Diego’s, Newport, RI

14 09 2012

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.

Braker’s Guac, $12

Spicy Baja Butternut Squash Soup, Cup $4.50/Bowl $8

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.

Fish Tacos, $14

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.

Diego’s
Bowen’s Wharf
Newport, RI, 02840
401-619-2640





Centerville Pie Company, Centerville, MA

27 08 2012

My mom used to work with the owner of Centerville Pie Co. until one day she decided to leave to start her own pie shop. This place is right down the street from my house. I have driven by it a thousand times, seeking out other places to get breakfast, never thinking to stop. Really, I thought they only did pies. I thought they only did Meat Pies. I had no clue that you could get a spinach and feta quiche here, or coconut cream pies, let alone breakfast.

Ryan and I stopped by the restaurant on a weekday morning; a real unassuming place, located in a sort of strip mall, bunched in between a clothing store for tweens and some lawyers offices. It is broken up into two parts, the pie shop on one half and the restaurant on the other. A few tables, a counter, one short-order cook cracking eggs on a flattop. That’s about it. I like it.

Two Eggs with Cheese on a Sweet Roll, $3.95

I ordered a breakfast sandwich on a sweet roll, which is a giant, fluffy pile of awesomeness. This huge sandwich only cost $4 and was so filling that I could barely touch the baked beans I ordered too. Ryan had the Chef’s Choice Sampler; two slices of savory pie (shepherds pie & chicken pie) that came with a vegetable and gravy for $9.95.  He really enjoyed it, especially the chicken pie.

I can see Centerville Pie becoming one of my go-to places for breakfast. Probably because then I’ll feel justified in leaving with one of these every time.

Key Lime Pie

Centerville Pie Company
1671 Falmouth Road/Rt. 28
Centerville, MA, 02632
774-470-1406





Beechtree Cantina, Hyannis, MA

24 07 2012

Jalapeno & Pineapple Margarita, $12

Beechtree Cantina’s location is so picture-perfect that they could serve piles of steaming trash and I would still go, just to sit outside around the magnificent, weeping English beech tree out back. Frozen drinks and a scaled-down version of their full menu are served in the backyard courtyard. This was where we started the night, drinking margaritas and debating if we should stay here for dinner or walk down Main St. and check out other options. But after seeing a pile of nachos stacked so high they were about to topple, we decided to stay.

We grabbed a table in the outdoor seating area of their main restaurant and ordered a couple more drinks. The pineapple jalapeno margarita tastes like a spicy & fruity salsa. Really liked it. My boyfriend ordered the Spicy Cucumber Margarita ($10) and wasn’t as impressed. It tasted like someone accidentally knocked over a salt shaker into it. The last inch of the drink was undrinkable because it was so salty.

Guacamole, $12

Usually I don’t order table-side guac. Waitresses hate to make it and it’s always terribly over-priced. But I saw it made at the next table and decided to get all crazy. AND BOY AM I GLAD I DID; huge bowl and you get to choose from a plentiful selection of ingredients.

Fish Tacos, $16

Now vegetarian reader, I hate to break it to you, but within the past year I have started to work seafood back into my diet. Mainly just because of the fact that I friggin’ love food and I get incredibly bored with the strict vegetarian options on most menus (i.e. pasta primavera, quesadillas, frozen veggie burgers, etc) Fish tacos are one of my new favorites and the ones at Beechtree are definitely up there with some of the best. The fish was very fresh and flavorful, topped with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo, though the accompanying confetti rice and tequila black beans were lacking in spice.

Pollo Tostados, $12

Ryan really enjoyed these pulled chicken tostadas, topped with arugula, carmelized onions, goat cheese and avocado with an ancho crema.

So Beechtree joins the swarm of upscale Mexican restaurants that are popping up in the area and I for one am pretty psyched for it. Main Street Hyannis definitely needed a place like this since the other option for Mexican/margaritas does not cut the mustard. The drinks are innovative, the food is bright and fresh and the location has been added to my mental list of what defines a Cape Cod summer.

Beechtree Cantina
599 Main Street
Hyannis, MA, 02601
508-534-9876





The Mills Restaurant, Marstons Mills, MA

28 06 2012

The Mills is one of those timeless breakfast spots. Off of the main Cape Cod drag and quaintly-decorated in an Americana fashion, it is a restaurant that could appear in any decade, in any quiet, rural community.

Nothing on the menu is going to absolutely blow your mind, but you’ll still be satisfied with what you get. I really enjoy their many steel-cut oatmeal options (something you don’t find in many breakfast places). You can get it with yogurt, fruit, nuts, honey, basically whatever you want. And on some days, they offer a breakfast specials menu that does step things up a notch; cream cheese pancakes with blueberries, lobster scampi omelettes, etc.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

The chocolate chip banana pancakes were delicious, but would have liked a bit more pancake for the $8 and change price tag. Also enjoyed this breakfast special; 2 poached eggs atop a  bed of bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. This isn’t four-star dining, but it is a simple, country breakfast that hits the spot and I respect it for that.

Poached Eggs Peperonata

Plus, when you’re done dining at the Mills, you can go for a dip or take a kayak out at one of the many ponds & lakes right down the street. My favorite summer adventure: paddling out at Indian Lakes, passing through the thin gap that leads into Mystic Lake and exploring the island in the middle. I guess I enjoy Cape Cod sometimes…

Mills Restaurant
149 Cotuit Rd.
Marstons Mills, MA, 02648
(508) 428-9814