The Bee Hive, Bristol, RI

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ray  Mike and I got off “the Hill” and ventured back to Bristol RI where we had had breakfast at The Station and Green Eggs. This morning it was The Bee Hive Café, 10 Franklin St. This is a very different kind of restaurant. You walk into a small entry area where you can take a regular menu, or see some of their specials for the day. Your order is taken right there, you pay, and are given your beverage and a ceramic animal! Then you proceed upstairs to the cozy dining area overlooking the roof, and a view of the bay. A couple of things to start. I got this recommendation from a friend at church, Susan, and was very excited to visit a new place. On Monday, my wife and I had several early morning errands so I asked if she wanted to try the Bee Hive for breakfast, and we headed out. Bear with me, this plays several roles in this review. Barbara is a tea drinker and she flipped over the number of choices of teas that were offered in a very nice display. Me, “Coffee, black, no sugar”. Our choices included a side of hash browns as the Bee Hive does not offer home fries. We both loved the hash browns and thought they were perfectly seasoned and the chef used fresh potatoes. Ok now back to this morning…..my choice today was different from what I chose on Monday. I chose the butternut cornbread hash house made cornbread with butternut squash, tomato, spinach and cheddar, two eggs over easy, and home made rye toast. Remember that I mentioned the ceramic animal? And although Mike tried to convince me it was a cow, it was really a rhinoceros ( the guy does need glasses, all the time ). The animal is how they know what customers get which order. I loved the hash. So different and perfectly seasoned. The toast was great and obviously home made. The eggs were fine, can’t mess them up too bad. Now to the coffee, it was bitter and very strong. I love a good coffee and enjoy it’s flavor, but the bitterness overpowered the flavor. Both of us enjoy sitting and solving world problems, the Patriots, Red Sox and anything else which comes to our attention. But we usually do this while having our second or third refill. No refills. L Granted because of the quality of the coffee, from my opinion, I would not have asked for a refill, but it would have been nice to be asked. The little things in a restaurant mean a lot to us. A waitress stopping to ask how everything was, the décor, and general ambiance mean something. In fact it also lends to how much the gratuity will be. Here you were asked to give a tip, when you paid, even before the meal. This review is long, and may seem harsh, but I loved my meal and really would go back to try their very interesting dinner menu ( Thursday-Saturday). Rating 3 out of 4 cups.

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mike  Let’s do something different today. I’m going to begin with my rating and work backwards. I give the Bee Hive 3 cups. The Bee Hive is quirky and intriguing. Ray went over what makes this place unique. That’s all fine and good though I will, in full disclosure, note that the water view first includes a rather large expanse of industrial style roofing. Just sayin’. But that is not the reason the restaurant did not rise above a three in my opinion. Quirkiness aside, I go for the food. And breakfast always starts with coffee. I/we was/were disappointed. Strong and bitter. Ray procured some sweet n low from somewhere (he reached down to get some…I am convinced he keeps a stash in his right sock. What’s in his left sock is up for conjecture) to sweeten his coffee. This brings up another component of a restaurant experience. Ray and I enjoy the personal interaction with the waitstaff. As Ray mentioned this does not happen here. If you want anything like sugar or water or another napkin you need to get it yourself. Ray does not keep extra coffee in his socks. To be honest, neither of us was inclined too ask for more. The vegetarian breakfast burrito was very good. I liked it a lot. Very tasty with nice ingredients…the avocado was lost within the many ingredients. Not being a huge avocado fan this was a plus.  However, the side of roasted chick peas was bland and, as Ray noted, merely warm. For me this was not a “wow” experience like our experience the past two weeks at the Grange and Julian’s. Perhaps I may have rated the Bee Hive higher if we hadn’t visited the Providence restaurants prior to this one. It’s just that the last two weeks have shown us a different, higher standard for this type (non-traditional) of breakfast. I liked it but I know it could be so much better.

 

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Julian’s, Providence

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mike  Ray and I experienced a wonderful new world of breakfast fare last week at the Grange in Providence. This week not only took us back to the city but back to the same street! Today we visited Julian’s at 316 Broadway, just a few blocks away from the Grange. Breakfast will never be the same for us after these two weeks. We’ve always gone to diners or cafes or places that cater to the breakfast crowd. Breakfast, at least for me, has always been about the start of the day and having a hearty meal to get you going. “…breakfast is utilitarian, bonus points if it tastes good”, a quote from this very blog which if you don’t know it means YOU HAVEN’T BEEN READING THIS BLOG! When we began sharing our experiences we decided to use coffee and homefries as the base of our reviews. I had my usual and Ray had his, usually. We’ve grown since then. These last two weeks has shown us breakfast can be more than the usual. I will still get traditional breakfast meals but will continue to seek out places like Julian’s. The difference for us is, quite simply,  taste. I will always love over easy eggs and homefries with a little salt and pepper and a nice juicy link of sausage. However.

Today I ordered a dish named “shakshuka”. Don’t ask…I don’t know. I read, “two eggs with stewed tomatoes” with various veggies involved as well. Afterwards, Ray pointed out I had read the menu incorrectly. He was right. I was surprised when the waiter brought me my order. What was presented to me was two eggs in stewed tomatoes. Basically, an amazing tomato soup with poached eggs. It  was actually better as it was a stew. There were chunks of red onion, jalapeno peppers, red peppers and onions and cheese and chive. What wonderful flavors! It was really, really good. The homefries that were served with it with were very good as well and the whole thing came together with slabs, see the picture, of garlic bread! Nice, nice, nice. Coffee…plentiful and very good.

This also rates many highest, 3 7/8 cups. One caveat however. It seems as variety and different amazing flavors and location comes with a price. These last two weeks has illustrated that as our bill each week was about double what we would normally pay at a diner. Is it worth it? Absolutely! I don’t know if we will do this every week but we won’t be shy about visiting more restaurants like Julian’s. Meg, is this another one of those places you’ve been trying to get me to try?

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ray  Starting our second year here at The Breakfast Boys blog and I challenged Mike to step it up for our first anniversary posting, and he sure did that. At Julian’s we were treated to a place where I would have spent two hours or more, enjoying the food, the ambiance, and the conversation. In fact we did spend a long “brunch” at Julian’s but still could not finish our meals. Julian’s is not vegan, but they offer a very nice vegan menu, along with more traditional fare, with not your usual choices. Today I ordered the “Jedi Mind Trick” omelet, baby spinach, crimini mushrooms, grilled red onion and Swiss. ( You can order the same omelet made with Tofu, but for me, not in this lifetime…). Started off with a great cup of coffee, French Roast. Wait staff came with refills often. Mike and I decided to try one of their many hash dishes, to share. We chose the Italian sausage, salsa and Pepper Jack, with just the right amount and consistency with their potatoes. Everything was just great. The omelet was fluffy, and all of the ingredients were perfectly cooked and folded into the eggs. The home fries were very nicely seasoned, just on the right side of spicy, and hot. Mike and I both really tried to finish our meals but there just was not enough room. In fact, this was the first breakfast that we have ever had where the waiter asked us if we wanted a container to take some home. If they had let us get up, take a fifteen minute walk around the neighborhood, I think Mike and I would still be nibbling and finishing even more of this great meal. Check out their website for a look at the full menu. Can’t wait to take Barbara back for lunch. This gets my top rating 3 ¾ out of 4 cups.

The Grange, Providence, RI

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ray  Spices…it’s all about the spices. When a member of our church told me about a breakfast place that Mike and should try, I listened with interest about The Grange, 166 Broadway, Providence, RI. This is a little different from our usual breakfast place in that it is a vegetarian restaurant. They serve, brunch through dinner in a really nice setting, one street over from the famous Federal Hill section of Providence. It took us a few wrong turns to find the place that we actually passed on our way up “the Hill”, but it was worth it. I’m not a vegetarian, but was willing to try it and was a pleased. My choice was the Tex-Mex omelet, made with black beans, pepper jack cheese, jalapeno and avocado. A great cup of coffee in a very nice size cup, was served by Marcus and refills kept coming. I was going to add a seitan sausage, but Mike was having that as part of his meal so I figured that I could try a taste of his. The omelet was great! It was topped with the avocado slices which helped to temper the jalapeno. None of the ingredients were overpowering, but worked very well with each the entire omelet. The meal came with toast, a little crispy, but very tasty, and home fries. The home fries had a great blend of spices but could have been a little warmer. The Grange is a place I would live to come back to for lunch and try their General Tso’s Tacos made with seitan, queso fresco, green onions, chili aioli, kim chi, and guacamole. Looking forward to a return, 3 ½ cups out of 4 for The Grange.

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mike  Ray really hit a home run with this one! He mentioned he was going to throw me a curve…little did I know that meant going to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant. It was great! Several years ago, for my health, I endured a year of eating vegan to reset my living and eating habits. It worked. I lost a lot of weight and went off a bunch of medications. I was left with much better health but also a blah taste in my mouth. Let’s face it, steamed veggies, beans and leafy green stuff take a lot of work to taste better than, well, steamed veggies, beans and leafy green stuff. The Grange breakfast I ordered was amazingly tasty. I ordered the “Benedict”. So happy I did. I was given a choice of egg or tofu (veggie/vegan, one of the choices offered throughout the menu) and went with the egg covered with hollandaise on a seitan “sausage” patty all of which sat on an incredible homemade biscuit. Wow! See the picture? It tasted as good as it looked. The seitan sausage was so good! Nicely spiced. (Ray was right…it’s all in the spices) I don’t think vegetarian “meats” can compare with their real counterparts but this sausage was great on its own. I enjoyed it a lot. The coffee was also very, very good, served in a large mug and refilled quickly. And I’m with Ray on the homefries…they were good but were warm and would have been so much better hot. Lastly, thank you to our server, Marcus. Marcus was incredibly patient with our many questions and took the time to explain about their hours, the coffee, the ketchup, the hot sauce and more. We ask a lot of questions. His service was prompt and never intrusive. The whole experience was a pleasure. 3 1/2 cups. Meg and Josh…if you haven’t been, go. And tell your mother and me so we can go with you.