Friday, we came across one of those unexpected places that you want to tell everyone about…the Oak St Cafe in the Bloom Bus Terminal at 10 Oak St Taunton. I say “in” because you must enter the terminal to find this place. It’s kinda neat “discovering” such a great restaurant where you wouldn’t expect it to be. It’s clean and noisy and had old style Formica on the tables (which had the exact pattern that was on the kitchen table where I grew up) and lots of great sounding specials which means we will most definitely have to go back to try and see if they’re as good as the breakfast we had this morning. (Long sentence!) Diane, our waitress, was prompt and patient with us as we took a long time to decide to get what we usually order. And if you haven’t caught on to our eating habits by now you HAVEN’T BEEN READING OUR BLOG! So, my home fries were lightly spiced and nicely cooked, as was the sausage. And the coffee was good and refilled as frequently as we wished. An added bonus, for me, was that the coffee was served piping hot. I like hot beverages to be hot. Sounds obvious but it seems most places err on the side of litigation and set there hot plates at a lower setting out of fear. Just speculating here. Anyway, this morning was a truly enjoyable experience for us. Definitely 3 1/2 cups from me.
I grew up less than a mile from here, before this became Bloom’s Bus Terminal, and, like Mike, had no idea that there was even a restaurant inside. Mike thinks that the restaurant was the original building and they simply built the terminal around it, but I don’t think so. The word “comfortable” is a great word to describe how I felt at the Oak St. Café. Great atmosphere, lots of chatter but it was very easy to talk to each other. Diane was friendly and was patient with me as I took my time and finally decided on one of the specials, Polish omelet with a hash brown patty, and coffee. Since I didn’t have the home fries, I skewered a few of Mike’s before he does what he does to his “eggs over easy, home fries, sausage, no toast” . ( You really don’t want to see a picture of what he does!) The potatoes were buttery and tasty, not overly spiced. I was very pleased with my omelet, which had kielbasa in nice size pieces, not chopped up. The kielbasa, green peppers, and onions were well distributed throughout and not just in the center. It was pleasant to be given a choice of home fries or hash browns, as well as asking if I wanted American or Cheddar cheese. The coffee was very good, and plentiful. I agree with Mike that we will need to make a second visit here to try something different. ( Mike that means TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT, not just SAY you are going to.) Gotta give Oak St. Café top score of 3 ½ cups.
Thursday morning Mike and I went to Alice’s Last Stop on Rt. 138, Dighton. I had been asked by two friends if we had been there, so I thought it was a good time to try it out. One word describes my breakfast, disappointing. Although Mike would describe me as becoming a coffee “snob”, I generally like the coffee at most of the places we go. What I got from the cup I had was too much of an after bite, more on the bitter side. It was ok, and I did have a refill. My choice was, as usual, an omelet. There were several daily specials on the board, but I chose off the regular menu, a Portuguese omelet, with chourico, peppers, onions, and American cheese, with home fries and wheat toast. First taste was of the home fries which were cut differently, in large pieces. These were a little too large and were not hot in the middle. The seasoning was all Lowry’s season salt, which was a little over done. As for the omelet, the chef makes the omelet in a square, flipping each corner to the middle with the ingredients all in the center. I cut into two corners and didn’t get any of the filling. What I did find was that the oil the omelet was cooked with, was now pooling on the bottom of the plate. What I found in the center was Portuguese sausage (not sure if it was linguica or chourico, because the pieces ere tiny and I couldn’t taste any spice.) I’m not sure whether it was the cheese, but there was an off flavor around the chourico, peppers, onions. The server was pleasant and the atmosphere was very nice, but I cannot give Alice’s more than 2 cups of coffee.
Yeah, well, I’m with Ray on this one. Disappointed is the correct word to describe our experience. My usual breakfast of home fries, sausage and eggs over easy is arguably the simplest of meals and therefore should be the easiest to prepare correctly. The eggs were overcooked and rubbery and the yolk, which should be liquid gold, was beginning to harden. The sausage, and Ray can back me up on this, had been on the heat so long they were about the thickness of a pencil: All the moisture was cooked off. And, alas, the one item which might have saved the meal, the home fries, were large chunks (very large chunks) of potatoes, poorly flavored and not heated well at all. Two words…very disappointed. I did like the coffee, though. I give Alice’s two cups of coffee. Barely.
On Wednesday Ray and I traveled back to Pawtucket to check out Heather’s Cornerstone Cafe at 573 Armistice Blvd. This was a tough one for us because we had to bring into consideration if we should critique our meal based on expectations of how we like things done as opposed to something being served or prepared in ways we are not accustomed. For example, the coffee was served in clear glassware. Being the hick that I am this was novel to me. Did it make the coffee taste different because it looked different? I don’t know but the coffee seemed to taste better as time went on. (I ended up really liking the coffee…it was a very smooth blend without any bitterness.) Also, the home fries were cooked well with a nice bit of crust but spiced with either a course ground or freshly ground black pepper that overpowered all other flavors. I’ve never had home fries spiced liked this. Maybe others enjoy this but both Ray and I had a pepper taste in our mouths that prevented us from fully enjoying our meals. Oddly, my sausages were without flavor at all. Large and well cooked but without any spices. Again, not what I’m used to. Not what I expect. The service, however, was top notch. Coffee was quickly topped off and our order taken and filled quickly. Heather’s is very bright and clean and looks quite new. It’s dining room is cozy and very welcoming. By the way, this Saturday would be an excellent time to try out Heather’s as they are having a fundraiser to benefit Aarian and the battle against autism with a breakfast for supper night. Reading other reviews I would agree the coffee is very good and though we didn’t try any but the regular blend comes in a popular variety of flavors. However, this wasn’t what I’m used too. I would give Heather’s 2 3/4 cups of coffee.
Breakfast at Heather’s for me, was a spinach pie omelet, with the obligatory home fries. Now my wife is part Greek and she introduced me to spinach pie. They make it with filo dough, spinach and feta cheese. I knew when I saw the spinach pie on the menu that it would not be true Greek spinach pie, since it had olives, pepperoni, and Provolone. The chef did a great job incorporating the spinach with the eggs instead of just layering fresh spinach within the omelet. The one thing that disappointed me was the olives. They used black olives which, to me have a tinny flavor. I would have really loved kalamata olives. Other than that the omelet was really very large and the eggs were well prepared.
Now for the two things Mike and I order in common. The coffee was very good, but, as Mike said, we were a little taken aback by the fact that it was served in a glass mug. The clear mug made the coffee look “thin” but it had a really good flavor. The big downer was the preparation of the home fries. There was so much pepper on them that after the meal was finished, I had to take one of the hard candies provided with the check, to get the taste from my mouth. I concur with Mike’s rating of 2 ¾ cups of coffee.
Oh, and by the way, don’t get there too early, Heather’s opens at 8 AM.
Early on Mike and I agreed that giving any restaurant a top score of 4 cups of coffee, would mean every other restaurant could never be the best. BUT if I could give 4 cups of coffee it would be to The Boondocks, 18 N Main St, Berkley, MA. And yes you can travel over the beautiful, new Berkley bridge now. The Boondocks was recommended by my daughter and she gets a big hug and kiss for this choice. Starting with the “feel” of the restaurant which I would describe as comfortable. It seemed like one of those Cheers places where everyone knows your name. There were a number of people at the counter, and plenty of table space. Mike and I looked over the specials which included coconut macaroon pancakes, and a salmon omelet. Another customer was looking at the special menu and raved about the salmon omelet. Really good cup of coffee, with refills from our very attentive server, Dawn, as well as several other members of the wait staff who came by to see if we needed more. I saw a hash omelet on the menu, in addition they also advertised Portuguese hash as a side dish. I asked Dawn if I could have the Portuguese hash in my omelet and she made the substitution. When my omelet with home fries and toast arrived I was in awe. It filled the oversized plate. The home fries were very tasty and had a nice spice that wasn’t overpowering. There were some really scrumptious crusty pieces which I really like. The omelet was filled with a Portuguese hash made with chourico, potatoes, and green peppers. I mean this omelet was so big I could have shared it with a small family and still be full. But it was not just the size, but the flavor and texture. Omelets can be dried or even underdone, but this was perfect. One little classy touch. When Dawn returned with the check, there were two mint candies on it. Sweet !
Of the other things we rate, there was a Wi-Fi connection, and the bathroom was clean and spacious.
I have to give this 3 ½ cups of coffee only because I can’t give it 4. Look forward to coming back with the family.
Ray spoke of the taboo four cup rating and I agree that if there was a restaurant deserving of the best this would be it. This is the type of place you say “You have to go there” to your friends fully confident they won’t be disappointed. Good coffee. Check. Tasty home fries, seasoned well with a nice crust. Check. Outstanding service. Check. On and on just an absolutely enjoyable breakfast and experience. Dawn even considered smacking Ray when I suggested it, (it seemed like a good thing at the time) but mentioned it was too early for that sort of thing. Yes. I would give Boondocks 3 1/2 cups as well.