Food News: Sweet and savory crepes in Warren, traveling empanadas made with love, and a new BBQ sauce perfect for fall grilling

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Sweet and savory crepes for the whole fam

With colorful fruit and veggie ingredients and vibrant walls painted with funky shapes, the Happy Place Creperie lives up to its name. Owner Aleksandar Janjic, a father of three, designed this new Warren cafe to be family-friendly and cheerful, featuring plenty of options for the kiddos. “With crepes as a staple item, food offerings are planned to be very fun and easy to love,” he says, listing a menu of sweet but also savory crepes, which Janjic is particularly excited about folks giving a try. Think avocado with ricotta cheese, basil pesto, and pumpkin seeds or oven-roasted turkey breast and brie.

Despite only being open just over a month, Janjic says, “We already have many returning guests from all over the East Bay, enjoying their lunch, evening treat, or weekly gathering at our space regularly.” Gluten-free varieties are in the works, too, and you can wash down your favorite berry jam or goat cheese crepe with Lavazza coffee and, soon, even a milkshake. Warren

 

Matilda RI trucks big flavors around the Ocean State

Founded by Johnson & Wales alum (and first generation Rhode Islander) Tony Lugo, Matilda RI is a family-owned food truck that pays homage to their abuelita (grandmother), dishing out drool-worthy pastelitos and empanadas to hungry fans across the state.

Lugo developed a vegan dough that is a perfect balance of crispy and flakey. The insides are stuffed with items like Los Tres Golpes (a spin on the traditional Dominican breakfast dish) and crowd-favorite Jamón y Queso made with slow-roasted pernil (pork shoulder). The Royalé, a sweet pastelito made with Nutella, fresh strawberries, and bananas, will satisfy any sweet tooth. What’s Abuelita’s secret? Her special sazón (seasoning) and “love,” according to Claudia Esp, Lugo’s big sister and Matilda’s brand manager: “We want every customer to feel that joy and love with every bite of one of our hearty pastelitos and empanadas.” Look for Matilda RI’s truck at Twelve Guns Brewing and other locations around the state. 

 

Fall grilling with a sweet BBQ sauce for beer lovers

As chillier New England days approach, there’s nothing quite like savoring the last few light-jacket evenings with a fall cookout, which must have been what The Backyard Food Company had in mind when they teamed up with Massachusetts-based Night Shift Brewing to create the Whirlpool Tangy Peach BBQ Sauce. Blended with the subtle sweetness of fresh peaches and Night Shift’s flagship Whirlpool Hazy New England Pale Ale, The Backyard Food Company’s tangy signature BBQ finds new complexity and depth with these rich flavors. The result? A sauce perfect for smothering on anything from chicken wings and steak tips to pull-apart pork.

What began as a suburban garden maintained by co-owners Matt McClelland and Louby Sukkar is now an award-winning RI-based specialty foods brand turning fresh produce into tasty jams, salsas, and sauces. The Backyard Food Company’s products can be found at Dave’s Marketplace and local grocery stores all over the state, and this latest collab is popping up on the shelves at Whole Foods Market.  

 

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