Air travel has become more of a cattle drive than anything else these days and HG/BSK suffered mightily on route to Providence (and then to Paris). Un-explainable delays, arbitrary security issues and airports, like airliners, that usually represent the lower depths of cuisine. A delightful exception is Vino Volo wine bar which has locations in many US terminals. Delayed overnight in Baltimore, HG/BSK had a lovely casual meal at Vino Volo while awaiting a plane to Providence (and then to Paris). Had a flight of reds (Argentine Malbec, Spanish Tempranillo, Washington State Barbera) with a charcuterie/cheese/nuts/ dried fruit platter and a surpassing good bowl of cavatelli with a Mascarpone sauce and prosciutto. The Barbera was so good that it merited some full glasses. A Charles Smith product, HG will seek it in wine shops.
HG/BSK finally arrived at the welcoming Riverside, R.I. home of daughter Lesley R. and her husband, Massimo. All of the travel annoyances vanished as HG/BSK (and L and M) entered O Dinis for dinner. O Dinis is a homey, family run Portuguese restaurant in East Providence. Quirky decor highlighted by animal heads, cooking utensils and antique radios. Brisk waitpersons. Happy groups dealing with big platters of food. For HG, it brought back memories of the cheap, garlic fragrant eateries of HG’s young manhood in New York. O Dinis is a throwback, or as the late Yogi Berra put it:”Deja vu all over again.” Giant portions. Pungent sauces laden with loads of garlic. Very cheap. The quartet ordered two appetizers and two main dishes. A bottle of Vinho Verde. A bottle of Portuguese red. Four dishes. More than enough. These were the dishes: Big pot of steamed littleneck clams in sauce (garlic, parsley, clam broth); grilled Seppie in another fragrant garlic sauce; plump grilled sardines with boiled potatoes and salad; traditional Portuguese dish of clams, pork and potatoes. One dessert (a flan for HG). The cost for this feast (with wine and tip) was less than 25 bucks a person. An affordable fun feast.
The culinary redemption came to an abrupt halt upon entering the Air France airplane. Food was the usual glop. Not for the first time, HG wondered why airlines can’t serve cheese, fruit and crackers instead of mushy pasta or sad chicken. European carriers, whether French, German, English or Italian, share a common tradition: Disgusting food.