Food Review – Wood River Inn – Bar and Restaurant

The Wood River Inn

1139 Main St.
Wyoming, RI 02898

The people who stay at the Wood River Inn are winners every morning.  Tucked away in a separate area behind the bar is a lovely spot where they can enjoy a quiet meal, in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere and converse on the days events.  The food is quite good and the locals have been slipping in for breakfast for a very long time.

This would be a good place for a quiet meeting in the morning for a small group.  The coffee is good, the service is discreet, with suitable lulls in service for you to appreciate the quiet and the food.  The hardwood decor provides a relaxing atmosphere.

A sport jacket would not be out of place, but neither would a plaid workshirt.  This is not fine dining – at least for breakfast – but it would be a nice surprise place to take a date early in the morning on a weekend for a bit of conversation and planning of the days events.

Hint: Park in the back and enter from the rear of the building, rather than trying to find street parking,  There is a narrow driveway to the left of the building and a reasonable parking area in the back.

No sign of animals here, but there is access for the handicapped in the back and the doors are wide enough to admit a wheelchair.  It’s a bit tight though.  Once inside there is good space to maneuver.

The menu featured online does not show any of the breakfast offerings, but you can expect standard choices with an occassional surprise.  Eggs, bacon, home fries, toast are all well done and backed by a good cup of coffee.

Afraid you won’t find fifiteen types of omelettes, or a generous selection of toppings for your Belgian waffle.  This is more traditional New England food, farm fresh, and appetizing.  It is simple, filling, and  served in a quiet atmosphere.

It’s a lovely change of pace.

So, if you are out in the wilds of Wyoming look for the Wood River Inn and give it a try.  It’s a bit of quiet to start your morning.

 

Food Review – The Corner Cafe

The Corner Cafe

110 Broadway
Newport, RI 02840

Time for a bit of the Irsh while you wait for your tour of the mansions? The Corner Cafe is located right on Broadway in Newport and is a very busy place almost any time of day. The wait staff often has a genuine Irsh brogue and it comes with some very good bangers, rashers, and blood sausage (I prefer the white, but the black is not bad. Try them both and see which you prefer.)

Irish potato home fries here are disticntive.  You will also find a number of interesting choices on the menu.  Expect to wait to get in – summer or winter the place can be crowded and the space is small.  There are about a dozen tables, a small bar area, and a back area that has a bit more room.  The staff hustles, but the customers linger.  Not a place for a meeting, but a fun place to take a date for something different.  You won’t have to dress up, its casual, but a jacket and tie wouldn’t be too out of place.  In summer this place fills with tourists in flowery print dresses and sun hats.  Conversations can be heard in multiple languages and they are mostly news and  favorable comments on the flavors in the meals.

Being straight off the street they are handicap accessible,  but it’s a tight squeeze through the door and there is little room to maneuver inside the restaurant.  No pets inside, of course, and the street is too close for anything to happen outside.

Early in the morning  – say 6:30 – is your best chance for a quick table.  If you fail that another lull happens around 3:30.  They usually remain busy until close to closing at 9 pm.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you want to go Irish, try Fitzy’s Irish Fry Up.  Two eggs (your way), bangers, rashers, white and black pudding, grilled tomato and Irish black bread.  McCanns is also good as a twist on the traditional. The coffee is consistently good.  Strong but not too acidic.  You can also try a very large selection of non-traditional dishes – pancakes, cinnamon French toast,  all prepared in generous portions.

So, before your begin your tour of the mansions, or if you happen to own one.  The Corner Cafe is a wonderful place to start your morning.

 

 

Food Review – Ocean Mist

Ocean Mist

895 Matunuck Beach Rd.
Wakefield, RI 02879

Ready for a bit of adventure?  Ocean Mist is a former “biker bar” located right on the water in a building hovering above the beach and the waves.  You park on Matunuck Beach Rd. and climb a couple of steps to the porch, follow along a walkway and into the side of the building.

Not going to be easy to get a wheelchair up here although it looks like they may have a ramp system in the works (when I was there last there was construction going on.)  Not too pet friendly either, unless you took your meal outside and down to the water.

Inside the place is dark.  To your right is a rough wooden stage – painted black.  Overhead are some Klieg lights.  To your left is an island bar.  Beyond that are some small tables and a view of the ocean that makes the trip worth it.

Ocean Mist has an outer deck that is open in summer.  In colder weather the interior is your best bet.  In spite of the dreary appearance, the food here is first rate.  The service can be a bit spotty in the morning as things are sorting themselves out from the concert the night before.  But, despite initial appearances the place is kept clean, the staff is friendly, and the meals worth a couple of extra minutes.

There are several different dishes that are worth trying.  Check the menu online and dig a bit and you will be surprised at the variety of offerings.

I was very pleased with the Jungle Pile Up, a delicious combination of Mexican and American foods.  The omelet was tasty as were the beans, guacomole, and mushrooms.  The salsa was not too hot (but they can warm it up if you ask.) The nachos were fresh, and the cubed homefries had a touch of spice as well.  There are several other dishes that mix American and Mexican recipes and those I tried were consistently well done.

Of course, being near the ocean there are seafood combinations as well.  They offer a lobster, a crab claw, and a salmon benedict.   For those of you who love Hollendaise they actually have ten different benedicts you can try beginning with the Classic and stretching to an Irish Benedict.  Several have different ingredients added to the basic Hollendaise that sound intriguing.

So it you are heading to the beach for a day of fun and sun consider starting a bit early and hitting the Ocean Mist for a breakfast worth having.

 

Rant – The Global Warming Game

I haven’t done a rant in a while, and I have several stacked up.  Think I’ll take one out to break the monotony.

Let’s play a game.

You go to the doctor and he tells you that your child has a dangerous heart condition and they need to have a heart transplant. It will cost $100,000.00. And they need it pretty soon or they will die. You are scared by the prospect of them dying, but you say to yourself, “They look pretty good.” In addition, you are really scared by the size of the bill. Now, you have insurance so some of the bill will be paid for by your insurance company, but you will still have to pay a lot.

Being a smart person, you go to another doctor for a second opinion. He looks at all the evidence from the first doctor. He runs some additional tests. And then he says pretty much the same thing. You are a bit depressed, but you think you probably need to do something. So you notify your insurance company.

And your insurance company tells you that they want you to go to their doctor. So you do. And their doctor, after a cursory exam, frowns at the tests the other doctors ran and says, “Oh no, it’s just a pulled muscle – you’ll be fine.”

A bit confused by the radically different diagnosis you decide you really want to check this out. You don’t want to put your child through unnecessary suffering and you don’t want to face that huge bill. So you begin going to doctors and specialists all over the country, then all over the world. Out of the 100 doctors (including specialists) you go to, 97 say your child has a bad heart and needs a transplant.

Only three say your child is fine. Interestingly, all of them are doctors that work for the insurance company that will have to pay lots of money if you get the surgery.

Now, do you get the surgery for your child?

Think you got the right answer? Good!

Now, let’s change the scene. I’ll make this a bit quicker for you. 97 out of every 100 climatologists – world-wide – paleoclimatologists, climate scientists, hydroclimatologists, polar ecologists, environmental analytical chemists, marine environmental scientists, and more, say that global warming is real, that we are causing it, and that it is going to kill us if we don’t stop polluting the atmosphere. The other 3 percent are in the employ of big businesses who are polluting the atmosphere.  They say it’s not real.

Now, should we do something about global warming?

Oh yes, do you also know politicians who say it’s not real? Guess who funds their election campaigns? And let’s face it, asking a politician about whether or not global warming is real is like asking a ice cream vendor if you should get surgery for your child. They don’t know.

Politicians have to depend on scientists to tell them the truth about global warming. And those scientists – from all over the world – say it’s real.  Except, when they get scientists from big business polluters who say it isn’t, and back that statement with million dollar donations to their campaigns.

So, who is more likely conning you? Is it the big businesses who have billions of dollars on the line if they have to pay to clean up their act, or the vast majority of scientists who have no monetary interest in the outcome?

So, for those of you who think there is a big con going on – you are absolutely right.

But, you are just being fooled about who IS conning you.

 

ps. Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel for giving me the names of some of the different branches of science which have been studying this issue for decades.

Food Review – Crosby’s Cafe

Crosby’s Cafe

431 Main St
East Greenwich, RI 02818

Crosby’s Cafe is a relative newcomer to the Town of East Greenwich. Located further down main street than most of the older restaurants, it has a small parking area as well as the traditional on street parking.

The place is small, with only about six or seven tables. There is a ramp to the front door, but it would be a tight squeeze for a wheelchair and little room to maneuver once inside. The restaurant does not claim to be animal friendly, but there is dining outside which makes for a possibility of handicapped access and a well trained pet.

The menu consists of traditional breakfast and lunch fare, but there is also a large white board inside offering a number of interesting choices that can vary from week to week.
I found the atmosphere to be much like a typical diner, with friendly waitresses and cooks, a jovial atmosphere and a desire to make you a repeat customer.

This is not fine dining or haute cuisine. It is solid fare, quickly prepared. Expect to find mostly locals, and solid folk. Portions are reasonable, and your coffee cup will normally be filled as fast as you drain it. The TV in the corner is a bit of a distraction, I certainly wouldn’t pick it for a first date. But it would be a great place to meet a few friends for some solid food and a quiet atmosphere to discuss friendly topics.

I like to try the different choices that pop up on the white board as specials, and I applaud the cook for trying new things on a regular basis. It would be easy to slide into a much smaller average menu. Instead he is willing to stretch a bit, which makes the dining a bit more fun.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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I’m sorry, America. But, it’s just not that easy.

Like most of you, I have knee jerk reactions to many things I see.  Someone abuses a pet, I want to take them outside for a good old fashioned visit to the barn.  I have even stronger reactions as crimes become more violent or personal.  I don’t like paying money to the government to see them waste it on stupid projects, on people who don’t deserve it, or on entire countries who don’t appreciate it.

But, I also know that this IS a knee jerk reaction.  The adult in me says, “Wait up just a minute.  Don’t jump to conclusions.  Don’t be that jerk who screams for blood only to find out that the situation isn’t at all like it first sounded.”

America it’s time to put our adult hats on and start thinking seriously about what can honestly be done about our problems.  In just a few short months we are going to be asked to choose who will run this country.  Who we are going to put in charge of a country that makes TRILLIONS of dollars every year.  We are going to ask them to direct those funds into our national defense, our social safety net, and our infrastructure.

Both the Republican and the Democratic primaries have revealed just how corrupt our system is becoming.  We have two populist (Sanders, Trump) candidates on each side who are swaying the masses with a call for reform.  We have two candidates (Clinton, Kasich) who represent their respective parties more traditional (labor, big business) interests.  We have one candidate who represents a more Conservative religious right position (Cruz).  We have a virtually stalemated Congress and a crippled Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, our middle class is diminishing in size, our country is exporting needed jobs overseas, major corporations legitimately and illegitimately pay less and less in taxes.  The number of poor is increasing, and the wealthy see their incomes reaching into tens of BILLIONS of dollars.  The disparity is mind-numbing.

Our medical system is a worldwide disgrace.  We pay dozens, if not hundreds of times more for our medications than anyplace else on earth.  Every civilized nation on earth has managed to work out how to fairly handle universal health care, but our complex system of competition between, doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry, and insurance companies has driven our healthcare system into a worldwide laughingstock.

Our educational system is foundering.  We have some of the best universities in the world, but our best and brightest come out with a degree and so far in debt that they might as well be sold as indentured servants.

We speak of how high we hold our freedom, and yet almost HALF of the world’s prisoners are in our jails – more than any dictatorship in history.

We speak of treating everybody equally, yet, HALF of black American males will find themselves in jail at least once during their lifetime.

We have a giant statue in New York harbor which advertises us as the land which welcomes.  “Send us your tired,  your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”  Then we take miniscule number of refugees from the Syrian crisis and talk about closing our borders to all Muslims because they MIGHT be terrorists.

We talk about respecting the rights of sovereign nations and then we scream approval for talk about blackmailing a foreign government into building a wall that would cost them tens of billions of dollars to construct.  Why?  To stop illegal immigration into our country.  Yet, we know that those same people are being used by OUR businesses to farm, to pick our crops, to prepare our food, to do countless thankless jobs.  Who is really to blame?  The immigrant desperate for money to feed a family, the company who hired him because he (or she) would work for sub-par pay?  Perhaps we are also a bit to blame?  We want our good and labor cheap (unless we are doing the work).  We don’t push to have the companies owners penalized more heavily.  We underfund the INS and the border patrols. We allow enclaves to develop where such people can hide.  We allow places to develop where drugs and silence rule.

We have nation states vying to create nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missle systems to deliver them.  We have a slowly re-arising cold war.  We have the potential for worldwide epidemics that can spread at an alarming rate and are resistant to our best drugs.

And then there are the issues we don’t want to be true,  Global warming, diminishing worldwide fresh water supply, overpopulation, species extinction.

I don’t care who you vote for.  That is your right.  But I do care that you think about just how fragile our world situation is.   Stop looking for simple, easy solutions.  There are none.  This election is important – and not just at a presidential level.  It is not just about one issue.  It’s not about one knee jerk reaction.  It’s not time to pick somebody who recognizes your personal hot button as being a real issue that they can talk about.

It’s time to look carefully at the solutions being offered by the candidates to all the issues.  Are they truly realistic?  Who has credibility on the world stage?  Who has actually checked the math to see if their programs are actually financially doable?

Also, don’t be gulled by people on talk shows with an agenda.  Right and left wing pundits get paid to make things dramatic, to exaggerate, and in many cases to outright lie.  Check the claims of BOTH sides.  Fact check with independent organizations.

Then make up your mind.

Stop imagining that you can pick a candidate based on one issue.  The country, the world, is much more complicated than that.

It’s time to be grown-ups now.

Go vote.

Food Review – Two Gulls Restaurant

Two Gulls Restaurant

2 State St
Narragansett, RI 02882

Special Note:  I’m including this review because I liked the restaurant.  The review was written several months ago for Yelp.  Unfortunately, Two Gulls closed over the winter and failed to re-open.  My compliments to the owners for creating such an interesting dining experience and I hope your next endeavor proves to be a massive success.  I’m leaving the review just as I originally wrote it – in present tense as if the restaurant is still there.  For those who went, it is still there – at least as a fond memory.

Tucked away on the outskirts of Galilee, Two Gulls restaurant is a fun find on a cold blustery day. The restaurant is open with just a few tables, good lighting from large windows and a location that puts it within throwing distance of the fishing boats.

The food is hearty fare, served in good quantity. Don’t expect haute cuisine. This is make you warm, give you strength food. The people are friendly, and the locals like it on or off season. They have a small glass case near the register where you can find breakfast pasties, and the occasional quiche or two.

The steps do not allow for handicapped access and the doorway would make navigating difficult for a wheelchair – even if you got it up to the front porch entry. The restaurant does not advertise pet friendliness, but you can eat outside in summer so it might be possible to dine outside on the porch in the shade and have a canine friend nearby. Never tried it.

I liked the flavor and the portion size of the meal. I found the interior lacking in atmosphere, although the nautical theme was evident. I would say it is an open, friendly, place that would make a fun stop, but not a romantic or fine dining place.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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