Contributing blogger Leanne Orabona from AroundTheTableRI.blogspot.com returns today to share her most recent dining excursion that took her to 22 Bowen's Wine Bar & Grille for the wallet-friendly, mouth-watering Dinner for Two special served up on Friday nights in winter...
My most recent assignment as a Stem to Stern blogger was to experience the Dinner for Two special offered every Friday night during these blustery winter months (who am I kidding, the weather this winter in RI has been amazing!) at 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille. I had been to 22 Bowen's once before during Newport Restaurant Week in 2010 and was overjoyed with the idea of eating there again.
Dinner for Two includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert as well as a bottle of Beringer Stone Cellars Cabernet or Chardonnay, all for only $65.22. I’m a sucker for a good prefix menu and let me tell you, these entrees were no run of the mill fare. It seemed like each dish outdid the previous one and by the time we finished reading the menu, my mouth was watering! This is hands down the best prefix Toby or I had ever seen--options included salmon, rib eye, sirloin, pork and lobster ravioli. Let’s start with the basics…
There is something about Newport in the winter that makes me so happy. There are no tourists shuffling about and you don't have to wait for a table in a top restaurant. 22 Bowen's is located on historic Bowen's Wharf, which is arguably the hub of downtown Newport. The atmosphere is full of ornate wood and dim mood lighting. It is a perfect date night spot or a place to wow out-of-town guests. We were seated overlooking the wharf and my husband instantly commented on how comfortable the chairs were–an often underrated element in enjoying a great meal.
Our waiter Fabio was incredible. I actually overheard the table next to us singing this man's praises. He was attentive all night and was so knowledgeable about the menu. Our wine glasses were never more than half empty as Fabio was never more than 10 feet away for a quick refill. His thoughtfulness was refreshing and his enthusiasm about the food was contagious. By the time we ordered our food we nearly giddy with excitement. And now for the main course…
As with any restaurant review, all elements of the experience are important, but the food is king. In this particular case, that expression rings true because the meal truly stole the show. Absolutely every dish was amazing,starting with their rolls. You have to try these rolls. My favorites were studded with warm cranberries. Spread some of their whipped butter on them and you can officially die a happy foodie! You don't even need the dinner!
For appetizers, I ordered the New England style clam chowder and Toby had a classic Caesar salad. About the clam chowder: WOW. It was rich, creamy, and delicious, plus there was an abundance of tender clams and potatoes: perfect for a winter’s night in RI. Toby’s Caesar was done just right with thick slices of parmesan cheese and croutons with just the right amount of crunch. What was especially nice about the salad was the portion size. Too often we order salads that end up being larger than the entree. Not tonight, it was the perfect size!
On to the entrees…I ordered the pork with shredded potatoes and bacon and sautéed greens. The pork was tender, juicy, and flavorful. The potatoes were rich and the greens gave a nice contrast. The pork was covered in an apple cider reduction which cut the richness of the potatoes. There was so much food on this plate there was no way I could eat it all!
Toby decided on the grilled rib eye steak. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium temperature and the juices that ran when he cut into it just highlighted the amazing flavors. Looking at the photo you can tell this was no prefix menu-sizedsteak. It was a solid 10-12 oz.—more than enough to feed most hungry husbands, and Toby's eyes lit up as it was brought to the table. It was served with gorgonzola mashed potatoes (cue eyes rolling back into your head in delight) stuffed into freshly made popovers. Seriously? Could this dish get any better? I have to admit, I ate almost all of his mashed potatoes while he was preoccupied with the steak. I couldn't keep my fork off of his plate. Popovers and potatoes; I’m going have to try this one at home!
We finished with the same dessert: Crème Brule (our favorite). As with Toby’s Caesar salad, these deserts were perfectly sized; a small portion for each of us with a few freshly baked cookies on the side. The final dishoffered a flawless creamy consistency and the sugar topping was torched to perfection (my favorite part!).
One last underrated feature of a good meal is the pace. Both Toby and I commented throughout the meal how well paced the meal was. The staff was not trying to turn over the table and we were not being rushed in the slightest. There was a perfect amount of time between courses so we were able to enjoy the night and get ourselves ready for the next course.
The overall experience of this meal was outstanding and I urge you to make a reservation for this Friday Night delight—there may not be a better deal in all of Newport. Better yet, get a few friends together and make a night of it. Have some wine, remarkable food, and enjoy the company and view. You will not be disappointed.
For more on lunch and dinner specials at 22 Bowen's visit www.22bowens.com. Read more of Leanne’s culinary adventures at AroundTheTableRI.blogspot.com.
Alexandra from Newport Connext returns to give From Stem to Stern readers the 411 on the Newport Winter Festival, which kicks off tomorrow and lasts for 10 fun-filled days. Visit Newport Connext for a complete schedule to plan your own Winter Festival adventure!
School’s out! For many families it's almost winter break and luckily Newport is gearing up for its annual Winter Festival, jammed pack with kid activities, live entertainment, and some mighty tempting cook-offs all about town. There’s a lot happening here in town. So much so, I am only spotting the tip of what is being offered over the course of these ten fun-filled days in Newport. Enjoy!
FAMILY FESTIVAL FUN
Ice Carving & Ice Sculptures: 2/18 11:00am Bundle the children up in their warmest hats, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and walk amongst the array of sculptures all hand crafter by local artisans. Now, these stay about so you can come at anytime, but its always fun to watch the kids’ jaws drop as the artists crank up a chainsaw or jigsaw in front of them. 12 Long Wharf Mall
Children’s Fair with Radio Disney: 2/19 & 2/20, 11:30am-4:00pm We love this fair! Let the kid’s run about, release some much needed energy, and enjoy a day full of face-painting, reptile shows, crafts and bounce houses. We love this 2-day event, think of it as an indoor carnival perfectly fit for all kiddos to have fun! Newport Marriott
A Princess Party at 41North: 2/21, 1pm-3:30pm Who wants to play princess for a day?! Calling all mini-queens over for a royal afternoon full of sweetness and tiaras. Space limited to 100 so reserve you ticket now! 41 North, 351 Thames Street
Teddy Bear Story Time: 2/22 11:00am Milk & cookie time! Come bring your favorite Teddy Bear and listen to the musical storyteller Christopher 'Kavi' Carbone sing some songs and tell some stories of the wonders of winter. Hampton Inn & Suites, 317 West Main Road
Kids Dance Party with Dance Force: 2/22, 6:30pm-8:30pm Whose got some moves? Seems the Mambo Room is making some space for the high-energy dance troop, the Dance Force, to show at kids some of the latest cool dance moves. Get dancing! The Mambo Room, 337 Thames Street
12th Annual "Live Jazz for Kids”: 2/23, 1:00pm-4:00pm This is always a fun free event that kids enjoy. With the music set for the kiddos, let them bop back and forth as you taste a glass of wine or just enjoy the barn ambiance.Greenvale Vineyards, 582 Wapping Road, Portsmouth
Beach Polo: 2/25 & 2/26, 2:30pm Do not miss this. Come enjoy what makes Newport so special, as the Newport International Polo Series sponsors two entertaining games of polo on the beach. It’s beautiful and exciting. The kids love this. Easton’s Beach
Sand Sculpting Day & Kid’s Festival Day: 2/26 11:00am-2:00pm The kid adventure begins with a block hunt at 11:00am! Get on down to the beach, it’s the hoorah of the festival! It’s going to be a fun filled day full of entertainment, a kid block hunt party, a plunge (brrr…), and sand sculptures. No one is ever too old to enjoy walking a beach full of five feet sand castles and sea creatures finely detailed down to their last scale. Easton’s Beach
The Newport Winter Festival has over 150 fun filled activities going on during its 10 day duration, so please check out Newport Winter Festival for more favorite events to choose from for your liking. See you about town and happy family time!
Connect with other Newport moms, get savory recipes and find out more about family life in the City-by-the-Sea by visiting NewportConnext.com
Today we welcome guest blogger Susanne Day from Newport Life and Newport Wedding magazines. Susanne and her team are preparing for what is shaping up to be the biggest Newport Bridal Show ever this Saturday, February 18 at both Rosecliff and OceanCliff in Newport. A Newport bride herself and seasoned bridal show veteran, Susanne shares her “What to Know Before You Go!” tips for Newport Bridal Show success:
- Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers
- Bring pre-made labels to affix to call back sheets—this will save time so you don’t have to fill out everyone’s sheet, and it’s also good if exhibitors have giveaways at their booth. We will give brides and grooms entries for both grand prize giveaways and all of our door prizes are drawn just before the show and revealed upon entry.
- Bring an extra tote bag—although we give the first 200 brides an official tote bag and all our other guests a welcome bag, its good to have a backup for extra goodies you collect along the way.
- Bring your camera and take pictures of what inspires you-- especially at our fashion shows!
- Bring a pen and note pad to record which exhibitors you liked best so you can visit their websites later.
- Bring snacks and water to keep your energy up! Although there are tons of tasty treats and samples at the show, you may need a granola bar for a quick fix.
- Leave time at the end of the day to visit local restaurants and get a feel for where you want to host your rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, and post wedding brunch. Or even better yet book an overnight stay at some of our participating lodging establishments with rates as low as $95 per night.
Click here for information and to register!
We’re so excited that this evening at dusk, we'll welcome the first Newport Gallery Night of 2012! Grab your gloves and lace up those walking shoes as the most artful night of the month returns with more than two dozen participating galleries both big and small. Get up close with tiles dating from the 16th through the 20th centuries at the Redwood Library, or taken in the highly-anticipated Fakes & Forgeries Show at Spring Bull Gallery. Take in the oil paintings by Andrew Nixon and Ann Daum at the Newport Art Museum. Bellevue Avenue, Spring Street, Thames Street, and The Point are just some of the areas you can gallery hop. Chart your course by visiting NewportGalleries.org for a list of participating galleries and don’t worry—you can pace yourself by strolling Gallery Night from 5-8 p.m. the second Thursday of every month February through December. You can also check out what the artists and artisans are up to in bucolic Tiverton Four Corners as you'll find an intriguing array of galleries, studios, workshops and events in this charming coastal community.
Hope Gallery Fine Art & Fine Craft continues to delight both art aficinados and novies alike.
The Mount Hope Farm Wintertime Farmers' Market in Bristol is pleasing local food enthusiasts every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Bring your reusable totes to stock up on locally-raised meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, Alpaca felted items, freshly-baked breads, Italian cookies, coffee, honey, herbs, granola, and bags crafted from recycled materials. Vendors participating in this market include:
Windmist Farm The Local Catch The Reynolds Barn
Aquidneck Farms The Coffee Guy Aquidneck Honey
Maplewood Farm Wholly Granola Mapleville Farm
Roots Farm Moonlight Rose Alpacas Hill Orchards
Wishing Stone Farm Provencal Bakery The Cupcakerie
Wicked Natural Products Foxboro Cheese
You may also catch some live music while shopping (and snacking on!) the all-local goods!
A farmers market with heart, organizers will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items on behalf of the East Bay Food Pantry in Bristol. They will also be hosting a clothing drive to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI on Feb. 18 and an electronics recycling day on Feb. 25.
The Mount Hope Farm Wintertime Farmers' Market is open on Saturday from 9am to noon and is located at 250 Metacom Avenue in Bristol. It will be open through May 5th.
We’re blushing after reading what writer Aimee Lee Ball had to say about Newport in the wintertime in her piece, Five Cozy Inns, a fabulous photo-driven feature in the just-released February issue of Travel + Leisure. Highlighting the spoils of luxury boutique hotel Forty 1 North, the savory splendor of Tallulah on Thames, the unforgettable French toast at Corner Café and the whimsical winter fun to be had at the Newport Winter Festival (Feb. 17-26, 2012), Ball embraces the sometimes overlooked spoils of Newport in its “off-season.” With wallet-friendly Last Minute Deals and value-added Vacation Packages, discover the winter fun that awaits in Newport today!
Don't forget to check out our Events Calendar so you can custom build an itinerary to suit your taste!
For most folks, jetting off to an to exotic locale for dinner is the stuff of billionaires, but luckily, Newport affords no shortage of opportunities to taste flavors from around the globe with extraordinary food, wine, and spirits events throughout the year. Two caught our eye this week: The first inspires us to don our favorite tartan for a Tour of Scotland Scotch Tasting at 22 Bowen’s featuring the savory spirit from some of the country's finest distilleries including JW Black, Singleton, Oban, Lagavulin and Talisker. Each is paired with a mouthwatering small dish (coffee-seared venison, bacon-wrapped scallop, grilled oyster on the half shell or a fine brie sound tempting?) and it all comes together tomorrow, Wednesday January 25 beginning at 6:30pm ($45pp, click here for the menu and click here for contact/reservation details).
On Friday, it’s all about local beers paired with a palate pleasing five-course dinner featuring the City-by-the-Sea’s own Newport Storm and Pier 49. Roasted pumpkin bisque, rye-crusted salmon and espresso & cocoa rubbed sirloin are just some of the highlights for this $49pp event. Click here for a menu and call Pier 49 (401) 847-9000 for reservations.
Photo: 22 Bowen's, Newport Restaurant Group
Champagne? Check. Warm, charmingly-restored theater? Check. Bing, Grace and Frank? Check. Check. Check.
Tonight the Casino Theater will be showing the classic film, High Society, which is set in Newport in 1956 (doors open at 7pm, showing begins at 7:30pm). Sip a complimentary glass of Ca Furlan Prosecco provided by the Newport Wine Cellar, and if two will do, cocktails will be available (cash bar) via La Forge Restaurant. Spot some of Newport's famous sites as the music (by the famed Cole Porter) and dancing makes you dream of days gone by.
International Tennis Hall of Fame members free, non-members $12. To make a reservation (recommended), CLICK HERE.
And now, on with the show!
We were so excited when travel writer Alison Tibaldi, who reports for offManhattan (oM), My Family Travels and Mommy Poppins as some of her outlets, let us know she was headed to Newport a few weeks ago. She had recently written a piece for oM on the Newport Winter Festival, counting in among one of the Best Winter Carnivals of 2012, and wanted to learn more about the City-by-the-Sea for some upcoming assignments. “This was my first time visiting Newport and I was struck by the natural beauty of the harbor,” she tells us. “I was also pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of restaurants in town.” Though the mansions are stately and elegant, she was delighted to find them to be so family friendly. “The audio tours really bring the Gilded-Age to life,” she describes. Allison had a full itinerary so she could enjoy as much of our city as she could while here, but there was one attraction that really surprised the avid traveler. “Don't miss the Tennis Hall of Fame, even if you don't particularly love tennis,” she advises. “Anyone with an appreciation of any sport will be impressed by this interactive and enjoyable ode to sportsmanship.”
Read more about her winter adventures in Newport on the Family Travel Forum by CLICKING HERE.
Guest blogger Leanne Orabona from AroundTheTableRI.blogspot.com returns today to share her most recent dining excursion that took her taste buds south of the border—Newport’s own Perro Salado.
Winter is actually one of my favorite times to visit Newport because there are less tourists and amazing local restaurants offer great deals, including Perro Salado. The Charles Street eatery offers a special menu on Tuesday night that includes select entrees at half price! Um...yes please. As Toby and I walked to the door, I swear to you I could smell the Sticky Pork Ribs wafting in the air. Is your mouth watering yet!? It was really busy for a Tuesday and we met our friends Evan and Renee who were at the back bar having a drink before dinner. This is one of my favorite rooms in Perro Salado. Yes, it is small, but that is the best part. There are a few seats at the bar and a few tables for dining (you'll find plenty of tables throughout the historic home turned restaurant). My other favorite part of this restaurant are the fireplaces—there is at least one in every room. When lit this time of year, it makes you feel at home.
We started off with some of Perro's famous margaritas. Toby usually opts for an original but I like to take a walk on the wild side. This time I ordered a cucumber and jalapeno margarita (it's not as spicy as you may think!)
Delish! Renee ordered a virgin blood orange margarita and Evan noticed the stellar beer selection on tap. After being seated, our server filled us in on some of the great half price specials, but I had to order the fish tacos; they are my absolute favorite. Toby had his usual Sticky Pork Ribs. We have probably been to this restaurant 50 times and he has gotten the same thing every time, they are just that good. He loves them so much I thought about getting them as a groom’s gift for him to be delivered to Belle Mer for our wedding in September (best wife ever!) We started off with chips and guacamole which was really the largest bowl of guacamole ever with a mound of chips piled on top. There were also tostones (fried plantains) which are delicious. Then dinner came (as I did a happy dance). The fish tacos were set in front of me and I could not wait to devour them! I usually prefer fish tacos grilled, but it is something about the way these are fried that make them light and airy. Tempura batter maybe? Next time I must to remember to ask their secret. My favorite part of the fish tacos are the pickled onions. It comes as a condiment for many dishes there. How have I never had these before coming here? They completely make this dish.
Now let's talk about what Perro is famous for- Sticky Pork Ribs. These are the best ribs I have ever had in my life. They are like a cross between Chinese sticky ribs and Southern-style BBQ ribs.
They instantly fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. The crunchy, charred outside adds so much flavor, and of course, paired with the pickled onions you cannot go wrong.
This was the first time I have ever got dessert here, and wow, have I been missing out. We ordered sopapilla (fried,puffy tortillas) that were drizzled with spicy chocolate and honey. It was a perfect end to a perfect evening! Big thanks to Renee and Evan for joining us. We ended up talking food all night! (Surprise - my favorite topic…)
Read more of Leanne’s culinary adventures at AroundTheTableRI.blogspot.com.