My favorite reaction from a friend upon returning from a trip Newport, RI was, “What the hell do punks do in Newport?”. Well my friend, we stuff face and drink beers. I went with my parents to Newport a few years back. Newport with parents is gawking at mansions, souvenir stands, coastal drives. I really had no intention of ever returning.
But working a month straight, full of 70-hr work weeks will make a person do strange things. Thus, I found myself with two days off and a bizarre gravitation towards Newport.
I won’t make you sit and watch my crappy vacation projector footage, but I will tell you that now, to me, Newport is a hidden craft beer/upscale pub food haven, oyster beer shooters and perfect Bloodys, sunset high-speed booze cruises, a vegetarian paradise where I can stuff myself on vegan pancakes, deviled eggs and great iced coffee, farmers markets, spice shops, vintage bar decor, and a brewery started by four college buddies.
I want to tell you about my favorite restaurant of our trip, Diego’s; an upscale Mexican spot on Bowen’s Wharf. It’s the typical restaurant plan of taking traditional Mexican dishes and adding a modern twist. That’s all well-and-good, but what really makes Diego’s stand out and make it a place I would frequent regularly, is their incredibly varied selection of prohibition-age cocktails.
At Diegos’s, gone are the days of the pina colada, the margaritas from dispensers, weak-ass strawberry daiquiris with their stupid little umbrellas. Enter The Ginger Snap (tequila, fresh lime, ginger beer, house-made star anise simple with a dash of rhubarb bitters, served with fresh ginger root), the Mezcal Swizzle (mezcal, lime, sugar cane, & absinthe on the rocks), White Peach Sangria (Terranoble Sauvignon Blanc with white peach puree, peach liquor, marinated fresh fruit, and a juice blend), as well as a cucumber Tom Collins, Basil Gimlets, and Pimms Classic. They treat their bar like the finest kitchen and it shows; one of the best bar menus I have ever seen.
We started our meal with the Braker’s Guac, which you can choose as mild or spicy. The portion is large enough for leaving two people feeling stuffed full of avocados. It was simple and flavorful. I had the Spicy Baja Butternut Squash Soup; roasted butternut squash pureed with other veggies and spices, topped with sour cream and grilled tortillas. Such a great soup. I was fiending for more tortillas to soak up every drop of it.
My entrée was the Loaded Fish Tacos; grilled soft flour tortillas with your choice of fried or pan-seared white fish of the day, beans, baja cheese, pineapple-jicama salsa, and served with salsa, guac, and either brown or baja rice. This was a pretty unique take on the fish taco. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come with some type of coleslaw, but the sweet and crunchy jicama salsa quickly put an end to that. This meal is huge; three tacos, rice and beans, with a side of guac and salsa. I couldn’t come close to finishing it all.
Ryan had an entrée off the specials board; some sort of short-rib chimichanga. I believe he enjoyed it.
For you vegans and vegetarians, vegan cheese is available, as well as tofu substitutions on salads and quesadillas.
The plates are large, the prices are affordable, and people-watching all the other losers who visit Newport from Diego’s patio is hilarious. Plan on leaving full and drunk. This place is prime.
Newport, RI, 02840