Pizza? It’s whole wheat, thin crusted pie layered with all the holiday fixings that Thanksgiving dinner is famous for. First they spread a generous layer of mozzarella cheese onto the hand thrown dough.  Next, they pipe just the right amount of mashed potato over the cheese. Then, chunks of oven-roasted turkey are spread onto the pie along with spoonfuls of stuffing, and topped with a generous drizzle of turkey gravy. Cranberry sauce is optional and provided once the pie is served.  

Our large pie arrived hot and hearty. The cranberry sauce slathered on the slices was a sweet compliment to the savory flavor of sage in the stuffing along with the salty smoothness of the turkey gravy and mashed potatoes.  The thin crust was perfectly crispy, with a great chew to it.  It held up quite well considering the weight of the toppings. Fellinis figured out the perfect proportion of toppings considering the slices reheated perfectly later that night.  

Fellini Pizzeria

Fellini Pizzeria

We asked if all the Thanksgiving Day toppings were scratch-made, but Fellinis graciously and humorously avoided answering our question by saying that it was a secret recipe.  Regardless, the unique pie is a total holiday winner and I recommend making Thanksgiving Pizza a yearly tradition in November and the rest of the menu a tradition during the rest of the year!

 

Fellini Pizzeria 166 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI 02903 401-751-6737

Modern Bistro

Modern Bistro - Cumberland RI

Modern Bistro – Cumberland RI

During the 1980’s, American speculation suggested that fine French dining would displace its haughty attitudes with a more customer centric preference for lighter, more flexible and less provincial cuisine.  The birth of the American bistro was beginning to rise in popularity as restaurateurs began to weave the elegance of traditional French cuisine into the welcoming informalities of neighborhood restaurants.

Paris Picture - Modern Bistro

Paris Picture – Modern Bistro

The American Bistro therefore operates as our beloved caméléon café because casual, simple, elegant, romantic, affordable, fresh, creative and fun are all adjectives that can be used to describe the same restaurant.

The Modern Bistro in Cumberland, RI is a perfect fit within the community. The free-standing converted dining room is a welcoming space that mixes a bit of Parisian campiness with simplicity.  The menu offers a respectable selection of breakfast and lunch choices, and primarily focuses on locally/seasonally sourced ingredients.  In keeping with tradition, Modern Bistro  offers several creative crêpe varieties like Lemon & NY Style Ricotta for the sweet, and a fresh garden Ratatouille filled for the savory!

Modern's BLT

Modern’s BLT

Modern's BBQ Pulled Chicken

Modern’s BBQ Pulled Chicken

The strength from within the menu appears to be their artistic grilled sandwich selections. Modern Bistro  understands that the foundation that separates good sandwiches from great ones is the bread.  The freshest and most inventive ingredient combinations will always be overshadowed by the inadequacies of the fillings holder.  Modern Bistro uses freshly baked and crunchy sourdoughs, ciabattas, ryes, brioches, and a standout California bread (apricots, walnuts and figs).

On the recommendation of the owner Sabriea, we ordered Sabriea’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese (caramelized pears, baby spinach, Fontina, cheddar, with a fig spread) on the wickedly delicious California bread.  My thought was that if  a sandwich is named after its owner and it stinks, it could be a downward slide from that point! As expected and delivered, it was delicious and worthy of its namesake.

DaisyAdditionally, we ordered Modern’s BLT (applewood smoked bacon, vine ripened tomatoes, brushed with fresh herbed olive oil, baby spinach and fresh mozzarella with a smoked tomato mayo – on sourdough).  Applewood smoked bacon speaks to me, and is often difficult to pass up when creatively paired with complementary ingredients. The sandwiches are all accompanied by crunchy house-made chips and pickled cucumbers!

It is vital that we support our local restaurants through our patronage. There is a secure sense of community we feel when we congregate with friends and neighbors through meals, and often times, the restaurant owners are as “local” as you and me. The Modern Bistro is geographically poised to culinarily impact both the local and business communities, and my hope is that they continue to find ways to keep it fresh, affordable and creative.

Modern Bistro| 4077 Mendon Road | Cumberland, RI | (401) 658-0449

GPub

Gastronomy literally means “the art or law of regulating the stomach.”

Gpub SIgnageThe term “gastropub” is a mash-up of the terms gastronomy and pub, coined by David Eyre and Mike Belben when they took over The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, London. At that time British pubs were primarily drinking establishments and little emphasis placed on the serving of food. The idea of elevating the quality of the beer and food menus in order to secure existing customers, as well as attract new ones, reinvigorated the dining culture.

The gastropub phenomenon took off in the United States in the early 1990s as an artful alternative to the gut filling, alcohol absorbing cold Ploughman’s lunch (cheese, chutney, bread and pickled onions). The appeal of the gastropub is its ability to provide a comfortable, casual and welcoming atmosphere where socializing, laughing, eating great food, drinking micro-brews, shooting pool, throwing darts, and game day cheering is standard!

GPub  Smokerd BBQ Wings

GPub Smokerd BBQ Wings

Providence’s exciting down-city dining scene has been further enhanced by its newest ultra-fun, ultra-cool gastropub – GPub. The restaurant occupies the basement of the former Providence Gas Company and designed around the buildings original 1920′s framework. The speak-easy type atmosphere adds an exclusiveness you’ll feel while walking into the mysterious underground abyss. Take heed however, because that solemnness is quickly eliminated by the wicked party going on below street level!

GPub maintains an impressive beer selection broken down by taps, bottles and tins! I appreciated the fact that each beer had a corresponding brewing location and an ABV% (alcohol by volume). It makes sense to know which state is determined to wreck me by round three!

The menu pays homage to traditional pub food through its inclusion of snacks, starters, burgers and hot dogs, but in a completely artistic way.  The Chips & Spread are house made, with smoked paprika and cheddar ale spread.  The Slider Trio include a pulled- pork, lobster roll and a burger.  The Pigs in a Blanket is wild boar sausage, Kansas City mustard, pickled shallots, camembert cheese, and black pepper on a biscuit. Take that Cheers!

GPub Smoked Turkey Sandwich

GPub Smoked Turkey Sandwich

The Eiffel Tower Burger would make Parisians weep with pride. A double patty burger with mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffle mayo, gruyere cheese, and topped with a fried egg that delivers a win for the French! By contrast, the generally ordinary Smoked Turkey Sandwich turned out to be a shining example of what an excellent chef can create with simple ingredients. The fresh roasted turkey with smoked bacon mayo and camembert cheese was an excellent combination within a perfectly buttered -grilled sandwich.

From the location, to the celebratory atmosphere, to the outstanding food and beverage menu, GPub is the reason why people get excited about going out for the evening! I’m not sure if the “G” in GPub stands for Gastro Pub or for the Gas Company building in which it operates, but to me, the “G” stands for “GO!”

61 Orange St. | Providence, Rhode Island 02903 | Tel. 401-632-4782 | Speak Easy + Eat Well