Capitol Hill Diner, Providence, RI

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ray  I took Mike to a place that I used to go to when I was in college, a LONG time ago. The Capitol Hill Diner, 353 Smith St, Providence, RI is one of those places you would miss if you were not looking for it. A short distance from the Rhode Island State House, Providence College, and Rhode Island College, it is a quaint dinner with what I described to Mike as ambiance. To his credit Mike knew what that meant. A nice counter with traditional stools, but with a step that I can vividly remember tripping over back in the day. ( Not sure whether it was coming or going, or both.) Lots of nice, background music. Some jazz and very cool to listen to at breakfast. Our waitress, who doubled as the cook, served us coffee and a great smile. The menu was very simple and choices were easy. The coffee was quite good, and we received refills. I ordered a traditional western omelet which came with home fries a cup of fresh fruit. That is a very nice touch. I believe that J.P.Spoonem’s in Cranston also had a side of fresh fruit. The omelet was ok. I liked the ham witch was rough cut and not deli slices. I would have preferred a choice of cheese, but non was offered so it was probably American. But the home fries were not so good. They were actually pretty bad. Desert dry. I mentioned this to my wife when I came home and she suggested that they were probably frozen potatoes and may have been past their shelf life. Went here for the memories, but came away with disappointment. Coffee, 7; home fries 1; meal, 5: Overall average 4.5

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mike  Had a list of things to do today. First, go to the gym and make room for, second, a good breakfast with Ray. Third, visit my sister before, fourth, getting (another) tattoo. Well, with apologies to Meatloaf, three out of four ain’t bad. And it started off so well too! There’s always good conversation on the way to the restaurant. Nice. Then, when we arrive, it’s a great old traditional diner with great counter seating and great booths. Nice. Jazz is playing and there’s some modern art portraits on the wall. Very nice! Some really, really good coffee is served up. Nice! And when my unusual arrives there’s fresh fruit cup with it. Very, very nice! On ambiance and service alone this place is a ten. But I was very disappointed with the meal. And that’s too bad because I really liked this place. However, it’s about the food. The homefries were, hands down, the worst we ever had. Well overdone, chewy and flavorless. I don’t know. They were pretty bad. Eggs are eggs. The sausage, too, were overdone and without much flavor. I blame how they were cooked for that. These were links. They had been sliced in half lengthwise and pressed flat on the grill. I think a lot of the fat (flavor) is allowed to cook off when a sausage is cut, especially the long way. This must shorten the cooking time but they tend to get overcooked and dry out. This was a major let down. It’s too bad because I’ve talked about how important the physical environment of a restaurant can enhance the experience and also how a great waitstaff can make a huge difference as well. Ultimately, again, it comes down to the food. The Capital Diner just came up way too short for me. Coffee 7, homefries 1 and the meal 5…and that’s mainly due to the fruit cup. Overall a 4.3 (The tattoo came out awesome!)

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Our Place II, Riverside, RI

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mike Wow! Homerun! (After all, it is baseball season) Today, Ray and I ended up at Our Place II, 277 Bullocks Pt. Ave., Riverside. I’m glad we did! Initially, it appeared we wouldn’t be eating anywhere. My plan A was closed (even though their web site said they were open) and I had no plan B! Not to worry though as, if you remember from reading our blog, I have a Restaurant Acquisition Experiment (RAE…pronounced, “Ray”) to help locate a secondary location at which to eat. But my RAE is old and cranky and sputtered and whined so much that I had to unveil my super-secret Fabulous Restaurant Intuition (FBI) guide and within moments of finding the Riverside Diner closed my FBI found Our Place II. What a great find! So much to like! Quick welcome! A daily special board! Nice booth! Fun waitresses with hearts on springs worn on their heads! Nice! I was hooked! So, when we were offered biscotti flavored coffee I said, “Sure”! Have you ever tried biscotti coffee? Don’t! When one of the hearts-on-heads waitresses came to refill our cups I asked for a fresh cup of their regular coffee, and, aaaaaaah! Really, really good coffee. Nice! I ordered my unusual. Sausage patties or links? Always good to have an option…patties, of course. Nice ones, too. The homefries were AMAZING!!! These homefries easily made my top three of all time and Ray and I have over a hundred breakfast places under our belts. I even had to rethink my poor opinion about deep fried homefries. I’ve always felt that any potato deep fried was a french fry. Until now! The crisp was perfect! The seasoning was perfect! The potatoes were cooked, perfect(ly)! Wow! How did they do that! Never, never, never would I have believed that deep fried homefries could be this amazing! Nice, nice, nice! Eggs are eggs. And through all this were two fun and attentive waitresses with whom you could trade jokes and have fun. One even liked my breakfast boys socks! Ray was jealous. So, coffee (the regular kind…let’s just forget about the biscotti), 7.5, meal, 8.5 and, drum roll please, homefries 10! An 8.8 overall! My FBI was spot on!

 

 

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ray “But I looked and it was OPEN!!” Those were Mike exact words as we walked up to the door of his breakfast choice this morning. Of course the sign said “Under new management-Closed”, so I asked “Ok what’s your backup plan” The silence was deafening. Mike wound up pulling this one out of his butt, a great option, Our Place II. This is in a small strip mall right near Crescent Park. Last year we visited the original Our Place on North Broadway in East Providence and were quite pleased. This morning, we actually had two waitresses, but after Mike “dissed” their specialty coffee, we were down to one. Let’s be fair though, he has chased away waitresses in several places in the past, not just here. OK, lets start with coffee. I have to say that my coffee ( the regular coffee not flavored ) was great. I had three cups and hardly ever do that. My breakfast was a chourico omelet, no cheese with home fries. The omelet was very good, well filled and nicely prepared. The home fries were AMAZING! Neither of us could stop talking about them. As you can see from the pictures, these home fries were a nice size and at first look, were equally browned on all sides. As we found out the reason was they were well seasoned and deep fried. If you are a follower of this blog you know that Mike and I never like deep fried home fries but these were fantastic. Light and crispy on the outside with a delightful crunch. The red bliss potatoes were perfectly done inside. I would have to say that these are far and away the best home fries I have had since we have been doing this. Coffee, 8; home fries 9.9 ( can’t give a 10 because there might be one place we have not visited that is better) Meal, 9; Overall 9.5. It’s early in the year but this is going to be hard to top Our Place II.

Meeting Street Cafe, Providence RI

 

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ray   An interesting breakfast stop this morning. The Meeting Street Café, 1335, 220 Meeting St, Providence is right in the middle of Brown University’s many buildings. Mike and I saw quite a few shops and eateries in close proximity. This is one of those places that you order at the counter and pay, then they bring the food to your table. First order of business was coffee which was served in a nice big mug and was quite good. I always judge my coffee on whether it has an aftertaste which usually indicates poor quality beans. This was a nice cup. I ordered a Virginia Baked Ham omelet with Swiss cheese and home fries. The eggs were as perfect as I have had. Light, fluffy, and cooked to the exact point before being overcooked. Ham was great and had a wonderful rich flavor. But what made the omelet super was the Swiss cheese. I could really taste the combination of flavors with the ham and eggs. The home fries were cut large but were quite good. I could have used a little more seasoning on them, other than the salt that I added. I have a feeling that Mike’s take is going to be a little different. Coffee, 7; home fries, 7; meal 9, overall rating a solid 8.

 

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mike  Providence. Weyland Square. College Hill. Brown. Meeting St Cafe. Guess where Ray and I traveled to today! Hint: It wasn’t Jimmy’s. On the suggestion of Diane from RCC Ray and I ventured once more ‘cross the river to the East Side. There are so many great places to eat at in the Brown area so I was really looking forward to visiting a new restaurant. First impression for both of us was “eclectic”. Neither one of us could figure out what the MSC wants to be when it grows up. Its decor was a little of everything. No worries. We’re there for the food anyway. First off, this is one of those order- at -the- counter -we’ll- bring -the- food -to- you places. Honestly, not a fan. Still, it’s about the food. Ray did his omelet thing and I went with the homemade corned beef benny. I call eggs benedict, benny, now. Deal with it. The coffee was good…best we’ve had in awhile. It was nice to have a good cup of coffee to sip on as we waited for our order. Still, food. Alas, I was not impressed when I tried my benny. First, the eggs were overcooked a bit. Second, the corned beef hash, though homemade, consisted of small, flavorless chunks of meat on top of, not mixed with, potato. Lastly, and neither of us have ever seen this, there was easily a cup of chopped bell pepper in with the hash. Bell peppers belong in a western omelet, they don’t belong in a benny. Big disappointment. Maybe this was an eclectic benny! Oh well. Coffee 7 and breakfast 4. So, three point something. I will definitely go back, however. Ray really liked his meal so I’m thinking this was just one of those things. These things happen.

D&D’s Taunton,MA

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mike Yesterday Ray and I traveled to Fall River to present our 2017 “Pick of the Year” award to the Locust St Diner. So, it was fitting, today, to return to the worst breakfast place we ever reviewed, Jimmy’s, under new ownership and renamed D and D’s, to see if anything has changed along with management. Yes, Virginia, it has. The physical space and tables and counter seating is all the same. Actually, I love this kind of diner. It’s timeless. And when you think of a breakfast diner in the city this sort of place comes to mind. For comparison I ordered what I did last time, the unusual. Though if I have to explain what that is…oh, never mind. The coffee was “meh” which means 100% better than before. And the sausage were tasty, juicy (not overdone and dried out) and had a nice spice to them. Nice. Eggs are eggs. The only time I’ve been wrong about that was the last time we were here. Alas, the homefries were not homefries. I quote myself, “Any potato deep fried is a french fry”. These were funny shaped french fries. I put ketchup on one…french fry. As much as I like french fries I want homefries for breakfast. (Sigh) One last thing. Did you take a look at the pictures? Go ahead. I’ll wait. Hands down these are the smallest plates to not hold an appetizer. Does it look as if I have only one fried egg? There’s actually two, one atop the other. It’s not like it affects the flavor. It’s just visually disconcerting…almost like you’re not getting what you paid for even though it’s all there. So, coffee 5, homefries 4 and overall 6.5 for an average of 5.2. If you want to try it out to compare your experience with ours D and D’s is at 22 Broadway in Taunton.

 

 

 

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ray Finally, breakfast with Mike in 2018. Back before we started the blog, Mike and I went to Jimmy’s in Taunton, right near the District Court. It was AWFUL. So bad we left food on the table and went to Dunkin. Today we revisited the same location now under new ownership, D&D’s. Because of it’s location, this looks like the kind of place you night see a few lawyers, or law enforcement officers, D&D’s is narrow, with tables for four, and a counter. I only saw two tables occupied, one with a single person near the back, and the other with a Taunton policeman and, who I later found out, was the cook. Had simple choices on the menu, no specials that I could see. I had a Western omelet with home fries and coffee. Good news on the coffee, it was much better than the last visit, in that I could not see the spoon at the bottom of the cup. Although it was visually ok, taste was average at best. As for the breakfast I’ll start with the omelet, actually the plate which was the smallest plate I have ever have that was not serving a side dish. The Western had mushrooms from a can, and the ham was sliced ham from a deli loaf. The other ingredients were done well but not having fresh ingredients is a no-no. Now for the home fries. Mike describes them as French fries. They were precut probably from a bag, and were deep fried! Actually they were mostly deep fried. As I was eating a few I could see that some were stuck together and not fried on one side. Home fries are home fries not deep fried. Our waitress was very pleasant and attentive offering refills on coffee, and that is a plus. However I give the coffee a 6, the home fries a 3, the meal and overall experience a 6, and an generous average of 5.