Monday, July 5, 2010

Rhode Island cuisine

Besides NY, I have some in-laws living in Rhode Island. My wife is originally from there, so we go back to visit during the summers, and that's where I am right now. They have a couple of culinary adventures in RI that have to be sampled to be believed, and I make a point of renewing my acquaintance with them whenever I'm in the neighborhood.

The first is Del's lemonade, which is frozen lemonade unlike any other. This isn't a snow-cone with lemon flavor. It's made with lemons, filtered water and sugar, and the consistency of the ice is unlike any other slush I've had—very fine stuff with lemon bits in it. It's a white slush—they don't add artificial colors to it to make it yellow—and the flavor is subtle and natural. And yummy. Divinely so. Best frozen drink EVAH.

They're in fourteen states now, not just Rhode Island. You can check out their website here, but this is the place I go to in Lincoln:

The other Rhode Island gastronomical adventure ride is the New York System Wiener. The locals will call them "gaggers," but if you're going to pronounce that like a local you have to forget about the r and pronounce it "gaggahs." A New York System Wiener is a long tube of Grade C or D meat (mmm!!) unceremoniously chopped into five-inch lengths, slapped into a bun and dressed with chili sauce, mustard, onions, and celery salt. Here's what they look like:
There's a wiener buried underneath all that sauce, I swear it. Now, they're sorta tiny, and some people cram the whole thing in their mouth at once (hence the term "gaggers") so you have to buy yourself three or more. The wiener places make a bunch of them at a time, but how they make them is amusing (or revolting, depending on your point of view). See, they stack 'em up on a dude's arm to slather 'em with chili and onions and so on:
So really one of the unlisted ingredients in a NY System Wiener is Arm Sauce. If you go into one of the big joints you'll find them using a prophylactic arm sleeve now for public safety, but where's the charm in that? To truly appreciate this cuisine you need the wild-card flavor of a dude's hairy forearm, and a lot of the smaller places still do it this way when they think the health inspector's not looking. Consequently, the tiny shops serve the best wieners. Heh! So if you ever make it up/down to Rhode Island, latch onto a local like a lamprey (See Fig. 1) and have them take you to a Del's stand and a small wiener place where they make the wieners the old-fashioned manly way. It's a good time.
Figure 1: Lamprey Love

Hope everyone had a swell holiday weekend. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like the lemon drinks at Eegee's. I miss the States!