Cait Plus Rach in Newport – Part 2
Before reading this final post about my first two posts on my long weekend in Rhode Island, you can read the first two posts – about an afternoon in Providence and our first few restaurant stops in Newport – if you missed them!
After being sufficiently wined at Newport Vineyards, Rachel and I made our way back to Downtown Newport to try a new (only a few months old) spot we’d both eyed the night before – Midtown Oyster Bar. The main allure came from the rooftop dining options, but the inside of the restaurant, with its multiple levels and huge open spaces, was gorgeous as well.
It was a toasty day so we were thankful to have a great outdoor view at a shady table. The warm weather had me craving beer so I selected a Farmhouse Ale after our adorable waitress (with super trendy glasses) gave me a sample. I asked for a smaller beer pour and she was kind enough to hook me up with a pour that ended up looking pretty normal-sized to me, yet still cost just $3. Score! Rachel ordered red sangria and it was seriously some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I almost regretted not getting some!
I was craving greens and seafood so I ordered the Grilled Shrimp Greek Salad (spinach, baby shrimp, feta, cucumbers, tomato, red onion, lemon juice, garlic). I’m glad I requested the dressing on the side because I didn’t even have to use any! The salad was delicious and hit the spot, along with some lovely white bread and olive oil. I was satisfied with the value I got for its $15 price tag.
After regrouping and resting in the room for a bit, Rachel and I returned downtown for our last evening in Newport. We still had to work up appetites for apps/dinner so we started by browsing some of the area’s cute shops and both had some luck!
During our shopping adventures I briefly got to hang out with Sarah again! Of course just like last time, our outfits had matchy-matchy qualities. Wish we could have had another awesome sit-down like we did during our first meetup but I’m sure I’ll see her again soon when she is back home from school, in the New England area!
Rachel and I ducked into restaurants and explored to decide where we’d be eating dinner. Christie’s, was pretty high up there on our list. Partially because the menu looked pretty good, but mostly because the funky interior design consisted of some fabulous unique furniture!
Foodie activities of the evening began with a beer cocktail for each of us at Spinnaker’s, the outdoor patio portion of Rhino Bar & Grille. I’d yet to have a beer cocktail and since I love cocktails and am exploring beer more and more lately, it seemed like something I ha to try! Unfortunately the first option I ordered was too sweet and just tasted like a mimosa, but my second try worked out much better and our waitress was nice enough to take the first drink off the bill.
Rachel loved her choice, The Shocker (Shocktop Belgian Wheat, peach liquor, splash of OJ), and we enjoyed sipping our summery drinks outside as the sun began to set. The food offered out on the patio wasn’t too extensive but those beer cocktails were the perfect way to start the food and drink adventures of the evening.
Our dinner spot of choice was completely unassuming; I’ve walked by Speakeasy Bar & Grill many times before and never looked twice at the place. But I continue to be given the lesson in restauranting that one should never judge a book by its cover, or menu for that matter. During our menu perusing earlier in the evening, Rachel and I had popped into Speakeasy to check out the evening’s specials. After (jokingly) giving the bartenders a hard time about having no cocktail menu, we decided to come back for dinner because they were really nice guys and the food did look quite wonderful! In fact, they even had a PB&J Burger on special…remember that?
We ended up staying at Speakeasy for quite awhile and having a FABULOUS time. The food turned out just as good as we hoped – we split the Fresh Potato Chips (with Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream And Cilantro Black Bean Dip) and the Panko Crusted Swordfish with Tarragon & Whole Grain Mustard Sauce (plus a side salad and veggies).
We also met some fun new friends, including a pair from Ohio, a pair from Florida, a bachelorette party for a girl from my hometown, and a bachelorette party attended by a personal trainer from Stamford (alas she didn’t know Maria but I’m pretty sure they need to be friends).
Rachel and I ate, drank, and were merry. The guys from Florida bought us some delish Duck Fart shots and once we finished up at Speakeasy we went to a club next door to dance.
I eventually found myself first in a 7-11 at 1AM, and then back in our hotel room eating Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Car Crunch purchsed at said 7-11, laying in bed and watching “Hocus Pocus”. PERFECT.
Thanks to lack of sleep the night before and a pitch-black hotel room, Rachel and I woke up at 10:45 AM (YES SERIOUSLY) aka 15 MINUTES BEFORE CHECK-OUT. Oops. Once I’d calmed down my mom, whose worried phone call woke me up (“I’m sorry Caitlin but your father insisted I call, he said, ‘She NEVER sleeps this late!'”), we ran around the room like chickens with our heads cut off and got out of there just in time. Rachel was captaining the struggle yacht after the evening before, and I was in my own way…feeling guilty about the evening of drinking and ice cream. We headed to my favorite waterside coffee spot, The Coffee Grinder, for caffeine and regrouping.
We then met our new friends from the night before (Grant and Rob, of Ohio) for brunch at a spot I knew we had to hit before heading home…Diego’s! AKA the restaurant I visited three times in two days during last summer’s RI foodie trip. The always-reliable drink menu produced the usual amount of agonizing decisions, but I settled on the Diego Frisco (Old Overholt rye whiskey, Benedictine herbal liquor, a splash of Domaine de Canton ginger liquor & fresh citrus shaken & served down). So refreshing, but I was also so done with drinking at that point in the day so I nursed the “goblet” all through the meal.
My body (and my mind) were screaming VEGGIES at me so Rachel and I started by splitting a side of the shaved caramelized Brussels sprouts. They tasted delicious but weren’t nearly as satisfying as they are in their roasted entirety.
To eat I ordered a huge salad, the The Spicy Catch (with Blackened Cod, mixed greens with julienned veggies, ripe tomato, pineapple jicama salsa & pomegranate-chipolte vinaigrette). I actually ordered it for dinner last summer at Diego’s, but with ahi tuna. The cod tasted excellent – I adore blackened seafood – and I loved all those veggies! I couldn’t finish this thing.
Back in Connecticut
Once we finished our lunch, we parted ways with our new friends and hit the road back to CT. I’m certainly glad we did because we missed (most) of the Sunday afternoon traffic headed out of the beach towns, and I got home with plenty of time to unpack, get ready for the upcoming work week, and even run a 5K on a nice trail near my house.
So how did I handle this trip? How did I handle this weekend of foodie fun and alcohol consumption? I felt bad about it. I doubted myself. I still feel guilty and doubt whether or not I’m “allowed” to do these things every single time I do them. The 5K made me feel a little bit better, but I still compared it to my usual kick-ass Sunday morning spin class, so it didn’t feel good enough. I compared my big Diego’s restaurant salad with my usual homemade smaller lunch salad, so I still felt as if I’d done something wrong. I compared the amount of drinks I’d consumed Friday and Saturday to the amount I’d usually consume on those days, and imagined a permanent “downhill path” I was headed on that would lead me to have crazy weekends EVERY weekend. It didn’t matter how many other days I’d had of lighter eating, how many other days I’d had of harder workouts. Nothing mattered, and all I could focus on was the NEGATIVE. No credit given to myself for the positive.
This remains my struggle up to the moment I sit here and write this. I’m able to fight fear, live in the moment, and do what I want to do (most of the time) in terms of eating and drinking. Less so in terms of working out, but I truly did feel OK with the walking-only day I had on Saturday. I made an effort to include physical activity into the day of vacation. But as soon as I had my first sip of wine that same day, the 3-mile Cliff Walk was 30,000 miles from my mind. Even on “normal days” when I go to work, work out, and come home, I forget about the healthy lunch I packed or the killer class I conquered at the gym the second a sip of wine passes my lips or a bite of bread enters my mouth. Why? Why do these things that bring me joy so DRASTICALLY outweigh the positive steps I take each day to live a healthy lifestyle? Why do I so quickly forget what I should be proud of, and so easily remember what my mind tells me I “shouldn’t” be doing?
I had an awesome trip. I’ve been having a lot of fun this summer. But I’m sick of the guilt and the anxiety and the pressure to be perfect. I’m over my mind telling me that unless I do everything “right”, I’m not allowed to feel happy or love myself. I’m over this, but I’m struggling to come out of it.
I’ve asked this before, I’ll ask it again – how do you deal with post-vacation guilt about calories consumed?
Which of my eats and/or drinks in this post look best to you?
Have you ever met any new friends or awesome/interesting people on vacation?