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Reviews: Providence, RI and Chicago

Well, sort of.

Business trips are a strange thing.  I often spend most of my time in the hotel, eating whatever is available in the restaurant, because of timing or energy or a combination of the above.  I stayed at the Biltmore in Providence, and ate there twice– the restaurant inside is a McCormick and Schmick’s.  I was actually somewhat impressed– they used a lot of local seafood (I loved the calamari Rhode Island style, which is tossed with sweet and hot peppers) and had a really great oyster selection (yes, we made Quahog jokes) and now have joined Oceanaire in serving king crab legs acquired from boats on The Deadliest Catch (McCormick and Schmick’s appears to have a contract with The Early Dawn, while Oceanaire contracts with The Time Bandit).  I didn’t try it at Oceanaire, but had some at McCormick and Schmick’s– very sweet and tender.  They also do a mean cocktail.  I love classic cocktails, and their Old Fashioned is the best I’ve had.  I wish more local restaurants would specialize in classic cocktails.

Ri Ra in Providence was a really nice, upscale Irish pub– along the lines of the Pub at Rookwood Mews.  Really great selection (cider!), warm, comfortable surroundings– I just love Irish pubs.

Aspire in Providence also did a mean cocktail, and was a beautiful restaurant with an interesting menu.  It was a big group dinner, however, so any details would be totally different if you were to dine there, and not really worth reviewing.

In Chicago, I ended up eating at the Marriott, Harry Caray’s and House of Blues.  The conference I attended rented out the House of Blues for the evening, and they did some pretty nice pulled pork (great crowd-pleaser), appetizers such as egg rolls and coconut shrimp, and Cajun-style pasta.  The venue itself is really impressive, with a great house band.  I’d like to try it sometime when an A-list act is there.

Harry Caray’s is a classic steakhouse– and I ate a salad.  I am seriously boring.  I did, however, get a shot of the cow with Harry Caray glasses on.  It was really only good enough to send to Terry via my phone.

I was surprised to find out that the Marriott I stayed at in Chicago (on the Michigan) was very into using locally sourced, organic food– not something I expect out of a chain hotel.  What I ate there (chicken salad, Asian chicken salad) were pretty good, particularly for hotel restaurant food.

(And, in Cincinnati, why is the only Peet’s at the airport?  Peet’s is way better than Starbuck’s.)

So how do you guys survive, eating-wise, while traveling for business?

Ri Ra on Urbanspoon

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood on Urbanspoon

Aspire on Urbanspoon

House of Blues on Urbanspoon

Harry Caray's on Urbanspoon




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