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May 23, 2013; Updated: 2:00 pm
Know what's better than a tavern? A taverne. There's something about that extra "e" that says "beer, grog, stew, warmth, repeat." Last weekend's dreadful weather demanded all of the above, so we headed out to Oliver's Restaurant and...
May 16, 2013; Updated: 5:07 pm
In 1983 I was sitting in a diner in Odessa, Texas. It was about 3 a.m. or so, and I was buying Carlos Cavazo breakfast. Even though he was the guitarist for Quiet Riot, who were on their first national tour behind the "Mental as...
May 9, 2013; Updated: 1:39 pm
The public is welcomed heartily, not only to enjoy a cocktail or a meal, but to wander around the inn's common spaces, sit a spell by the fireplace, or take in the sweeping view from the second floor deck.
May 2, 2013; Updated: 1:28 pm
For some, like me, it isn't home until I find Ye Ole Reliable Pizza Place - the sort of institution that makes the same tasty pie over and over again, and it never changes, no matter who makes it. That's right: Aside from proximity to a...
April 25, 2013; Updated: 11:56 am
The first hint that the Wood River Golf Course is full of surprises is the name of the restaurant: 11th Green Restaurant and Pub.
Aren't the pubs at golf courses called the 19th hole?
April 18, 2013; Updated: 1:52 pm
You've been in shoe boxes larger than the Rustic Cafe in East Lyme. That's okay; the folks there like it that way.
Yes, with its cheery blonde wood paneling and ceiling beams, a crowd of reliably...
April 11, 2013; Updated: 1:44 pm
It's one of the all-time great sayings, up there with "Cogito ergo sum" and as rote as the lyrics to "Jingle Bells."
"Gee, restaurant prices always seem higher in a casino."
April 4, 2013; Updated: 2:04 pm
If you're feeling peckish while traveling through the area on I-95 but you want to stick close to the highway, you'll likely be glad to find the Mystic Diner.
The big, brightly lit restaurant attached...
March 28, 2013; Updated: 3:09 pm
Just when we all thought hibernation season was over, more snow and frigid weather settles in throughout the region. No problem: if you still crave hearty, body-warming, winter-time comfort foods, consider a trip out to La Luna in...
March 21, 2013; Updated: 2:24 pm
Westerly has long established itself as one of the top dining destinations in the region. But the scene is far from stagnant, and lately there's been a kind of musical chairs going on.
One of the real...
March 14, 2013; Updated: 12:01 pm
Even the pre-packaged fortune cookies were good!
Seriously: they were fresh, crisp and flavorful. And, if the extracted slips of fortune-y paper were more aphoristic than actual assurances about the...
March 7, 2013; Updated: 1:22 pm
Tucked next to the Metal Trades Council office and nearly in the shadow of the big green General Dynamics shed, Friendly Thai Bar and Restaurant casts a warm yet exotic glow on this hardscrabble stretch of Poquonnock Road in Groton.
February 28, 2013; Updated: 2:41 pm
Contrary to Hash House a Go Go's fantastic name, you probably won't be "go-"ing anywhere too soon after your meal. Giant portions of carb- and bacon-rich dishes will do that to a body. So be warned: if you go out to eat at Hash House,...
February 21, 2013; Updated: 3:43 pm
When deciding where to go out to dinner, we often start with location. We'll pick a town, maybe Westerly, Mystic or New London, and run through a list of our favorite restaurants.
Which is why, I'm...
February 14, 2013; Updated: 12:19 am
It's a rare occasion when a new restauranteur in the area opens something that isn't a pizza joint. It's even more obscure when the focus of a new restaurant ventures into the realm of barbecue or Cajun. Or both.
February 7, 2013; Updated: 12:03 am
If you haven't been to Somewhere in Time Café, then you are in for a treat.
This Old Mystic diner-esque café would fit right in on Guy Fieri's popular Food Network show, "Diners,...
January 31, 2013; Updated: 3:17 pm
At the height of winter in New England, warm exotic climes offer tantalizing escape or, at least, the stuff of great reverie.
Take Trapiche, a city and winery in Argentina, land of the tango, the...
January 24, 2013; Updated: 3:09 pm
It's not often a 57-year-old man walks into the Book Barn Mid-Town location in Niantic and asks to borrow 12 Hardy Boys books. That's what happened, though. No point in trying to explain why, but I'll say this: I'd forgotten what a...
January 17, 2013; Updated: 5:10 pm
One of the most famous episodes of "Seinfeld" is about some misanthrope who makes really good soup. As everyone now knows, the dude - known on the show as "the Soup Nazi" - is actually real and so are his soups.
January 10, 2013; Updated: 11:23 am
Surely everyone has a short list of unforgettable, life-changing moments.
Etched in time, we carry these memories in a virtual lock box, close to the heart: the awkward first kiss, the nervous...
January 3, 2013; Updated: 11:48 am
It's possible I'm the last person on the shoreline to sample the goods at TJ's Restaurant and Pizza in Old Saybrook.
At my mother and stepfather's recommendation, I headed to TJ's - situated in Old...
December 27, 2012; Updated: 3:23 pm
One could argue that bringing an Italian-American restaurant to Westerly is like bringing sand to a post-Sandy Misquamicut Beach. Interestingly enough, though, the offerings at Trattoria Longo Meatballs & Martinis, which opened in...
December 20, 2012; Updated: 1:34 pm
One of the greatest thrillers ever written is "The First Deadly Sin" by Lawrence Sanders, notable for many things including that the policeman/hero, Captain Edward X. Delaney, loved sandwiches.
December 13, 2012; Updated: 2:27 pm
H.P. Lovecraft, the cult-favorite horror/sci-fi author and native of Rhode Island's capital city, is said to have once written to a friend, "I am Providence." In the spirit of modesty and humility, I like to borrow this saying for myself...
December 6, 2012; Updated: 1:32 pm
The clever name first drew me to Good to Go, a prepared foods market and lunch counter in Groton. Maybe it drew you there, too. If not, consider this additional writing on the wall and go there.
November 29, 2012; Updated: 12:19 am
Tucked in an old brick storefront on Commerce Street, nestled between the Pawcatuck River and the Washington Trust Community Skating Rink, Ten Sandwiches executes a simple concept brilliantly: 10 sandwiches, local ingredients, funky...
November 22, 2012; Updated: 1:46 pm
Go ahead and make your reservations now. And get used to it.
Yes, typically, dining-out minutiae such as whether one should make reservations is relegated to the bullet-point go-box that accompanies a...
November 15, 2012; Updated: 2:36 pm
When I first began reviewing restaurants, I received an email from a reader encouraging me to try out some of the vegetarian-friendly spots in the area.
The writer lamented the closing of a Norwich...
November 8, 2012; Updated: 1:41 pm
On most days, a diner is a haven on the modern landscape, where certain luxuries are guaranteed: hot coffee, breakfast all day, chummy tableside service. Place that haven in a region thoroughly thwacked by a natural disaster and add...
November 1, 2012; Updated: 2:15 pm
There's an energy that exists inside Ella's Fine Food and Drink in Westerly, and it's kind of contagious.
You feel it when you enter the dining room, a masculine, "Mad Men" kind of space, where golden...
October 25, 2012; Updated: 11:23 am
When I was in high school, my friends and I spoke in our own specific language - Immature 16-year-old Male American English you could call it.
A large, greasy sandwich or another indulgent menu item...
October 18, 2012; Updated: 11:17 am
It's a good sign when, after two visits to the same new restaurant, you've got a list of things you want to try next time - things you would've gladly tried during those first two visits, but were simply impossible to fit into a full...
October 11, 2012; Updated: 12:37 pm
On a recent rainy, Tuesday afternoon, I happily basked in the rays of sunshine that streamed from my steaming bowl of Avgolemono Soup at Markos Restaurant in Westerly’s Merchant Square shopping center.
October 4, 2012; Updated: 11:43 am
The environs of the Gelston House range from picturesque to breathtaking: the handsome, eccentric old Goodspeed Opera House, the Main Street of the village of East Haddam and the sweep of the Connecticut River and its swing bridge.
September 27, 2012; Updated: 4:23 pm
Remember when there was an Arby's at the Crystal Mall in Waterford? It was a magical time to be in southeastern Connecticut. Sadly, though, just like the stranger in Roy Buchanan's "The Messiah Will Come Again," the Arby's went away.
September 20, 2012; Updated: 2:33 pm
When it comes to seafood, my summers always seem to take a predictable path. Having been relatively deprived of the classics over the wintertime, I dive right into the whole belly clams, lobster rolls and clam cakes when May and June...
September 13, 2012; Updated: 5:20 pm
Say "The Monkey Farm" to any given group of people, and most of them will know exactly what you're talking about. Its reputation tends to precede it. Some know the cafe as a historic tavern; some say it's a biker bar; others know it as a...
September 6, 2012; Updated: 1:51 pm
In the springtime of the year that her family pledged to eat only the produce of their own Virginia farm and that of her neighbors, Barbara Kingsolver faced the dilemma of how to get fresh fruit. No pineapples, no Florida grapefruit, no...
August 30, 2012; Updated: 1:22 pm
It would be sort of fun to have a Quaint Thoroughfare bracket like you fill-out before March Madness.
August 23, 2012; Updated: 8:18 am
Like any good college student at the time, I went through a somewhat experimental phase in which I tried out veganism, an organic food diet and a few other now embarrassing "lifestyle choices." But it was fairly short lived, as the lure...
August 16, 2012; Updated: 9:26 am
There was much rejoicing at the homestead when I recently rescued us from impending starvation with a huge haul from Pasta Vita in Old Saybrook. (Ironically, we discovered a pack of PV's frozen ravioli after we'd eaten ourselves silly.) I'd stocked...
August 9, 2012; Updated: 11:01 am
It's always a mystery to me that the parking lots of big chain restaurants overflow while locally owned places struggle.
August 2, 2012; Updated: 12:50 pm
Three sandwiches worth sampling.
July 26, 2012; Updated: 1:11 pm
The best dining experiences come when you're traveling or passing through an unfamiliar place and you serendipitously stumble upon a true gem. But a close second is getting a chance to try out a new place that others are raving about.
July 19, 2012; Updated: 12:15 pm
Poke your head into Tissa's Cafe at the historic James Pharmacy building in Old Saybrook, and the aromas emanating from it conjure images of a bustling marketplace in a warm, warm place. It gets better when you see the Moroccan foods and...
July 12, 2012; Updated: 2:10 pm
Once upon a time - and, we devoutly hope, sometime again - "Niantic Bay" and "scallops" would go together like "fish" and "chips" or "clam" and "chowder."
July 5, 2012; Updated: 11:17 pm
At Moe's Southwest Grill, there is definitely a method to the madness - to wit, reasonably tasty "fast casual" Tex-Mex cuisine - but, on first or even second visit, it's not easy to figure out all the elements and motifs that assault you...
June 28, 2012; Updated: 2:47 pm
The summertime seems to beg me to partake in its annual delicacies - lobster rolls, fried whole-belly clams, clam chowder and fish and chips. But my longtime favorite seafood shacks and restaurants have been given that distinction simply...
June 21, 2012; Updated: 5:27 pm
There are some who say the town of Deep River is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, particularly if the acts at local watering hole The Ivory are any indicator. But DR's newest eatery, Red House, proves that duality all...
June 14, 2012; Updated: 1:51 pm
About 20 years ago, my kid brother introduced his new fiancee to the family at Christmas. We used to do one of those pull-a-name-from-a-hat arrangements to avoid everyone having to buy a zillion tiny, unlovable gifts. That year, I had...