RI: Narragansett, Newport etc


#1

Spent the last week in Narragansett and honestly didn’t do much but walk on the beach, read books and watch World Cup games. (It was glorious, btw). Did make it to Newport one day to go to the Doris Duke mansion, but as I mentioned in an earlier reply to Harters in the Monahan’s clam shack post, my trip to Fall River fell through at the last minute due to circumstances beyond my control. As another aside, I have to say the farmer’s market at Fisherman’s Park is flat out great, with spectacular produce and a bakery vendor with pizza strips. Well worth a visit if you are in the area–9 to 1 on Saturdays. Additionally, if you need a supermarket around here, Belmont Market is the best pick–they make an OK snail salad, sell local littlenecks and have better options in many areas than the big chains.

Still, there was some other food. Here’s some capsule reviews for posterity, in case anyone goes that way:

Iggy’s/Aunt Carrie’s: the family did a comparison taste test on clam cakes and chowder from these two institutions. Consensus was that Aunt Carrie’s more fritter-like cakes were better and had more clam (if greasy), but that Iggy’s thick chowder with firm potatoes was better. If you were to press me, you might get me to admit that neither of these places are at all world class. But get me in the sea air and trigger memories and there are few meals that make me happier.

Ocean Catch Seafood We only bought oysters here to bring home and shuck, but I think this is the best fish market around. Lots of local catch, and they do also do some take out food which may be worth a visit given their wares.

Maharaja Restaurant–didn’t expect a lot from this South County Punjabi joint, but the takeout that my niece got was surprisingly good. Solid versions of a lot of the dishes you’d expect to find.

Mission After a bail out from Bishop’s Four Diner (when it was too late to get johnny cakes and the waitress was more interested in her phone than serving us) we detoured to this place on Marlborough St. that serves a simple menu of house ground hamburgers + hot dogs, with falafel and hand cut fries as the alternative. I got the slaw dog and the Chicago dog, and they were both excellent. I think they overload the offerings a bit–but the buns are fresh, the slaw was great, the house made relish for the Chicago was offset by a sour in-house dill pickle and the main ingredient had snap and flavor. The one bite of falafel I tried was good and the s.o. enjoyed her meal overall, though in general we both agreed that the hand cut fries are totally disappointing.

Brickley’s Ice Cream in Wakefield was sort of the find of the trip. Usually down here I head for Gray’s in Tiverton, but called an audible and decided to try this instead. And it’s fantastic! Had the grapenut and loved the texture, as well as the low level of sweetness. The large in a cup is only five bucks and the serving is ample, and the quarts we bought for later (vanilla and salted caramel) were packed full and reasonably priced. They were also consumed happily at a family gathering and rave reviewed therein.

I think that’s everything. Maybe someday this’ll be helpful for someone heading down that way.


#2

I don’t have time to leave a meaningful reply to your post nor to Harters’ wonderful posts since I’m supposed to be getting some work done while I’m vacationing…getting a big stink eye from B.

Just wanted to say that my heart was filled with joy at the mention of pizza strips. I think it’s one of those food items that unless you grew up eating it, the deliciousness is tough to grasp.


#3

forgot two things: Mad Hatter Bakery in Newport where the cookies were too sweet and not that great and Meldgie’s Diner, a nondescript breakfast joint on Point Judith Road that really rocks with classic johnny cakes, good eggs (they’ll sub a local egg on a fifty cent per upgrade) and high fired hash browns.


#4

Funnily enough we also went to Maharaja last time, since we were staying at the hotel next door. We had no expectation whatsoever but was pleasantly surprised by how solid it actually was - agree with your assessment. Hope to hear your Fall River reviews some other day!


(John Hartley) #5

I don’t usually like to mention food from a few years back, as things can change. But mention of Newport prompts an exception as my partner reckons the best burger she’s ever eaten was at “22 Bowens” on the waterfront. It was in 2012 and we still argue whether her “best” was better than my “best” (Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen in Tupelo, MS in 2016).

I’ve just checked the website and Bowens still offers their “signature burger”. It comes on brioche along with bacon, strong cheddar, caramelised onions, roasted mushrooms and garlic aioli.