Food Review – The Cooked Goose

The Cooked Goose

92 Watch Hill Rd
Westerly, RI 02891

 

The Cooked Goose is one of the prides of Westerly Restaurant lovers. Located near the water is has both indoor and outdoor dining. Parking is a bit tricky but there is ample room in the back once you negotiate the narrow road or angled driveway.
The interior is lovely with a large stone fireplace and comfortable large chairs or more traditional tables and chairs inside and out. The staff was prompt and courteous. We were seated quickly and menus arrived within moments.

I noticed a mixture of locals and tourists and a smattering of business suits and beachwear.

The open layout keeps this from being a particularly romantic dining experience, but sitting near the fireplace after a blustery morning out on the water would be really pleasant.

I was surprised by the flavor and texture combinations. My favorite was a salmon Benedict with hash browns substituting for the traditional English muffin or bolo. Coffee was also very good, and it’s not something I usually notice unless it is very good (or very bad).

Like most restaurants located in toruist areas there are glass cases with things to buy to remember the trip, and a rather large selection of dessert items, pastries, and some of that delicious coffee to go.

The Cooked Goose is for breakfast and brunch and runs year round, (although there is a several week break near the beginning of the year – call before you drive out.)

It is definitely worth the drive to find it.

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

Celestial Cafe

567 S County Trl
Exeter, RI 02822

Celestial Cafe is one of the best restaurants in South County. It is remarkable not only for its food, but for the speed and flexibility of the cooking staff in preparing it. Many restaurants have large menus composed of dishes that sound delicious, but have one item you can’t stand. The chef’s at Celestial take such changes in stride. The waitstaff will often suggest alternatives as substitutes. So you don’t just remove the kale from a dish, the staff will substitute swiss chard upon request.

The food is swiftly prepared even when the place is hopping. I have had a complex breakfast prepared just for me in a small area just off the bar while an entire baby shower group was filling the main dining hall having lunch. No unreasonable delays, no excuses, just simple timely service.

Celestial does a Saturday brunch with a wonderful selection backed by local organic produce. My personal favorite is working my way down the list of amazing French Toast recipes. You can find everything from coconut rum to a homemade strawberry/blueberry compote that was so delicious I wanted to lick the plate. I have trouble prying my friends away from shrimp seafood omelettes.

Celestial is handicap accessible, the waitstaff is courteous, friendly, and very professional. Brandon, one of the owners and the head chef often visits the patrons to check on their dining experience.

Celestial also has a large well-stocked bar, and the Saturday night dinner crowd will find a happy place with a pleasant atmosphere.

And if you get the chance, try the chips – homemade and warm with their special sauce. They are served any time of day.

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

Jigger’s Diner

145 Main St
East Greenwich, RI 02818

 

Jiggers is a dining car restaurant located on Main Street in downtown East Greenwich. They serve breakfast all day, except Tuesday’s when they are closed.

The car is small, but well designed. There is a long counter area so if you are alone or with a group that doesn’t want or need a booth, that might be your best bet on a busy day.

Even in the off-season Jiggers draws a respectable crowd at all times of the week. In season, on a nice day, expect to find the place easily by the line waiting to get in.

The waitstaff is happy, friendly and knowledgeable. The portions are generous and are freshly made. Expect to wait a bit since the cooking area is small and everything is made by hand. I was surprised that, in spite of the wait time for meals for myself and two guests, all the food arrived together, and all of it was properly prepared and still warm. Kudos to the cooks in the back.

The restaurant is not handicap accessible. Not their fault; they are closed in by businesses and there simply isn’t room for a ramp.

The prices are reasonable and the menu has a number of interesting choices if you want to try something a little bit off the beaten path.

For example, I found the Salmon and Avocado Florentine Benedict to be absolutely delicious. A combination of flavors blended surprisingly well and just the right amount of capers on the Hollandaise sauce added a bit of tang without distracting.

Would I eat there again? At least once a week if I can.

For me it’s a long drive… and it’s worth it.
David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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Dance – The Best Way to Improve Your Ballroom Dancing

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but if you want to substantially improve your dancing – practice your basic. That’s right, practice that really, really simple step you have been doing since Day One. Get in front of a mirror and do it over and over. Look at it. See how your body transitions through each part of the step. Critique yourself. You have been watching people around you and you know there are some who simply look better than you do. Here’s your chance to up your whole game a notch.

Why?

Because the basic is the step you always come back to. You may do a flashy move once or twice in a single dance. But the basic is there over and over, between those moves. Transitioning from a fancy move back to an elegantly executed basic is what seals the move and makes it special. If you do a flashy move and end it with a poorly executed basic you throw away half the beauty of the complex step.

How do you improve your basic?

Start with your balance. Are you properly balanced to take that first step? Is all your weight on one foot ready to move? Is your weight forward, your frame and posture correct? For each part of the step, are you moving swiftly from one balanced point to another? Do you minimize split weight with the body caught between the feet? Are your steps too wide? As an exercise, try to make them as small as possible while still hitting all the correct placements required by the figure.

Dance is about control. Can you move through each step without having your shoulders shrug or move? Shoulder movement should be a compliment to a step. If you cannot control it, it becomes a detriment. Isolate the hips from the chest at the waist. Even smooth dances require isolation to emphasize control and balance.

Check your feet. Are you hitting every step on the correct part of your foot? Landing too far back on the ball of the foot can cause you fall at the end of many latin and swing steps. Landing on a flat foot in a forward or side step, usually results in a heavy jerking movement that makes the frame shake.

Are you using your knees to lower into the floor or are you stretching with your calves and falling heavily? Are you using the thigh muscles to maintain the rhythm of the dance, or are you just trying to get your feet to hit on the beat?

You can check every one of these items in your basic. And if you improve your basic then it is a short leap to carrying that improvement to all the other steps you do.

So always start with your basic. No matter how good it is, it could be better. And, it will give you the most improvement for the time you invest.

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

Crazy Burger Cafe and Juice Bar

144 Boon St
Narragansett, RI 02882

Crazy Burger must be one of the most reviewed restaurants in South County – and for good reason. Crazy Burger is one of my go-to places for an incredible breakfast. The decor has to be seen to be believed. Crazy doesn’t quite cover it. No waiters in formal black attire here. In fact, the menu invites you to “BYOBBAM” – Bring your own booze by all means.

The seating is limited and even the locals will stand outside in the cold in middle of January for a meal here.

The waitstaff are the best you will ever meet in a relaxed style place. They work together with smooth efficiency in a place that still would be full if it were twice the size. Everybody shares the load. Waitresses will bus tables when their load is light. I’ve seen cooks deliver drinks when the load was heavy. You can tell the staff likes each other. And that happy atmosphere carries into the way they treat their customers. They WANT you to have a good meal. They want you to enjoy the food and the service.

Crazy Burger has a small back courtyard area for outdoor dining. It opens in the spring and stays open until just before the snow flies. The place is dense with tables and plants. It stays fairly cool even on hot summer days and when the temperature dips they have gas powered heating units to keep away the chill.

The back area is handicap accessible but the crushed stone driveway makes it a serious challenge. The outer front door is narrow and two small steps to an inner front door are a real challenge for the non-handicapped, so no entry through the front for those in a wheelchair without assistance.

Now, let’s talk breakfast. Eggs Benedict is one of my favorites here, served with a wonderful batch of cubed home fries or fresh fruit. Yes, I know that it’s considered sort of trite to like eggs Benedict. But try it here and tell me I’m wrong.
I also like their Western Quesadillas with red peppers, crumbled bacon, eggs, a Monterey Jack cheese, and soft, artfully browned, folded, and pie cut quesadilla which fills half the plate. It is served with a small pool of hollandaise and a thin slice orange as a complement to the meal. It works!
You can also opt for a fun and basic dish like the Surfer’s Breakfast, or come a bit later for some of the lunch items. The Gorgonzola Burger is fantastic!
Of course there are puns all over the menu. My favorite, and the favorite of reviewers is the Lunacy Burger, made with salmon and wrapped with a paper thin pastry shell.
I could go on, but there is no need. Ask anybody where they want to go for a crazy good meal – and, yes, you can finish the pun.
In spite of the lack of handicap accessibility this restaurant still deserves five stars. The service, the atmosphere and the staff are just wonderful. I hope you like it as much as I do.
David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.

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