News Bites: CHI Kitchen Wins Gold / ISCO Expands into Massachusetts / Blackstone Valley Culinary News

by David Dadekian
Published: Updated:

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

CHI Kitchen Wins Gold Award in 2022 sofi™ Awards

Nearly 2,000 Products Competed for the Top Specialty Food Association Award

CHI Kitchen Fermented Sesame Slaw Sofi Award

Fermented Sesame Slaw has won a GOLD Award in the Pickles & Olives category  as part of the Specialty Food Association (SFA) 2022 sofi™ Awards, a top honor in the $170.4 billion specialty food industry. 

Chi Kitchen’s Fermented Sesame Slaw selected by a panel of specialty food experts from nearly 2,000 entries across 53 product categories. Products are judged on taste, including flavor, appearance, texture and aroma, ingredient quality, and innovation. All tastings are anonymous and are held at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center.

“We are honored that our Fermented Sesame Slaw has won a Gold Award,” says Minnie Luong, Founder and CHI-EO of CHI Kitchen. “To know that our product stands out from the crowd in a blind tasting gives us the confidence to continue innovating and growing in our category with our naturally probiotic-packed, gut healthy fermented vegetables. This is one of the ultimate stamps of approval and we’re very grateful and excited for all the winners.” Fermented Sesame Slaw can be found at Whole Foods North Atlantic, independent retail stores and food service establishments all throughout New England and online at

The Sofi Awards are open to members of the SFA, and have been given each year since 1972. Winners will be showcased at the 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show, running June 12-14, at the Javits Center in New York City. Open only to the trade, it is the largest East Coast B2B-only specialty food and beverage show. For more information, visit

The World’s First Vodka Distilled with Oysters Is Now Available in Massachusetts

The Industrious Spirit Company Announces Expansion into MA Market with their Vodkas, Gins and Bourbons

The Industrious Spirit Company's Ostreida

Today, The Industrious Spirit Company (ISCO) announced their expansion into Massachusetts. Their recent launch of Ostreida, the first vodka distilled with oysters in the United States and possibly the world, went viral online and has created a pent-up demand for the product that the company is excited to fulfill just in time for summer in New England. To celebrate the new state launch, ISCO has distilled a special batch of the product using Powder Point Oysters from Duxbury, MA. Ostreida is a flagship product for ISCO as it encapsulates their creative approach to spirits, creating new and original products from classic ingredients and techniques. 

“Ostreida is a unique expression of the fundamental elements of earth and ocean, perfectly captured in a bottle, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to share this quintessentially New England product with our neighbors in Massachusetts,” said Manya K. Rubinstein, CEO of ISCO. “Ostreida brings a savory and briny seacoast minerality with a subtle hint of bivalve bouquet on the nose that mixes sublimely with our spirits’ signature buttery texture and creamy finish—it makes a killer martini and an amazing Bloody Mary, and is just perfect for summer sipping!”

Since each small batch of Ostreida is produced with oysters from a specific farm, each bottle now comes with a neck tag highlighting the farm’s location and date of harvest. ISCO cares deeply about sustainability, working with a regional regenerative farm to grow the organic corn they use for the base of their spirits and donating a portion of all bottle sales of Ostreida to GreenWave, an organization that works to scale sustainable ocean farming.

In addition to Ostreida, ISCO is making its creamy, smooth sipping Structural Vodka, lovingly hand-distilled from organic corn, as well as its modern-style botanically-focused Ornamental Gin available to the Massachusetts market immediately, with bourbon barrel aged gin and bourbons, such as Blue Velvet, made from two different types of sustainably farmed blue corn from the US and Mexico, to come in the future. 

“I am excited to have the opportunity to add Ostreida and ISCO’s vodkas and gins to our portfolio of independent beverage brands,” said Caitlin McGarrahan, the director of Origin, a division of Horizon Beverage that is dedicated to handcrafted products. “In such a saturated industry, it is rare that we get an opportunity to bring true “firsts” to market—we believe this product is going to become an instant summer in New England classic, especially out on the islands and at restaurants with a seafood focus” 

In celebration of the expansion into Massachusetts, there are five unique and fun events planned.   

May 25, 2022: The Little Donkey in Cambridge is hosting a fun filled night of Ostreida shooters and specialty cocktails. The restaurant features tapas by James Beard Award-Winning Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette in the heart of Central Square. 

June 2, 2022: A special evening at Forage in Cambridge for a four-course dinner with Ostreida cocktail pairings. With two seating times, 6:30 and 8:00 p.m. costing $95 per person this event is sure to be special. Aligning with ISCO’s sustainable and local ideology, Forage is a neighborhood bistro just off Harvard Square that showcases local farmers, fishermen, and foragers with their seasonally-driven menu. Featuring such cocktails as “Overboard” made with Ostreida, dry vermouth, dulse, meyer lemon saline, and garnished with a pickled oyster! 

June 5, 2022: Little Moss, in South Dartmouth will host an afternoon deck soiree featuring Ostreida cocktails paired with small plates and hor d’ourves.  Little Moss, a beautiful spot sited in the adorable village of Padanaram that features rotating menus of seasonal plates, handmade pastas, natural wines, and craft cocktails. 

June 10, 2022: Summer Shack, Cambridge, is hosting a TGIF Cocktail Hour and Meet the Distiller event featuring Ostreida cocktail specials and a special gift basket giveaway. This fun, casual restaurant specializes in fresh New England style seafood and boasts the largest oyster bar in Cambridge!

June 30, 2022: Caviar Pairing at UNI in Boston. A special evening featuring an Ostreida caviar pairing at this lively, contemporary izakaya located in The Eliot Hotel on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, helmed by Chef Ken Oringer. UNI’s menu highlights global street food-inspired small plates, as well as innovative makimono, nigiri, and sashimi—all delicious when paired with vodka distilled with oysters!

Blackstone Valley Culinary News – May 9 – 12, 2022

Fully Rooted, Inc.
(401) 753-4930
Wildflour Vegan Bakery and Juice Bar
727 East Avenue, Pawtucket  02860

You can save money and help the planet when you buy juices from Fully Rooted and return the empty glass bottles to participating juice locations.  For every empty Fully Rooted glass jar you bring back to participating kiosk locations, you’ll receive 50 cents off your purchase at check out.  And you’ll be helping keep the Blackstone Valley and Mother Earth beautiful!   Your Blackstone Valley location for a Fully Rooted kiosk is at Wildflour Vegan Bakery and Juice Bar.  Other locations are listed HERE.  

Atrium on Main 
285 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI  02860

Atrium on Main has joined the Plates with Purpose family, a program that helps to eradicate homelessness and hunger, among other programs.  They are currently focused on securing nourishing and delicious meals to our most vulnerable neighbors in Pawtucket.  The program works through independently-owned restaurants such as Atrium on Main.  For every $1 you donate by Friday, May 13 will be used to prepare and distribute meals through the team at Atrium on Main.  A donation of $10 equals 1 prepared meal.   To donate, click HERE.  Remember to donate before Friday, May 13!

RIDEA Craft Beverage Festival
The Guild
461 Main Street, Pawtucket
May 14 at 6 pm

This non-profit festival plans to highlight women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ breweries, wineries, and spirits producers from RI and beyond. The funds raised by this festival will be donated to the JWU scholarship that helps people from diverse backgrounds pursue a career in the beverage industry.  The mission of the RIDEA (Rhode Island Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Action) Committee is to promote a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the RI beverage community.  Blackstone Valley companies who will be involved, in addition to The Guild, are:  Rhode Island Spirits, Ravenous Brewing Co., Foolproof Brewing Co., and Smug Brewing Co.  


The Orchard Grill
132 Pleasant Street, Smithfield

The Orchard Grill, formerly Laura’s Pleasant View Diner, in Smithfield, has a great staff who take pride in providing the best down-home friendly service possible.  They serve traditional American classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

Rhode Island Spirits
59 Blackstone Avenue, Pawtucket  02860

In addition to participating in the RIDEA Craft Beverage Festival (see above) on May 14, here’s what’s happening in May at RI Spirits:  

Distillery Trivia – Friday, May 20 – 6:00 to 7:30 pm (free event – prizes!)

Game Day – Sunday, May 22 – 1:00 to 5:00 pm (free event)

Drink In The History – Thursday, May 26 – 6:00 to 8:00 pm  – TICKETS

Smug Brewing
100 Carver Street, Pawtucket  02860

In addition to participating in the RIDEA Craft Beverage Festival (see above) on May 14, here’s what’s happening in May at Smug Brewing:  

Trivia on Thursdays – one game at 6:30 pm and one game at 7:30 pm – bring your team to compete for prizes!  Burmese Fusion will be on site. 

Music Bingo on Fridays – six games will be played – instead of calling numbers and letters, songs are played.  Fun!  The Perfect Empanada will be on site. 

Saturday, May 14 – 1 pm -10 pm – Cookie Chow on site.  Smug pouring at the RIDEA Festival.  

Sunday, May 15 – 12 pm to 5 pm – Music with JT Horne…and Pierogitory will be on site for food.  

Saturday, May 21 – Bonsai and Brews – Learn, create, drink and eat – Biggest Little Easy Catering will be on site.  

Sunday, May 22 – Pasta Demo – Alex from Newport Pasta Company will be leading this hands-on experience.  You’ll be able to have some Saugy’s Franks with your pasta!

Tavern on Main – Quahog Week
1157 Main Street, Chepachet

Quahog Week 2022 runs from May 15-21.  Make sure you try Rhode Island’s favorite clam at participating restaurants – but be sure to head to Tavern on Main in Chepachet, the only Blackstone Valley restaurant participating, for Tavern Seafood Stuffies (2) made with shrimp, scallops, crab and clams for only $8!  

Johnny’s Victory Diner
2731 Victory Highway, Burrillville, RI  02830

BBQ Season is here!  Enjoy Johnny’s award-winning BBQ staring at 2 pm every Friday.  Try the pulled pork sando and their famous chicken egg rolls (order early – they sell out!   This Friday, May 13, enjoy the music of Tim Hart & George from the Illusions Band from 6 pm to 9 pm on the deck.  And stop by and see the fine folks from Johnny’s on Saturday, May 14 at Seven Cedars Farm in Smithfield for the Spring Festival.  They’ll be serving their famous BBQ from 11:30/noon to whenever they sell out.  

Red, White and Brew Coffeehouse 
601 Great Road, North Smithfield

Let me introduce you to “Delicious”, the newest summer drink at Red, White and Brew – it’s a cold brew with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate syrup and sprinkles.  It’s available for summer now!  

And speaking of Red, White and Brew and their great gift shop, where I was first introduced to “We Be Jammin’” products…and now they have their own shop!….

We Be Jammin’
Hope Artiste Village
1005 Main Street, #8233, Pawtucket

We Be Jammin’ is owned by Jason Wood, an autistic man, whose mission is to give back to the community.  His company makes specialty jams, salsas, BBQ sauces, marinades, glazes, pickles, relish, beets, salad dressings and more.  Read all about Jason and the company in this recent Valley Breeze article.  Let’s support this great business!   

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