Red Maple Diner, Pawtucket

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mike  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.

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ray  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

 

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Alice’s Diner

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ray  When I finally told Mike that we were going to have to measure the distance to our breakfast this morning, in number of Seekonks, I thought I would have to do CPR. He wanted to know why I didn’t warn him so that he could have had his very special oatmeal before taking this long trip. If he were as old as me, he’d be called a “grumpy old man”. Anyway I chose Alice’s Diner, 2663 S Main St, Fall River, not to be confused with Alice’s Last Stop in Dighton. It is right on the Fall River-Tiverton line, ( which Mike point out, wondering if he needed his “passaporta”. Alice’s is a nice little diner with booth’s tables, and counter service. Our waitress was prompt with our coffee, and order. I chose the Portuguese omelet ( what else, while in Fall River ). So let’s start with the coffee which I really liked. The waitress came back several times and even made sure that I got the fresh pot. The home fries were great. Nicely spiced with what I believe was smoked paprika. Nice crispy pieces, done in the traditional way, on the grill. The omelet was packed with chourico, onions and peppers. I don’t usually have cheese but I did this time I did and I think that the cheese really added another level to the chourico. They advertise the omelets as 3 eggs, but I think that this was a little smaller, but a very good portion. Prices were very reasonable and I think it would make a nice lunch stop down the road. Coffee; 8; home fries, 8; overall, 8.   Easy to average, for an above average diner, 8.

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mike  Ray did warn me. Sunday he mentioned he was going on a dry run to the diner we were visiting on Wednesday. He wanted to make sure that it was there and that his 432 mpg Prius could make the trip without refueling. Our long journey took us through the wild side streets of the Fall River jungle and ended just a scant 100 feet from the land of Tiverton in the realm of Rhode Island. I could see the sign. How does he find these places? Despite the long drive to a foreign land Alice’s turned out to be a typical breakfast/lunch diner. I like that. Booths, counter…familiar and comfortable. There were daily specials on the menu and they were reasonably priced. One thing Ray and I have noticed is that breakfast prices now rival lunch prices. Remember when breakfast was the least expensive meal to eat at a restaurant? Then you’re old like us. That’s what surprised me when I saw the prices for the daily specials. But, since it was Rays turn to pay, I went with something else. I ordered the cacoila omelet. A few months ago Ray and I went to Cindy’s restaurant in Somerset (thanks again Sharon Beskid!) and I was blown away by their cacoila omelet. Could lightning strike twice? Well, not really. I was expecting one thing but got another. Know what I mean? Cacoila can be prepared so many ways. I make mine at home to be very juicy after the meat is shredded. Mmmmmmm. I love soaking up all that great flavor with a piece of bread. I was looking forward to snagging a few slices of Ray’s toast, since he never eats any, to sop up all that goodness. But it was dry. I’ve had dry-ish cacoila before and it’s just not for me. The spices were good but it wasn’t enough to offset the lack of moisture. I must confess I declined to have cheese in the omelet and that would most likely have helped, but… However, the homefries were pretty amazing! Very, very nicely flavored and cooked, with a nice little crisp, perfectly. Bravo! The coffee, too, was above average and refills were offered frequently. One thing, though. I don’t understand but I think our waitress liked Ray more than me! Weird, right! He got to order first and, when she refilled our coffee, I was given the last little bit of coffee in the pot but she ran to get Ray a fresh pot! What’s up with that? Anyway, this missive is massive so I’ll give my rating. Coffee, 8. Homefries, 8.5. Omelet, 7. Overall, 7.8.