There’s nothing like a little sunny weather to kick up the wanderlust in all of us. Summer time is the best season of year for the time honored tradition of a road trip. The open road, a couple of friends, some random destinations and a list of bad jokes longer than the journey itself all play crucial elements in a perfect summer road trip. When that trip is destined to stop for Breweries, Burgers, BBQ & Roadside America and includes only the fellas, well that’s what I call…
THE BROHD TRIP
Take the eateries from the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives,” add in a group of friends like on HBO’s “Entourage” and sparkle it with a dose of Roadside America and you have THE BROHD TRIP. It’s an excuse for a couple of bro’s to get out of town and have some fun driving around this great country of ours eating food, drinking beer and seeing some randomly random stuff.
For The 5th rendition of the Brohd Trip, we needed something new. A different destination. A unique purpose. A new theme. Where could we go and what could we do that would serve as the ultime weekend getaway? With NYC as our start and end point, it was time to head in a different direction and this time, it was all about New England. While I searched the internets for a ton of big and little towns, lots of great places to eat, any number of great Craft Brewers and lots of neat places for fun photos, there was no shortage of options, it me.
Seth McFarlane, the creator the comedic animated series, “Family Guy,” set the show to happen in the fictional Rhode Island town of Quahog. While the actual city does not exist, many of the things that happen in it and the places they go are based on reality. That reality is Seth McFarlane’s college experience as a student at Rhode Island School of Design. McFarlane has claimed that it’s based off the town of Cranston, RI but many things found in the show can be traced back all over the area. So we did what Stewie & Brian Griffin would do, we headed off on the “Road to Rhode Island.”
THE BROHD TRIP 5– DAY 1
Friday, June 28, 2013
172 Myrtle Ave
Stamford, CT 06902
The Colony Grill of Stamford, CT originally opened in 1935. Back then it was a local bar and grill serving a menu full of items. Since then it’s changed hands several times and although they’ve discarded a lot of menu items, one things remains: pizza. In fact, the only that can be found on the menu at The Colony Grill is pizza. While they have some of your standard toppings like Pepperoni, Onions, Bacon, Mushrooms and so forth, there’s one thing that sets this place apart: oil. It’s not any oil though, it’s hot oil and it’s the reason people come from all around to eat here.
The Colony Grill Pizza is a bar style pie with a very thin crust. Most people order it topped with their signature oil made from Olive Oil and peppers. It gives the Pizza a little bit of a heated backbone while significantly upping it’s savory quotient. If you like things a little hotter, order your pie with “Stingers” which are fresh Serrano peppers. Be careful though, Serrano’s are notoriously sneaky in their heat, some of which are more intense than others. The one I ate was a complete blazer! The top two pies to get are Bacon & Onion which makes for a delicious sweet / savory mix and Sausage with Hot Oil. The Sausage is made directly across the street at De Yulio’s Sausage Co. You can wash it all down with a cold Brew of which I would point you to the locally brewed Half Full Bright Ale, a nice, light tasting and fresh crisp Blonde Ale.
This Pie was so damn good that it made me never want to eat pizza again without hot oil.
186 Fountain Street
Providence RI 02905
After checking into our room at the centrally located, very well dressed and competitively priced Providence Omni Hotel, we were anxious to get out on the town. Thankfully just a few blocks away, there was fresh brewed Beers at Trinity Brewhouse. With a rotating entourage of different Beers, there’s bound to be something available on tap that whet’s your whistle. Trinity keeps an updated list of what’s on tap on their website so you can look forward to what you can drink before you arrive. Looking for a suggestion? Try they malty Larkin’s Irish Stout or the sweet and intense Redrum Imperial Red. The one that left the biggest impression on me: The Trinity Brewhouse Hefeweizen that has really strong banana and clove flavors.
What Cheer Tavern
228 New York Ave
Providence, RI 02905
For Good beers, interesting food, relaxing outdoor space and great people in Providence, go to What Cheer Tavern. Located in the Washington Park neighborhood, this corner bar has a great selection of Craft on Draft with a focus on local along with a nice list of bottles. There’s something for every Beer drinker including good conversation. We loved this place so much that we spent the rest of our evening sippin’ Beer and chatting in their backyard.
THE BROHD TRIP 5– DAY 2
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Big Blue Big Solutions – World’s Largest Bug
aka “Quahog Pest Control” on Family Guy
161 O’Connell St.
Providence, RI 02905
At 58 feet in length and weighing two tons, the termite on top of Big Blue Solutions in Providence, RI clocks in at 928 times the size of an actual termite. If you’ve ever cruised along I-95 through P-Town you’ve seen this giant creature hovering just about highway level. Getting a photo from street level is a little harder to get but definitely safer. It was built for $20,000 and serves as a Family Guy reference.
The Quahog Pest Control building, seen in S2E17, “He’s Too Sexy For His Fat,” sports a big blue bug on its roof, just like Providence’s real-life New England Pest Control, Big Blue Bug Solutions.
Honey Dew Donuts
460 Allens Avenue
Providence, RI 02905
Dick Bowen’s first job at the young age of 12 was working in a local Donut shop with his Father. In 1973 he opened the first Honey Dew Donuts in Mansfield, MA and a short 2 years later, Honey Dew franchised into a 2nd location. 40 years later there are now around about 150 locations serving Coffee, Donuts, Pastries and Breakfast Sandwiches. Their motto is “Enjoy the Local Flavor” which is exactly what we decided to “Dew” when we pulled into one. Both Matt and I decided to try one of their specialties, the Portuguese International Breakfast Sandwich. It’s an Egg and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich served on a Ciabatta Roll with grilled Linguica. Linguica is a form of smoky cured Pork made with Garlic and Paprika that is usually served in Brazilian and some Portuguese dishes. Unless you visit a McDonald’s in Hawaii, finding it on a Sandwich at a quick server restaurant is rather uncommon. That’s too bad, because it was really tasty.
Sollitto’s Liquor Mart
aka Ernie the Giant Chicken on Family Guy
905 Narragansett Blvd.
Providence, RI 02905
Located directly across the street from What Cheer Tavern is the inspiration from one of my absolute favorite Family Guy character, Ernie. Outside of Sollitto’s Liquor Mart there is a huge plastic Chicken with the words “God Bless America” emblazoned across it’s wings. Sollitto’s Big Chicken is the inspiration for Ernie the Giant Chicken that shows up from time to time and engages with Peter Griffin in epic Hollywood style fisticuffs.
Just a quick short drive over from Sollitto’s you’ll find the most significant location in Providence to show up on Family Guy; Spooner Street. Sound familiar? That’s the Street where you’ll find the Griffin family household. It’s a tiny little residential road that intersects Elmwood Ave. The street sign on either side of the crossroads is completely different.
aka “Happy-Go-Lucky Toys” on Family Guy
Original Mr. Potatohead Statue
1027 Newport Ave.
Pawtucket, RI 02861
On the pilot episode (S1E1) “Death Has A Shadow,” of Family Guy, Peter Griffin is shown at his place of work, Happy-Go-Lucky Toys, Inc. Peter’s job is to inspect unsafe toys from which he is fired from in that same episode. Peter introduces a new toy idea called Mr. Zucchini Head which is an obvious reference to an old school Hasbro staple, Mr. Potatohead. Well, just up the road a few minutes from Providence in the town of Pawtucket, you van visit both Mr. Potatohead at the inspiration for Happy-Go-Lucky, Hasbro.
306 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
In 1986 Rich Doyle, Dan Kenary & George Ligeti took their passion for making Beer and created the Harpoon Brewery. Since then they’ve grown into the 9th Largest Craft Brewery in terms of sales volume. They’re well known for a number of year round brews like their IPA, Pale Ale and UFO White but also for their seasonal beers like the UFO Pumpkin, Harpoon Summer as well as their unique “100 Barrel Series” which feature smaller batch and more unique Beers. Not sure what to get? Ask for a suggestion, for which the bar staff are happy to let you get a taste of the Beers. Be sure to try the Harpoon Ale. It’s an medium bodied Amber Ale that’s very crisp and refreshing. It’s also only available in the tasting room so you can’t get it anywhere else.
The Harpoon Beer hall is open 7 days a week and offers a wide array of different Beers for your tasting pleasure. You can also get a brewery tour while visiting but be sure to sign up early, they book to capacity very quickly, especially on weekends. While sipping suds in the Beer Hall, be sure to try one of the fresh baked Pretzels they offer with an array of dipping suds, my favorite being the IPA Cheddar.
336 Boston Ave
Medford, MA 02155
Brohd Tripper Matt, a former Boston resident, swears that Buffalo Chicken Calzone at Andrea’s House of Pizza is absolutely to die for. Well, I wish I could tell you he was correct. However, when we pulled up to get one, we discovered the location Matt used to frequent had been sold. Wish the taste of a hot, Cheesy Calzone on our brains, there was no denying the craving. Matt suggested we hop just up the block and get a comparable Cheesesteak version at Espresso Pizza. As they’re all made by hand and must be baked, you’re best to allot 30 minutes of time before being served once ordered. When it arrives you can expect a gooey, savory and hot sandwich in a light flaky crust with a red Tomato Sauce for dipping. I definitely suggest sharing as it’s mighty hefty in size.
505 U.S. 1 Bypass
Portsmouth, NH 03801
About 60 miles North of Beantown is the small historic seaport of Portsmouth, NH. Just as you pull off Route 1, after coming from I-95, you’ll find the Port Inn. It’s a quaint little Hotel that offers clean rooms, free breakfast and coffee and some of the friendliest staff you’ll find. Skip the owner is filled with local knowledge and whether you’re interested in the history of Portsmouth or recommendations on what to do, eat or see, Skip for sure will be able to point you in the right direction. The Port Inn is a bit of historical landmark itself as it’s “longest operating lodging facility in Portsmouth.” It’s a lovely, quiet and clean place to stay that’s only a 5 minute drive or casual 15 minute walk to the busy Portsmouth waterfront.
The entire town of Portsmouth is less than 17 square miles, 7% of which is water. Due to it’s old New England character, beautiful waterfront and busting restaurant scene, it’s a popular vacation spot in the summer. It’s a nice place to take the family, a date, your betrothed or a couple of Bro’s looking for tasting food and Beer.
56 Market Street
Portsmouth NH 03801
If you’re going to Portsmouth, NH, the Portsmouth Brewery is a must. They make of some of the tastiest, freshest, most delicious and unique Craft Beers in all the land. It’s primarily a restaurant or a gastro pub so if you pay them a visit, be sure to come with some hunger in your belly. You could elect to sit at the bar and just taste Beer after Beer but you would be doing your disservice to your taste buds. It’s Portsmouth’s original Brewpub, first opening it’s doors in 1991. You can sit inside or outside and if you’re so inclined to learn more, they offer tours of the brewing facilities Thursday through Sunday. If Vanessa is serving, definitely ask to sit in her section and say hello to the Portsmouth Breweries awesome manager Kelly. Either of them will be able to steer you in the right direction from the selection of Beers or Food on the menus.
The Porstmouth Brewery is the sister brewery to the larger Smuttynose Brewing just across town. A selection of their Brews are available at this location guaranteeing a selection of awesome Beers no matter when you stop in. Be sure to ask what’s available on cask as their guaranteed to have unique offerings. During our visit they had an ESB dry hopped with Mint and a Stout made with Chocolate Cake. Yes you read that right, there is a mesh bag of Chocolate Cake inside the Cask!! Looking for a more casual bar experience or a game of Shuffleboard? Check out the Jimmy Lapanza lounge located in the basement.
We definitely made our ways around the menu with JD & Matt tasting through about 12 sample sized selections. Here’s a few of my favorite selections:
Ryezenheimer – A traditional German style Hefewiezen, untraditionally made with Rye, Lemongrass & Rosemary. It’s spicy, sweet and just the littlest bit sour but completely delicious and light on the palette. It’s a perfect Summer quencher. It almost has a spruce like quality to the taste.
Wheat Wine – This is a BIG beer. Clocking in around 10% ABv with 70 IBUs, it’s a Barleywine-style Wheat Beer that is just phenomenal. The nose alone is enough to allure in the craftiest of Beer nerds. I could smell it all day long. There are a lot of flavors to this complex Brew that will tickle your taste buds with every sip.
Smuttynose Luna Moth: I hate to play favorites especially in situation where everything is so good so I won’t. BUT, if you can find this Beer, drink it. Don’t chug it, but be sure to casually smell and sip through a couple glasses because it is outstanding. It’s an incredibly unique hoppy Saison made with El Dorado hops. The taste is almost Gingery in it’s profile. I couldn’t get enough.
Daniel Street Tavern
111 Daniel St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
If you’re looking for a cold drink on a hot night at a pub with no pretension whatsoever, the Daniel Street Tavern is the place you want to be in Portsmouth. Grab a cold beer, shoot some pool or if you’re there on a weekend night, put your name on the list and sing some Karaoke. We had a big laugh here taking over the floor with our own rendition of a 2 Live Crew classic.
67 Bow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
There’s a number of bars and restaurants located along the waterfront in downtown Portsmouth. They cater to all types too; Seafood Restaurants, fancy restaurants, dockside bars and more are there for you to choose from. Knowing we would only be spending one night in this town it was only apropos to stop into a dockside bar. Harpoon Willy’s is exactly that and only that. There’s no food or menu to order from, just drinks and a nice view. The late night crowd is a little younger here and definitely out for a good time. Enjoy a chat with a nice stranger while looking across the serene water and sipping on a Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA before the town makes last call.
Gilley’s PM Lunch
175 Fleet St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
The late night crowd is a hungry crowd and Gilley’s PM Lunch has been satiating said crowd for decades and decades. The dining car was originally built in Worcester, MA in 1940 and is the only remaining one of it’s kind. Before it was permanently parked where it is now, this diner and the one before it, was towed in every night and parked before serving. This was originally done by Horses and eventually by truck. In June of 1974, the trailer was moved into it’s permanent spot on Fleet Street where it’s still located today.
The menu at Gilley’s PM Lunch is pretty simple: Hot Dogs, Burgers, Fries & other Sandwiches. The first of which came nearly 60 years before they started serving their now famous Burger. The patties are small, clocking in around 3 ounces and are somewhere in the 85-88 lean to 15-12 fat ratio allows the Burgers to be cooked very quickly in order to feed the masses that line up to enjoy them. Burgers can be topped with Cheese, Bacon, Chili or Beans, in other words no “Rabbit” Food is offered. Nearly everyone in line gets French Fries either alone or with a Burger or Dog. Fries can be ordered as is, with Cheese, Chili, Chili & Cheese or with Poutine (a mix of smoky Gravy and Mozzarella Curds.) There indoor seating area is way too packed to dine in at night so you’ll either have to grab a spot at a picnic table or eat it on your walk back home.
As Gilley’s PM Lunch was originally intended to feed hungry late night sailors and locals, that was the time of day that we wanted to go. We tried to get there before last call happened at the bars and even then there was still a line. It does move pretty fast but seeing as there is only room for one grillman and one counter person, you’ll just have to wait. No worries though, it’s totally worth it. As the patties are pretty small I definitely suggest you go for a Double to get the full effect of the fresh Beef. Plus that just means more tasty char surface. It comes served on a classic white squishy Bun which is the perfect house for the juicy number covered in melted Cheese. I also suggest a go round of the Poutine. Gilley’s does not skimp on the distribution of toppings and if there’s one thing that’s great to eat after a few “pops” late at night, it’s Gravy, Cheese and Fried Potatoes.
THE BROHD TRIP 5– DAY 3
Sunday, June 30, 2013
The Friendly Toast
113 Congress St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
If you find a positive review for a restaurant on every blog, newspaper, TV show and whatnot, chances are that’s because it’s really that damn good. Such is the case at The Friendly Toast. Whether it’s the Boston Phoenix, the Travel Channel, Good Morning America or a blog like this one, reviews of The Friendly Toast all basically say the same thing: this place is awesome. Whether its the odd collection of knick-knacks, dolls, toys, stuffed animals and other classic Americana or the robust menu of matching intensified comfort diner Food, there is no other place out there quite like The Friendly Toast. They are open 7 days a week with round the clock service on the weekends.
The Friendly Toast offers Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, Burritos, Burgers and most notably, a Brunch menu that will feed the hungriest of Lumberjacks, cure the nastiest of hangovers and impress the snobbiest of Foodies. If that’s not enough to set them apart from the rest, they also make their own Breads. There’s guaranteed to be a wait on the weekend which is good because you will need this time to peruse the menu. Landing on just one item means you’re either lucky or there on a return visit.
I definitely was not able to hone in one item so after everyone else ordered, I asked the waiter to choose between 2 other items that had my interest. I ended up with one of their signature Brunch dishes; Green Eggs and Ham: 2 Poached Eggs with Virginia-Baked Ham on Anadama Toast & Topped with a light Herb Sauce, served with a side of Homefries. I loved every bite of it. The Eggs were runny and cooked perfectly. The thick-cut Ham was both sweet and salty as well as a little smoky. I felt like I could taste every Grain used to make the hearty Bread. The Light Herb sauce was like nothing I had ever eaten on a Breakfast dish. If this place ever decided to publish a cook book, it would be a best seller.
600 Market St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801
The USS Albacore spent the years between 1953 and 1972 in the water as the prototype for the teardrop shape that is still being used in the making of submarines around the world. Decommissioned in 1972, it sat in Philadelphia for 10 years until efforts were made to bring it home to it’s native home of Portsmouth, NH. In 1985 the USS Albacore made it to it’s permanent home in a large ditch in Albacore Park. Visiting her is free but you can pay to actually walk onto the vessel and see it from the inside. The visitor center has a mini-Museum and theater where you can learn more about it’s history. Beyond the center is a nice Memorial center that stands as a tribute to those fallen in honor of our country.
Cape Ann Brewing
11 Rogers Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Found on Boston’s North Shore, Gloucester, MA serves as the center for the Boston Fishing Industry. Cape Ann was one of the first English settlements dating back to 1623, before both Salem and Boston. Dating back to 1713, the town is most famous for building the very first water vessel to ever be called a “Schooner.” Water is an important part of the history and economy of this town and it’s also the #1 ingredient used in making a product that is an integral part of each and every Brohd Trip, Beer.
The Cape Ann Brewing Company is a tribute to local Fisherman and the the North Atlantic Fishing Fleet. Their flagship beer is called Fisherman’s Brew and many of the other beers and food they served are of a nautical or sea bearing nature or inspiration. The Pub at Cape Ann offers both indoor seating as well as a large outdoor harbor side patio. It was a perfect setting to taste some freshly made Craft Beer on a sunny afternoon with some good friends.
Between the 4 of us we tried nearly every Beer on the menu each one being just as good as the last. We were impressed to see a brewery offering 3 different Stouts (Oyster, Coffee Infused Pumpkin & my favorite a Chili) on a summer menu. I also quite enjoyed the Czech style Honey Pilsner made with 20 pounds of local Honey. All the Beers at Cape Ann were great and it was a sad moment when the 4 of us had to pack up and start to head home.
1046 Broad St
Meriden, CT 06450-3446
The act of cooking a Cheeseburger by steaming dates to the 1930s and a restaurant called Jack’s Lunch. They fed quick meals of Hot Dogs & Hamburger sto the local plant workers who needed a hearty meal. The method never left central Connecticut but is carried on quite proudly at Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden. People come from all around to visit the small dining room, an easy find on the North side of the street just of Route 95.
To create a steamed Cheeseburger, lumps of Fresh Beef and thick slices of a Vermont Cheddar are placed into trays. Those are then loaded into a special devices that steam cooks them at a very high heat. Once done, the Beef and the Cheese are offloaded via a specially designed spatula onto Kaiser Rolls with your choice of assorted toppings. To read more, see my prior review the steamed Cheeseburger at Ted’s Restaurant.
Thank you to Matt, Mike & JD, my fellow Brohd Trippers. If it wasn’t for you, there would be no Brohd Trip.
All 4 of us owe a major thanks to Pat Fondiller and all at Smuttynose & Portsmouth Brewing. You were an integral part of what a great time we had. The food and drink were spectacular.
To Skip and everyone at The Port Inn, your assistance and hospitality made our trip all that much better.
Laughs and random fun stuffs came courtesy of the following:
- Reggie Watts
- A certain type of Soup
- Your Mom’s face
- The Fat Boy Mistake
- Gas Station Tailgate
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST
June 30, 2013 – 8:00 pm