Chopping Block: Southeast Light Delights

It’s a about a mile (UPHILL). I say it many times a day. People ask where the Southeast Light is and I have to inform them that it is a little of ways, but it is certainly worth their efforts.M333

Luckily, to reward their climb Southeast Light Delights and a lot of lobster awaits them. With a literal monopoly on the refreshments available nearby, the food truck could rest on it’s laurels, but IT DOES NOT.

Andre Boundreau is the funny man running the show at Delights. He dishes out high quIMG_1129 (1)ality food and drink for the flocking tourists. One of his children will likely take your order.

I had never been to the truck, but a serendipitous win at Bingo with my mother left us with a coupon for a Free- Range Lobster Roll, a Del’s Lemonade and an ice cream sandwich. Yes, all lobster is free-range by the way. This lobster happens to arrive fresh from Scarborough, Maine. Sorry, lobsters you can’t be free forever.

We biked up and enjoyed every little bitIMG_1151 of the winnings. Boundreau as pleased to have us come and collect. Even promising to my momma #blockislandfamous
The menu is not limited to lobster rolls (which at available both hot and cold), it also includes lobster grilled chesses, ricotta and berries sandwiches, hot-dogs, and more. For refreshing drinks, they offer Avery’s Artisan sodas, Maine Root beers and assorted soft drinks.

 

So plan for a picnic. This food truck provides chairs and blankets as well. Leave room for dessert. The ice cream sandwiches are layered: cookie, cookie-dough ice cream, cookie. Or if my last post has you craving gelato, the truck has two flavors that rotate daily.

The truck is located just inside the fence at The Southeast Lighthouse. Continue up Spring Street from Old Harbor (yes, about a mile) and you’ll find it. It is open daily typical 10am-4pm. Like Southeast Light Delights on Facebook for menu update and a dose of good cheer.

Do you prefer lobster rolls hot or cold? What’s the best picnic food? Did we cheat at Bingo?

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Ge-Lot to Love-O: Mia’s Gelateria

IMG_1085The sign reads, “If you like ice cream, you’ll LOVE gelato!”

Is it true? There’s only one way to find out.

Mia’s Gelateria is new to Block Island this summer operating in the same location and serving the same gelato last the former Beckett’s Gelato. I never made it into Beckett’s last summer as I have a strong affinity to the classic cone of ice cream.

But, times are a changing as they say. So I did my research. For those of you that don’t know Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream. The major difference is that it is made with milk instead of cream like in ice cream. Also, when it is prepared less air is introduced to mixture so the product is richer in each bite.

With the perfect flavor in each bite, gelato is eaten in smaller quanities thanyour typical cone. This is a bold move. Less dessert? Are you kidding me, that sounds horrible. But trust me, the Gelota at Mia’s is rich, creamy and round in ever bite. The tiny spoon slows you down and you’ll join the “less is more” bandwagon.

IMG_1082The dense dessert is available 18 flavors at Mia’s. The most popular flavors include Salted Carmel Chunk, Coconut Almond Crunch, and Sea Salt Chocolate. Mix and match flavor combinations or go for a scoop in a freshly prepared waffle cone. Flavor change weekly, check back for new additions. Doyon ‘s also dishes up non-dairy sherbets. And on cooler days stop by for Dunkin Donut’s brand coffee.

One super cool thing about Mia’s Gelateria is the fact it is Mia’s own. Mia Doyon is 19 years old and is the owner of the shop. Having worked in the shop before, she bought out the previous owner and now is her own boss.IMG_1089

Major kudos to Mia for young entrepreneurship. Oh and for serving top-notch frozen deliciousness.

The shop is open daily from 12-10pm and is located just below the front porch of the National Hotel. Mia’s Gelateria is cash only. Stop by for a sample and you be ordering a cup! Like Mia’s on Facebook for flavor and shop updates!

Have you every tried Gelato? If you were a gelato flavor what would you be? Don’t tiny spoons make you feel like a giant?

Block Island Resturant Week

Sunday’s Bite of Block Island kicked off Block Island Resturant Week, which runs from June 12-17th.

 

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This chicken was clucking this morning at The Spring House.

 

Throughout the week many restaurants on the island will be offering specially priced pre-fixed menus.

The week allows diners to try multiple courses at the Island’s dining establishments. Rebecca’s Takeout, Persephone’s and Bethany’s Airport Dinner are even offering special breakfast menus for the week. Other restaurants will offer lunch and dinner. Don’t miss your opportunity to try an island spot you’ve been meaning to visit.

It is a week to let your stomach do the dictating and your head to put aside things like fullness and guilt. Be sure to check out the chamber website for accessing a list of participating restaurants and menus.

Stay hungry. What restaurant have you wanted to try on Block Island? What is the best dish you’ve ever had on the island?

 

Chopping Block: Clam Chowda’

Seafood diet? No, I prefer the “see food and eat it” diet. Block Island is home to many great seafood dishes. One to highlight on a chilly rainy May day: chowder.

There are different types of chowder, and I am going to break it down clearly because you don’t want to order one type and expect another. That would be a tragedy. So to be clear:

New England Clam Chowder051119065-01-chowders-on-map_xlg.jpgThis is a cream based chowder, definitely the heaviest of the bunch. It is thick and creamy and likely served with oyster crackers. Fun fact: In 1939, Maine legislature introduced a bill hoping to make tomatoes in chowder illegal.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder– This chowder brings all the ingredients of New England but substitutes the cream base with a clear broth.

Manhattan Clam Chowder– This chowder has a tomato-based broth that actually was first cooked up in Rhode Island. GASP.

Long Island Clam Chowder– Less well know, this variant of chowder takes the cream-base New England chowder, but it adds chunks of tomatoes to the stew. See can’t we all just get along?

So where does that leave Block Island, an island located in Rhode Island, in New England, but just a stone’s throw from Manhattan and Long Island?

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Students serve up chowder at BIMI’s CHOWDA’ Fest (Jack Lynch).

Luckily every year on Memorial day week Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI) hosts CHOWDA’ FEST. I had the pleasure of attending this event. There were chowders from 12 local restaurants and I was able to try them all. I was sent on assignment from the paper so below is an honest unbiased journalist take.

So if you are looking for some solid stew when you are on the island the top three prizewinners are a surefire best bet. The winning chowders were:

First Place: Winfield’s-This cream-based chowder included muscles, leeks, jalapeño peppers and an extra smokiness from the added bacon. Be warned this is not a regularly appearing dish on the Winfield’s menu, but its top place speaks to the quality of Winfield’s cooking. If you want to try it, you better ask nicely (with a hundred).

Second Place: The National-This was also a cream-based chowder that was a crowd favorite for its traditional flavor. Creamy, nothing unexpected, but rich. Plus this one is one the menu.

Third Place: The Oar– Another cream-based top finisher. What could be better than a bowl of chowder with a heck of a view? I didn’t try this one but it surely was a crowd favorite.

DSC_4124Honorable Mention: In talking with others at the Chowda’ Fest, Bethany’s Airport Diner was mentioned multiple times. Plus when I was at the airport making a hotel pick, I loved the feeling of fabulousness that is small plane travel. Plus the prices at Bethany’s are reasonable.

On Block Island restaurants typically flirt with both New England and Rhode Island chowders, but the democratic blind vote of the Chowda Fest seems to speak for the masses (or at least show some statistically significance right?): Block Island prefers New England Clam Chowder.

So grab your spoon. I’ll bring the oyster crackers.

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Luckily, I had some help taste testing

What type of chowder do you prefer? Is there a favorite place that you like to get chowder from on Block Island? How much do you want some chowder right now?

Chopping Block: Island Ice Cream Guide

Nothing says summer like ice cream. Luckily, the island is in no short supply. With stands speckling the island everyone can find their perfect scoop. Here is your guide to the island’s top shops for scoops. And with one of my Block Bucket List items being to “try every ice cream spot on the island”, I done good.

Best Budget Cone: Rebecca’s Take-Out (Water Street)

For the most cream for your coin try Rebecca’s Take-out. With three locations but the best cones here coming from their Old Harbor spot. They have a number of your classic flavors with a small costing $2.50 and a large at $3.50. The diner is known for their many other options, but their sly ice cream side business can not be ignored.

Best Sundae: The Ice Cream Place (232 Water St, entrance from Weldon’s Way)

It is hard to not immediately walk straight for The Ice Cream Place as you disembark the ferry. Nestled in with a great sitting area, The Ice Cream Place delivers on it’s name. Here try a “Walking Sundae” which combines the magic of holding a cone without having to give up the joys of a sundae. The cone includes the ice cream flavor of your choosing, hot fudge, ladled in hot fudge and scooped on freshly whipped cream. Good thing they have plenty of seating, this “Walking Sundae” takes your full attention.

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Best Flavor Selection: Aldo’s Bakery & Ice Cream (130 Weldon’s Way)

When everyone in the family likes their ice cream a little different, head to Aldo’s. Here one can find a plethora of homemade hard-packed flavors, more than a dozen Gelato varieties (including non-dairy Sherberts), soft serve frozen yogurts and if none of those options work, the spot boasts delicious baked goods. One flavor to try is the Peppermint Patti, for minty chocolaty taste that confirms the paradox of choice can be conquered. Shout Out to my main man Mr. Boris who scooped me a majority of my cones this summer. Thanks Boris, I wouldn’t have survived without you!

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Best Soft-Serve: Payne’s Killer Donuts (1 Ocean Avenue, New Harbor)

Life is hard, make ice cream easy. If you are looking for a treat and prefer the smooth soft creamy variety, the best can be found at Payne’s. Known for their donuts, if you find yourself nearby in the afternoon; don’t shy away the locale offers unbeatable cones. Pile on sprinkles for a little crunch and enjoy your moment of paradise; these cones melt fast in the summer heat.

New Trend to Try: Beckett’s Gelato (Water Street)

Gelato, Italian for ice cream, is the creamier cousin of the traditional ice you are likely familiar. Made in small batches with less air churned into the mixture, the taste of gelato is rich. The flavors are more striking in each spoonful, so a small cup will do you. Plus embrace the fun of feeling fancy holding your tiny little spoon.

Best for the Comforts of Home: Ben & Jerry’s (224 Water Street)

As the only chain on Block Island, Ben & Jerry’s is worthy exception. The company goes beyond the delicious ice cream they produce to contribute to a better world. Their products are sourced locally to production, follow green standards and make sure all workers receive fair benefits. In terms of why you should try their scoops, the taste options are the same you can find at home or in the grocery store, so you can have a nicely scooped cone of your favorite familiar flavor all while taking in a Block Island sunset making the whole experience rounded.

Best Hidden Spot: The Scoop Shack at The Harbor Inn (Water Street)

Tucked behind the corner of the Harbor Inn, The Scoop Shack has 20 homemade flavors for you to come discover. This spot is sometimes forgotten in the fast pace hustle and bustle of Water Street, but if you are lucky enough to find it you will be sure to want mark your map to return. With plenty of seating, a gift shop and great views, the shop offers the best views of Old Harbor.

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Last Stop Shop: Old Harborview Takeout (Water Street)

As you run to catch the last ferry of the day, Old Harbor Take is the finial chance you have to grab your taste bud’s delights. The window offers a number of flavor brusts to soft serve flavors, as well as Del’s Frozen Lemonade if you’ve already maximized your dairy intake.

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Dough Not Panic: Panye’s Killer Donuts

Funny story, and lesson learned. Don’t lock the key to your moped IN youmoped. It leads to high stress and lots of favor asking. Yes, yesterday afternoon I had a slight bonehead moment. I was distracted with my busy afternoon; a surprise visit from my favorite island dogs and sister Kerry followed by a great interview with island artist Ben Woleberg. With my mind tired and elsewhere, I made my big mistake.IMG_3940

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In the moment of realizing what I had done, I was on the brink of pancic, but the island walked me back from the cliff. Everything was going to be alright, these things happen. Chill.

And it was, I was able to pry the seat open this morning (with the assistance of my one of my Spring House fellows). On my cloud 9, I was ignited with the sense to share my utter joy. I used the chance to accomplish a Bucket List item, Panye’s Donut surprise.

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Panye’s Killer Donuts is located in New Harbor and is an island favorite. The shop serves traditional style donuts in three flavors; plain, sugar and cinnamon. They are served up hot and made just minutes before you are licking your fingers of the sugar post-donut. At $1 per piece the donuts can not be beat. They are extremely popular so there may be a line, but patience is rewarded.

My pleasure doubled with both the taste of these killers, and the joy of giving them to my co-workers.

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My roommate Hope received hers while still in bed, but she deserves it as she deals with my early bedtimes and crack of dawn wake ups.

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James needed a little spike in the blood sugar to provide supieor front desk service.

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It was a great Friday at the Spring House with a storm rolling in at sunset for some beautiful skies. Keep Calm and find a spot to watch the sky play. The Spring House is featured in an article by the Wall Street Journal, check it out. I am expecting a few extra inquires tomorrow due to the publicity!

Have you had Panye’s Donuts before? What’s your favorite type of donut? Stories of lost keys to make me feel a little less like an idiot for this one?

Chopping Block: The National Tap & Grill

I hope everyone had a great fourth and got their American on. The island was a hopping place yesterday. There was large amount of day-trippers, but also everyone on the island was just very active. The beaches were not packed, but the downtown area was a zoo. The island is a great place to spend the holiday, but a word of advice, plan ahead. Hotels book up early and taking the ferry on the 4th packed in like a sardine amongst a bunch of people who may not be entirely sober on the 8pm ferry home is no picnic.

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So if you would like to spend the holiday on the island, book early, know what you would like to do on the day itself and reserve what you can (restaurants, bikes, etc). Know that you are not the only person who wants an ice cream cone on the 4th and embrace the lines, inflated prices and overworked employees.

To celebrate myself, I headed to most patriotic place on the island, The National Hotel. They have a large outdoor patio that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were able to get a great table overlooking the harbor without a wait.

The Food: The dinner was ho-hum. Nothing that wowed me. My friend’s lobster roll was what the restaurant boast about, and he has already decided on ordering it with double lobster by 10am. I was underwhelmed at the amount of lobster it actually came with. And for the whole ten bucks they charge for the upgrade, I say skip the super size and go for their fish and chips. 6/10

The Vibe: This is where The National thrives. The patio for dinner was very nice with great seating, service and atmosphere. It is a little loud between the road traffic, the bar and the music being played, but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s golden.

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The evening was completely enhanced by the post dinner experience the National provided. Wander around back of the hotel and find their fire pits. Surrounded by Adirondack chairs, the spot provides an awesome venue for relaxing. With the shortened menu of the restaurant available, fireside service of drinks, food and dessert make this a hidden wonder.

We were so lucky to even time it perfectly with the fireworks being launched on Crescent beach. I don’t think it gets better than watching fireworks, while roasting a s’more and listening to Bruce Springsteen being played by the live band. For that, I must say thank you to The National for their service.IMG_3691IMG_3704

Stop by their fireside for a great night any night. Ordering the s’mores tray leaves you with enough supplies for the entire Girl Scout troop, so be prepared to make some friends. 9/10