Attention history buffs and foodies: you no longer have to enjoy your passions separately. Since May, Paula Silva of Rhode Island Red Food Tours combined these two passions into a three-hour walking tour in Newport. “We’ll start at a restaurant like Salvation Café, [and talk] about the history of the building, its business and the food we are about to eat,” Paula explains. “Then we’ll walk down the street where I talk a little about how it has come along through history, pointing out other restaurants, businesses and landmarks on the way. We will do this at several other locations along the route and have a variety of sweets and maybe a local beer. Then we’ll wrap up at the White Horse Tavern for a wonderful bit of tavern history and of course something special to end the day.”
Rhode Island Red Food Tours covers a diverse selection of restaurants, from cafes to pubs, to casual and formal dining on the tour. Paula has eight tours scheduled for July and is hoping for (and expecting) sellout crowds. Restaurants she plans on sampling include Salvation Café, VanGogh Pizza, White Horse Tavern, Washington Square Cafe & Baking Co., Perro Salado, Mission and Mudville Pub. “Everyone loves good food and it shouldn’t be treated like an elitist activity. Chefs want you to experience their creative dishes,” says Paula. “So whenever you can share great regional foods in a communal setting while learning about the local history and culture, it’s a great experience and is fun for everyone.”
Paula, a real estate agent, is very much in tune to happenings, trends and changes in local neighborhoods, such as the explosion of food businesses at Hope & Main’s food incubator, creative restaurants and food events popping up everywhere. As someone who eats out frequently, she also knows where the locals go and where the best food and prices are.
The tour is geared toward locals and visitors alike. For visitors, Paula recommends they take the tour at the beginning of their visit so that they have some knowledge of where to return to, and nine times out of ten they do return to have some of the signature dishes and cocktails they've sampled throughout the tour. For locals, you get a more in-depth view of an area typically seen as a tourist trap, but chances are you'll come back during the off season or on a sunny weekend. Either way, it’s a win-win.
“What a great source of pride it is when you’re sharing some of the principles on which Newport and RI were founded; it is so much a part of who we are as a country,” Paula beams. “Couple that with local and regional foods and you can learn a great deal about a place. Not to mention, after eating at six or seven places you will be happy to be walking it off!” 401-684-1110, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Oysters for the Masses
Fans of Pizzico Ristorante’s Italian and fusion cuisine will be psyched to know that they’ve just added an oyster bar to round out their menu. Although these half shell delectable delights are available all the time, take note to enjoy them Monday through Friday from 3-6pm and Sunday all night during happy hour – the half price appetizers during this time are sure to be a nice accompaniment too. To top it off, you can enjoy all of this al fresco, and really, what’s better than that this time of year? 308 County Road, Barrington. 308 County Road, Barrington. 401-247-0303
Truckin' in Flavor
If you’re itching to try area food trucks but don’t have the time to go chasing after them, there’s a solution for you. Every other Wednesday from 6-9pm through September 23, the Residence Inn Marriot Middletown Newport hosts their Local Flavors Food Truck Series. It’s open to locals as well as hotel visitors. Expect to savor Mijos Tacos on July 1, Rocket Fine Street Food on July 15 and Acacia Café on July 29. 325 W Main Road, Middletown. www.foodtrucksin.com/organization/residence-inn-marriott-newportmiddletown