Your February Food News

The Shop at Fox Point's hot cocoa fest, Avenue N comes to Hope Street, first-ever RI VegFest

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If variety is the spice of life, then life at The Shop is filled with zest – and we don’t just mean their orange-flavored hot chocolate, garnished with an edible dehydrated orange slice, although that’s a great place to start.

“January and February are quiet months – everyone is working, cold, and at their computers, so we wanted to do something fun,” says owner Diana Murton. She and her husband, JP, developed a competition of sorts: Every week they release a new flavor of hot chocolate, and at the end of the festival, customers vote on their favorite. The winning flavor is added to the menu until spring.

As a bonus, every recipe is made with clean ingredients. “We have fun – but we still do it our way,” Diana says.

Past winners include Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Samoa, with toasted coconut, chocolate, and caramel drizzle. -Jenny Currier

Almost a decade ago, Avenue N opened its doors adjacent to the Rumford Center Lofts in the former Rumford Baking Powder Mill, the perfect setting for the contemporary bistro. Owners Tracy and Nick Rabar describe the restaurant as “a lively mix of city sophistication and small-town warmth.” And, as of January, they’ve planted themselves in the heart of the East Side.

The second Avenue N inhabits the former Cook & Brown, which closed its doors in late 2018. The Providence menu consists of staples like their signature Brussels sprouts, pizzas, burgers, chicken, and scallops, as well as some seasonal changes. Plus, the restaurant features a small retail area offering the 100 percent locally made products that are the cornerstone of their sister business The Pantry (located next door to their restaurant in Rumford). -Gina Mastrostefano

Introducing RI VegFest – the “first-ever exhibition of vendors, nonprofit organizations, restaurants, bars, cookbook authors, local vegan celebs, and more” in Rhode Island, and “committed to bringing the idea of a plant-based lifestyle to the broader food community,” according to founding partner Jim Nellis, of RI FOOD FIGHTS.

“RI VegFest is Robin Dionne’s passion project,” says Nellis. “We met six years ago working on TEDxPVD and have been conceptualizing this event ever since.” Presenting partners include The Grange, Garden Grille, and Wildflour Vegan Bakery, as well as sponsors Plant City, The Dorrance, Julian’s, and New Harvest Coffee Roasters.

Nellis plans on using RI FOOD FIGHTS’ monster social media presence to help the cause. “The vegan business community is preaching to the choir within the vegan community. Our fanbase is everyone else.”

RI VegFest will take place on February 23 from 12-4pm in the WaterFire Arts Center. -Chuck Staton

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