Castle Hill Inn Restaurant

The Castle Hill Inn is a picturesque 19th century mansion known for being a luxurious costal getaway destination with sweeping views of the Narragansett Bay and unforgettable sunset views. Even if you are not a tourist Castle Hill is a relaxing oasis for a Newport native.  No matter if you are sipping cocktails on the Adirondack chairs on the lawn or venturing down a winding path to the Castle Hill Lighthouse, Castle Hill is a beloved Newport tradition for people near and far.

Castle Hill Inn

While watching the sunset and gazing at the scenic views is worth one’s while, dining at the Castle Hill restaurant enhances the already wonderful experience.

Last week my roommate, Abigail and I were lucky enough to acquire a lunch reservation during Newport Restaurant Week. We just couldn’t pass up a Castle Hill lunch for only $16—oh, how I love Newport Restaurant Week!

Castle Hill Lighthouse

So, we made our way down Ocean Drive dressed to impress with empty stomachs. Greeted with a smile from a young man holding the door and a welcoming hostess that showed us to our window seat overlooking the water we felt right at home. The waitress welcomed us warmly and gave us the menus we didn’t really need. We had already studied the restaurant week menus diligently picking out where and what we wanted to tease our taste buds with.

Cocktail

Of course we started with cocktails—while we may not have actually been on vacation, we sure felt like we were! We started with a Blood Orange Bellini—a mixture of prosecco, Peachtree and blood orange puree and an Apero—made with aperol, an Italian aperitif created from bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, grapefruit, pomegranate and soda. Both mixtures were beautifully saturated with bright springtime colors and a light, refreshing essence.

Cocktails at Castle HillWe were sipping out cocktails when our first courses arrived. The Handmade Pappardelle featured Sweet Berry Farm mushrooms, ricotta salata and a roasted garlic cream.When I took my first bite I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t transported back to Italy—handmade pasta is such a delicacy here in America that I forget that pasta doesn’t have to taste like cardboard. And boy this papparedelle was filled with flavor and cooked to the perfect tenderness.

Papapardelle

The Steamed Pei Mussels were served in a smoked seaweed broth with red chiles and (gluten-free) bread toasted. Abigail is a glutard (gluten intolerant) and Castel Hill did a wonderful job catering to her allergy while making everything taste delicious!

First courses at Castle Hill

After we got started with superb first course, we were happy to continue on! I received the Roasted Atlantic Salmon that almost melted in my mouth with a rich farro risotto, pearl onions and creamed escarole.

Roasted Atlantic Salmon

Abigail got the Turkey Club. But, not just an ordinary turkey club—a turkey club on gluten free bread stuffed with thick slices of roasted turket, salty pancetta, herbed goat cheese, arugula and a perfect roasted garlic aioli spread. Yes, I stole a bite!

Castle Hill Lunch

Now how do you end a perfect meal?
After the first two courses I didn’t think I could eat any more. I was wrong!
The Vacherin a la Rhubarbe was refreshing and the perfect ending to a perfect meal!

Vacherin a la Rhubarbe

The fresh rhubarb sorbet with slightly bitter rhubarb jam complimented each other effortlessly along with crispy meringues and a vanilla Chantilly that reminded me of whipping fresh cream in my grandmothers kitchen.

Castle Hill Light House

The thoughts of my Castle Hill experience have me drooling over my key bored as I type. From the stunning views to the scrumptious meal to the welcoming service—I can’t wait to go back!

Nom. Nom. Nom. Newport Restaurant Week Returns!

Originally posted on From Stem to Stern:

Today’s post is by our intern, Melissa Csigay, a student at Salve Regina University. Image

From the historical Bellevue Avenue, to lively Thames Street, to the scenic views of Jamestown, to the cozy streets of Bristol and Warren, Newport Restaurant Week is back!

Beginning Friday, April 4th and continuing until Sunday, April 13th, Newport Restaurant Week has become a highly anticipated 10-day occasion for gourmands wide and far. Placed in the historic, city by the sea, Newport’s restaurants feature local, fresh seafood, innovative culinary skills and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

With over 50 of Newport and Bristol County’s finest eateries participating in this season’s Restaurant Week, you are sure to find a menu that excites your tastes buds! Each restaurant and chief has crafted brilliantly delicious flavors and ingredients to create mouthwatering menus for diners to enjoy.

With delectable lunches for only $16 and luscious…

View original 155 more words

Tallulah on Thames & Wagon Adventures

Volvo has created a new campaign, Wagon Adventures–The Wagon is Back, to promote it’s new V60 Sportswagon. Now, I’m sure you are scratching your heads, wondering why in the world I am talking about cars. Well, Volvo’s new campaign teamed up with Newport’s every own Tallulah on Thames to have their every own Wagon Adventure!

 

Volvo shares the adventure: “Not only is Tallulah on Thames one of Newport, Rhode Island’s best restaurants, it’s one of the best dining experiences you’ll ever have, anywhere. Chef Jake Rojas and his wife Kelly Ann are committed to sourcing seasonal market-driven ingredients from local farms and artisans. We got hungry just thinking about his menu, so we reached out to Chef Rojas to see if he had any interest in stepping out of the kitchen and into the V60 for a day. Before we knew it, he was driving around Rhode Island with his wife to some of their favorite farms, and packing the wagon with some fresh ingredients for one of his favorite dishes. Bon Appétit.”

I love that Volvo is sourcing out amazing places and people to highlight in this new campaign.

Newport Restaurant Week

Newport Restaurant Week starts…TOMORROW…and I could not be more excited!

Newport Restaurant Week (nptRW) is an event in which restaurants in Newport and Bristol counties offer three-course $16 lunches and $ 35 dinners. Restaurant Week provides a great opportunity to savor the great tastes of indulgent restaurants for the fraction of their normal prices—which is great for a broke college student everyone.

Newport Restaurant Week Logo

I’ve been perusing the menus posted on Discover Newport’s restaurant week website and I have to say, the options are looking fantastic.

Where do I hope to go in the up coming week? Take a look at my top choices for nptRW!

  1. Atlantic Beach Club: I mean comm ‘on Thai Mussels, Baked Stuffed Lobster and Dark Chocolate Semifreddo, how could you go wrong?
  2. Castle Hill Inn (Lunch): Roasted Atlantic Salmon, New England Style Lobster Roll, Portuguese Pork Sandwich…my mouth is watering just reading the menu.
    Castle Hill Inn Dining Room
    Image via Castle Hill Inn Dining Room
  3. The Safari Room at OceanCliff: Not only am I drooling over the idea of a three-course meal of Spring Lamb Chops, Pesto Swordfish and Chocolate Lava Cake, the breathtaking views from the restaurant makes this place a must.
    The Safari Room at OceanCliff Hotel
    Image via The Safari Room Facebook Page
  4. One Bellevue: If their famous Naughty Monkey dessert, Nutella filled crepes with
caramelized bananas, walnut and chocolate chip ice cream, warm chocolate ganache and whipped crème, wasn’t enough, take a glace at the Parmesan Encrusted Cod or the Brie and Lump Crab Encrusted Salmon.
  5. Thames Street Kitchen: The uniquely vibrate menu is intriguing and sometimes nerve-wracking but always delicious. Interested in trying squid with hibiscus and fennel or how about skate with maitake and puffed tapioca—if you’re feeling adventurous TSK is the place to go.

Where will you be eating for Newport Restaurant Week?

 

Spring Cocktails

Have you been wondering where spring is? I know I am. To wash away the winter blues, last weekend I experimented with some springtime cocktails. These two drinks are refreshing and revitalizing and will have you believing that spring has actually arrived!

The first concoction is a Cucumber Cocktail—made with Skinny Girl Cucumber Vodka thanks to my Bethanny Frankel loving roommate. This mixture will have you feeling like you’ve spent the day at the spa with your best girlfriends and have no cares or worries in the world. Just what everyone needs after a stressful day!

IMG_4067

You’ll need:
1½ parts Skinny Girl Cucumber Vodka
3-4 parts club soda
½ of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour ingredients over ice, taste and adjust flavors as necessary, then garnish with a cucumber wheel.

cucumber cocktail

Next is a Pomegranate Mojito. My love for mojitos may be hard to hide when I praise the combination of refreshing mint and tart lime after every sip I take. While a pure mojito is a classic, adding pomegranate to the mix enhances the greatness. Try to pace yourself while drinking this cocktail because before you realize, it will be swigged away while you dream of al fresco dining on a tropical island!

MojitoYou’ll need:
1 part Rum
2 parts club soda
2 parts pomegranate juice
½ of freshly squeezed lime
1 part simple syrup
8 mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves, lime and simple syrup together. Add rum and pomegranate juice—stir—top off with club soda. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and lime wedge.

pomegranate mojito

 

These cocktails have helped me realize it is spring, even if the weather still feels like winter! What s your favorite spring time cocktail? I would love to try more concoctions to get me through this cold front!

Q&A with Rosemary & Thyme

Rosemary and Thyme Artisan Bakery & Café graced Newport with its presence in the spring of 2010. When I sit in the small intimate café and bite into one of their carefully crafted artisan sandwich on a freshly baked baguette, I feel as if I have been transported back to when I was living Italy (a feeling I love to revisit). Since it opened, Rosemary and Thyme has easily become one of my favorite spots.

Rosemary and Thyme Sign

From the delicious lemon ricotta muffins and chocolate croissants, to the tomato and spinach crostinis and gourmet paninis, the owners, Matt and Anna Tscheulin, have fashioned a brilliant menu with exciting flavors that make your mouth water.

Matt and Anna have used their life experiences to create a food utopia.

Matt grew up in the restaurant industry. He began washing dishes at the age of 16 and he worked his way up to become a line chef. Then he went on to own a small restaurant before creating Rosemary and Thyme.

Anna was raised in the small village of Langenberg, Germany. The old-world recipes and techniques she learned baking in her mother’s kitchen helps her create delicious European style baked goods.

Verona Sandwich

I was lucky enough to have Matt answer a few questions for me while I dreamed of his flawless cooking!

Q: Where did the inspiration/idea for Rosemary and Thyme come from?
A: “Rosemary and Thyme was born out necessity, we could not find a place [in Newport] that made great scratch-made baked goods, and artisan sandwiches—a small intimate European style place where everything was made fresh everyday in real time”.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Rosemary and Thyme?
A: “I think we enjoy not only cooking for our customers but also our interaction with them as well”

Q: What are your favorite items on the menu?
A: “Anna’s favorite is the Luxembourg Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich, which is ham, date and honey goat cheese spread, fig compote, caramelized onions, and aged smoked Gouda. I created this sandwich for her on her 40th birthday.”

“For me, I would say its a toss up between the Havana Cuban Pressed Panini Sandwich, or the classic Bahn Mi I really enjoy making all the ingredients that go into the sandwich, from the roast pork to the pork pâté, and the pickled veggies.”

Q: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: “Anna would eat curry dusted roasted chicken, she makes a mean 3 lb. WOG. I would eat any peasant meal made with cheap cuts of pork, lamb, chicken, with fresh vegetables.”

Q: What are your top 3 restaurants in Newport and why?
A: “If I can only pick 3…

# 1 would be The Black Pearl. We are friends with the chef, he has dedicated his life to his craft and it shows in the quality of the food he puts out of his kitchen.

# 2 Thames Street Kitchen. I appreciate how hard these young chefs work. They create all in house products and have opened their newest restaurant –  Mission, which specializes in artisan burgers and dogs.

#3. Brick Alley Pub. For the pure fact that it’s our go to place, and I have never been disappointed. Always spot on, and the price is right. Not fancy just good.

Spinach & Arugula Salad

Rosemary and Thyme’s fresh taste and European flare makes me fall in love each time I return.

A special thank you goes to Matt Tscheulin for taking the time to answer my questions.

A Grilled Cheese Heaven

A little before dinnertime every night once in awhile, I find myself browsing Pinterest for easy, quick and delicious recipes. While I scanned through pictures of boring crockpot dinners and gourmet meals I can never replicate, the other night, I came across this pin:

Pinterest Grilled Cheese

…which I obviously had to click on! Well, that click may or may not have been one of the best decisions I have ever made, because it brought me to Grilled Cheese Social.

Since as far back as I can remember, my favorite food has been a good ‘ol grilled cheese. While my palate has grown over time from my mom’s “girl chesses”, the basic plain white bread and American cheese combo, (still arguably one of my favorite meals), to Rosemary & Thyme’s Harvest Sandwich with oven roasted pork loin, sautéed spinach, caramelized onions, harvest chutney, hickory smoked bacon, and a four cheese blend, served on a grilled baguette.

I still have a hard time ordering anything but a grilled cheese if I see one on a menu. It’s the perfect combination of 2 of my favorite things: bread and cheese. It’s easy to spicy it up by adding anything from fruit to meats to veggies.

So, when I came across, this grilled cheese paradise blog, I started thinking back to the hundreds of thousands of grilled cheeses I must have consumed over the years and one in particular popped into my mind.

Red Stripe’s Signature Grilled Cheese.

Grilled Cheese

This sandwich is unlike any other; made with prosciutto, sweet poached pear and basil pesto on perfectly browned thick sough dough bread. This makes for one gourmet grilled cheese experience. Combining that with the perfectly tangy roasted tomato soup makes me believe I have died and gone to heaven.

Honestly, though if you ever find yourself in Providence make your way to Red Stripe. I promise you won’t regret it.

Where do you think the best grilled cheese in Rhode Island is? I’d love to try some of your suggestions!

Stinky Cheese

Parmesan and Feta and Muenster, Oh my!

Don’t get me wrong; I definitely think cheese is something worth fighting over. (I’ve been known to fight over the last piece of cheese on a cheese board more than once—hey, don’t judge!). But, the European Union’s battle over the names of cheese during trade talks may be taking the fight too far.

Cheese Plate

The EU is trying to ban the use of names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheeses made in America.

Why, you might ask?
Isn’t Parmesan cheese always a hard, dry sharply flavored cheese?
And feta?
A white crumbly cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk and cured in brine?

“The argument is that the American-made cheeses are shadows of the original European varieties and cut into the sales and identity of the European cheese,” Associated Press’ Mary Clare Jalonick discusses.

Dairy producers, cheesemakers and food companies in the U.S. are rebelling against the idea, which would cut into the $4 billon domestic cheese industry. Plus, if Parmesan isn’t Parmesan and Gorgonzola isn’t Gorgonzola, then what is it?

The EU’s proposal would include Parmesan, asiago, Gorgonzola, feta, fontina, grana, Muenster, Neufchatel and Romano. And it may not just be cheese they are threatening! Bologna, Black Forest ham, Greek yogurt, Valencia oranges and prosciutto, among other foods are also susceptible to the EU’s name-changing plans.

What do you think?
Should American-made cheeses replace their names, or is the European Union asking too much?

Bergdorf Goodman Restaurant

In a wonderland of classic Chanel, chic Tom Ford and sparkling Givenchy, I found myself on the 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York City last week, drooling over a pair of Christian Louboutins the menu at the glamorous BG Restaurant.

My friend Annie, a frequent at the BG Restaurant, beamed about the picturesque views and luscious plates the bistro had to offer and decided to treat me to the experience while I was visiting her. And, I have to say, it did not disappoint!

Dining at BG Restaurant

The scenic views of central park, the luxurious 1920s inspired bar, the delightful service and, of course, the scrumptious cooking was a tranquil getaway from the hectic city below us. We relaxed in the plush dome chairs and eavesdropped on some of the Upper Eastside gossip while perusing the wine list.

View of Central Park

I sipped on a crisp glass of pinot grigio and Annie, on a champagne flute of Tartalni, a brut rosé and munched on a toasted whole grain roll with sea-salted butter (yum!). As I browsed the menu, I knew it would be a tough decision on what I would be filling my rumbling stomach with.

Bread Basket and Wine

Finally, I decided on the Croque Madame. A grilled sandwich with rich gruyere cheese baked on the outside of perfectly crunchy bread, stuffed with salty black forest ham, slightly spicy Dijon, creamy béchamel sauce and topped with a perfectly cooked over-easy egg.  The sleek yellow yolk overflowed around my sandwich making me wish it was acceptable to lick my plate afterwards.

 Croque Madame

The first bite had me dreaming of my time in Paris, picnicking with a luscious Croque Monsieur under the Eiffel Tower and running down the Champs-Élysées with a baguette in hand. I only snapped out of my Paris daydream to continue eating!

Up Close Croque Madame

While I went with a French classic, Annie decided on one of the specials, The Day Boat Cod. This was not surprising, as our waiter uttered the word apple when describing the daily special Annie had immediately made up her mind. The cod was perfectly seared topped with crisp sliced apples and  scattered with ruby-red pomegranate seeds that created a happy springtime taste.

Day Boast Cod

We cleared our plates within minutes of their arrival (we were just a little hungry) and basked in the glory of the wonderful meal we had just scarfed down.  Although turning down dessert was hard, our ‘food babies’  would not allow us to eat another bite. After our lunch we did what any two girls full of food energy would do…shop!

Top 5 Cocktails in Newport

Mojitos, margaritas, or martinis! Cosmopolitans, champagne or cable cars!

Having recently turned 21 years old in July, the world of cocktails is still somewhat new to me. However, I’ve been out and about investigating all types of cocktail creations to try and find a favorite. Picking just one concoction has been tough but I’ve narrowed down my long list to what I believe to be are the 5 greatest cocktails in Newport, Rhode Island!

Champagne at a bar

#5
Salvation Café’s Coconut Mojito
In the past few years Broadway has stepped up it’s game and become a hotspot for Newport locals. Salvation, the hipster of restaurants, is contemporary and creative. The coconut mojito, a twist on the classic cocktail, is made with coconut rum, muddled mint, lime and soda. Warning: this drink may have you dreaming of sand in your toes, sun-kissed skin and the hot summer sun. But then again, after a long week isn’t that what everyone wants?

#4
Midtown Oyster Bar’s Heather’s Tale
The Heather’s Tale is strong and spirited just like the woman the cocktail is named for, Heather Abbott, Newport’s Boston Marathon survivor. The cocktail is made with St. Germain, vodka and a beautiful, blossoming hibiscus flower that mimics Abbott’s resilience.
Heather Abbot and the Heather's Tale Cocktail#3
Castle Hill’s 
Blood Orange Bellini
Maybe I’m a sucker for the beautiful views and enchanting sunsets that the Castle Hill Lawn gives way to but sipping on this Blood Orange Bellini makes it all the more enjoyable. The mixture of prosecco, Peachtree and blood orange puree is a magical combination that leaves me savoring each sip.

#2
Stoneacre Pantry’s Grapefruit Martini
As if I hadn’t gushed enough about it in my last post, the Grapefruit martini had to make this list! This martini is the perfect combination of sexy and cute  sweet and tart and if you’re not careful, will be sipped away before you blink!

Grapefruit Martini

#1
The number one cocktail goes to…drumroll, pleaseDiego’s Margarita!

Who can turn down a pitcher of margaritas with your best girl friends on a Friday or Saturday night? I know I can’t.Diego’s margarita creation is made with silver tequila, Triple Sec and a secret recipe, house-made sour shaken, served on the rocks
 with (extra!) salt & lime zest on the rim. Going for the classic margarita is always a respectable choice, but if you are feeling a little flirty go ahead and add blood orange, mango, peach, pomegranate or strawberry!

Blood Orange Margarita

If I’m looking to spice up my life, I add the blood orange, it’s not too sweet and does not overwhelm the basic traits of the perfect margarita.

If you are ever in Newport, I highly recommend trying these 5 cocktails, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Now, who’s thirsty?