Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Colt State Park - Bristol, Rhode Island

During my recent trip to New England I had the chance to revisit Colt State Park in Rhode Island. The park is located in Bristol along the shores of Narragansett Bay. It's a beautiful location.

There are walking and biking trails that pass along the bay...

...as well as picnic areas, an historical museum and an open air chapel.

It would be very easy to spend a day in the park strolling along the trails, admiring the views and just enjoying the natural beauty. There is also a lot more to see in the area. The park is about a 25 minute drive away from Newport with its great beaches and lovely mansions. And there is also downtown Bristol. 

Bristol, Rhode Island is home to a charming downtown that features shops, restaurants and historical homes. You can enjoy the beauty of the park as well as some shopping and grab a bite to eat. 

For those of you who enjoy bike riding, Bristol, nearby Barrington and Warren, share the East Bay Bike Path. The path starts in Providence and winds its way 14.5 miles past many state and local parks. The path is paved and runs along an old railroad line.

You can visit the park any time of year. While some parking areas are closed during the winter, Colt State Park is open year round. There's something so peaceful about the beach in winter.

There are lots of places to enjoy all that Rhode Island has to offer. Beautiful beaches, charming historical cities and fantastic state parks are just a few.

If your travel plans take you to New England be sure and take some time to visit Rhode Island. The miles of coastline, charming historic cities and breathe taking natural beauty make it a must see for everyone.

Happy travels!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Harry's Bar & Burger - Providence, Rhode Island

Harry's Bar & Burger was another stop I made with my lovely sister and my awesome BIL during my visit to the Northeast. I'd read about Harry's and wanted to stop in when I was visiting. 
After reading in several places that Harry's served one of the best burgers in Providence how could I not give it a try?

Harry's is a small, hip place located near Brown and RISD that specializes in small burgers and beers. They also have an interesting cocktail menu, hard-shakes and a few Bloody Mary's.

My awesome BIL had a Smuttynose Brewing Company's Finestkind IPA.

I had a beer, it was a good beer, but I can't recall its name. I know I should take better notes, or any notes, but you know how it goes.

Which brings us to the food. We ordered the M.O.A.B. (mother of All Burgers) with a side of Sweet Potato fries. Harry's has a veggie burger option and also turkey burgers. Everyone should be able to find something they like.

M.O.A.B - harry's classic cheese, bacon, mushroom and fried onion stings
The burgers are small sliders cooked using the "smash them on the grill" method. While not my favorite style of burger, these were not at all dry and very tasty. A happy surprise.

Sweet Potato fries with Kryptonite Aoili
The fries were good but made better with the addition of the kryptonite aoili.
I have no idea, not a clue, what kryptonite aoili is. It tastes good and it's green. That's all I got.

Harry's is a fun place, serving creative, small burgers and a good selection of beer. No surprise that it's a favorite with the local college crowd. Due to it's small size the place fills up quickly and can have a wait. Would I stand a wait for this place? Probably not. But if you hit it at the right time Harry's is certainly worth a visit.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Trafford - Warren, Rhode Island

I was recently in New England visiting family. It's a beautiful time of year to be in that part of the country. While I was there I had lunch at Trafford in Warren with my lovely sister and my awesome BIL.

Trafford is located by the water in Warren and takes advantage of that fact with great outdoor seating and pretty views. It was a gorgeous day.

While we looked over the menu our server told us about the daily drink special. It did have a name, I think. Wonderful Peach something or other. I remember that it involved fresh peaches and other things and was very tasty.

We selected a couple of starters to share while we sipped our peach drinks and admired the view.
Trafford Crab Cakes - Roasted corn salsa, Chipotle aioli and micro cilantro
Fried Oysters - Fruit salsa, Chipotle remoulade
The crab cakes were very nice; more crab than filler. You'd be surprised at how many disappointing crab cakes I've had that tasted more like cracker cakes. Not so here. The fried oysters were small but flavorful. The fruit salsa really set off the flavors. I wouldn't have thought the combination of fruit and oysters would work but it did here.

After another round of peach drinks we ordered our mains. My BIL and I had the Fish & Chips and my lovely sister had the Chicken Panini.

Fish & Chips - Fresh cod, tartar sauce, coleslaw and fries
Chicken Panini - Balsamic glaze, mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto
The fish wasn't dipped in the type of batter I've come to expect with fish and chips. This was a lighter, less greasy coating that let the flavor of the fish stand out. I enjoyed it. A surprising but overall better option than the heavier, traditional batter. 

The panini looked great and I was told tasted great as well. Both the panini and the fish and chips came with the same hand-cut fries. 

The food at Trafford was just different enough to be interesting while still keeping enough traditional elements to be familiar.

Trafford is a lovely restaurant both inside and out. The food is good and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. A nice place to enjoy a summer day and catch up with friends and family.

Happy dining!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

West Cobb Diner - Marietta, Georgia

I'm not sure how West Cobb Diner escaped my notice. It's exactly the kind of place I like to try. That's why as soon as I did hear about it the Dining Companion and I headed right over there.

I noticed as were entering that there is a patio adjacent to the restaurant. I asked the hostess if the outside area is pet friendly and she said that it is. Another place where the 4LB Wonder would be welcomed. Nice to know.

The interior is stylish and inviting. It feels like it would be a great place to while away a rainy afternoon.

Warm and inviting dining area - Note the fireplace in the corner
 The food at West Cobb Diner is primarily Southern in style with a few other things added into the mix.

A nice variety
Let me confess something right here. We went to West Cobb Diner with a plan. Having looked over their menus online we decided on a few things to try. When our server Max (I hope I got that right!) dropped off the menus there was also a page of specials included. But, instead of getting all sidetracked like I do, I stuck with the plan.

We ordered a lot of stuff. Most of it ended up coming home with us but I really wanted to try a variety of what was offered.

To begin we ordered two starters - Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade and the Smoked Chicken Quesadilla. The tomatoes were crisp without being oily and just what you'd want in a good fried green tomato. The shrimp remoulade however made the dish. It would make just about anything you put it on better.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade
The smoked chicken quesadillas were outstanding. You could taste the smoke on the diced chicken as well as the savoriness of the Gouda cheese and the poblano peppers.

Smoked Chicken Quesadilla with Gouda cheese & Pico de Gallo with Roasted Poblanos and Caramelized Onions
We were off to a great start. Next we ordered mains and sides. Some of the dinners come with sides so by ordering an additional sides plate we were able to sample six of the many offered.

For mains we went with a couple of Southern staples - Shrimp and Grits and Country Fried Steak.

Crispy fried shrimp, creamy. cheesy grits and corn salsa. Every single thing about this dish was great. From the perfectly cooked shrimp to the bacon-pepper gravy; delicious, delicious, delicious. 

Jumbo Fried Shrimp & Cheddar Cheese Grits with Bacon-Cracked Pepper Gravy & Roasted Corn Salsa
Next up was the Country Fried Steak. Another home run. The Vidalia Onion gravy totally made this dish. Every bite was great.

Country Fried Steak with Vidalia Onion Gravy, Corn Casserole and Squash Casserole
The corn and squash casseroles were the first of the sides that we ordered. Imagine if you took the best of every Thanksgiving dressing, stuffing or casserole that your grandma ever made; then you'd have an idea of what these two sides were like. But only if your grandma was a good cook. Cause if not then that's not the idea at all.

In addition to all of that we also went for a plate of sides. Called a Veggie Plate on the menu. Four more choices... We ended up with Broccoli Casserole, Cucumbers & Tomatoes, Macaroni & Cheese and Jalapeno Slaw.

From top - Cucumbers & Tomatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Broccoli Casserole, and Jalapeno Slaw
All really great. Crisp cucumbers and ripe tomatoes with a vinaigrette dressing, spicy creamy slaw and my favorite kind of homemade style mac and cheese. The broccoli casserole was another dish of awesome. Even if you're on the fence about broccoli this dish might make you a convert.

Last but not least is dessert. West Cobb Diner's desserts are made fresh daily so the selection changes. We went with a Lime Cake with some kind of amazing frosting. I can't for the life of me remember what the frosting was (cream cheese maybe?) but it was some kind of awesome.

Lime Cake
We rolled out of West Cobb Diner with a stack of take-out boxes and a plan to come back before patio season is over. There were just so many great things on the menu that we have no choice but to come back and try more stuff and give the pet friendly patio a try.

If you're in the area of the West Cobb Diner, do stop in. The service is friendly and accommodating and the food is fantastic. The perfect antidote to the same old-same old.

Happy dining!