Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jo's American Bistro In Newport

One of the many new restaurants we visited in Newport this year was Jo's American Bistro.  The two-level eatery with an airy, modern design just off Bellevue Avenue instantly became a hit with us.

We visited on a Wednesday evening and took advantage of the prix fixe dinner special.  This included a glass of wine, salad or soup and a main entree.  I had the Leek And Potato Soup (not pictured) which was excellent.  Companion diners chose the House Salad, a super fresh mix of greens with gorgonzola cheese.

The Shrimp And Pasta, made with cavatappi pasta, was a colorful and delectable hit.

I joined a fellow diner in ordering Chicken Piccatta.  It was served on a bed of delicious mashed potato and crispy green beans.  This was truly one of the best meals we had all week and the price of $20.95 made it the best value as well.  Truly a memorable meal.

We can really say that if you'll be in the Newport area soon this will be a great dinner destination.  The prix fixe special runs Sunday through Wednesday.  The service is excellent all around.  Don't forget to tell them that The Boston Foodie sent you.

Jo's American Bistro
24 Memorial Boulevard
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.847.5506


Monday, June 24, 2019

The Newport Food Tour 2019

We kicked off our week-long food tour of Newport, Rhode Island, last week visiting over fifteen restaurants, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and discovering lots of foodie and cultural finds.

We sipped prosecco at The Vanderbilt, overlooking the Harbor, enjoyed the view of Castle Hill from our balcony perch high atop Ocean Cliff, visited churches and galleries, strolled the mansions and Cliff Walk, had a day at the beach, spent time with friends and family, watched a Regatta and generally enjoyed every moment.

Over the next week we will be posting about our many dining experiences, from great to mediocre, with lots of new places to write about that are new this season.  Stay tuned for the adventure.  It's a must if you'll be visiting Newport soon or haven't been in years and want a refresher.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Visiting Portland, Maine

It had been at least twenty years since I last stepped inside Portland's city limits and all I could think of was what a difference two decades make. Ha!

It's a very nautical, seaside town, easily walkable and very, very cool.  There are actually very few chain restaurants here and refreshingly so.  Lots of small, indie shops with local flair and endless, great dining options.  Sure, it can be a bit hipsterish with the gaggles of bearded guys sporting suspenders and coiffed pompadours with ladies decked out head-to-toe in vintage clothing both filling the craft breweries.  I'll take colorful over bland any day.

The odd mix of mod and traditional, progressive yet measured gives the city a quirky yet likable feel, eccentric and classic at the same time and, yes, we can't wait to go back and explore the area more.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Breakfast At The Front Room, Portland

Breakfast corn bread at The Front Room.

After an early seven mile hike along Portland's Harbor Walk on the Eastern Promenade then through the city we were more than ready for a hearty breakfast so we made our way to Munjoy Hill at the recommendation of the hotel concierge to The Front Room.

We went with the two eggs over easy and the Three Egg Omelette both of which were great but that griddled cornbread was worth the trip alone.  The place came with excellent online reviews and we'd have to agree.  The service and food are very good and the prices very reasonable.  

The Front Room
73 Congress Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Telephone:  207.773.3366


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Staying At Portland Harbor Hotel

While visiting Portland we stayed at the luxurious Portland Harbor Hotel.

The service here was impeccable including the town car transportation provided for hotel guests and the complimentary Starbucks Cafe coffee service each morning.

The are beautiful sitting areas throughout the hotel as well as a very quiet courtyard in full bloom at this time of year.

It really is a classic New England maritime feel and the location is right in the heart of foodie central with loads of smaller independently owned cafes, restaurants, shops and nightlife all within easy walking distance over the cobblestone streets.  Just charming.

Portland Harbor Hotel
468 Fore Street
Portland, ME  01401
Telephone:  207.775.9090


We visited as media guests of the hotel without promise of any editorial consideration

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Dinner At Blue Fin

Specialty cocktails at Blue Fin: Brasileira and Strawberry Fields Forever.

While staying in Portland we had the opportunity to dine at Blue Fin at the Portland Harbor Hotel.  We sampled their famous dish the Lobster Popover and, yes, it was every bit as good as it looks.  A beautiful lobster salad is served in the fresh popover made in-house daily.  You will not be disappointed if you order this.

The Calamari Fries were also excellent and a refreshing break from the rings usually served.

Seared Scallops And Risotto.  Those dots you see were actually made from a beet gel.  Delicious all around.

I went with the Salmon Ravioli, an unusual twist but also very good.

We finished off with this Key Lime Pie With Raspberry Drizzle.  It had a very strong. tart flavor, not overly sweet as is often the case and a more custardy texture than any we've had.  Don't miss this one.

The service here was excellent and, as mentioned, we found the menu to be rather creative with a big focus on seafood as one would expect in a port city.  Just a great place to dine.

Blue Fin
Portland Harbor Hotel
468 Fore Street
Portland, ME  
Telephone:  207.775.9090


We were invited to dinner as media guests without promise of any editorial consideration.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Burlington

For lovers of Frank Pepe Pizzeria who can't make the trek to Chestnut Hill too often there is some good news:  a Burlington Mall outpost of the iconic pizzeria opens today.

We had an invite to attend a preview over the weekend and can report that, yes, it is the same excellent quality product as any other location.  And it IS excellent.  We went with a split of sausage and spinach on one side and meatball and fresh garlic on the other.  Perfect, as usual.

Our server, Robin.

Burlington Mall
75 Middlesex Turnpike
Burling, MA  01803


We were invited as media guests for this preview with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Old Port Slice Bar In Portland

One of the things you'll really love about Portland is that it is full of quirky, small, independently-owned little food spots and shops.  There are barely any chain restaurants in this city at all.  It's so refreshing.  Yes, it's hipsterish but not in the affected way that it seems to be in other cities where people wear their beards and tattoos more like a costume.  These people are just unconventional and happy about it.

One such place we stumbled into was Old Port Slice Bar, a short walk from our perch at Portland Harbor Hotel and right in the thick of all the food and nightlife action.  Portland is more of a night person than a morning person we would discover.  Anyway, when we found ourselves here we just could not ignore the Thai Chicken Slice, a newer item on the menu and it was worth the chance taken.  Absolutely delicious and different.  We found it to be, basically, a great pad thai on a crust instead of noodles.  Yup, you get it.  We would have tried a few of the other enticing flavors, too, but this was a food tour and there is never enough time to space out all the food we want to eat.

Needless, to say we will be back to try out those other flavors and confidently suggest that you will not be disappointed visiting here.

420 Fore Street
Portland, ME
Telephone:  207.899.3364

Old Port Slice Bar is refreshingly free from the enslavement of social media.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Oh Holy Donut

The Pomegranate Donut at The Holy Donut, Portland.

Of all the places people offered as suggestions to visit on our recent trip to Portland, Maine, the one name that kept coming up over and over again was The Holy Donut.

I was skeptical.  Having worked in a bakery for years where I actually made the donuts early in the morning each day I just could not conceive of using potatoes to make the dough.  After one bite I was sold.

It's not the same taste or texture one would get with a traditional fried batter donut so it is a bit of a different experience but one just as good.  And, as far as I know, Congdon's (still my favorite perhaps because of the first love experience) doesn't do pomegranate.  

So, I guess we are joining the ranks and recommend The Holy Donut in Portland as a must-taste spot.

The Holy Donut
7 Exchange Street
Portland, ME
Telephone:  207.775.7776


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Peach Dish

Georgia always has an early onslaught of great produce and we were lucky enough to get a meal kit from Peach Dish recently and just loved it.  It featured tomato pie with vidalia onions, herbs, tomatoes (of course) and locally-produced cheese with a protein of organic chicken.

Everything was super fresh and the recipe was easy to follow.  We have tried other kits before but this one was a standout.  You can find out more at Peach Dish.

This post was sponsored by the Georgia Department Of Agriculture and Peach Dish.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

It is an impressive thing to see, the Field Of Flags that is set up on Boston Common for Memorial Day.  Each of the 37.219 flags represents a Massachusetts citizen who gave their life to defend us, all of us.  There were thousands of people viewing this, most standing in silence just taking it in.  What I was particularly struck by was the large amount of international visitors and tourists who were in awe of this tribute we give each year.  

My father was a veteran having joined the Navy towards the tail end of WWII.  He was not of legal age so his father had to go with him to sign the enlistment papers.  From High School to Indonesia he went.  He did not give his life but he did give up a full four year scholarship to New York University to be a teenage sailor.  I never heard him complain or utter a regret about that once.  I wonder how many young men would make that sacrifice today.

I also never thanked my father for his service.  I never even thought to.  I just took it for granted like so many other people.  Yet, he was one of the thousands of young people who willingly left home to go to the other side of the world and fight, no matter the personal cost, so that another country would not overtake ours and diminish the unprecedented level of freedom, justice and economic opportunity that we enjoy.  With the dismal, divisive state of politics in our country today I am quite thankful to all the veterans and will forever honor the memory of lives lost.  It is so important that we never forget.

As we strolled through the beautiful Public Garden on a gorgeous day we talked about how lucky we are.  Boston.  Is there anyplace better?  And as I celebrate twelve years of being even more lucky to be a food and culture writer in Boston and New England with all the restaurants, events, premieres, shows, festivals and parties I visit and attend I honestly feel as though I am living my bucket list each and every day.

Happy Memorial Day to all and may we never forget, even in these difficult times, that others fought to defend us and gave their very lives so that we could enjoy a better one.