A Most Excellent Breakfast

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 Caution: spoilers ahead.

Spoiler: Yes, it is beyond excellent. Go there as soon as possible. Get anything on the menu, but be sure to get a side of bacon.

View from the counter.

View from the counter.

A few weeks ago, a Little Bird told me that a lovely young woman had just opened a new breakfast place in Burrillville, and that it was going to be terrific. This morning, I drove all the way up there to check it out.

Excellent Breakfast is a shot of hot sauce in the Northern RI breakfast landscape (literally--there are bottles of hot sauce and Sriracha on every table). Sleek, white and black, bare-walled, with a high window into the kitchen, this little space is busy but relaxed, stylish but not pretentious. A group of young servers buzz around the nine (large booth) tables and four counter stools, refilling coffee and delivering some fine looking breakfasts with friendly efficiency. The soundtrack today--think WBRU (rip) on a Sunday evening/a Childish Gambino slow jam--is just loud enough to hear and just right.

It's a place where you want to hang out.

Bonus points for never trying to make "eggs-celent" happen.

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But How is the Food?

The two-page menu is simple--you will not find pages and pages of swinging-from-the-chandeliers, mile-high overkill. It’s a traditional variety of eggs, omelets, French toast, pancakes, and sweets, all elevated and special--with a few beautiful twists, like eggs over polenta, and eggs over white beans.

It’s all about the quality here, and Excellent Breakfast keeps it local. Customers can see the sources of everything from coffee to meat to syrup on the black and white board which hangs across from the serving counter. Excellent Breakfast takes dietary restrictions very seriously, offering more than a few gluten-free items and not messing around with allergens.

The coffee is bottomless and smooth and perfect--I wanted to take some to go. One of the servers said that the Farmer’s Omelet (bacon, ham, sausage, cheese…) was very popular, and I overheard two nearby customers order it while I was there. But I ordered the eggs and hash, suspecting that the house made hash was actually house made (spoiler: oh, it is). A side of bacon is a single slab-thick slice of the most mouthwatering bacon in recent memory, and is worth a visit all by itself. I enjoyed it all thoroughly, but when I saw a wide bowl of eggs and beans go by, I had a pang of FOMO and wished I had ordered that instead. 

The only thing wrong with Excellent Breakfast is that it is not located within walking distance of my house. But Harrisville is not that far away, and at this time of year, it’s a beautiful drive. If we Rhode Islanders can get over our inferiority complex and take our place as one of the country’s best food cities/states, then we can get over our violent aversion to more than fifteen minutes travel, am I right?

Spoiler: I am.

 

How Do You Get There?

You get there ASAP.

Excellent Breakfast, 218 Harrisville Main St., Harrisville, 02830

On Harrisville's main drag, just around the corner from the waterfall.

 

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September Bucket List

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Saturdays may be for The Boys, but September is for the Bucket. 

On September 4, the city kicks off its first Restaurant Week. The list is long (count 'em--thirty-two!), and it includes some favorites that need no introduction--but also a lot of places that are not your favorites--YET. Rhode Island is more ethnically diverse than ever, and Pawtucket is on the forefront of bringing us food that is both world class and world-wide. 

Just a few wide-appealing faves include Rasoi, Garden Grille, and Pho Horn's

But also included are Pawtucket-insider favorites Bella Pasta (Italian, recommended by a friend at least ten years ago); 10 Rocks Tapas Bar (Cape Verdean cuisine); Las Delicias de mi Tierra (Colombian); and Galito Restaurant (Portuguese).

If you are one of those folks who needs to tell your friends that you discovered that one, brand-new place first, the new Brick Oven on Main is opening in about one hour. And my personal mission (because I'm not one of said folks, having gotten over myself) is to finally get to the Hungry Goat's Kitchen.

Also in September, the Pawtucket Arts Festival returns, better than ever. There is too much good here to describe, but some beautiful traditions include the Chinese Dragon Boat Races and the many art showings, music and theater performances that have made the Arts Festival the best such fest in RI for nineteen years now.

Oh, and during all of this food and arts insanity, the PawSox will be playing some home games, the insane Pawtucket brewery scene (the Bucket Brewery being just one) will be a-brewing, the new Wage House Theater will be improv-ing--and the city will be doing its awesome, Bucket Thing. 

Look no further than Pawtucket this September. Between the two major goings on in the city, and the normal, everyday (and night) fabulousness, you won't have time to for anything else.

 

Angst, From the Rhode

Do you sprint up the basement steps because there is definitely someone following you? Can you literally not even in an elevator? Do you suffer from nomophobia (pretty sure you do)? 

Then Terrifyingly Beautiful is for you. 

Terrifyingly Beautiful is Rhode Island pod-meisters Kevin O'Connell and David Robert, discussing their anxieties. Things that keep them up all night, or prevent them from fully enjoying a barbecue, or an airplane flight, or a hotel (or, gag, a salad bar). Their anxieties turn out to be all of our anxieties, and everyone can identify.

Kevin and David are podcast GOLD, right here in the Ocean State.

Simultaneously neurotic and carefree, our intrepid hosts devote each episode to a particular source of anxiety (and they have many).  Hilarity ensues. Along with Tootie, the resident chihuahua, sitting atop her Brittany Spears pillow, these two bff's launch into the worry du jour and then they elaborate with a delivery that makes you think that you're on some pub patio with two friends you've known for years (sometimes, I catch myself almost answering them). 

Every so often, they pause and remind us that the real purpose of their podcast is to take away the stigma of anxiety and to show us that we are not alone--and they do that, in the most disarming and entertaining way. Then they go back to bickering and discussing the horrors of their childhood basements and the evils of dolls.

Among my personal favorites include The Bridge to Terrorbithia, in which K & D discuss their issues with bridges, and Granny Smith's in the Basement and Flowers in the Attic, which is just what it sounds like. I live in an old house with a terrifying Blair Witch-esque basement, and they feel my pain. And I have forgiven them for the controversial We Hate Everyone Named Melissa, because it made me laugh until I cried. 

I always get a second round of cackling when I see their post-episode Instagram pics. A picture says a thousand words, and their pictures kill me every time. And what is the best thing about Terrifyingly Beautiful? It is born and bred in Rhode Island. 

If you have not listened to the podcast yet, you've got some catching up to do. Terrifyingly beautiful can be found here, and also on iTunes. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Instagram (@terrifyinglyb) and Twitter

Don't forget to check out Terrifyingly Beautiful merch

Don't forget to check out Terrifyingly Beautiful merch

Keepin' It Real

                Fox Point. Photo credit: we_are_PVD. No filtah.

                Fox Point. Photo credit: we_are_PVD. No filtah.

One of the best discoveries that I've made in recent months has been a gaggle of bloggers and instagrammers and fellow lovers of all things Rhody. Folks who live here, work here, and play and eat here (this last part is an understatement)--and who want to tell others about it. If you are not reading or following these people, you're missing something cool (and by "something cool," I don't mean a click-bait headline from some dubious Social Media Mart, which leads to a bunch of ads and a photo of a cup of Del's*). 

Here are some of them--check them out asap!

Broke & Bougie RI are two fabulous young college students who love to live La Vie RI, and know how to do it on a budget. I loved their Instagram from the moment I saw it, and their Insta handle is my favorite--they are smart, spirited, and very cool, and I can't wait to see where they're going to go next (spoiler: it was Block Island, as of their last post).      

Find them on Instagram @brokeandbougieri

Who: Camila and Soleil

Where From: Warwick and Da Bucket (and both now at URI)

Last Seen: Paddle boarding in East Greenwich

Favorite RI Food/Drink: They cannot choose just one food, omg the pressure. Because they love so many things, and in RI, you can have everything from the best clam chowder to a bandeja paisa (typical Colombian plate). They were, however, unanimous about their favorite drink--MR. LEMON.

Fun Fact: Both young women are first generation Americans. Soleil’s current favorite artist is SZA, and Camila loves to watch DIY videos on YouTube

 

@brokeandbougieri

@brokeandbougieri

@providencemomsblog   

@providencemomsblog   

I can’t get enough of Providence Moms Blog right now. This team of dyna-moms are writing about everything a RI parent wants to read--from pregnancy and babyhood through parenting young adults (and all of the magic and mayhem in between) in the Ocean State. And doing it interactively, with humor and real information.

Find them at http://providence.citymomsblog.com and @providencemomsblog on Instagram

Who: Tracy Slater, Brooke Rainville and Lindsey Galvao

Where From: Attleboro Falls (wah wah wahhh---but she’s all about RI!), RI, and RI

Last Seen:  Coaxing children down from the spiderweb climber at Slater Park

Favorite RI Food/Cocktail:  Clamcakes and DEL'S

Fun Fact:  With 8 collective offspring, aged 4 months thru 22 years, the blog is pretty G- rated, however, the ongoing group text between them is often riddled with profanities

How many of us can say that their teenage son would agree to go all over RI with us and be a part of our blog? I {Heart} Rhody can. The son is now grown, but the passion project continues. This is a terrific guide to the Ocean State, from the perspective of a non-native who wants to see and do it all. I {Heart} Rhody’s Pinterest world is especially good--you want some real RI things to do, all categorized and curated? Check it out.

Find them at http://www.iheartrhody.com, on Instagram @iheartrhody and on Pinterest http://www.iheartrhody.com/

Who: Erika S.

Where From: NJ, Long Island, later Chicago, and RI since 2008

Last Seen:  foraging at the Hope St. Farmers Market

Favorite RI Food and Drink:   Iggy's Clamcakes and DEL'S

Fun Fact:  She does all of this RI stuff without a car. After her PT Cruiser "Tralfaz" was stolen from her driveway in 2012, she didn't replace the car and doesn't miss it. Between RIPTA and Zipcar, she Does It in the Rhode, car-free.

 

   iheartrhody.com/@iheartrhody

   iheartrhody.com/@iheartrhody

Pride in RI's food and farming scenes, and commitment to supporting small businesses is what drives Rhody Eats. She knows what is good and where it all came from, and she shows us all how to #buylocalri. 

Find her on Instagram @rhodyeats

Who: Tori H.

Where From: New Mexico, but Scituate, RI since childhood

Last Seen:   shoving many, MANY s'mores pies from Providence Pie Co. into her face

Favorite RI Food/Drink:   Ken's Ramen/gin and tonic from Matunuck Oyster Bar

Fun Fact:     won the "Sesquipedalian" Award in 8th grade

@rhodyeats

@rhodyeats

I’ve actually gotten lost down the rabbit hole when browsing We Are PVD. Beyond food and drinks and things to do, it’s just real, boots-on-the-ground photos--all Providence, from the perspective of someone who so clearly loves this city. He is not a professional photographer, but damn, he captures it.

Find him on Instagram at @we_are_pvd

Who: Matt R.

Where From: East Providence/now Providence

Last Seen:  Snapping original pics in Fox Point, downtown and beyond, sharing his perspective on the city he loves

Favorite RI Food/Drink:  Knead Donuts/anything at The Eddy

Fun Fact: (Almost) no one knows that he does this Instagram account. He toils in anonymity. 

 

@we_are_pvd

@we_are_pvd

@rhode_eats

@rhode_eats

Rhode Eats were the first Instagrammers who caught my eye when I started blogging about RI. A professional, millennial couple, born and raised right here, they must have a couple of clones, because they work full time and also get everywhere and do everything, snapping pics along the way. They know RI inside and out, and they are all about bringing it to a larger audience and getting outsiders here to visit. They are all passion and no pretense, and this makes us want to see what they're up to next.

Find them on Instagram at @rhode_eats

Who: Brandon & Cristina

Where From: Cumberland (Brandon) & Westerly (Cristina)

Last Seen: Running off all those calories (B) & Soaking up the rays at Westerly Town Beach (C)

Favorite RI Food/Drink:   Tacos (B)/Allie’s Donuts (C); 

 

Are you finding yourself feeling hangry while reading this? Well, who wouldn't? This 2017 winner of the Best of RI Instagram account is eating and Instagramming, and taking us with her all the way. HangryGirlRI gets around, and is sometimes seen outside RI as well. If I'm looking for a dinner-out idea, I might look to her for inspiration.

Find her on Instagram at @hangrygirl_ri

Who: HangryGirlRI

Where From: California, and RI since 2009

Last Seen: Eating, eating, eating (see fun fact below)

Favorite RI Food/Drink:    Oysters/Cocktails from The Dorrance

Fun Fact:  She is expecting her first baby in October--welcome to the HangryBabyRI! 

@hangrygirl_ri

@hangrygirl_ri

Here's the only time I'm going to boss RI's awesome readers around (yeah, that's a lie): you know how it is when you're driving up rt. 2, or rt. 1, or the other part of rt. 2, and you get an urge to stop into a Wal-Mart and see what's new, and your friend (or your own better judgement) slaps some sense into you and you keep on driving? 

Well, the same goes for our RI social media. 

Just channel that Independent Man (or lady) and keep it real. Because the very best Ocean State love is all around us, local style. And there is no substitute.

 

*Not that there's anything wrong with Del's! Del's IS Rhode Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOMO in the 401

Who remembers what it was like around here back in the day? Who remembers when that picturesque, WaterFire riverfront was a traffic situation known as Suicide Circle? When the site of the Providence Place Mall was a giant dirt pit (and before that, the URI Providence Campus, among other things)? When Providence was called the Armpit of the Northeast? 

Suicide Circle then...

Suicide Circle then...

...and now

...and now

 

When FOMO was never anything we ever associated with Rhode Island.

Last week, over post-kayaking, outdoor beers at Union Station Brewery (besides Trinity Brewhouse, an OG of beer-brewing pubs in our area), A and I were talking about various used-to-bes in the city. She didn't know that the building right next to us was something I will always think of as the Old Train Station. Very shabby, with its one track each way (you were either coming or going, I told her) and no MBTA Commuter Rail, just the Amtrak. 

Providence was seedy then--the butt of so many jokes. The organized crime capital of the Northeast, the dying (dead) jewelry empire. The sad little city that completely shut down after 5pm.  It was boring. There was never a sense of missing out on anything by not being around--I spent almost every post-college weekend with my former roommates in Boston--a real city with real goings on, I thought.

Well, those days are long over.

FOMO in the 401 is a thing now. I've got a wicked case of it, and there is no cure. I've heard that there's a support group for RI FOMO Sufferers (they meet every night at Spats). But I imagine that all they discuss during meetings is what other things they are missing at this very moment, as they sit in that circle and share.

If there was any such thing as Too Much Awesomeness going on in the Ocean State (and there is not such a thing as Too Much), we have it now. And it's no big revelation, but every once in awhile, the experience of it kind of freaks a girl out!

 

If you're enjoying yourself at one thing, you're missing seven others. If you spend two hours at the Providence Flea, then you're not day drinking on one of any number of sweet Sunday afternoon patios.

If you're having a clamtastic day with your spouse (or your children. or one of your friends, or by your bad self) then you're not at one of any number of street art festivals or concerts or ice cream events going on at the same time. If you're enjoying some favorite bratwursts with your bratwurst-obsessed Brat, then you're not swooning over the country ham and foccacia at North Bakery (trust me, Kid #1 and I did this recently, and it was a swoon-fest). And if you're sitting on your favorite beach with a book, then you're not doing ANYthing else (nor should you be).

Hell, I'm completely obsessed with Silva Lining Designs and have already bought half of their creations in my MIND, and I have never seen their beautiful things in person, because I have been so busy beaching and day drinking and kayaking and lobster rolling that I just haven't gotten there. Yet.

Ditto about seventy other RI things.

What remains of those two Gastros sausages

What remains of those two Gastros sausages

 

Being a bon vivant in this state is harrrd work. Especially if you have a day job. Especially when it's summer. Especially in Rhode Island.

But as afflictions go, it's one of the best, right?