Monday, July 16, 2018


We had a great weekend in Boston walking in and around the North End, waterfront and then for a thrilling ride on Codzilla by Boston Harbor Cruises last Saturday.  We'd never been on it before.  As we chatted with other passengers we discovered that it's a pretty close to 50/50 split between locals and tourists all looking for something unique and fun to do.

It's about a 40 minute ride reaching speeds up to 40 mph (which is REALLY moving when you are on the water) filled with sharp turns, big splashes and nosedive stops.  At times it felt like a rollercoaster.  Still, we loved it and highly recommend it for a group of friends.  Just don't wear your designer duds because even wrapped in a poncho you will get wet.  It's quite windy out there.

It's not just the need for speed that makes the ride fun, however.  There are also some stunning views of the harbor and Boston from the water.

For a short video of just how fast one moves and a real feel of the ride hit here for a video.  H2whoa!!!!

We were invited by Boston Harbor Cruises on this experience as members of the media.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Assembly Row Bar Stars Competition 2018

We headed over to the rooftops at Assembly Row this week for the 2018 edition of the Bar Stars competition featuring bites and, more importantly, sips from some of the best places to eat and drink there.  

The crowd was much larger than we expected, perhaps due to the absolutely perfect weather, the drinks inventive and the food terrific.  The People's Choice winner was America's Fresh Brewhouse and the Judges Award went to The Smoke Shop BBQ.  Those Ribs And Cornbread from Andy Husbands' new outlet were clearly our fave taste of the night.  Overall great food and drink and a very fun event.  It was a perfect way to kick off the big birthday bash weekend.  Congrats to all!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Boston Pizza Festival 2018

We spent a very fun, beautiful summer afternoon in the city with some very fun people enjoying lots of very good pizza.  It was the 2nd annual Boston Pizza Festival.  Held on Boston City Hall Plaza, the brick ovens (amazingly one for each vendor) were stoked and ready to quickly turn out hundreds of pies every minute to the thousands of visitors.  

Some of the lines were long but they moved quickly.  We sampled about 15 (the sampling is unlimited) slices with some very interesting flavor combinations.  The Pistachio Mozzarella slice from Antico Forno was a fave as well as the slices served up by Oath Pizza.  Many of the people we spoke to preferred Mast'.  

There was also some excellent gelato from Gelarto, cold beer, wine, entertainment and games for the kids.  The Festival runs through Sunday, July 8, ending at 8PM.  Enjoy!

We attended this event as members of the media with no promise of any editorial consideration.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Stoneacre Brasserie, Newport

Stoneacre Brasserie is a newer venue in Newport, RI and one of our favorite discoveries during our recent week spent there.  It has all of the makings of a classic French brasserie:  great quality food with a modern twist, a long bar where one can spend hours sipping drinks and talking with friends, an impressive attention to detail including presentation, a sense of the whimsical and even an in-house bakery and cheese shop.  It's also open from 7AM until midnight, the typical hours of an authentic Parisian brasserie.

The design is bright, airy and clean.  There is a long bar, as mentioned, high top tables and a more formal seating area which looks out into the street.  And for summer there will also be seating outdoors.  It's hard to equate the cultural and social importance of the brasserie in France as we really don't have anything exactly comparable here in the States.  In Ireland it would be the pub.  Here it might be the local diner.  Yet, not quite.  It IS an extension of one's own kitchen yet, unlike the other two, the food is elevated to that of an experienced palate and it's certainly not just a drinking place.

You may be offered Gazpacho Shots as an amuse bouche.  It's that level of hospitality, standard in France, the kind of thing that makes you want to come back before you have even begun.

Another taste we enjoyed was the Beet Salad With Pistachios And Pistachio Butter.  Beautifully served, pistachio butter was a new one on us and we loved the combo.

Eggs are always a popular item on the menu at a brasserie and this version of Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs was a new twist on a true classic.  These were a highlight of our visit.


The house-made Peanut Brittle served up after food to everyone that day was just another example of the delight and surprise service here.

After a snack and a glass of wine or a full dinner you can stop at and see what looks good in the bread and cheese section.  Cocktails, drafts and wine are typically priced in the $6-$14 range, appetizers $9-$18 and Mains $18-$26.   A full breakfast and brunch menu is also served ranging from $4-$16 for Buttermilk Biscuits And Seasonal Jam to a fuller Truffled Egg Toast,  With Mushrooms, Arugula And Parmesan. 

This is a good example of what we mean by attention to detail.  How often, if ever, does one see actual hand towels (NOT paper towels) in the restrooms?
Stoneacre Brasserie.  Oh yes, we'll be back.
28 Washington Square
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.619.7810

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Rhode Island RED Newport Neighborhood Food Tour

Beet Salad and Gazpacho shots at Stoneacre Brasserie.

On our recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island, we were invited by Rhode Island RED Food Tours to join them on their Newport Neighborhood Tasting And Cultural Walking Tour.  Over the course of about three hours we walked the city on a beautiful day and stopped for tastes and sips at five different restaurants.

We began at Mission, a casual place featuring their own house made hot dogs.  Across the street from an actual historical mission church and meeting hall, it's owned and operated by a family well-known in Newport.  We liked the casual, artsy feel and the food was great.

There were about a dozen friendly people on our tour, a perfect size, with visitors from as far away as Omaha and Shanghai.   The walking is not at all strenuous and our guide, Leah, provided lots of historical facts and local, colorful insight.

Next up was a a stop at Tavern On Broadway for a flight of local beers and a delicious Fried Calamari, which was not the slightest bit rubbery.  Our favorite sip was the Lemon Sandy.  This end of Broadway is the funkier part of town which we had never visited before.  Here are the vape shops, cool art galleries, small, locally-owned businesses and sports bars overflowing with avid soccer fans watching the games.  It's a very fun place you should explore when in Newport.

A doorman greets every guest personally at The Grace Vanderbilt.

Our next stop was the exact opposite, the former mansion of the Vanderbilt family, now a refurbished hotel known as the Grace Vanderbilt.  

We sampled the Blueberry Sorbet with a glass of sparkling white wine at the veddy, veddy elegant bar.  The banquettes are plush, tufted velvet and original family portraits still hang on the walls.

We were then treated to a visit to the rooftop lounge with a stunning, sweeping 360 degree view of all of Newport.  This is the highest point in the city.  Just spectacular on a gorgeous, clear day as it was.

Next up was Stoneacre Brasserie, a place we'd walked by the night before with great interest.  Open from 7AM to midnight with a classic long bar, separate dining area and their own in-house bakery and cheese shop, it features traditional French plates with a new twist.  The light, airy and impressive design, meticulous service, attention to detail and overall ambiance makes one feel as though you are actually in France.  We loved this spot so much that there will be a more lengthy review to follow.  Suffice to say, they have the best frites ever!

And last was the very cool bodega style haunt:  Perro Solado.  This festive place serves up locally inspired Mexican dishes from gourmet tacos to moles alongside terrific craft cocktails.

The Cucumber and Strawberry Margaritas are not to be missed.

Delicious Avocado Fries are served with a creamy, cool dipping sauce.  Loved these!

We didn't want the tour to end.  As avid foodies we could not have planned a better afternoon with weeks of research.  We just can't recommend Rhode Island RED Food Tours enough.  In fact, we plan to explore the thriving Providence dining scene with them soon.  And if you don't believe us, check out the rave reviews on TripAdvisor.


We attended this tour as a media guest of the tour company with no promise of any editorial consideration.  As always, we call 'em as we see 'em, folks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pasta Beach Newport

Spaghetti Carbonara at Pasta Beach in Newport.

It was the first place we went to dine after arriving in Newport, RI on Friday evening for our annual week of food and touring.  Of course, it was mobbed.  It always is.  Even with the move to a new, much more spacious location on Bellevue Avenue.  Pasta Beach is just one of the favorite restaurants of locals and visitors alike.

The new design is contemporary sleek with, as stated, much more room allowing for bigger groups as well as intimate nooks, a big, very popular, bar in the back and a long, marble counter that runs the length of the open kitchen.  That's where we sat the first night.  It was a simple Margherita Pizza cooked to perfection in the brick oven and a glass of cold local brew, Flying Jenny from Grey Sail Brewing.  They rotate the local beers every week.

If it wasn't for the snippets of English spoken in hushed tones you would swear you're in a small, contemporary restaurant somewhere in Italy.  The pastas, salads and pizzas are simply prepared and quickly served.  The Italian mandate of the highest possible quality of just a few ingredients dictates the menu.

On the last night there were glasses of rosé from a decent wine list in the $12-$15 range. 

The Tagliatelle Asparagi e Prosciutto: asparagus, Parma Prosciutto, cream, Parmiagiano Reggiano and parsley.

The portion sizes are just right and so are the prices for the quality ingredients in a sophisticated setting.   No wonder it is so popular with the locals.  They also have a Boston restaurant at Rowe's Wharf that we have yet to try.  So now that's yet another summer goal to add to the list.

Pasta Beach Newport
138 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI  02840
Telephone:  401.847.2222