I'm going to try to cover every place we ate, on the assumption that all info is good info for chowhounds. Some general tidbits follow the individual eatery comments.
D'Angelos, Quaker Lane, Warwick. The Number 9 Pokket (steak, cheese, shrooms, peppers, onions) tastes just like it did back in '77. Three of those made a good lunch for two of us, but I could have eaten all three myself.
Bickford's, Bald Hill Rd., Warwick: This regional pancake chain is oft maligned and my expectations were not high but breakfast was very good -- better than our last IHOP meal by far -- and they seem to have made an effort to go upscale a bit; the menu includes a lobster omelet and a lobster cobb salad.
Walt's Roast Beef, Bald Hill Rd. Warwick: Another old-time local chain. Mrs. W. found the beef and cheddar sandwich to be tasty but puny. Pay the extra $0.99 and upgrade to "Beast" size.
WEIN-O-RAMA, Oaklawn Ave., Cranston. CHOWHOUND ALERT!!! This place is a trip. Established in 1962, with a vintage neon sign dating back to that bygone era, this joint serves classic RI weiners. Since I ordered only four, they were prepared "in the hand" instead of "up the arm," but still tasted great. The car still smelled of weiners 24 hours later.
This is the kind of place that will not appear in any guidebooks, but for chowhounds visiting this part of it's a must. Weiners run $1.30 each. The extensive menu also includes, inter alia, weiners and eggs.
Adesso, Cushing St., Providence: This place introduced RI to "Cal-Ital" cuisine back in '86 and is still going strong. In fact, it looks to have expanded at least once if not twice.
Food was very good and service was excellent. The pastas and desserts were standouts. Just a really nice place. Dress is dressy casual.
Restaurant Oak, Hope St., Providence: We tried Oak for brunch. Food was good, nothing really special. I'd like to have this place in my neighborhood, but it's not really a destination spot, at least for brunch.
DeFusco's Bakery, Park Ave., Cranston: I was hoping to try the pizza strips at a promising place on Oaklawn Ave called Carol's Bakery, which was established in 1927 and claims to be the "Home of Pure Whipped Cream," but they decided to get an early jump on their vacation so we hit DeFusco's, which is not too far away. Sure enough, there were pizza strips piled high on the counter, and they were as gloriously greasy as you'd want, with a nice coating of tomato sauce. And, according to the bag, DeFusco also features "pure whipped cream products." Are people starting to wonder why Rhode Islanders are so fat?
Caserta Pizza, Spruce St., Providence: Nothing to fear, Caserta's pizza has not changed a whit. In fact, Mrs. W., who has not been a big fan, said the pizza was "better than she remembered."
N.B.: Caserta's has simplified their pricing a bit. Instead of small, medium, and large (two mediums for exactly twice the price), they now have just small and large (the old medium).
Pastiche, Spruce St., Providence: Superb pastries. We tried a lemon curd tart and a passion blackberry tart. Both were amazing.
Rue De L'Espoir, Hope St. (of course), Providence. The Rue once again delivered a great brunch. The pear-cinnamon muffin and mango-apple scone were great. Still the undisputed champ.
1. Route 5 from Warwick through Cranston up to Johnston is chowhound heaven. Depending on where you are this is Quaker Lane, Bald Hill Rd., Oaklawn Ave., or Attwood Ave. It's just chock full of pizza joints, bakeries, sub shops, asian eateries, donut shops, plus promising spots like Ahearn's Lunch ("Home of Fresh Fish Friday").
2. RI has got to have more donut shops per capita than any place on earth. Forget Starbucks, in RI if you want coffee you go to Dunkin Donuts (WARNING: The blueberry coffee they are pushing is repulsive. I took one for the team and tried an iced blueberry coffee. Not good.), Honey Dew Donuts, or Tim Hortons (the Canadian invader that bought out Bess Eaton Donuts).
Sadly, non-RI-er Mrs. W. didn't know how to order coffee at DD and caused a major ruckus.
3. While I was fortunate to be told to go to Wein-o-Rama, finding weiners in RI is not hard. I passed at least 10 weiner joints in my travels, including the classic NY System weiner joint in Olneyville Sq.
4. We didn't get to stop at a Del's Lemonade, although we saw a few of their trucks, but they sell cans of powered mix so we brought one home for a hot day in Va.
5. While lovers of Italian food should of course hit Federal Hill -- home of Caserta's, etc. -- for an utterly authentic experience go to the Knightsville section of Cranston, which was settled by immigrants from Itri, Italy. Their descendants still make up pretty much the entire population of that area, which is full of cafes and restaurants. Plus there is the never-ending lineup of feasts and festivals, all with plenty of good eats like doughboys, etc. Next trip we're definitely spending some time there.
Oh, did I mention that we did all this with ten-month-old twins?