Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cape Cod Potato Chips, Lunch in Osterville and Craigville Beach

We've been eating Cape Cod chips now for some years and they are hands down our favorite side with burgers or sandwiches. So, when I took the time to read the back of the bag and saw that they actually offer self-guided tours of the factory, I said, "yeah! let's go!"

So, I took Veteran's Day off and Susie and I drove the 70 or so miles to the greater Hyannis area in search of the factory. We went off season (mid-November) and the colors on the cape were still gorgeous. It was a good time to go for another reason: there was virtually no one else there so we could just take our time. It was fun and informative to watch the process -- although we both thought the signage could use some updating in both appearance and more information.

Anyway, it was time well spent -- and free to boot! The gift shop was nice and we both got a chuckle out of a sign by the cash register that said, "Unattended children with be given an espresso and a little puppy." Now THAT was whimsical!

We spent about 20 minutes or so following the self-guided tour and once we got back tot he car realized it was time for lunch. A colleague at work who live sin Sandwich on Cape Cod suggested we try Crisp Flatbread Co. in Osterville. So off we went navigating the backroads as we meandered around Cape cod. Less than a half later we found ourselves in Osterville and soon after pulled into the Crisp parking lot.

Again, we appreciated being there in off-season; not a lot of folks competing for attention and food.

The service was pleasant and friendly -- we noticed how the servers interacted with other locals as if they were all one big family.

The space itself was very nicely laid out and furnished with a certain casual elegance. The outdoor seating arrangement, which included adirondack chairs around a fire pit overlooking Main street, must be a big attraction during high tourist season.

We shared an order of shoestring potatoes for an appetizer; I hadn't had shoestrings for years and these were absolutely scrumptious! We each had a wood-fired flatbread and they were tasty with just the right crunch to the crust.

Great food, good service and wonderful location; what more could you want?!

Margherita flatbread
Jimmy's chicken BLT flatbread
After a leisurely lunch we struck for Craigville Beach,  a few miles east (sort of) from Osterville. It was a breezy, brisk afternoon as we pulled up to the beach and spent a few minutes gazing out over the water.  There were few other sun seekers, which added to the overall pleasantness of the moment.

From Craigville we retraced our steps back through Osterville, heading for Mashpee and the interestingly designed Mashpee Commons. Laid out like  a little village, the Commons seemed to be trying hard to create the feeling of a social space. From what little we could see it just might have been working. . .

From Mashpee we headed home. It had been a nice day spent on Cape Cod with new experiences and new sights; just what traveling is all about.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Enoteca Umberto on Federal Hill in Providence

There are lots of Italian-themed restaurants on Atwell's Avenue but Enoteca Umberto is the only one that can claim to be authentic and regional.

Husband-wife team Lia and Umberto make you feel as if you're sitting in their dining room, just off the kitchen, and you've just dropped over for dinner after the evening passagiata. The food they prepare and the wines they serve are all from southern Italy -- and in true southern Italian style eating is all about being together, sharing a lust for flavor and life, with gusto.

Go with no expectations and don't think traditional menu or seating arrangements; the place is small to be sure (you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom) but go and just enjoy what they offer you.
the kitchen is small but Lia seemed at ease and unruffled by all the commotion in the dining room

La Collina antipasti -- formaggi e salumi

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rosalina's in Providence

Having eaten recently at another local restaurant than can truly claim to offer authentic Italian-regional, I'm always curious as to what constitutes an "Italian" restaurant. When our server at Rosalina's brought the bread along with olive oil and noted the oil came from Greece, well right away I had to question the restaurant's right to be "Italian," whatever that means.

By-and-large our food was OK. The antipasto -- a baked eggplant dish -- and our pasta dishes (gnocchi and spaghetti con Bolognese) we all thought were simply too sweet. Otherwise we had not complaint about the food itself.

The wine list offered far too many American wines but the prices seemed reasonable.

Rosalina's is nicely decorated and well laid out but we were curious as to the value of a large TV set behind the bar.

Service was straightforward and a bit formal but I much prefer that to someone too friendly.

baked eggplant antipasto -- generous portion

spaghetti with Bolognese

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sachuest Point

Wedged between the Sakonnet River and Rhode Island Sound the 265-acre Sachuest Wildlife Refuge is located at the very tip of Aquidneck Island, just east of Newport. We've been to this wonderful little bit of Rhode Island a number of times and it's always a great place to get away form the crowds of Newport and its environs.

This time of year there are few tourists around but there were certainly plenty of birders -- fall is migration time in this part of New England and so lots of folks are out with their cameras and incredibly long lenses trying to catch that one special bird that just happens to be passing through Rhode Island.

We saw few birds but lots of people as we hiked the 2 miles or so around the refuge. As you can see from the photos below the refuge itself is quite flat and consists primarily of scrub and thorny brambles (think roses). But it's the ocean, or more specifically, the Sound that catches the eye and spirit.

looking east

looking back north, sort of

looking south

looking east

looking south

the visitor center

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Paris in the past - Notre Dame on the Isle de la Cite

Notre Dame from the Saint-Michel bridge

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Paris in the past - Trocadero 1900 Paris Exposition

From the US Library of Congress postcard collection.