Mesa Cafe, Cranston, RI

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ray Mesa Cafe, 100 Rolfe Sq, Cranston, RI, a new experience in ethnic breakfasts. Arsinio and Amy Uhrig recommended this Cranston breakfast spot and I am glad they did. Now I have to warn you that you should not try getting there using 195 at rush hour, especially with Mike giving me all kinds of grief about my choice of routes and that we should be avoiding 195 at this time. The ride, complaints and moaning aside this is a GREAT breakfast place. They have many Mexican specials as well a great variety of traditional breakfast foods. The lunch menu looked very interesting also. Ok back to breakfast. Coffee in those nice traditional big mugs was very good, and above average. They serve New England Coffee which Mike and I have had elsewhere and has always been good. We took our time looking over the menu and both of us chose from the specials and ordered a side of home fries to share. When our waiter came with our meals it was like taking over the whole table. Very impressive presentation. I had huevos rancheros, which were two eggs over easy, on top of two very thin corn tortillas with a smooth pico de gallo over the top. On the side were half dozen sliced fried plantains, refried beans ( with a little cactus cracker ) and sour cream. The home fries were fantastic! Very buttery with no need to add salt or other condiments. The huevos rancheros were perfect and so flavorful, with the pico providing a little heat and the sour cream tempering it. The fried plantains were like breakfast candy, sweet and little crunch. No lunch for me today. Mesa Café is going to the top of my early 2019 breakfast choices. Coffee, 8; home fries, 9, Meal, 10. Overall 9. Gotta try this place for lunch.

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mike The traffic reporter on channel 10 said traffic was backed up. The traffic report on the radio said to find an alternative route. We saw, in the distance, traffic at a standstill. And I knew, I just knew, I should have just been quiet and not reminded Ray I had to be back by noon, today, but I couldn’t sit silently. I mean, really, the trip took so long I had to shave, twice, and I have a beard! My calm, polite queries concerning our route somehow annoyed Ray. I didn’t know how irritated he was until he yanked out his hearing aid and said, “Barbara! Please let me drive!”
The trip was worth it.
We ended up at the Mesa Cafe and Grill…what a great restaurant! Thanks for suggesting it, Amy! The coffee was quite good, always a great start, and refills were offered, by three different people, throughout the meal. Nice. Ray and I split a side of homefries and were very impressed. They were nicely spiced and buttery and had a nice crisp. These were top tier homefries. My meal was amazing! Eggs scrambled in a green chili sauce served with refried beans, sour cream and corn tortillas. It was too much to eat but very, very delicious! Kilian and I lived the southwest for a semester and this breakfast brought back wonderful memories of the amazing food we had out there. I don’t believe I’ve had green chili since and what I was served (I’m positive it is made fresh) was authentic and amazing! It’s early in the year but I believe we have a front runner. Coffee 8, the homefries an 8.5 and the meal a 9.5 for a total of 8.7
Nice!

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Royal Diner, Providence

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mikeProvidence is no Fall River but there are many places left to visit and we’ve rarely been disappointed. Yesterday was a good example. We’ve been near and gone by the Royal Cafe on many occasions; it’s located at 1179 Westminster St. Glad we stopped in finally! Nice, nice diner. Bright, clean with a bunch of obvious improvements and a little bit of tropical growth that’s well tended at the front window. Our waitress, Brenda, brought over menus but they were unnecessary. The walls are covered with menus. There is no line if sight unmenued, if that’s a word. The coffee was just ok. A bit weak tasting but good enough for a second cup. I got a spinach and feta omelette… just a few olives short of a Greek…and was very surprised at how it was cooked. The spinach and feta were incorporated into the egg, which is fine, but the omelette was very, very thin. It reminded me of a very large crepe which had been folded instead of rolled. Didn’t change the taste, which wasn’t bad, needed salt despite the feta, but it sure looked different. The homefries, too, were bland and needed seasoning, but the portion was large and they were cooked well. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the Royal Cafe. We’ve eaten nearby at pricier millennial type places but the Royal is what we look for in a breakfast place: It serves good food at good prices and doesn’t skimp. This is an every day, getting breakfast on the way to work kind of place. So, coffee a 6 with the homefries a 7 and the omelette a 7.5 for an overall of 6.7

 

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ray Out of our comfort zone, Fall River, and into the big city, Providence, where we had breakfast at the Royal Diner. A neighborhood place that seemed to fit nicely around this section of Providence. The first thing we both noticed was that there were menus everywhere! Special menus, regular menus, new menus, old menus, breakfast menus, lunch menus, the Royal Diner had them all. Our very polite waitress offered coffee as we entered, and we had a chance to look over ALL of the menus. I chose my usual, the Western omelet with home fries. Coffee was OK, not bad not great, right in the middle. Only one refill. The omelet was flat, not fluffy, and the ham was a deli ham. It was an ok omelet. Home fries needed salt and any other seasonings, badly. Short and simple. Coffee, 6; home fries, 6, meal, 6….just a middle of the road kinda place.

Cozy Kettle, Fall River

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ray Guess what, back to Fall River this morning. Why leave? I think Mike and I should just keep going back to the same restaurants in this breakfast Mecca, every week. Today was the Cozy Kettle, 366 Mariano Bishop Blvd, Fall River. Early on Mike and I went to the Cozy Kettle in Swansea ( now closed ) and I decided to try this one. First of all, our waitress,Sheila, was a hoot. It was freezing inside when we got there are she just hopped around am asked us if we wanted to rub her toes to get them to warm up. She kept us in stitches all the time we were there. It was so cold…..seriously, Mike and I kept our hats and jackets on. But I digress, the meal. Coffee, was very good, and just my temperature, although I’m not sure if just holding the mug was a treat, or sipping the coffee that good. Really, above average coffee and plentiful refills. I ordered the Portuguese omelet with chourico, peppers, onions, and American cheese. Nice fluffy omelet well stuffed with goodies. A little dry on the outside but perfectly cooked. Now for the home fries. For the first time in all 80 or so restaurants we have been to, did we find well cooked bell and red peppers. Fabulous!!! The flavor of the peppers came through all of the potatoes. I’m not one to clean my breakfast plate, but this morning I ate every scrap. Coffee, 7; Home fries, 9; meal, 9. Average 8.5. This is going to be in the top ten. Visit Cozy Kettle, but during the cold weather, dress warm.

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mike Breakfast was served cold at the Cozy Kettle but we had one if the better breakfast experiences of the new year anyway. Seriously, it was warmer outside than in! We had to drink our coffee quickly or it would become iced! How cold was it? It was so cold a group of penguins in the next booth had on sweaters! The coffee was actually pretty good served by an outgoing, outrageous out of the box waitress named Sheila. Can’t see anyone beating her out for waitress of the year. The meal was very good as well and the homefries really stood out. Never, never, never have we had homefries cooked up with onions and peppers. Nice! What an excellent combination! And they only used a small amount which didn’t overwhelm the potatoes. Very, very nice! Four nicely cooked sausage links and the eggs over easy made this unusual better than usual. The coffee gets 7.5 with the meal getting an 8 and the homefries 8.5 for an easy 8 overall. Well done Cozy Kettle!

Gina’s Family restaurant, Fall River

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mike I had some well spent time with Ray today…talked some sense into him. Ray has NE Sports Fan Syndrome. No matter how well a NE team is doing the local fan affected by this disease feels extremely pessimistic about that team’s chances of winning. You’re welcome, Ray now thinks the Pats will win. It was a long ride…to Gina’s 950 Wilson Rd in, where else, Fall River! Wierd place for a restaurant. It was right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Nice find, though, and worth it if just for the homefries. Let’s begin there! The homefries were amazing! Nice flavor (obviously cooked in some chourico juices) and cooked very well. Large chunks, too, which are usually not cooked through…these were. I would have liked them with some crisp on them. If they had it would have made these homefries top three all time. As it is they are way up there. The coffee was pretty good, too. Smooth, not strong tasting and no acidic after taste. Nice and hot, too, with refills for the asking. The omelette I chose, chourico hash with provolone, sounded better than it was. I was thinking spicy and got mild. The chourico was ground but I wouldn’t call it hash…it was just in small, uniform pieces with nothing else to complement it but the eggs and cheese. Not hash. Overall it was ok but I guess I was expecting more. I will give the homefries an 8.5 and the coffee a 7.5 and the omelette a 6 for a score of 7.4

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ray Back to one of our most favorite cities, Fall River, and Mike chose Gina’s Family Restaurant. This is one of those places you really have to want to go to. Not on the main roads to anywhere, and really set in a neighborhood. We wondered if the place came first and neighborhood grew up around it. Pleasant waitress got us our coffee quickly. Mike checked out any Specials, but apparently they were all lunch specials. I went with my most familiar omelet, the Western with home fries. Coffee was really hot, but it was good. I’d say above average, and the refills were plentiful. The breakfasts arrived and both of our omelets were over the edge of the plate, really large. Let’s start with the amazing home fries. Right up there with the best I have had. Both of us could tell that they used chourico grease and some butter to cook them on the flattop which made their flavor fantastic. Although my Western was oversized it was underwhelming. The omelet itself was very thin, and all of the contents were over cooked. The ham was deli type, sliced ham chopped in pieces, onions and green peppers were chopped and mushy. There were slices of tomatoes in there also, and that is not one of the ingredients of a Western omelet. Coffee, 7; home fries, 9; meal, 5; Overall, 7.

JJ’s, Brockton, MA

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ray After many tries, I finally got to take Mike to this breakfast spot recommended by our good friend Jason Bacon. It is a hike from Rehoboth, about 45 minutes, but truly worth the experience. I love this breakfast place….so maybe I should be less obtuse, JJ’s, 610 N Main St, Brockton, MA, is just great!!! As with many of the places we go, it does not have a flashy exterior and may have a small parking area, but oh what you will find inside is top shelf. Not may places that we have been to have tables with a small bud vase and a real flower, as well as linen napkins. Classy. But that is just the beginning of the JJ’s experience. One of the Specials was Red Velvet Pancakes, makes me almost want to go back and try some. The wait staff are very attentive, and super friendly. Our waitress, Imee, was right there answering questions about everything from the menu to their homemade hot sauce. Coffee was very good, and the refills were plentiful. Both of us took several cups. I had to have the “Hash Bomb”. A multi-level breakfast served with home fries, homemade hash, sausage gravy, cheese, and topped with two over easy eggs. Every bite had several levels of flavor, including a nice little spicy zing, every so often, that I just could not figure out which of the ingredients it was from. Everything combined so very well. Trying to take this apart and weighing in on all the components would be impossible. Imee asked us about where we were from and when we told her we had traveled quite a distance, she was impressed. Later, as we were finishing, she came back with a complimentary “sweet dish”, banana bread French toast with fresh bananas and drizzled with caramel sauce. img_0110Each of us took a very small bite and it was amazing. Had to bring it back for Rev. Sarah and Kathy to share. The owner and head chef, Chef Fernandes stopped by and spoke with us for a few minutes, nice.  Ok, ratings, coffee, 7; home fries, 9; meal 9.9. Overall, 8.7. Starting the year very strong.

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mike Road trip! And we took the LONG way, oh boy! Ray reminded me that, “There are two extra lights if we go the short way”. Glad I brought snacks. JJ’s. I have heard SO much about this place…been there once, but it was closed. So, about two hours after leaving 139 we found it. This is not an easy review. After a lot of build up anticipation was high. First impressions were amazing. I will describe the decor, the place settings, the staff and our experience with them as understated elegance. Every aspect of our time there was obviously, deliberately determined by management. Example: After we were greeted and brought to our table the waiter paused and did not place my menu down until I was seated. A little thing, yes, but nice. Service and coffee were prompt and handled by a personable, outgoing waitress. Another plus. The coffee was good, a couple steps above average. JJ’s is a little bit pricey and has some unique breakfast offerings so I decided to go with something a bit unusual, a salmon bennie. Ray was paying so why not. Actually, we both wondered if salmon would work well in a bennie, but what the heck. It doesn’t, at least not for me. Regretted it from the first bite. My fault, not JJ’s. The salmon overpowered everything. It also had no seasonings and, I felt, may have been canned. Normally, this is where a nice, runny, liquid gold deliciousness would come in. Just stir around that yolk and everything tastes better. This is where JJ’s made a mistake and still made a fan out of me. While ordering, Imee, our amazing waitress, specifically asked if I wanted the yolks runny or cooked longer. Runny, if course. They weren’t. (Sigh) Ray noticed the moment I opened up an egg. However, a few moments later Imee also noticed and immediately asked if they could make it right. Seriously, wow! How attentive must you be to notice if someone’s eggs aren’t as runny as they should be? I was impressed! Again, details. The homefries, like the coffee, were several levels above average. I enjoyed them despite the salmon flavor which pervaded everything. Honestly, despite what you may deduce from this review, I would really like to return to JJ’s and try something else, preferably without fish. I cannot emphasize enough my admiration for the friendly, efficient, very well trained waitstaff. The chef even sent us a sample of the banana French toast with caramel sauce. Diabetic considerations only allowed me a bite but, wow, it was amazing! So, take my score and dismiss it and if you are ever in Brockton go to JJ’s. Coffee and homefries a seven each and the bennie a five for a score of 6.3

Buford’s, Pawtucket

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mike Have you ever seen the movie Elf? In one scene Buddy takes Jovi to a restaurant to try a cup of coffee while blind folded. “It’s a crappy cup of coffee,” she says. In another scene Buddy sprays passion fruit scented perfume into his mouth. Remember the look on his face and the noise he made? Today, Ray and I decided to recreate those scenes in honor of our first review of 2019! We traveled to Buford’s Restaurant at 474 Pawtucket Ave in Pawtucket today. We’ve had a range of experiences in Pawtucket. Some have been really good. Some have been really bad. The coffee was that bad. Ray may have mentioned Jimmy’s…it was worse than that. I ordered an OJ and Ray asked for water to have something to drink. We even tried a second sip. Ray bowed out as I soldiered on for a third but that was it. Neither Ray or I got the star word “kindness” but we agreed not to bring Sarah and Kathy coffee from Buford’s even though they’ve been dropping subtle hints, like, “Why don’t you guys bring us coffee?” (Ask anyone you know from Rehoboth Congregational Church what a star word is) What about breakfast? Well, the homefries were ok, which is a grade above meh. Very little crisp and less flavoring. And the sausage was ok, too. Short, fat links you can pick up in the freezer section. Nothing bad but not special, either. I liked the OJ. The waitress was pleasant and up for a little banter which is always a plus. But she kept offering us more coffee. Hmmmm. So, and this is generous, the coffee gets a zero. Harsh, but you weren’t there. The homefries and overall breakfast get five each for an overall score under three and a half. (Sigh) On a positive note the only way to go from here is up, right?

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ray  Our first breakfast of 2019 and it was truly memorable. I can honestly say that I have never experienced a cup of coffee like this EVER.

After Mike’s plan A was closed, he moved on to plan B, Bufords, in Pawtucket. Now it is a little odd to find a fireplace in a diner, and only one person sitting at the counter, especially when most breakfast places usually have a steady stream of customers. The one person at the counter was there when we came in, and was still there when we left. Must have been a regular. I didn’t see him drink any coffee, but if he did he is certainly a better man that either of us. Granted, Mike and I are real aficionados of a good cup of coffee, and really look forward to that first cup. Most of the time we give a pass to the first sip, figuring that our mouths are not ready for it, so we usually give the second taste highest factor in rating. I nearly gagged on the first taste. It was awful!! After several moments to compose, I reluctantly took that second sip. Ackkkkk, yuck, bruff….just the most undrinkable cup of hot something I have ever had, and I drank Army coffee!!! I ordered a Western omelet, the only other omelet on the menu was “make-your-own”. Never saw such a limited set of choices for omelets. While there, the waitress offered refills, and poured one for Mike before he could decline, and I immediately held my had over the cup, not fearing the hot liquid. I asked for water, please. The western came with home fries. Those home fries were average. Not much else to say about them, boiled potatoes with a little seasoning, and very little crispness. The omelet was dry, flat, and the ingredients were very salty. I look at this experience with the hope and knowledge that we can only do better, please, I cannot envision anything lower on the breakfast diner scale. Coffee, 0 (only because it came in a cup); home fries, 5. Overall 2.5. Onward…..

2018 Breakfast Pick !!!

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The Breakfast Boys would like to announce the winner of their “2018 Breakfast Pick”. As was the case last year, the winner is from Fall River, the Javahouse, at 139 South Main Street. We met with Katy on Sunday and presented her with our very special plaque. This is not your usual breakfast/lunch diner, but we feel that you will be very pleased with any meal you choose.

Onward to finding our hidden gems of breakfast places for 2019!!!