Cafe on the Common, Mansfield, MA

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mikeIt took about 30 minutes to get to Mansfield today and it was time well spent. Nice drive, great conversation and a nice new find for us; Cafe on the Common at 12 South Main St. What a nice place! Bright and clean with lots of seating at the counter, in booths or at tables. Downeast coffee (it’s everywhere!) done right. Fresh ground and hot gives any coffee it’s best flavor and we’ve come to enjoy the Downeast brand. Nice! And frequent refills…this was a three-cup morning! Great menu options made it hard to choose but I went with the Popeye Benedict. Three eggs, tomato and, you guessed it, spinach on English muffins with hollandaise sauce. Actually had a chose of a cheese sauce instead of the hollandaise. Glad I went with the hollandaise. It was terrific! And so was the bennie. The veggies were fresh and the muffins toasted just right. I cannot say enough about fresh veggies. We’ve had some bad experiences with places that use veggies from frozen. Blech! This Bennie was SO GOOD! And the eggs were poached perfectly! Nice! The homefries were deep fried and you know how we feel about deep fried taters. Well, these were pretty good. Nice seasoning and crispy outside and nicely cooked in. Our only complaint was that they weren’t hot enough, like they’d been sitting on the plate, or in a warmer while the rest of the breakfast was being assembled. Still, pretty good for being deep fried. This breakfast was so good I wish Ray had taken “after” pictures of our meals…there was nothing left and Ray always leaves something! So, I’m giving the coffee an 8.5 and the homefries a 7.5 (which would have been higher if they had been served hot) and the meal a 9. An 8.2 is a place you have to visit, definitely.

 

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ray Expanding our breakfast places brought us north to Mansfield. We had very good luck with our first Mansfield stop, Hangar 12, and looked forward to another good breakfast. Cafe on the Common, opposite the Mansfield Common, has a really neat and comfortable setting with lots of seating and a very expansive menu for both breakfast and lunch. Coffee came promptly and we continued on our streak of Downeast coffees. I could see that they ground their own beans and thus the coffee was great. One of today’s specials was a Portuguese frittata with linguica, green peppers and onions topped with cheddar cheese. Had to try this one. I loved the fact that the onions and peppers had been grilled and none were crunchy. The linguica was cut in small bite-sized pieces. Now I am no expert on a frittata, but this one looked more like an open faced omelet. The frittata that I make has the ingredients combined and is baked. It was really good and I left not a morsel on the plate. The home fries were deep fried. I am usually not a fan but these were very good and well-seasoned. My only complaint was that they were warm not hot. Overall a very good breakfast. Coffee, 7, home fries, 7, meal, 7; overall ( you guessed it ) 7.

Kozy Kitchen, Attleboro, MA

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ray Traveling near and far is what Mike and I do to try to find the best breakfast places, and often the most unusual. This morning it was near, probably the second closest to our starting point, that we have ever had, the Kozy Kitchen, 105 Maple St, Attleboro, MA. Now I will bet none of you has experienced a Guatemalan themed restaurant, well that is what the Kozy Kitchen is. If you Google it and find the menu, it will look different than the one that was offered, even though the meal is the same. For example, I ordered the Spanish breakfast, with lots of veggies and Guatemalan black beans. The online menu it is described as follows, “ Huevos revueltos con chorizo- Huevos revueltos (a gusto) con vegetables, beans, and Tortillas.” Mine came with fried plantains and home fries. But let’s start with the coffee. Again we were served Downeast coffee, which has been the staple over the [past few weeks. Very good coffee, nice and hot, strong and the refills were frequent. As for the home fries they were cooked perfectly and looked amazing, but were like that beautiful young teen girl you admired across the room at your first dance. When you actually got to talk to her you found there was lots of “air up there”. The home fries didn’t live up to expectations from first glance. They needed some flavor, spark, something that the rest of the breakfast had in bunches. I loved the scrambled eggs mixed with chorizo and lots of well-cooked veggies. It came with two warm tortillas which I used one to eat some of the scramble and it was really very good. The plantains were perfectly fried and just that nice sweet touch. The black beans were really hot, not spicy, and added terrific balance to the rest of the meal. If it were not for the home fries being ordinary, this would be a top five breakfast. I’ll be back.  Coffee, 7; home fries, 6, meal 9; overall, 7.3. This place recently reopened in December, and I hope that they give it a change to grow and be known in the community. If you want a unique breakfast a la Guatemala, try out the Kozy Kitchen.

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mikeThe only good thing about a restaurant closing down is that it reopens at some point and we don’t have to drive too far, at least for one week, to eat breakfast at a new place. So! This morning we returned, after about five years, to the Kozy Kitchen in nearby Attleboro. Nice and bright and clean inside but we noticed we were the only patrons there. A bad sign? Hmmmmmm. Being the only ones there service was great! The coffee came quickly. Downeast brand. Downeast seems to be the new standard around these parts. Haven’t seen the New England coffee in awhile. Good, well flavored, with the only downside being it didn’t seem fresh ground which makes a difference in flavor. Still, easily drinkable with a nice taste. My unusual came with a thick sausage sliced lengthwise to quicken cooking. Usually this merely dries out the sausage but it’s thickness still left a lot of tasty juiciness. Yummy! The homefries, alas! lacked flavor. They LOOKED amazing (see photos) but needed salt and pepper to be ok. I know it’s easy enough to add spices at the table but we kinda expect a restaurant to add its own signature taste. Me, I spice them up and then stir them in egg yoke so everything was fine in the end. Eggs are eggs but I noticed these had been cooked using something that left a nice, brownish color but no flavor and we wondered if that’s how the homefries were cooked also. So! The coffee was a solid 7 and the breakfast was also a 7 but I would have to give the homefries a 6 for 6.7 overall. Honestly, if I drove past the Kozy Kitchen each day on my morning drive I would make this place my usual stop. Nothing fancy but a good breakfast at a good price.

Miss Lorraine’s Diner, Pawtucket, RI

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mikeWow! It is SO NICE to find a new place nearby! Miss Lorraine is a brand new diner in Pawtucket at 560 Mineral Spring Ave. It is a nicely restored diner car and is just…there. It’s placed in a mill parking lot and if your headed south on Mineral Spring it is hidden by part of an old mill building. Pay attention! So! I went rogue this morning and got the tofu scrambler. Not a typo. Tofu! Whaaaaat? This was part of a wildy diverse breakfast menu and the tomato, spinach and mushrooms caught my eye. I took a chance on the tofu. Check out the picture. Cubes everywhere! The tofu chunks were quite good, actually, with light flavoring. Nice. The veggies were fresh and well cooked and the tomatoes held most of the flavoring which was salty and, I think, had a curry base. I could be wrong but that’s what I think. The homefries? Well, the ones I could put a fork into were pretty good. However, easily half the portion on my plate were way, way undercooked. No excuse for that. Don’t know what happened but that’s just wrong. The coffee was good diner coffee. Downeast. Roasted right here in Pawtucket. All-in-all, a mixed experience. The coffee was a 6.5 with the meal getting an 8 but those homefries were unforgivable and get a 4 so an overall of 6.2

 

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rayPawtucket, home of the Pawtucket Red Sox (until 2021) and Miss Lorraine’s Diner where we had breakfast this morning. A traditional diner car style restaurant fairly new to the Pawtucket scene and maybe still finding itself on the dining side. The restaurant was basically empty when we got there, one other booth was taken, and service was prompt. The coffee was another staple of the city of Pawtucket, brewed right around the corner from this diner, Downeast coffee. It seems we are running into this coffee more and more. The coffee was ok, not bad, not great. The best coffees are two things, hot and from freshly ground beans. I could not tell if they ground their beans but the flavor was not up to that standard. I had the Southwest omelet with home fries. The omelet, with black beans, chourico, and onions was nothing extraordinary, probably because there was no cheese. I think a pepper jack or even sharp cheddar would have made this omelet much better. Now for the home fries, 50/50. Not that they were so-so, just that half were under cooked, while the other half were pretty good. That first bite was telling in that I could not stick my fork through the potato, not a good sign. And it really seemed like it was every other one was like that. At first I thought it was the larger cubes that were under cooked, but I found several smaller ones the same. I guess they are learning as they grow. Coffee, 7; home fries, 4; meal 6; overall, 5.6.

Jigger’s, East Greenwich, RI

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ray I’ve had Jigger’s on my list of places to go for nearly a year. With Monday being a holiday and no traffic through Providence, this was the right time. Clearly I figured this was going to be one of our longer rides but with a lovely trek through the back roads of Apponaug and down picturesque Post Road, it only took half an hour. A beautiful ride through some older parts of Rhode Island with Narragansett Bay off to the east and mansions dotting the hillsides to the west, it was a really nice leisurely drive. Jiggers, 145 Main St, East Greenwich, RI, has a big sign out front, “Voted Best Breakfast of Rhode Island, 2016”. Mike and I wanted to find out how good it really was. Situated in a tiny section of downtown East Greenwich, Jigger’s is a very typical diner look. Booths and counter spaces with tile floors and walls, and lots of character. A great variety on the breakfast and lunch menu provided some thoughts for choices. They advertise homemade hash and I never want to pass up that so I ordered the hash omelet. Now Jigger’s offers two sides from a nice list, with each omelet. I had the obligatory home fries and a fruit cup. Downeast coffee, freshly ground, comes in a hefty black mug and was terrific. Being fresh ground gives the coffee that bold flavor that is not bitter. Several refills followed. Home fries were very good, nice crunch and good flavor, improved with a dash of salt. The has omelet was, as advertised, homemade and terrific. The meal portion was very hearty and more than I could finish. Having that small fruit cup really topped off this meal. Gotta come back here for lunch with Barb. And an added bonus “Free jigger’s Diner Mug With a Purchase of 6 Assorted Large Muffins $15.99” (Maybe next time). Coffee, 9; home fries, 8, meal,9.5; overall , 9. So far, for me, the best of 2020.

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mike I love diners, especially the classic stainless steel, curved roof, lots of counter seating, train car types. This is one of those. Very, very nice! Old fashioned ambiance with an upscale breakfast menu; not just bacon and eggs but something for every type of diet. I was intrigued with the sausage Bennie on Johnny cakes. Different, right? And the meal came with a side. I got the black bean and squash hash. Back up a bit. The coffee, ordered and served quickly, was very good. Fresh ground Downeast. Ray hit it in the head: Bold. Full flavor with no bitterness or aftertaste. Nice! This was a three cup morning! My breakfast was outstanding! The johnny cakes were an unexpectedly great twist on the usual English muffin base. They were great on their own! The hash was just as good and turned out to be a great compliment to the Bennie. The hash was served with a side of salsa which worked very well with the sweetness of the squash. I liked it a lot. I tried Ray’s homefries. They were just ok, better with salt. But decidedly average when compared to the rest of the meal. I am giving the coffee an 8.5 and because homefries are one of the components of our rating just a 6. But my meal was a solid 9 for an overall of (rounding up) 8! Very nice!

Reidy’s Family Restaurant, Portsmouth, RI

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mikeYou know, Portsmouth isn’t that far away after all! That’s where Ray and I ended up the other day at a place called Reidy’s Family Restaurant, 3351 E Main Rd. Look for the coffee cup sign. Kinda packed when we arrived. Still, found a table and got cups of good New England Coffee. Always good coffee. Diner coffee. Second cup coffee. Reidy’s has a basic diner menu so I got my unusual. Look at the picture. What’s your first impression? Yeah, ours too. Where’s the homefries? Not a lot there. Very disappointing. And the taste, the spices, were good but the small bits of potato cooled pretty fast and lost there appeal. Rats. Three overcooked, dry, flavorless links of sausage. One of my pet peeves are sausage left too long on the griddle. They’re not burned but all the juicy goodness is cooked out. Rats. Eggs are eggs (Kevin). Reidy’s is an obviously popular stop as it was still crowded when we left. So maybe it was just this one meal but, well, meh. Coffee a 7 and homefries 6.5 and the overall meal a 5.5 because of the sausage and the small portion of homefries didn’t help. 6.2

 

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ray I’d say we traveled about 5 Seekonks to get to Reidy’s Family Restaurant in Portsmouth RI, and was it worth the ride? Maybe the meal was not the best but our conversations never are boring. My wife and I go to a great seafood restaurant in Middletown RI, Anthony’s, and have gone by this breakfast / lunch diner many times. I always look at the big sign in the shape of a coffee mug, advertising the restaurant and it’s “bottomless cup of coffee”, but this was the first time actually eating there. Huge specials menu which leaned heavily on the lunches that are offered (note to myself to take Barbara for lunch…). Breakfast menu was pretty traditional, not much in the way of anything unique. When nothing new jumps out at me I have my usual, a Western omelet. Coffee was Downeast brand, and was pretty good. A little better than average. I was disappointed with the omelet and home fries for a couple of reasons. The home fries were good, not great, but a small portion in comparison to most of our breakfast stops. The omelet was heavy on the cheese, light on ham ( which was deli ham cut in small pieces ) and the onions and green peppers were raw. The veggies need to be at least stirred around the flattop for a while to take some crunch off and give a little flavor. Not my favorite place for breakfast, but maybe lunch will be better. Coffee, 8; home fries, 6; meal, 6; overall 6.8.

 

Assonet Roasters, Assonet, MA

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ray  In the quaint little community of Assonet is this lovely restaurant, Assonet Roasters. As the name implies, they have some really interesting coffees and this was right up our alley. A short, but harrowing drive (thankfully no accident or police as I plowed through a STOP sign), and lots of catching up to do with Mike and Kilian’s trip to Italy, Patriots, Super Bowl and even a little Red Sox, which brought us to Assonet Roasters. Very nice setting and a good number of choices on the menu including several options for coffee. We started off with the house blend which was terrific, and consistently hot and flavorful. I’m not always a fan of blended coffee but this was quite good. I chose a build-your-own omelet using ham, red bell peppers and mushrooms with cheddar cheese. A super pleasant waitress kept our coffee fresh and topped off throughout the meal. Let me start with the home fries which I thought were pretty good but a little over seasoned. Now these were deep fried not on the flattop and that in itself is not always positive. However the potatoes were consistently cooked and not too crispy which often happens with deep fried home fries. My omelet was perfectly cooked but I was not happy with the choice of ham, which was deli slices cut in pieces. Just took it down a notch. I liked the sharp cheddar and freshly sautéed mushrooms. Sort of an up and down breakfast, Coffee, 8; home fries, 6; meal, 7; overall 7.

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mikeIt’s been awhile! Ray and I traveled a few Seekonks away to Assonet and spent a pleasant ride catching up on EVERYTHING! It was nice…the ride to and from anywhere has always been a favorite part of the breakfast experience. So! Assonet Roasters. Nice place. First, the coffee is OUTSTANDING! They offer three different brews (one, a decaf, which, if you didn’t know, is NOT coffee), a house blend and a dark roast. I tried each. I would go here just for the coffee. Nice! Nice! Nice! The Tuscan Sunrise breakfast caught my eye. Nicely prepared spinach topped with slices of mozzarella and sliced, grilled cherry tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette drizzled on top. OMG it was so, so good! I hadn’t thought the vinaigrette would be a breakfasty type of thing but what do I know? It was GREAT! The meal came with scrambled eggs (I wish they were a bit creamier) and grilled English muffins, which were perfectly crunchy. Very nice! The only downside was the side of homefries. Overspiced and deep fried is a bad combination. Neither Ray or I finished them. Drumroll please! The coffee was a 9.5 and the meal a 9 with the homefries only getting a 6. Overall, an 8.2

Stephanie’s, Taunton, MA

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mikeAh, Taunton! Nice to find a new place to review nearby. Actually, Stephanie’s, 67 Main St, occupies a space Ray and I reviewed summer of 2018. It was called Coffee Milano then and we kinda liked it. Could Stephanie’s be as good…better? First impressions were not so good. The coffee smelled and tasted bitter/burned. Not a good start. We usually give coffee a two-taste test. A lot of times, for some reason, a first taste is bad but then, and maybe our taste buds acclimate or something, who knows, but a second taste is much better. This coffee took four sips before it seemed a pretty good example of above average diner coffee. Sometimes, that second cup proves to be better as well…a fresh pot, perhaps? Alas, we were never offered a refill. Not good! Someone really dropped the ball on this one. My unusual was pretty good. I really liked the light crisp and flavor of the homefries. Very nice! And the sausage were flavorful and cooked well, not overdone and dried out. Eggs are eggs. So! Coffee, 4.5 with homefries 7.5 with the meal also coming on at 7.5 giving Stephanie’s an overall of 6.3 Too bad about the coffee.

 

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ray A new year and a new restaurant, actually new name and ownership. Mike and I went to Stephanie’s which is located in downtown Taunton. Last year we went to the same address but under a different name, Coffee Milano. Lots of memories in for me in Taunton, as I can remember this city with lots of shops and places to browse, like Woolworths with it’s soda fountain where you could get a light lunch or sip a soda with a friend. There were two drug stores here as well as three banks and two movie theaters. All gone….progress. Anyway, back to breakfast. Unlike Coffee Milano, there was a waiter, and more than a couple of patrons. Coffee was just OK, not the worst or the best. Worthy of at least a refill, alas no refills were offered.  I threw a change-up at Mike and ordered an Eastern omelet rather than a Western. This is made with linguica rather than ham. Home fries were really quite tasty, very buttery and some nice crunch and only needing a pinch of salt. My omelet was very good! I especially liked the grilled green peppers and the caramelized red onions. The linguica was also quite good. Two things bring my rating down a bit, however, the quality of the coffee and the lack of a refill as well as the fact that we never saw the waiter after he delivered the meal, not even to bring the check. Coffee, 5; home fries, 7; meal, 8, overall, 6.7

Athena’s, Cranston, RI

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ray  Our first review for the new year ( started early….) is Athena’s, 1482 Park Ave, Cranston, RI. Just like a few other places we have dined, Athena’s is in a mini-mall which also included a Chinese restaurant and a pizza place. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all in one location. Our waitress brought us possibly the biggest cup of coffee we have ever had. More like a bowl. It was so plentiful that we didn’t have any refills. It was good coffee, which Mike observed was ground fresh, nonetheless it was maybe a little above average, nothing special.  I went with a staple for me, the Western omelet, with provolone and home fries of course. Home fries looked amazing with nice crispy pieces, but looks can be deceiving and these home fries lacked flavor even with a little salt. Some pieces were too big and were mushy, which was disappointing as the quantity was huge. I read in the menu that all their omelets are made with four eggs, and this one was gigantic. I judge a Western omelet by the ham they use which has to be ham off the bone not fresh from the deli. This one was, and in fact I found a small piece of bone in it. I almost took a picture of what I left behind which was about a third of it. The coffee and omelet would be something I would go back for, not the home fries. Coffee, 7; home fries 4; meal 9; overall 6.7

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mike  It was nice to award Mesa’s with our 2019 breakfast “pick” of the year but today was also the first day of our 2020 review year and I was hungry. Off to Athena’s! Before I get to the review note that in the upcoming year we will be traveling further afield to find new places to have breakfast. After years of doing this blog it is almost impossible to find a place within 20 minutes of the church which we haven’t already visited. I repeat our appeal to those who enjoy our “work”: Please send suggestions! Back to Athena’s! Nice place. Busy. But we were served a HUGE cup of coffee quickly. Seriously, easily the largest cup we have ever seen. Good coffee, too. Hot and full flavored. We could tell they grind their own beans. We’ve mentioned this before…there is better flavor with fresh ground coffee. I was impressed when my unusual arrived. Enormous portions of homefries and sausage…four links! Alas! The sausage was dry inside and pretty flavorless. The culprit appeared to be cuts in the links introduced to quicken cooking time. However, all the juices leaked out taking with them all the flavor. Blah! Homefries were hit or miss. The smaller pieces were awesome. They were crispy, buttery and nicely flavored. The larger pieces were mushy and meh. All in all a mixed experience. Coffee a 7.5 with the homefries a 6 and the sausage a 4.5 for an average of 6. Not a great start but the only way is up, right?

And the Winner Is…….

Today Mike and I presented The Breakfast Boys  “Golden Pick of the Year” for 2019 to the owner and staff at Mesa Cafe and Grill in Cranston. Of the more than 40 breakfast places that we visited this year, Mesa wins the top honor for it’s consistently great coffee, home fries, and all around meal. Congratulations and we hope that our followers will stop in for breakfast at this fantastic restaurant. Check out our comments from our visit elsewhere on this site.

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Rosaria’s, Rodman St. Fall River

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ray  Just when you thought that we had exhausted our breakfast places in Fall River, up popped Rosaria’s, 591 Rodman St. Mike and I were on our way to another place a few weeks ago and he spotted this restaurant, so I thought I would try it this week. Not your typical small off the beaten path diner. Rosaria’s is surprising large, with a seating capacity of maybe 60 or so, and the place was packed at 8:15. Mike and I usually show up early and often before the breakfast crowd, but it was obvious that Rosaria’s is a very popular place. They serve Kona coffee and my cup was just OK, average. Not the best but good enough for a refill. Nice menu choices, although I did not see any specials. I knew what Mike was ordering so I tried something else, the Portuguese omelet. The home fries were terrific!!! Browned perfectly and grilled with some nice Portuguese linguica grease. Just a little salt and they were fantastic and a healthy portion to boot. Great portion on the omelet also. I ordered mine without the banana peppers, and I probably should have tried the full experience. The flavor was very good and I especially liked the green peppers which were lightly cooked and had a great crunch. The eggs also needed a little salt. Maybe if I had added the banana peppers it would have made the difference. This is one place I will definitely try for lunch. Coffee, 6; home fries, 9; meal 8.5. Overall, 8. No Credit Cards, cash only.

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mike Fall River…the breakfast capital of the universe! Go there. Pick any place (except Al Mac’s…don’t go there) and have breakfast. Of course, being of Portuguese decent, Ray and I understand our people do food well. So, Rosario’s. Nice, nice find. Bigger inside than out. Very nice. And one of the very few places we’ve been that was full of patrons when we arrived. Obviously a popular neighborhood type of place. It was still packed when we left. Quick service by a large service staff, another plus as many places have but one waitress. I counted four. Coffee was hot and frequent refills were offered. Average stuff. Kona coffee, which is funny because Kona means coffee. Literally. So we had coffee, coffee. It was ok, ok. I had the cacoila omelet. Very nice. I like the mildly spicy-ness of a good cacoila and this was good. The homefries were very, very good! Perfectly cooked and crispy and only needing a bit of salt. The spuds were obviously cooked in chourico grease and the taste was great. I’ll give the coffee, coffee a three, three for a total of 6, the homefries an 8 and the omelet an 8.5 for an overall score of 7.8