Our Place, East Providence

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mike  We traveled back to East Providence today and visited Our Place on North Broadway at 525 North Broadway. If you haven’t noticed by now I’m enjoying an omelet phase. Omelets are great! I love omelets! Omelets are like breakfast pizza…you can put almost anything in them. So many combinations! This morning a feta cheese, spinach omelet with bacon caught my eye. Bacon! What could go wrong? Well, not much actually. It was really, really good! Unlike last week’s omelet this one had ample filling. And the taste combination of feta and bacon was amazing. I loved it! Small criticism…I think the spinach was not fresh. Frozen, chopped. And it makes a difference. Maybe I’m wrong, but… My breakfast also came with a hash brown patty. Crispy and hash brownie but, again, most likely from frozen. I didn’t order homefries because Ray did. Ray will explain about them. Without even knowing yet what he wrote I agree with him. Trust me. (We’ve already been mistaken for an old, married couple. I take offense at the “old” part). Coffee is always served first but I will get to it last. It was just ok. Ray and I take our coffee black and enjoy flavorful coffee with deep and bold flavor without bitter taste or aftertaste. This coffee wasn’t bitter but neither was it very flavorful. Too bad because Our Place is generous and attentive with refills. Last observation. The waitstaff was excellent. They were attentive and not intrusive and pleasant and welcoming. Very nice! The score, however, is about the meal. I give the coffee a 6, the hash brown 7 and the omelet an 8.5. Final score: 7.2

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ray  Mike’s choice today headed to the East Providence to Our Place. First impressions of this cozy diner is “friendly” and comfortable. Lots of booths and several raised tables suitable for seating 6-8, nice wood paneling, even a bar. Service was prompt and there was a variety of Specials on the chalkboards, including several mimosas. I love a really good hash, and thought I would try their hash omelet. Coffee was served and was ok. If I have more than one refill I consider the coffee very good, otherwise it’s good enough to pass. This was passable. By my count we were offered refills six times, which is great if the coffee was great. The omelet was filled to the brim with hash. Unfortunately it was the canned variety. To their credit, nothing on the menu suggested it was homemade. What really fell flat were the home fries. If you look at the picture you will see how big they were and that the chef gave a really good portion. I left more than half on the plate. They were over cooked, deep fried, actually dry, and had no discernible flavor ( salt didn’t even help). Coffee 5; home fries, 2 ( meaning they were made with potatoes! ) ; overall meal and ambiance, 6. Overall 4.3. (Maybe I should have had mimosas first..)

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West Side Diner, Providence

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ray  I think we are on a roll. West Side Diner, 1380 Westminster Street, Providence, is a very traditional looking diner, long and straight with shiny metal exterior, long counter space and booths. Mike and I have been up here on Federal Hill a few times, but the West Side Diner is a little further from what everyone thinks of as “the Hill”. Started with a really good cup of coffee, and our waitress came by several times for refills. The menu had all of the basics, the Specials menu was being written up as we were eating, a little surprising since they open at 6 AM, and we were there a little after 8. I had more of a Mike’s traditional meal with eggs over easy, with a side of homemade corned beef hash, and I chose home fries, but got hash browns. Eggs ’r eggs, but the hash was very special. I could taste the very flavorful corned beef. It was obvious that the corned beef was brined very well. The hash was grilled on both sides but was not pushed flat as some diners will do, it was actually fluffy. I tasted a couple of Mike’s home fries and they, too, were great. I’ll let him go on about those. I’m not a fan of hash browns, but these were terrific. Fresh cut potatoes, not frozen, lightly seasoned, but enough so that I did not need salt or pepper. Going with our new rating method: coffee: 7 ; home fries/hash browns: 8, overall breakfast, ambiance, service: 8. West Side Diner gets : 7.67

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mike  I must admit Rays choice of the West Side Diner was a good one. After such a long losing streak it’s nice to continue on our current trend of good restaurants. First off…Nice classic diner. Lots of stainless steel and clean lines. The tile floors weren’t missing any tiles and the counter stools weren’t ripped. It’s so nice to visit a clean, well loved diner. I chose the Mediterranean Omelet. Good choice! The veggies, tomatoes and spinach, were fresh. Can’t say enough about fresh veggies. The omelet also had a good amount of feta. Nice. One thing I noticed, though, was that it could have used more filling. Overall, though, very good. Coffee was also good. Not great but good with refills offered several times. And now for the homefries! First impressions weren’t good. Honestly, the homefries looked like bland, boiled potatoes with a bit of crust on them. Looks can be deceiving! These homefries were amazingly tasty. Can’t describe them except to say “Wow, didn’t expect that!” Nicely spiced and that crust gave them a very nice little crunch. Good breakfast. Now, as Ray mentioned last week, we have upgraded our rating system. About time, right? Sorry it took so long but the history teacher among us had a bit off trouble with the base ten system until I mentioned he could use both hands to count. So, I guess this was my fault because I didn’t suggest it a long time ago. Mea culpa. (I’ll teach you Latin next, Ray)  I give the coffee 7, the homefries 8 and the omelet 8 for an overall score of 7.7. I rounded up, ok?

Maria’s, Pawtucket, RI

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mike  Ray and I have been in quite a slump lately. The only thing to do was to get back to basics…a simple diner-like breakfast place with a no frills breakfast menu. We traveled to Pawtucket to Maria’s, 477 Smithfield Ave. Mission accomplished. To be honest Maria’s didn’t wow us. We got what we wanted, a good breakfast at a good price. First impressions count. Maria’s has plenty of booth seating around a large service island with lots of counter seating as well. We were served coffee promptly and were able to place our order quickly. Nice. It was even nicer when our breakfast was served within five minutes of our order being taken. All good things. I had my unusual. Eggs are eggs. The sausage was sliced and then grilled. Mine were on the dry side but not too badly overcooked. The homefries…well, you see, if you’ve been keeping up with this blog you will know how I feel about deep fried homefries. “Any potato deep fried is a French Fry.” I stand corrected. Maria’s deep fried homefries were pretty amazing. They were cooked perfectly…the outside had a nice crisp to it and the inside was soft and hot. And my one huge complaint about deep fried homefries, the lack of taste and the inability to add taste as salt and pepper bounce off a deep fried surface, was non-existent here. They came very well spiced! And, drum roll, please, they were served piping hot!  Too many times the different elements of a meal will be served at different temperatures. We all know how hard it is to coordinate a meal. Never- the -less, when you’re at a restaurant, it can take a lot away from a enjoying a meal when some stuff is hot while others are tepid or cold. Maria’s got everything right. And the coffee was good and refills offered often. I’m glad we went to Maria’s. The slump is over. 3 cups.

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ray  On the road into Pawtucket this morning. This is Mike’s stomping ground and he has some interesting stories every time we turn a corner. Surprisingly, we did not talk once about either of our favorite sports teams, the Patriots or the Red Sox. ( Bruins and Celtics are just filler in our sports team following.) Today we went to Maria’s Breakfast and Lunch. Very traditional neighborhood eatery, counter seating and tables all around. We have been on a reverse “roll” the last few weeks and hoped that this would put us back on track. Our waitress was very prompt with the coffee and was very good about checking for refills throughout the meal. I tried something different today, a kielbasa omelet. The menu advertised that the kielbasa was from a local company the Central Falls Provision Company, and comes mild or spicy. I chose the mild and was very pleased with the light flavor, Usually I like my omelets with the ingredients prepared separately and inserted into the omelet, like a sandwich. However the kielbasa was mixed with the eggs and cooked WITH the omelet. I really enjoyed it. Back to the coffee. It was ok, not bad, not to rave about, but hot and…ok. Now for the home fries. Mike point out first that they looked deep fried. We’ve had deep fried home fries before and didn’t like them. Maria’s potatoes were larger, very uniform, nicely spiced, hot, and very tasty. Pleasantly surprised. Overall, I had a really nice breakfast and would give it a 3 ¼ out of 4.

 

On the subject of rating, I spoke with Mike about changing up our ratings to give a little better feel for the restaurant. In my suggestion, I would have each of us rate coffee, home fries, and overall meal/ambiance, separately. Each one we would rate on a 1-10 scale. Then add them up, and divide by three, to get the final review rating. If you have any thoughts on this send a comment. Just for the sake of an example, Maria’s coffee would get a 6, home fries an 8, and the overall meal an 8. So my final ranking would be 7 1/3.

 

Hope Diner, Bristol, RI

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ray   Optimism is a wonderful thing. I love to look on the bright side and know that something good will be coming forth. The last few weeks our choice of breakfast stops has really tested my optimism. This morning I brought Mike to Hope Diner , 742 Hope St, Bristol, RI . This is our third stop at this end of Bristol and it may be the last. Hope Diner is very traditional looking, maybe 15 tables and a long counter for seating and even reading the morning paper as one patron was doing. Our coffee was served promptly, but it took both of us several sips, and a questioning look before we simply declared it, “Not too Bad” (low praise for us), but there was something about it that neither of us could figure out that gave it a very slight “off” taste. My meal was a traditional western omelet, with home fries. One word describes both, DRY. The home fries had little flavor and were sliced, not in chunks. I like the sliced home fries as there is more surface area for spices…ah except that there were none. Maybe that is why the waitress asked, twice, if we wanted hot sauce or ketchup. The omelet was flat and although the ham and onions ( no peppers that I could see ) had good flavor, the whole omelet looked like it was pressed with a griddle press. One good thing happened, my good buddy Mike gave me his application to join the Rehoboth Lions. He will be a great addition. ( Don’t tell him I said that, it will spoil my image.) Mike, your choice next week, no pressure. Hope Diner gets 2 cups.

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mike  Usually, for my portion of the breakfast review, I write with sophistication and charm, insightful intelligence, wit and astounding candor. Today I will try to sound more like Ray. Why? Because there’s not much to say about the Hope Diner and I want to save my good stuff for next week when Ray and I get out of this slump! It wasn’t all that bad. It just could have been much better. The coffee was meh. We couldn’t quite figure out what was “not quite right” with it but we’ve come to know really good or exceptional coffee and this didn’t make it. We’ve also come to know terrible coffee. This coffee was in between. I reverted to my old standby, the unusual, as nothing on the menu or specials board appealed to me. I liked the option of sweet or spicy sausage and choice spicy…good choice because it was pretty good and most likely home made. Eggs are eggs. But the homefries, like the coffee, disappointed. First, I’m not a fan of sliced homefries. I know it’s just a different way to cut the potato but I’m a traditionalist. Second, they were on the bland side. That was strike two. And as Ray and I only give two strikes, coffee and homefries, that meant we called the Hope Diner, “OUT”. The nice thing about the “unusual” is that I always break the yoke and mix all that liquid flavor with the homefries. Add a bit of salt and many shortcomings in taste are covered up. But even that couldn’t bring up today’s meal higher than 2 1/2 cups in my opinion.