Newport’s Historical Food Tour

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The first Culinary Arts Club event of the year was painfully good. Van Gogh’s veggie pizza, falafel and cheesecake eggrolls featured prominently, with cookies and calamari making cameo appearances. The trip was stuffed not just with amazing local delicacies, but also an unexpectedly hands-on amount of information. The head chef at the White Horse Tavern, for instance, delighted us all by serving cinnamon-y fried cheesecake goodness for an entrée, before showing us a whole raw pig’s head for dessert. And, while I opted for the vegetarian falafel option at Mission, by the end of our trip, I certainly had a better appreciation for the homemade hotdogs served there.

By the time we rolled onto the bus, Newport had revealed culinary secrets previously unbeknownst to me. Not only are there a plethora of amazing restaurants all within absurd proximity of each other, but they are also filled with friendly, down-to-earth and sustainably oriented people. The trip put numerous new restaurants on my mental map of Newport: probably too many for either my wallet or my stomach. Max Bogan

Who said sailors couldn’t eat well? The culinary industry of Newport ensures hearty meals and bursting bellies. Restored speakeasies and historical taverns evade the average tourists but shine beacons for culinary enthusiasts.   Irreplaceable restaurants hide alongside parks and in alleyways within walking distance from the main Newport attractions. Newport famously retains rich history within its borders, but none like the White Horse Tavern. As the oldest tavern in America, the head chef sees it his responsibility to uphold a name that frequents the top restaurants list. Serving classic New England cuisine and creative fine dining, he keeps the menu fresh like his produce. The delicious food not only attracts customers, but the rich history as well. The founding fathers allegedly held secret revolutionary meetings over a drink in the tavern. But the tavern dates back almost 100 years before that. Such an animated history does not go unnoticed. Rumors of supernatural activity haunt the dark, small and isolated third floor. Unnatural happenings and figures occur at an eerie rate. Since pirates rampaged the New England ports back in the 18th century, some could very well have stopped by, eaten a great meal, and never left. –David Ingraham

The Culinary Arts Club went on its first food-filled adventure of the year beginning with a tour of local Newport restaurants. Despite having been to Newport on various occasions, I had never been to or even heard of most of the places we ate at before the Food Tour.  In addition to the culinary education, we were given a crash-course in Newport’s impressive history.

One of the restaurants we went to was called Perro Salado where we had the Sticky Pork Ribs.  They were easily the best ribs I have ever eaten, which is saying a lot considering I am from the South and have had authentic Memphis-style ribs. The meat fell clean off the bone and had a distinctly sweet flavor (probably due to the mixture of Coca-Cola and brown sugar that it was marinated in,) and the pickled onions were the perfect bit of acidity and crunch to brighten up the whole dish and add a bit of texture. (Over Columbus Day weekend, my friends and I went back to Perro Salado just to have those ribs again, and they did not disappoint.)

We went to the White Horse Tavern last for a bit of dessert where the chef actually came out to give us a bit of history on the building before we got to try his cheesecake-filled egg rolls that were inspired by his son. They were absolutely delicious and much more fun than a traditional cheesecake.  The egg roll itself was fried and rolled in brown sugar and cinnamon and served with macerated berries and a caramel sauce.

 

Afterwards, we were able to see the kitchen and learn about where the ingredients come from, and we learned about the importance of establishing relationships with farmers in the culinary world. I had never been on a food tour before, or even knew that they existed, but they are a great way to immerse oneself in a city’s culinary culture.

Anjli Patel

 

The food tour we took of Newport just showed me an entire new side to the city. No longer will I wander up and down Thames Street, visiting the same three restaurants over and over again! From Coca-Cola ribs at Perro Salado to cheesecake eggrolls at the White Horse Tavern, we encountered a bunch of totally unique foods, and I want to try them all again at least once before graduation. Learning about the history of the town added a lot to the experience, and knowing the story behind every dish makes it taste even better. I hope I’ll get plenty of opportunities to enjoy the food and history of Newport in the future. –Rosie Randolph

 

It was a perfect Autumn day for the Newport Food Tour. Our first stop was Brick Alley Pub, where they served the group calamari. I have never humored the idea of trying any kind of seafood, but I decided to take a few bites of the calamari served with banana peppers and a delicious mayo sauce. On our walk to and from the restaurants our guide provided us with a plethora of Newport history and stories, while we looked at monumental buildings and landmarks. We tried the Great White Pizza from Van Gogh’s on Broadway, coleslaw dogs from Mission, chocolate chip cookies from Washington Square Bakery, and cheesecake spring rolls from White Horse Tavern.  My favorite dish was the sticky pork ribs from a small Mexican restaurant, Perro Salado. The ribs were marinated in coke and brown sugar, and garnished with cilantro and pickled onions. Our entire group admired the warm upstairs of the restaurant while eating this amazing dish. Overall, the food tour was a success, and we learned tips and secrets from the chef from the White Horse Tavern, who also gave us an exciting tour of the kitchen. — Cassie Schuchert

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Up ‘til last week, my impressions of Newport were pretty bare.  It was the closest spot for off-campus eating, shopping, and walking around, but I had preconceived notions since freshman year that it was too expensive to visit regularly.  Not until after the Food Tour was I able to appreciate the town’s rich-history and affordable yet superb restaurants. The diversity and cuisine of the restaurants clearly showed a booming culinary scene.  My two favorite restaurants were Van Gogh Pizza and Mission.  At Van Gogh, the marinara sauce from Max’s vegetarian pizza really struck a chord with my taste buds.  I also loved the incorporation of a garlic bread crust with the great white pizza.  I look forwarding to going back on my own time and trying the Sweet Berry Farm Apple Pizza.  At Mission, I tasted my first gourmet hot dog.  The coleslaw topping was so satisfying that I didn’t douse it in any ketchup, which is usually my go-to condiment.  Overall, the food tour was a brilliant way to start off the year in a setting many Abbey students know well, and I can’t wait to go back and revisit the restaurants.  – Lucy Ferry

 

I did not know that Newport had such great restaurants hidden on its premises. We tasted a variety of cuisine ranging from Pizza to Fine Dining. I marveled at the creativity that the chefs puts into their dishes. I would have never thought of techniques such as braising pork ribs in coca cola and wrapping cheesecake in wonton paper. My favorite dish on the tour was the pork ribs. By braising it for so long the meat had an extremely tender texture, making it fall apart in my mouth. Also, the marinade permeated all the way through the meat giving it an equally balanced taste. The chili oil on the top gave it a spicy aftertaste as well. I was impressed with the overall technique used in the dish. The visual, taste, and texture were phenomenal.

 

Apart from the food, I was intrigued to learn where chefs acquire their resources. The idea of local farming is valuable in the sense that it benefits everyone. By increasing local trade, it improves the local economy, and the restaurants could get cheaper prices on goods. The chef from the White Horse Tavern showed us the advantages of local farming and how he gets cheaper prices on mushrooms than anyone else.

I loved the whole tour, and I think it showed the culinary aspect of Newport very well. – Sam Choi

We started our Culinary Arts Club year with a trip to Newport for a food tour. The tour was given by Rhode Island Red Food Tours, focusing on the lesser-known restaurants of Newport. We tried everything from calamari and homemade hotdogs to cheesecake eggrolls and a few things in between. Most of the restaurants we visited focused on knowing exactly where their food came from by supporting local farms and suppliers. We visited Van Gogh Pizza which creatively names all their pizzas and sandwiches after local attractions and strives to use local ingredients whenever possible. Chef Silvia from the White Horse Tavern took time to talk to us about his philosophy and cooking. He showed us around his kitchen, including specialty mushrooms grown by a local farmer and a pig’s head that will be used for headcheese as well as special bacon from the jowls. All the food we sampled was incredible, and I am looking forward to my next trip to Newport so that I can continue to explore its food and history! — Hannah Banderob

 

On Sunday, the Culinary Arts Program was able to dive into the new school year with a food tour of the various restaurants in Newport. As a group, we visited six different restaurants starting with Brick Alley Pub. We were served an amazing fried calamari dish with a moderately spicy mayo as well as slices of pepperoncini pepper. The calamari was cooked to perfection as it was not only golden brown, but contained the perfect amount of crisp that I as an Italian American would expect from such a dish. A group favorite was the cheesecake eggrolls served at the oldest restaurant in the country, the White Horse Tavern. Cheesecake in the middle of a golden eggroll with cinnamon sugar topped off with a creamy caramel drizzle and fruits on the edges of the plate hit the spot at the end of a long day of food tasting. — Anthony Christian

We went on a food tour of Newport and toured various restaurants that illustrate the diversity of Newport’s cuisine. It was a good time, rich with history, culture and food. The restaurants that we visited were very comfortable and all of the food was amazing, from a very new up-and-coming pizza place, Van Gogh’s, to the White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in America. We were all full after the tour and all very content with the tastings. Overall, it was an awesome afternoon celebrating the culture and food of Newport. Nick Natalin

 

“I refuse to go to school dining hall ever again” was my very first comment after the Newport food adventure on Sunday with the Culinary Club.

As the bus travelled down the familiar road and the familiar colonial houses, Newport, my second home, immediately energized me and filled me with excitement. Having lived on Aquidneck Island for three years and going to Newport almost every weekend, I learnt the precise location of every single store and diner like the alphabet. At least, I naively thought so.

In the middle of the park in front of the parking lot, an elegant lady had been waiting for us. The lady introduced herself and the tour to all the club members before we marched toward the first destination, Brick Alley, with empty and growling stomachs. Having been in the Helly Hansen and Banana Republic beside it at least fifty times, I immediately recognized the restaurant but could not recall its name.

The traditional American style restaurant aroused my interest while the fried calamari with the magical creamy sauce mesmerized my senses immediately. The creamy but spicy sauce created a diversity of flavor while the crispiness of calamari’s fried surface and its resilient taste clashed in my mouth. The deliciousness and beauty of the food made me oblivious of the school and the pressure and indulged my gustation. I greedily consumed half of the plate.

Mission, one of the other restaurants we ventured into also captured my attention. Judging from its outside appearance, the restaurant seemed common and relatively small. However, its interior design and cuisine soon proved me totally wrong. The wooden and bright colored furnishing of the restaurant reflected a simple but modern style, creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere, while the hot dog we had exhibited creativity and uniqueness. Unlike any other regular hotdogs, instead of being soggy and cold, its bread remained crispy and warm while a vegetable salad and ketchup decorated the dog, creating a fusion of coolness, warmness, crispness, softness, sweetness and saltiness. It was the best hotdog I have ever had in my life.

Throughout the tour, we went to six restaurants in total, appreciating six special delicacies and learning about the food industry as well as the history of Newport. Go try them yourselves if you don’t believe my words. Everyone deserves such an amazing experience at least once in his or her life. –Kevin Jiang

 

 

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