Back to my old stomping grounds, Pawtucket. From 1986-2000 I worked in the city as a letter carrier. In 2001 I transferred to Cumberland and have been there since. But 14 years in one place gave me opportunity to sample quite a few restaurants. I’ve missed going to a lot of these places since I’ve moved north but having this blog and breakfasting with Ray has given me good reason to get reacquainted with a lot of them. Today I took Ray to Connie’s at 526 Pawtucket Ave. But, surprise! Connie’s is now the Red Maple Diner, an American-Spanish restaurant! What a find, right? It had some really interesting/non-traditional dishes on the menu and, oddly, Ray and I chose the huevos rancheros. What could wrong with two old guys having beans for breakfast? Nice dish. Two eggs, over easy, on beans with Monterey jack cheese and sprinkled with fresh, chopped tomato and onion. It was a very tasty change from omelets, and such, and a bit of tobasco sauce kicked it up a notch. Very, very good. However, the homefries were very, very disappointing. They reminded us of Jimmy’s in Taunton. Basically boiled potatoes in chunks. No crisp, no flavor. I did not finish them. I have never left homefries on the plate. And I didn’t think the homemade corn tortillas were all that good though I’ve never had authentic tortillas before so I don’t have a basis by which to compare them. And the coffee was blah. It’s kinda weird how a restaurant can hit a home run and strike out at the same time and though I was disappointed overall there was enough good in the main dish to make me want to return to see what else is there to enjoy. But those homefries… I give the huevos rancheros an 8, the coffee a 5 and the homefries a 2. A score of 5.
Breakfast is my favorite meal. I love fresh food and breakfast always seems the best time to get the freshest at a restaurant. I also like variety, and that is why when I was on my way to meet Mike this morning, I was wondering if we could find an ethnic restaurant rather than traditional American diner fare. Well Mike and I must have had a mind meld or something, sure enough he brought me to the Red Maple which served Spanish/Mexican options for breakfast. The menu was really great, and I was immediately drawn to the “huevos rancheros”, which offered two eggs over easy, over beans with what was advertised as salsa but had no “bite”. They were served with home fries and individually made corn tortillas. Let me start with the main dish, eggs were perfect and the combination of beans and salsa fixings were spot on, especially with a few drops of Tabasco. The home fries were very disappointing. Mike and I are true aficionados of home fries. They need to have a crispy side, nicely spiced, and cooked just right. The first bite was not very good. All I could taste was potato, no spice, not quite cooked all the way through, and I even added ketchup with no improvement. I actually left 90% of my home fries on the plate. The corn tortilla was fresh, but I thought a little thick. It was tasty and worked well with the eggs and beans. I forgot to mention the coffee, which was just ok, both of us take it black with no sweetener, and maybe that is what it needed. Our waitress was very pleasant and offered refills, and the lunch menu looked very interesting, maybe I would take Barbara here for her favorite meal, lunch. Coffee, 5; home fries 2 ( haven’t had this poorly prepared home fries ) overall meal 6. Average score: 4.3