If you missed part one of my RI foodie trip, which consists entirely of time spent in Newport, you can check it out here! I took this trip 8/10-8/12 and, true to Caitlin form, and just now getting around to recapping it. I hope you all had a good Labor Day weekend!
I awoke and was shocked to find that Jeff and I had slept TEN HOURS! AKA I’d slept til 8AM – which felt strange, yet appropriate, since the day before I’d slept until only 6:30AM. I felt full of energy and had the desire to expend some of that on a quick run. I didn’t feel like I had to run – I wanted to! So I laced up my Reebok ZigNano Fly 2 sneakers and headed out on a 26 minute jog. It got kinda ruined by side stitches at the end, and I was going for 30 minutes, but I decided I was done and headed back to the room. I don’t even know how far I went, but a spontaneous run of a random length and unknown distance was just what I needed to start my day on a chill, stress-free note.
Any Carrots n Cake readers will recognize the place I am posing in front of in the photo above – a Mary Lou’s Iced Coffee!!! I spotted one in, of all places, a Shell station near our hotel. And Tina isn’t lying when she says this place has the best iced coffee ever. THEY DO! The flavor doesn’t come from syrups, but right from the bean! I had to get a photo in front of the counter!
Jeff got Banana Nut Creme, and I got Hawaiian Chocolate Nut - we both asked for our iced coffee to be served black, of course! Jeff’s flavor was the winner, but mine, with its coconut-chocolate flavor combo, still was heaven on ice. We drove into Newport’s town center to enjoy our beverages.
Jeff had no sunglasses and was having squinting issues, so I lent him a hand. Or a pair of sunglasses.
It was so nice to once again spend our morning chatting, caffeinating, and looking at the water! The people watching scene in Newport is great too – I could just sit for hours and be content. Not easy for me to say, since I am so often in go-go-go mode.
Third time the place remains a charm!
Of course we got hungry for breakfast soon and after much unsuccessful searching for a brunch spot, ended up back at Diego’s. Fine by us!
Haitian Swizzle – Jalapeno-Infused Haitian Rum Barbacourt, Velvet Falernum, Tiki Bitters, Fresh Lime
We also continued our drinks-before-noon trend. #sorrynotsorry How could I pass up a drink off this gem of a cocktail menu?!
The Beano – Bloody Mary with Black Bean Puree!
Jeff certainly went for a special beverage that I wish I’d ordered! By far the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted – and I don’t usually like Bloodies!
Diego’s Huevos – White Corn Tortillas, Black Beans, 2 Sunny-Side Eggs, Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa, Ripe Avocado, Diced Veg, Baja Aioli
I made a stellar brunch choice, if I do say so myself! Not only was the above dish filled with all of my favorite things – runny eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa, aioli, veggies, carbs… – but it was ordered off the $5 portion of the menu!
These kinds of pics are becoming a Cait Plus Ate standard.
After our amazing brunch, we said a final goodbye to Diego’s (no we, didn’t go back a fourth time) and did some more Newport exploring!
Ohhhh lover, lover…
What is up with this giant T-shirted bear?
Clearly he’s less experienced with goofy pics.
These sea creatures have human legs!
I knew I wanted to visit another Tina recommendation, The Lawn at Castle Hill. The Castle Hill Inn is a beautiful hotel tucked away from the busy center of Newport. To get there, one has to drive (or bike!) through rural, scenic roads – but it’s worth the slightly out-of-the-way trip. And guess who I got to experience it with?!
That’s the Castle Hill Inn in the background!
My CT blend (and practically neighbor) Bethany, of More Fruit Please, was visiting Newport with her now-fiance, Farhan. Thankfully, the fates aligned and Jeff and I were able to meet up with them for our visit to the Lawn! Bethany and I have been trying to get together since we went to the CT Veg Fest and Wesleyan Foodstock together, and it was such a treat to not only do so, but to do so in such a gorgeous setting!
The Lawn at Castle Hill’s cute Adirondack chairs – and their breathtaking view – are open to the public. Of course, classy and refreshing cocktails are available!
Cucumber Collins – New Amsterdam Gin, Cuke Puree, Lemon Juice, Seltzer Water
I could actually see the cucumber seeds floating about in the puree at the bottom of my drink. It didn’t taste as strong as I usually like, but was perfectly refreshing for such a warm day and I appreciated its simplicity.
Jeff’s choice, the Rum Swizzle (I think), was definitely sweeter.
Of course Bethany and I put our blogging hats on, and were taking photos with our iPhones and cameras!
Caught mid-tweet, I’m sure.
I’m sure Bethany’s big, fancy cam got some amazing shots!
I’m so very happy that I got to see Bethany and Farhan again, as well as introduce them to Jeff!
After dropping the two of them near their car, Jeff and I headed to Narragansett for the destination that started our plans for the entire weekend – Crazy Burger! A reader, Tom, had recommended the vegan hotspot for me on my blog’s Facebook page, and one look at the menu told me this place was meant to be visited by me. Funny enough, after Jeff and I had planned out our weekend, Heather even blogged about Crazy Burger, adding to the torture of waiting so long to finally try the place!
Jeff and I took a quick walk by the Narragansett shore, but we were disappointed when we didn’t find many – or shall I say any – little shops to visit! Oh well…I was hungry for dinner already, so we decided to go ahead and get Crazy.
As Jeff and I walked into Crazy Burger’s outdoor seating area, I literally gasped.
Could I have asked for a more serene place to conclude my weekend of trying to BE a serene foodie? I don’t think so.
The mis-matched cloth napkins were a cute touch.
We brought a bottle of red wine I’d gotten from a lovely Groupon deal from Radford Dale – AKA “The Winery of Good Hope”
Even after beginning to sip on my glass of red, I still wasn’t feeling any less anxiety over making the impossible decision of what to order for dinner! I went back and forth between MANY options, and finally decided on a vegan burger with a curry flair, because I have been LOVING curry lately.
Chana Masala: Celery, tomato, mushroom, onion, ginger, chickpeas slowly stewed in curry, garam masala, allspice, then bound in rice. Served on grilled naan!
I cannot tell you how wonderful my Chana Masala sandwich, housemade pickles, and slaw were. So I’ll show you.
Lucky for me, Jeff isn’t a ketchup fan, so I stole his homemade ketchup to add to my burger! He actually chose a vegan burger that I’d been contemplating getting.
Birdie Mae: Grilled tempeh, purple sticky rice, sweet tater, roasted sunflower seeds, rosemary-pumpkin pesto grilled in a tomato tortilla.
The Birdie Mae was certainly an option I know I would have enjoyed if I’d ordered it – Jeff let me have a bite, and also some of his sweet potato fries. They were super yummy – but no ION
After having no dessert Friday OR Saturday night, when I really kind of wanted it, I was not about to let this chance to not only have dessert, but have VEGAN dessert paired with red wine, pass me by. Dessert and red wine is my favorite food and wine pairing ever.
It was kind of a no-brainer. I love carrot cake. So when I saw a vegan version on the menu, I had to have a taste!
I was sure to not let a bite pass my lips without the company of a sip of red wine. Jeff and I shared the slice above and it was pure bliss. I finished the meal and felt perfectly satisfied…so glad I’d had room for dessert!
However, though I did revel in my eats, sips, and time with my friends as they happened on Sunday, I had trouble reveling after the fact. Almost the entire way home, my mind was consumed with thoughts that started with, “You shouldn’t have.” How could I have had several drinks each day for the last few days? How could I have topped it off with a dessert? I shouldn’t have done such a SHORT run that day. I shouldn’t have skipped working out the day before. In the last ten minutes of the ride home, I really felt like I was on the verge of tears.
The floodgates opened the second I walked through my front door. I know I’m 23 and I should be hating the fact that I still live at home, but I really don’t. And one of the many reasons I don’t is because when I come home and I’m stressed and scared and I need my mom – she’s usually right there for me. I let it all out to her, I just shared with her exactly why I felt guilty and like I’d done a whole lot of things I shouldn’t have done.
And then I followed that up with exactly why those things are OK, and how proud of myself I was (and still am) for experiencing Newport the way it’s meant to be experienced, and for having that fabulous meal at Crazy Burger, and for recognizing that a weekend away is just that – a weekend AWAY – and you always come BACK to your routine. The fact that I planned this trip in the first place was huge because I knew these thoughts would “attack” me and intrude at some point, but I was ready for it. I was ready to fight and to say, fuck this, I’m not going to let fear hold me back from going to one of my favorite places in the world!
So I hung up those little wooden flip-flops my parents bought me on Saturday night at one of my favorite Newport shops, Frazzleberries, outside my cubicle at work. And every time I walk by them, even now almost a month later, I’m reminded of my courage and of my fun experience, and I can smile knowing that I have no regrets about missing out.
Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break from your normal, “safe” routine?
Have you ever been to a vegan cafe like Crazy Burger?