I am so fortunate to live where I live. All within a ten minute walk from my home, I have access to delicious Indian, Thai, Italian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tex-Mex (and the list goes on) restaurants. Living near a college campus is pretty sweet, especially due to the diversity that exists in terms of good eats.
The only problem with having so much good food around us is that often, it takes us forever to go back to our favorite local restaurants because we are so busy trying everything else. Last January, my husband and I had a memorable meal at Noodles 102 on Ives Street and we vowed to return their asap. Of course, it kind of fell off our radar because we were so intent on taking advantage of all the other restaurants we live near. Fortunately, at the suggestion of two of our great friends, my husband and I were finally able to return to Noodles 102 this past weekend. While I gave it a rave review last time, I have to say, it was even better this time around!
Again– to have a noodle house in Providence just two minutes from my house is a blessing. Noodles 102 is a small, easy-to-miss restaurant whose specialty, of course, is noodles, both in pan-fried and soup versions. Best of all, Noodles 102 is extremely vegan and gluten-free friendly, offering a whole list of gluten-free noodles.
When we went to Noodles 102 for the first time, our focus was on the entrees and not so much on the apps. I did order my favorite vegetarian nime chow, but other than that, we failed to try the many other vegan appetizers on the menu. Fortunately, our friends were down with trying a bunch of apps, so we were able to try a few more items.
First up, we sampled their Asian cucumbers. I have to say, I have a feeling I will crave this for a long time now. Spicy, vinegary and sweet, these cucumbers were seasoned beyond perfection. And they were so refreshingly crunchy too! Those cucumbers were a total win.
It was imperative to order their nime chow, stuffed to the brim with rice noodles, veggies, mint and tofu and served with the classic peanut sauce. In fact, we asked for two orders so we could sufficiently get our fill. Seriously– I declared if before and will do so again– it is the best nime chow I have ever had.
The most pleasant surprise though were the pan-fried veggie dumplings. I heart dumplings, but only have ever had them steamed. What was I thinking? Pan-fried is definitely where it’s at! They were crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside and bursting with flavor. I am officially obsessed with their dumplings, period.
I just had to get a noodle bowl for my entree. I ordered their black rice noodles with tofu and veggies in a vegetarian broth. Don’t let this picture fool you– the bowl was huge! After I doused it in sriracha, I slurped away happily for quite a while, but still could only eat about half! It was the ideal meal for a cold, blustery night. Yum.
What’s super cool was that I was able to take home the rest of my soup and they gave me a whole extra container of just the broth itself, so I could bulk up my leftovers! I thought that was an awesome courtesy.
Noodles 102 is seriously a treasure. Especially in the winter months, it is the epitome of comfort food. You can’t help but leave feeling all warm and cozy, wanting to do nothing more than go home, put on some pajamas and get the fireplace going!
After dinner, we didn’t end up going home right away, but we certainly did the next best thing! My friends suggested a drink, and we found ourselves at the Duck and Bunny: A Snuggery. I would say going to a “snuggery” is certainly an acceptable substitute for going home to a roaring fire, wouldn’t you say?
I ended up getting a decaf Americano to sip (and yes, we were seated by a fire). The Duck and Bunny specializes in cupcakes, and they even have a vegan one, but unfortunately, they ran out of that variety. But I was fine with that– it was just fun to chat by the fire with my husband and friends!
All in all, it was such a great night. We plan on going back to Noodles 102 in January– in fact, we put it in the calendar already! I can’t risk letting another year pass before I go back!
What are your favorite Asian appetizers? Nime chow will always be number one for me, but those dumplings and cucumbers are certainly giving the old standby a run for its money!