Lina’s Place, Somerset, MA

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mike  I love surprises! Everybody loves surprises! Today’s breakfast restaurant, Lina’s, at 833 County St., Somerset, was a very nice surprise. I should have known. Today I had it all together. I actually had a destination, a backup plan AND a backup for the backup! I even took the second most direct route to Somerset! (My internal GPS is suspect.) So, when we came to the backup plan first it was meant to be. Ray and I both noted that the exterior of Lina’s does not inspire one to take notice. Very un-restaurant like. But, wow! The inside is pretty neat. Counter seating overlooking the grill, different dining areas made out of rooms of what was once a home and a very clean, homey decor throughout. Surprise! And for the second week running we were hoping the food was equal to the extensive menu with all its delicious sounding, unique, breakfast combinations. It was! My breakfast was two eggs, homefries and gravy over sausage patties on an English muffin. It was actually enough food for two breakfasts. The homefries were very good. Cooked well and very nicely spiced. Eggs are eggs.  I have a love for biscuits and gravy and when you throw in sausage patties, well, I was in heaven. It was so good! The only thing that should have been better was the coffee. Meh. It was just meh. Too bad because I felt the rest of our meal was worth the visit. I give the homefries an 8, the biscuits and gravy an 8 and the coffee a 5. Overall a 7. Oh, another surprise. I guess it’s no longer a secret if a waitress who has never met us before pointed out what some of you may already know…she said that Ray and I were like, and I paraphrase here, “An old married couple.”) There, it’s been said. Deal with it.

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ray  Mike made a really good choice this week, he found the place on the first try! On top of that, it was an excellent choice. Right on the main drag of Somerset, Rt. 138 and a stone’s throw from the High School is Lena’s. Now way back in the day I remember coming here for a great lunch, but I’m not sure if it is the same ownership. Breakfast was a real treat as was the breakfast menu, which was as large as JP Spoonem’s where we ate last week. Nice little set up with counter space, tables in different sections, rooms, and very homey atmosphere. Coffee came quickly as we read the extensive menu. Those of you that read this blog regularly know that I really love my coffee and am pretty picky about it. First sip was disappointing. There was a lot of bitterness. Mike pointed out that he noticed that this was the bottom of the carafe and might be better on the second cup. Not so. Coffee was below average for me. My breakfast choice was chourico hash omelet with cheddar cheese, with the obligatory home fries. The omelet was good, hash was excellent. How can that be? It was that the eggs were just a little dry, but the whole omelet was quite good. Now what was outstanding was the home fries. As both Mike and I have said in past entries, much of the credit for good home fries is how they are prepared. Precooked an appropriate time, cut evenly, and well seasoned. Well these were done exactly as they should be. I loved the seasoning, which at first taste had a linguica flavor. Now some home fries are grilled using the grease from the linguica, but you can tell that as you see if the potatoes have some greasy texture. These home fries were very well seasoned and I’d love to know what the chef uses. Coffee:4; home fries 9; meal 7. Overall 6.7… Work on the coffee and this will be a top 10 for me.

 

 

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JP Spoonem’s Providence

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ray  This was totally unexpected. I tried to locate some breakfast places using Google and Yelp, in the Providence area and came upon JP Spoonem’s, 1678 Broad St, Providence, RI. Since it was relatively close to another breakfast place that Mike and I had visited, The Seaplane, I decided to try it today. This corner restaurant has table seating as well as a very quaint horseshoe shaped counter service with the 50’s style swivel stools, with avocado colored seats. Very neat! Mike and I were really amazed at the menu. I told him that I really hope that the food was as good as the different, yet not “out there”, selections. Two examples are the Stacked Johnnycakes with carved ham slices; and then the one I WILL go back for, the Portuguese raisin sweetbread French toast. Today I chose eggs with black bean and roasted corn hash, with home fries. Only one waitress was on at 8:30, another came about half an hour later. The place was not crowded, so the service was good. Mike and I ordered and the coffee came shortly thereafter. Have to say the coffee was OK nothing special but not great. Refills were offered during the meal. The two over easy eggs were just right with no runny whites. The home fries were a mixed bag. I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor that I tasted, until Mike said they tasted like French fries, which is what I tasted. However the flavor only came through with the nice crispy small pieces. Since the potatoes were not evenly cut, the larger pieces were bland even adding salt did not add much. I wish more places sliced their home fries or cut them evenly somehow. Now for the hash!! Slamfantastic!!! Not just the black beans and roasted corn, but the sprinkles of green onions, fresh diced tomatoes,  and a little green garnish, as well as the excellent spices, that at times had a little kick and other times was perfectly mouthwatering. This was a rarity for me, I cleaned my plate ( not the toast of course ). JP Spoonem’s is open for lunch and they do serve breakfast all the time. I will definitely be taking Barbara there for lunch sometime in the near future. Coffee, 6; home fries, 7; overall meal 9. I’m giving JP Spoonem’s a strong 8+.

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mike  Ray done good today. (Yeah, I know. It’s called “slang”.) Not great, mind you, but good. I liked Spoonem’s the moment we walked in. The counter seating, tile floor, 1950ish avocado green stools…what’s not to love? And what a menu! So much great sounding stuff with unique combinations. We both mentioned we hoped it would be good because we would have to come back just to try something else. The coffee was good. Honestly, nothing special. But it was hot and served quickly and we were offered refills several times. Nice. Another positive, the meal looked amazing when it arrived. Big plus in my book. I mean, when a meal comes and it doesn’t look appetizing it’s an uphill road from there. Unfortunately, though the homefries looked incredible, like the coffee, they were just good, not great. Again, it is uneven size pieces that don’t cook evenly that brings homefries down. French fries. That’s what some of them brought to mind taste-wise. The smaller, crispier pieces were very good, especially when I added salt. So it goes. However, the pesto bene I ordered was amazing! I’m really getting to like eggs Benedict as my go to breakfast. The pesto tasted fresh, home made. And there was shaved cheese on top! Very nice! The sauce was spot on, too. I felt a lot of care went into this part of the meal and I would recommend this to anyone. Very, very tasty! So, I would give the coffee a 6, the homefries a 6 and the pesto bene a 10. Yes, a 10! First one ever! 7.1 overall.

Kitchen, Providence RI

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ray  In this blog usually you don’t find quotations from Ralph Waldo Emerson, but this one is necessary, “How much of human life is lost in waiting.” This morning I took Mike to the Federal Hill section of Providence, the tiny restaurant simply name “Kitchen” , 94 Carpenter St, Providence, RI. Only open Thursday through Sunday for breakfast and brunch. I read a number of rave reviews on Yelp, and am convinced that the only reason to use Yelp is to find new places for breakfast no necessarily good places.. One of the reviewers warned that “you might have to wait awhile, but it is really worth it.” It was a little bit of a shock to see three young men with luggage waiting on the sidewalk when we arrived at about 8:10. After a few minutes they looked at the time, and the fact that there were people standing inside waiting for one of the 6 tables and left. We waited outside for about 45 minutes then inside for another 10; got coffee from the chef/waiter after another 8-10 minutes; ordered from the menu which is a chalkboard on the wall. Alright enough about waiting…it was not worth it. The coffee was just average ( we were asked to refill our own cups); my Western was, however really good. Possibly the best cooked omelet I have ever had. Now for the home fries. My word to Mike was inconsistent. The size of the pieces were inconsistent, very large, quite small, some crispy and flavorful, others very “potatoey” and not very good. It could be that because Mike and I have tried so many breakfast places that our palates have come to expect something special, and we always have something to compare our present meal with. Kitchen was different, but only average. Coffee, 5; home fries 4; overall 6. Average, is average 5. BTW second restaurant in a row I have taken Mike to, where the door handle is a tool!

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mike  Once, on a very long, round about way to the Milk Bottle in Raynham, Ray set the long distance record for finding a place to eat. Today we found the Kitchen quickly but then set a new record for waiting. We waited. A lot. Part of the wait was due to the very small dining area. It had two booths which seated four and three tables for two. Do the math. Part of the wait was because the cook was also the waiter and busboy. There was a line when we arrived and a line when we left. I once mentioned in this blog that I feel that breakfast is a utilitarian type of meal…bonus points if it’s tasty. I still, after over a year of this blog, feel the same. So maybe Kitchen was worth the wait. Ray and I have visited trendy, and also pricier, restaurants to expand our experience. Two restaurants, The Grange and Julian’s, are even within easy walking distance of Kitchen. So we took the wait in stride to see for ourselves if this was worth the time. Kitchen is small and a bit quirky. For instance, there is a trumpet mounted high on a wall with a sheet of music, handwritten, from Camelot…If Ever I Would Leave You. The Bose sound system, which Ray unplugged, (don’t ask me why), played a quite eclectic list of music. And there are no menus, just a board with your choices. All good. We were given water before we ordered our coffee, which I like, and were told we could get our own refills. Nice! I really like that sort of thing. I got a Greek omelet which came with homefries. The coffee was good. I liked it enough to have one refill but, honestly, it was nothing special. The omelet was outstanding! The veggies were cooked well and the feta was remarkable. Ray suggested the cheese may have been soaked in milk. I don’t know about that but it had a softer, even creamier texture than others I’ve had and a bolder taste. Very nice! And the eggs were spectacular! Again, it was the texture. Fluffier, not runny. Very, very nice!  The homefries were a bit of a letdown. They looked amazing but were mostly in big chunks. Usually that’s not a good sign. It was as we suspected. The potatoes were not cooked evenly. Some were perfect and tasty. Others, the larger pieces, tended to be undercooked. It was uneven. Ray used the word “inconsistent”. I would have to agree. That’s a shame because about half of my serving was really, really good. So, where does that leave us? The coffee gets a 7, the homefries a 5, if only for potential, and the omelet a 9. Overall rating…7.