Restaurants & Bars

all over New England eating (LONG)


Restaurants & Bars

all over New England eating (LONG)

Joanie | May 19, 2003 08:18 AM

A couple trips to Springfield VT and one to Newport has had me eating at lots of different spots. Went to the Blue Moon Diner in Gardner MA for the first time in many years. Only two dishes are $6.95, everything else is $5.95 or below. Got a big breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs and home fries. The hash came from a can but I don't mind that as long as it's good and crisp on the outside which they did. Stuffed down a piece of choc. cream pie and while the crust was perfect, I think they used choc. pudding as the filling and squirted whipped cream on top. I make a better one.

Went to one of the few Howard Johnson's left in Spfld VT for the Fri. all you can eat fish fry which my brother and I enjoyed growing up. $8.99 for all the fish and/or clam strips w/ fries and cole slaw. Yes it's all frozen and it's a super thing fish filet and strips, and the tartar sauce isn't as good as it used to be, but there's somethng comforting about that place. Mom said the chowder was quite good and the fish fry was fine, it'll definitely hold me for a while. Also hit the Dairy Joy in Bellows Falls where you can get a cheeseburger basket for all of $2.25. Of course, the burger is flat as flat can be, but it was fine.

Ate at Zin's Wine Bistro in the Hanover Inn (NH) for a nice meal. The menu had lots of little plates and apps. with a few more substantial thigs. We split clam fritters (they'd be clam cakes in RI), caesar salad and a lobster club w/ fries ($3.95 to $16.95). The sandwich was served on grilled bread and piled high with lobster. The apple cobbler unfortunately had way too oaty of a topping and I'm pretty sure it was canned apples. Again, I make it better. Had planned on eating in the dining room at the Inn but it was a little too formal and not a soul was in there.

Did a donut taste off on the way to Newport and started with Vista in Pawtucket where I just got a plain. I think this place is more geared to the Keno and scratch ticket crowd, donut was only okay and threw the rest away cuz we finally hit the infamous Allie's in N. Kingstown RI. These donuts truly deserve the detour. The glazed was light, the old fashioned plain had that nice crispy exterior and the maple frosted old fashioned was the best donut I've ever had. So many to choose from, would have liked to have checked out some sort of choc. flavor but we had to go to Snoopy's Diner down the road. The place wasn't too crowded so we were surprised it took so long for our food but it was worth the wait. The chorizo/cheese omelette was good, the home fries were wonderful, nice and crisp on the outside and you had the option of potato bread for toast. We also split a single banana pancake which was huge and amazing. Very good breakfast for $8.

On to Newport where we got some good iced coffee/iced chai at the Steaming Bean on Sat. (more confused/slow service tho) which had the most amazing looking cookies and Java Bob's on Sun. which had tastes of their baked goods out for us. That nite was a drink at Pop Martini Bar which is a cool swanky place. But for the 3rd time, slow, short-staffed service, so we moved to the bar where the bartender was amusing even tho he was busy as all hell. Millions of kinds of martinis, I chose a way too strong orange vodka and vanilla vodka w/ sugared rim one that he gave me hard time for needing cranberry juice to cut it. My friend got some great combo of citron vodka, limoncello, chambourd and who knows what else. A bargain (compared to Boston at least) at $7. Moved next door to Tucker's for dinner and ate at the bar where we split more stuff. An okay white pizza w/ potato, rosemary and prosciutto. A little heavy on the layers of prosc. I thought. The mixed greens and pear salad w/ gorgonzola was wonderful as were the seared scallops w/ celery puree. We wanted more than one scallop each tho. With a glass of wine each, it came to about $41. Didn't make it into the funky Salvation Cafe which has the best 50's decor I've seen in a while. Walked all the way down to Cafe Zelda hoping to see that over the top partying yacht crowd but it was fairly mellow. In fact, for a weekend that was very booked and busy with graduations, Thames St. seemed kind of quiet with just O'Briens and the blues bar being super crowded. Anyway, they were done taking orders but let us get the apple bread pudding w/ vanilla sauce which was tasty (about $7). The entrees at this place sound really good and most things are under $22, definitely would like to eat dinner there.

Got two blueberry pancakes and a side of home fries at Tommy's Diner on Rt. 138 in Middletown the next day (it's nice to be able to split every single food item with a friend). Forgot how people smoke in diners, the only detraction from the food. Then a tasting at the Newport Vineyard (surpised they charge $3 for that) where their special white wine and gemini red in pretty frosted bottles were surprisingly good. Last stop was the original Flo's clam shack in Portsmouth where the clams didn't quite do it for me. I know some people love big bellies but these were too big for us, really gushy (and very hot) with green stuff and some grit when we ate them. The batter was a bit overdone, not super sweet like some of the north shore places, needed salt. They don't serve a clam plate, you have to kind of make it yourself so we just got a large order of clams for $16.95 and still ate most of them. But I've had much better. You couldn't beat sitting on the wall looking out at the ocean on a beautiful day tho.

Okay, that's lots of random stops and somehow, I actually lost a pound from the previous weekly weigh in. Thanks to Anj for all her great Newport suggestions.

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