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Great Grab-and-Go Holiday Food in RI + Where To Get It

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Bring a delicious platter of antipasto and be the hero of any holiday party.

The list of soirees you’ve RSVP’d to is piling up. What’s a social butterfly to do? Count on one of these local lifesavers to do the prep work for you, while you prepare to take the credit for the “Ooh!”s and “Yum!”s. Of course, since it’s the busy season, we recommend calling ahead to place your order.

Antipasto from Heaven

Before you do battle with the traffic on Federal Hill, consider Pauly Penta’s, a tad off the beaten path in North Providence. Penta’s is the go-to deli for those in the know – when the ladies in line in front of you are speaking fluent Italian, you know you’ve come to the right place.  What better to satisfy the masses than a platter of prosciutto, salami, provolone cheese, roasted peppers and olives all topped with Penta's house-made dressing. Penta’s features three platter sizes ranging from $35 (for 12-15 people) to $75 (serving 40-45). They also feature additional choices on a holiday pick-up menu. 1290 Mineral Spring Ave, North Providence, 401-722-3222.

Super Sushi

For those who love it (and who doesn’t?), sushi is never out of season, and it’s an unexpected treat at a holiday party or dinner. At Whole Foods Market in Cranston, the sushi chefs will design a platter that is sure to make a splash. You can choose from all raw, all cooked, all vegetarian, or a combo, and anywhere from 40 (about $38) to 100 (about $100) pieces, depending on what kinds of sushi or nigiri you choose (you can even customize according to the type of rice used). 151 Sockanosset Cross Rd, Cranston, 401-942-7600.

Gouda for You

Cheese is never wrong... in fact it's the rightest thing there is. And Le Petit Gourmet's selection is divine for any occasion.

The selection is fairly small—a few dozen cheeses to choose from at any given time. But oh, how perfect they are. An award-winning yet unusual cheddar? Check. A rare, seasonal blue? Done. An addictive gouda? Sure. All the accoutrements to make it a meal? Oh, yes. Newport’s Le Petit Gourmet features cheese platters that run from $25 to $100 and will feature three to five varieties of cheeses, nuts, dried fruit and a fresh sliced baguette. You can choose the cheeses yourself if you wish, or leave it to the experts here. And if you need something for a bigger crowd, that’s no problem either. Le Petite Gourmet also features great spreads and oils to make that platter sing.  26 Bellevue Ave, Newport, 401-619-3882.

Sweet Chalet

The Food Chalet has been providing West Bay folks with tasty, highest-quality provisions since before cheese went trendy and chocolate went artisan. Whether you need a cheese and salami tray, fresh breads, mini-sandwiches or a wide array of hot foods, the Food Chalet can deftly handle just about anything. The real star here, though? That’s easy -- the stuffed breads. Every culture has a version of savory foods baked in pastry and the Food Chalet has taken the Italian version, the calzone, and somehow improved upon it. Choose from ham and cheese, eggplant parmesan, meatball or pepperoni and cheese – and the best part? They are an absolute steal at $12.50 for 20-22 slices. The Chalet can also help in a pinch if you realize you need a large urn of coffee or a last minute chafing dish to prevent any kitchen nightmares. 874 Post Rd, Warwick, 401-467-9169.

Sweet Dreams

Announce to your hostess that you’ve brought a cake from Pastiche to her party and watch the gratitude -- and hunger -- surface in her eyes. The Federal Hill bakery-café has been providing sweet endings for Rhode Islanders for two decades, and they never fail to impress. There a more than a dozen beautiful choices, but at this time of year, the Italian Mascarpone Torte seems right. This is Pastiche's version of tiramisu -- light sponge cake brushed with espresso and layered with mascarpone filling and cocoa, then covered with coffee buttercream.  If cookies are more your speed, check in around the corner at the iconic Scialo Brothers Bakery. Homemade Italian Christmas cookies are the rule here and platters of them are stacked to the ceiling. Pastiche, 92 Spruce St, Providence, 401-861-5190; Scialo Brothers Bakery, 257 Atwells Ave, Providence, 401-421-0986.

Butcher, Baker, Side Dish Maker

Persimmon Provisions is Barrington’s go-to spot for sublime cuts of meat. So if you stop in to pick up your standing rib roast, look for a small but notable selection of side dishes to scoop up, too. While the choices will depend on what’s fresh that day, count on the likes of glazed onions, sweet potatoes, parsnip and potato purees, and maybe even some sauces and soups, all made at the expert hands of Chef Champe Speidel. 338 County Rd, Barrington, 337-5885.


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