Another better-late-than-never recap of one of the weekend trips I took this summer to one of my favorite places in the country – Newport, RI – as well as Narragansett, RI! As usual I’m Wordy Wendy and this will be long so I am splitting it into two posts!
The second weekend in August, my always fun and always ready to chow/drink foodie friend Jeff and I hit the road for Newport, RI. My mission? To let go and enjoy myself in one of my favorite places ever – and show him the magic of Newport! My family has been going to Newport once a year for as long as we have lived in CT, and when we didn’t make plans to go this year, I took matters into my own hands and planned this trip. I’d never been to Newport as a super-adventurous foodie blogger either, so I was ready to eat and drink what I wanted to as part of my mini-vacation, and get away from the guilt.
No room for guilt with this view!
The trip started out on a stressful note for me because my town was hit with a REALLY bad thunderstorm right when we were scheduled to depart, so not only were we delayed, but we encountered tons of down trees on the way to the highway. That drive from my house took two or three times as long as it usually does, but once we got on the highway it was smooth sailing and we didn’t even hit any more traffic. I think fate was throwing me a challenge to see how I’d handle stress on the trip, and while I kiiiinda failed, I think it all turned out OK in the end.
If only we could have sat outside! The restaurant’s outdoor seating area wasn’t open up due to the rain.
We scored free parking outside my first restaurant pick, Perro Salado. If you’ve ever been to Newport before, you know this free parking thing is a huge deal. I couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was, but Jeff just didn’t get it. So I reveled in my savings solo.
Finally made it – and in possession of beverages!
I started with a spicy cucumber margarita!
I was starved when we sat down, and when I found out they didn’t bring out chips and salsa unless they were asked (and paid) for, I made the decision to, well, ask and pay for them. It was hard to let myself be OK with going for it and ordering the chips, but I did it, and enjoyed every bite of the spicy red salsa and mild, slightly sweet and thick tomatillo salsa they came with. The latter was some of the best I’ve ever had. I was happy when Jeff gave me props for ordering the chips because I wanted them!
The entrees were so AMAZING! Jeff had the agave & chipotle-glazed pork belly with pinto beans and pickled veggies. I tried a bit and I can seriously tell you that the pork belly melted the moment it hit my tongue.
When I saw the rare yellowfin tuna special, I knew it would be the best choice for me. I love rare tuna, but when it’s on special, you KNOW it’s at its freshest! On the side I had some fantastic local farmers’ market veggies and black bean/corn salsa.
Plate bigger than my head FTW.
We were too full for dessert, and I have to admit that later on in the evening I was craving one, but I just couldn’t let myself do it. I felt like I was going to be indulging all weekend and that I should give myself a “safety padding” of no dessert that night. I know…it sounds silly right now as I type it. In fact later that evening as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I kept thinking about the regret I felt over not enjoying a Newport ice cream cone, and was kicking myself. I tried to take that regret to heart and use the desire to avoid it as motivation to enjoy myself for the rest of the trip.
And Jeff and I did have so much fun walking around the center of town after dinner! The rain had long since passed, it was a warm summer evening, and I babbled on and on about my favorite Newport spots, pointing out one place after another.
What is this head on a stick? What is this pirate thing?
Turns out that walking through little shops and boutiques is way fun when you’ve got a little marg buzz on 😛
New skirt – or is it a purse?
You fancy huh?
Bring in the dancin’ lobstas.
This cracked me up to no end.
Long live Lennon.
Jeff was a history major, hence me making him pose like this in front of this sign.
And we were sure to get a photo in front of a classic Newport landmark, the feet-disappearing-into-the-wave statue!
Our hotel of choice (due to being cheap) was a gem called the Pineapple Inn. Yes, the name is covered in cheese. But we embraced our motel accommodations, complete with shower drain that didn’t really work and the most strange shower faucet of all time, with smiles and silly Hawaiian shirt photos.
Jeff used to wear Hawaiian shirts like it was his job, so I asked him to bring some of his best.
The sign’s letters are even falling off…it’s too perfect.
But to be fair, the AC worked well, my bed was comfortable, and there was shampoo (though not conditioner) provided. All we wanted was a place to sleep, and that’s what we got. The price was right!
You know I scouted out a cute cafe for our morning Newport coffee!!!
Yes, those signs were on each outdoor table!
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to sit at this cafe every morning and drink my coffee while looking out at the ocean.
Love how they served Jeff’s iced coffee in a glass.
We sat in comfortable silence while admiring the water, chatted with some silly kids who for some reason thought we were really interesting, and just soaked in the Newport atmosphere.
Coffee Grinder is located in one of my favorite area’s of Newport’s center, Bannister’s Wharf.
Our stomachs started to rumble and we set off in search of a yummy brunch, and didn’t have to look far.
Outside of Diego’s, which serves breakfast every Saturday/Sunday starting at 10AM.
Diego’s wasn’t on my pre-prepared Newport dining list that I’d made, with the help of Yelp. However, it had everything I look for in a restaurant! Outdoor seating…
Ceiling of the bar!
…and of course, a killer cocktail menu.
My kind of place! Check out the “disclaimer” on the bottom in red.
My Sazerac – chilled Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof Whiskey, Peychaud bitters, simple syrup, served neat in chilled absinthe-coated glass. SO me.
Don’t even get me started on the food. Every bite was interrupted with an “oh my God” or a “mmmm”. I ordered the smoked salmon quesadilla with a scallion cream cheese, grilled tomato, and zesty red onion & caper salsa. I asked for a wheat tortilla and a lighter amount of cream cheese; the dish turned out perfectly.
Jeff and I exchanged bites and sips as always, and we gave each other’s dishes two thumbs up.
Jeff’s choice from the $5 menu, the Breakfast Torta – 2 fried eggs on Portuguese bolos (a bread) with ripe avocado, black beans, oaxaca cheese, spicy baja aioli.
During the meal I noted to Jeff that I hadn’t worked out that morning, and didn’t plan to that day, since we’d be walking so much. Saying it out loud kind of cemented it in my head as a goal for the day – no workout, Caitlin. Just stroll through this beautiful place and enjoy yourself, guilt-free.
I stumbled upon some sunflowers!
And that’s really what I did the rest of the day!
A classic goofy Caitlin photo.
This isn’t staged, I swear…
A snack fit for kings from The Black Pearl‘s Waterside Patio: Country Pate!
Adorable colorful director’s chairs in an outdoor seating area!
In the evening, my family joined in the fun! Thankfully they were up for tagging along to whatever restaurants I’d picked out. I’ve gained a rep as an expert 😉 the Perro Salado bartender had even commented the night before that “he could tell what I was doing” when I was sharing with him places I was interested in visiting. Props from a local? Oh, NBD!
My amazing “man drink”, the Hanky Panky: Plymouth Gin, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Fernet Branca. It was so perfect.
Don’t worry Jeff, your pink Firedancer drink tasted pretty manly! Sauza Hornitos Tequila, Agavero Tequila Liqueur, Scorpion Mezcal, Lime & Pom Juices
The orange peel perched atop Jeff’s drink was set on FIRE at the “finale” of its creation!
This was my dad’s initial reaction to the octopus small plate Jeff and I chose, but after he took a bite, the sea creature got two thumbs up!
We also ordered Rabbit Pate. Freakin’ amazing! My first rabbit experience.
Was so proud of my sis for venturing out of her comfort zone and ordering the above Chick Pea, Roasted Red Pepper, Black Olive Crostini! And lucky for me she wasn’t the hugest fan so I got one.
After we were pre-dinner-imbibed and fed, it was time to head to the actual dinner – at Diego’s again! After all my raving, the fam just HAD to try their food, and I was all about getting to sample dishes off the lunch/dinner menu – and more off the amazing cocktail menu!
Mom with her Upgrade Margarita (Milagro Silver Tequila, Agave Nectar, Lime, OJ Splash) and me with my Corpse Reviver (Lillet Lanc, Plymouth Gin – yes again, Cointreau, Fresh Lemon, Pernod Absinthe).
Showing off my side of black beans and my Spicy Catch Pan-Seared Tuna Salad: over mixed greens with julienne veggies, tomato, fruit salsa, pomegranate-chipotle vinaigrette.
A photo meant to send Meg into a food coma.
I’m so thankful that I got to spend time not only with a good friend in Newport, but with my wonderful family (minus the little bro) as well. I have to admit that as I was walking back to the car with Jeff later that evening, I still felt panicky. The day’s eats and drinks seemed to be piling up in my mind and also seemed to be destined to never end in the future. My mind asked me, what if this becomes the norm? What if you do this EVERY WEEKEND? What will happen? Thankfully the combination of a busy day and my beverages made me super sleepy, so these thoughts did not keep me up late at all. Quite the opposite actually – I was passed out by 10pm.
The family, minus Michael, at our traditional pic spot.
Next up – a recap of finishing up in Newport and dinner in Narragansett on Sunday!
Have you ever been to Newport? If so, been to any of these spots?
Do you have a special vacation spot you visit each year with friends and/or family?
Which dish and/or drink in this post do you think you would’ve liked most?