Amuse-Bouche: north

l (2)

Tucked away in Luongo Square, you might find yourself standing in front of a tiny restaurant with soft lights shining through the window. Inside, you can make out a backlit bar with rows of obscure liquor bottles and, almost without a doubt, a crowd of hungry hopefuls waiting for a table. On the bottom right of the facade, you can vaguely make out a neon sign that reads “north” in blue script writing. Then you will know you’re in the right place.

north (sic), an Asian Fusion restaurant located in East Providence, has food that makes up in flavor twofold what the restaurant lacks in space. It offers dishes that are both irreverent and delicious; seemingly strange, yet expectation-shattering in the best way possible. The chef, James Mark, attributes the restaurant’s success to the collaborative forces that drive the culinary team. Starchefs.com calls Mark not a head chef, but the leader of “a collective, a group of cooks who are making great culinary and community strides in Providence.” The restaurant website features bios of every staff member from head chef to dishwasher; Mark emphasizes that a successful restaurant is only the product of its driven and talented staff members.

Chef James Mark of North – Providence, RI

The menu is small, but it changes daily based on seasonality. A slushie machine swirls behind the bar, filled with a daily alcoholic frozen concoction of the bartender’s choosing. A group of six diners sit at the bar, slurping down raw oysters served on a bed of crushed ice right in front of them. The five-or-so table restaurant is dimly lit and warm; the servers are dressed in ripped denim and clogs, undoubtedly with a facial piercing or two. Make sure you show up dressed casually – and with an appetite.

Due to the nature and size of the dishes, I have found that north is best experienced by going with a group of two or more. The plates vary in size, though most are closer to tapas-sized than full plates. That being said, the dishes also tend to be very rich, so a little often goes a long way. It is best to go with an adventurous group that also favors family-style-dining.

My most recent trip to north was no less exciting than the first meal I had there over a year ago. My two friends and I scoured the menu and, as usual, were able to identify only about half of the ingredients in each dish. (What exactly is quince jam and why do I want to eat it? Hoz-what?) Unfamiliarity aside, we had no issue choosing four dishes to share among us. In fact, the greatest challenge proved to be resisting the temptation to order everything.

Continue Reading


Sans Meal Plan: Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a great recipe to have on hand for those sans meal plan. It’s cheap, looks impressive, and is relatively easy — especially if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet. Although it’s traditionally served for breakfast, it can certainly function as one of those eggs-for-dinner dishes. The following is a shakshuka recipe adapted from Food52’s “Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used 1.5 boxes of crushed San Marzano tomatoes)
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste (I used Sriracha and a dallop of Sir Kensington’s ketchup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 large eggs

STEPS

In a deep-sided skillet or frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts, add your diced onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes at medium heat. Add your garlic and jalapeño, and sauté for about 1 more minute.

image1 Continue Reading


Sans Meal Plan: Broiled grapefruit with honey and brown sugar

grapefruit 1

My housemates and I put off our homework got creative this week and made an impromptu dessert dish. Our pantry just happened to have a surplus of grapefruits on the verge of rotting because they’re, like, really pretty. This recipe for broiled grapefruit with honey and brown sugar is almost mundanely easy, but it sounds fancy and impressive. (Confession: I had to Google what the broil setting on an oven exactly does.) Regardless, if you’re a fan of contrasting flavors and nutritional value, this recipe is for you. Continue Reading


Sans Meal Plan: Sweet Potato Waffles

A few days ago one of my housemates got a waffle maker, so we obviously decided to have a breakfast party. We learned that Ed Sheeran is quality waffle-making music and invited friends with a selfie stick and GoPro for added entertainment. These friends also helped with the the leftover-batter-problem and dreaded dishwasher-less clean up. But waffles are also cool for those sans meal plan because you can freeze them for later. However, we didn’t make ordinary waffles, we made sweet potato waffles. Here’s an easy recipe from Food52, so in the morning you’re makin’ waffles.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups pureed sweet potatoes

STEPS

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, ground ginger, and salt.

dry ingredients

Continue Reading


Sans Meal Plan: Avocado toast & eggs

Presenting the most basic (#basic) meal of 2014: avocado toast and eggs. This delicious and simple dish is a great option for breakfast, lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack; it requires minimal ingredients, can be made in under 10 minutes, and is trendy to boot.

IMG_0506

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1-2 eggs (depends on how hungry you are)
  • 1 piece toast (we prefer sesame Ezekiel)
  • Sriracha

STEPS

There are multiple ways to prepare the egg(s) for this dish – poached, scrambled, fried – but we’re big fans of the soft-boil. First, put a small bowl of cold water with a dash of salt into the freezer (you’ll need this later to shock the eggs).  Next, fill a small pot with enough water to fully cover an egg, and boil. Once boiling, drop the eggs carefully into the pot with a large spoon (slotted is best). Immediately set a timer for 6 minutes. Keep the water boiling, and reduce the heat in order to avoid overflow. If you prefer your eggs cooked more, consider setting the timer for 7 minutes. This is a great reference.

While the eggs boil, toast a slice of bread and halve an avocado. When the toast is ready, use a fork to smash the avocado (sans peel, duh) onto the bread. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

When the timer goes off, remove the eggs from the pot with the slotted spoon and drop into the bowl of cold water. Let sit for a minute, then gently peel the shell. The whites will be tender – they may crack, but it’s not the end of the world! Just try not to mess with the yolk, which should have the loose consistency of a sunny-side-up egg.

Place the peeled egg(s) on top of the avocado toast. Sprinkle with salt (and pepper if that’s your style), and drizzle with Sriracha. With a fork, gently break into the egg(s) and enjoy that glorious #yolkporn. Maybe a snap a few pics while you’re at it – you may want them for Instagram later, if you’re into that…

Enjoy with a knife and fork, or with your hands like an open-faced sandwich!

Image via Sydney Mondry ’15.

 


Sans Meal Plan: 50 Shades of Smoothie

For this round of Sans Meal Plan, we decided to take a more alternative route and make a variety of smoothies. You could even say we made a four-course smoothie meal. These can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, for dessert, or really at any moment that you’re craving silky frozen goodness and feeling blender-happy.

While we’d love to report that all four smoothies turned out spectacularly, we’re in the business of honesty. That being said, we’ll admit that one was pretty *controversial*. We will leave it to you to try them all for yourself and let us know what you think!

1) The Green Smoothie

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 1.31.55 PM

This is a classic and is so, so easy to make. The addition of kale in any smoothie makes it automatically nutritious (and #trendy). Even your skeptical friends will find it delicious – honestly, you can’t even taste the healthy!

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 frozen banana (peeled and chopped beforehand)
  • 1 cup of kale or spinach
  • A generous splash of almond milk (for a thicker consistency, add less; for a thinner consistency, add more)
  • A spoonful of nut butter (we chose almond)
  • 1 date, if you prefer a sweeter smoothie

Combine all ingredients and blend. How is easy is that?! That’s why we <33 smoothies.

We messed up so you don’t have to: We started strong and didn’t actually mess this one up. It was delish. You can also add ½ an avocado for a creamier texture and more filling breakfast, or frozen blueberries if you prefer a more tart smoothie. Be warned, though, that the latter addition will result in a scary purply-black color.

2) The Creamy Pineapple Berry Smoothie (from Roxy’s Kitchen)

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 1.32.42 PM

We decided to try this smoothie a) because it sounded yummy and b) because it looked so freaking pretty on the food blog. Unfortunately, we were not ambitious enough to make the smoothie exactly as our good friend Roxy instructed us to (no, we don’t know her), but it was still quite refreshing and definitely worth a try.

Continue Reading