About David Dougher

Author, Game Designer and Developer, appreciates great photography, good music, good science fiction and fantasy, his wife and his dog... not necessarily in that order.

Food Review – Mae’s Place

8230 Post Road
North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Mae’s Place is small cafe located on the junction of Route 1 and 1A (or Post Road and West Main Street curve for those of you who are local.) Mae’s serves breakfast and lunch in a clean, cozy atmosphere.  They open promptly at 6:30 and close at 2:30.  There is ample parking but getting into and out of the lot can require a tiny bit patience when the Post Road traffic is heavy.

The restaurant is small, but well laid out.  There is a glass counter to the right for quick take out. It also does a brisk business.

Already, even though it is the off-season, Mae’s is already building a loyal clientele.  The place is immaculate and brightly lit.  The service is open and friendly.

The waitstaff is happy, friendly, and knowledgeable.  The portions are generous and are freshly made.  Food here is solid and even the weekly specials are intended to leave you happy and full rather than simply being “catchy”.  Food delivery is very fast considering the kitchen is small. Food arrives cooked to your requirements and hot.  Kudos to the cooks in the back.

This is a family place, not a “tie and tails” place.  Casual is the norm.

The restaurant is handicap accessible.  There is a concrete ramp leading to the main door.

The prices are reasonable and the weekly 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 Caramel Apple Belgian Waffle quite tasty.  A combination of flavors excellently blended without any one becoming overpowering (which the caramel has a tendency to do.) The apples were not bitter and not overcooked to mush.

A couple of other things to keep in mind.

For those who are Rhode Islanders, Mae’s has johnnycakes.  I took along a couple of locals who were both pleased with the offering.  Next, Mae’s has hash browns as an option instead of home fries.  I tend to avoid the extra carbs from home fries, but I rationalize like crazy to justify good hash browns.  Mae’s are very good.

Finally, buy a muffin – or six.  At the risk of losing my supply, they have a wonderful raspberry and white chocolate muffin which could easily substitute as a dessert on its own. Mae’s does not skimp on the size or the taste.

So for a good solid breakfast or lunch in a clean atmosphere visit Mae’s.
They’ll be happy to see you, and you’ll be happy you went.

Keeping The Promise That Mattered

It was over five and a half years ago.  Deb and I had just been given the news that she had four, perhaps five years to live.  (We actually had much less, but did not know it.) We were riding home in the car trying to digest the news when she said, “I wonder if anyone will even remember me in four years?”  (She always went with the low number, being a realist.  I, being the optimist, insisted on five.)

“I will,” I said.

She squeezed my hand and said nothing.  I knew she felt that much of her life was wasted, that she had made little lasting impact in the world.

Well today marks the fourth anniversary since she was taken from us.

This year, her mother and I went to the awards ceremony where the scholarship in her name was given to a lovely girl who wants more than anything to dance.

The historical photography project she worked so hard to complete went up on display at a prominent Rhode Island College.  Parts of it will become the posters for future Dance Alliance advertising to promote dance and the arts.

This year I was given a DVD by two of her students showing their winning routine in a Dancing with the Stars contest. The dance was dedicated to her.

The list of her former students who still tell me of lessons they learned from her goes on year after year.

I still get calls on a weekly basis from people who use her riDance website, despite its age.

I meet weekly with many of her favorite students in the classes I now teach, and at local watering holes and, of course, at dances.

So, Deb, I finally won an argument with you.

In time we will all be forgotten, the great, the not-so-great, the famous, and the infamous.  But, not today.  Today, four years later, I still remember.  And so do many, many others.

My life, and theirs, goes on.  We grow and we change. I’ve become the writer we always discussed, and I’ve added new friends and new students. I’m moving forward.

But, we are all better for having spent part of our lives with you.

So, I’m off to a dance now.  It’s what I do.

Breakfast Reviews

For the past several months I have been doing reviews of the places I like to go for breakfast.  Like all good things I was bound to run out.  It’s not that there aren’t other excellent places for breakfast in the South County area.  It’s simply that these are all the ones I normally go to.

So, I have to make a choice.  I can move on to doing other kinds of food reviews – lunch, brunch, dinner. I could expand to a wider area – which would involve a lot of extra driving.  I could ask you for places that I haven’t tried and then go there.  Or I could simply stop here.

It has been fun, but I wouldn’t want to continue by recommending places I don’t think people would like.  And I don’t think you or I would get much out of dissing a restaurant in a review.  That’s not what I am about.

So, for this week, no recommendations.

I’m open to suggestions.  Got a place you would like me to try?  Think I should shift to lunch or dinner reviews?  Time to retire?  Speak up.  I’ll announce the decision next week.

 

Food Review – Aunt Carries

Aunt Carrie’s Seafood Restaurant

1240 Ocean Rd,
Narragansett, RI 02882

Not exactly breakfast, they typically don’t start serving until 11, but you have to mention them…

Aunt Carrie’s is a seasonal dining hotspot located near Point Judith very close to the ocean. Locals and vacationers have long crowded in during the summer for it’s excellent seafood  brunch, lunch and  dinners.  Not to mention the huge variety of pies they offer.

The building is a low single story affair with little parking. Locals will often park behind the ice cream store across the street (which is owned by the same people who run the restaurant.)

The entryway is wide enough for a wheelchair and, except for a small bump at the front door access is pretty easy.

Aunt Carries does not claim to be animal friendly, but people often buy from the open front booth area and then eat outside at the picnic tables in the back or across the street.
The food is very good, especially the seafood. The atmosphere is family friendly, not fine dining. You won’t find many suits at Aunt Carries, and you may find more than a few bathing suits outside.

I actually spent a good part of last summer trying each of the pies they offer and I found them all to be very good. The crust tends to be a bit doughier, mainly due to the fillings, so if you are expecting a light and flaky crust you might be a bit disappointed. You shouldn’t be disappointed by the taste, the size, or the quality of the ingredients in any of their meals.

Fish and seafood is fresh, and the batters are crispy. Meals are served quickly and the waitstaff is friendly and chatty.

Mark this one as another fun summer find and remember to save room for dessert.

Food Review – Tree House Tavern and Bistro

The Tree House Tavern and Bistro

1094 Centerville Rd..
Warwick, RI 02886
Please note address correction above.

The Tree House Tavern in Warwick does a booming business in the evening.  Which is why it is such a delight to visit early in the day for breakfast.  You can generally get in and seated right up to lunch with little waiting.

The Tree House has a fun atmosphere and as the weather warms up so do the options you can enjoy.  In winter you are typically limited to the main building – a collection of rooms of various sizes that you can dine in.  If you call ahead you can arrange to have your favorite.

But with the warmer weather the gardens begin to bloom (the bistro was a garden shop in a former life) and you can eat outdoors.

Outdoors, there’s a bit of bustle from the street, but it is easily ignored.  The parking area is adequate and very easy to navigate in the early morning.  There is even a traffic light to let you exit back onto the busy street.  The entryway is flat and handicapped access is easily possible.  There is a bathroom on the floor with a wide door as well.  Outdoor dining means that your pooch could come along, but check with the management about their policies.

Indoors you realize that things here are a bit… different.

I first visitied around St. Patrick’s Day and I entered to find an eight foot tall yellow stuffed camel with a green fedora on his head and a pair of bongos lodged between his humps.  There was Celtic music playing in the background. Later, outside the window by the small table where I was dining I could see a grey squirrel giving my meal the eye.  He’d climbed up a nearby tree to watch.

Feel free to “go walkabout” in the restaurant.  There are a several cozy rooms to visit and when you think you have seen them all a new one pops up.  No going upstairs or out into the kitchen, of course. The different sizes allow you to have groups of diners gathered for meetings or just a quiet meal.

Looking around the main dining area is a treat, with an odd collection of items hanging on the walls.  I personally loved the collection of old saws artfully arranged in an arc on the second floor wall.

Dining is confined to the first floor and the outside areas.  The covered open tool storage area with its giant picnic table makes it an interesting choice.  The actual treehouse (yes they have one) is off limits to diners but it’s low enough to the ground that a tall person could let a small person take a peek inside.

The food here is very good.  I went with traditional fare, but I’ve come back a couple times to begin working my way through several of the apple dishes that fill out the menu.  If you want an early morning mimosa or hangover cure they also have a fully stocked bar.

This is Rhode Island and seafood is a must try – even for breakfast.  I’ve had both the new England Benny with lobster, asparagus and hollendaise, and the smoked salmon Benedict.  Both were very good.  I’m also up for the Apple Pie French Toast, especially in October when apple season is in full swing.

I must also add that I had a very pleasant time chatting with the owner, a freindly sort with a wry sense of humor and a great attitude about his business and his life.

So for a fun time year round, and excellent food and service try the Tree House Tavern and Bistro in Warwick.

 

 

 

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.