With so much isolation from this damn virus, I wanted to reflect back a bit to places I supported this past 2021. In my attempt to have experiences, to hang out with some friends on occasion, to socialize and support some businesses I love so that I didn’t go completely mad. In retrospect, I did have quite a few lovely nights out and nights in. You will notice that most of these are on the East Bay side of Rhode Island, proving my Rhode Islander status of not wanting to drive more than twenty minutes anywhere these days.
Here are some of my favorites; I know they will continue to be well into 2022 and beyond. I ate, I drank, I shopped a little. I exercised almost every single day. I ate, I drank (are you noticing a pattern here?) I would say these places helped me stay sane along the way. I realize that you don’t always need to go away to go away. Some of these places ship anywhere too, I have placed a star next to them.
Would love to hear how you made your social lives a little brighter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment below, or message me in the never ending ways we fake connect these days, the more the merrier. And please if you read this and recognize a shout-out, spread the love by sharing with your peeps. All business matters these days.
My Favorite Places from 2021 and Beyond
Here are some of my favorite businesses that I supported in 2021, I am sure you will see a theme here. I guess I eat and cook and imbibe a lot based on these picks. By no means is this an exhaustive list- I am sure I am missing some, but this should get you started for sure. Follow some of them on Instagram, too- Even better if you live nearby, give them some business love with a visit.
THE BEST WINE ANYWHERE*
For the times I drink wine and don’t want to feel terrible, (which is always), my friend Maria has a selection like no other. Boutique labels you will likely not recognize and all price points. Clean delicious wine that will not make you feel like shit the next day. (Unless you drink two bottles solo… not that I have ever done this). Plus a scrumptious cheese and food shop tucked inside for a last minute charcuterie to go with.
Newport Wine Cellar: https://www.newportwinecellar.com/
THE BEST CATERING FOR THANKSGIVING AND HOLIDAYS*
My Thanksgiving and many others have included a stellar feast thanks to my friends at Easy Entertaining in Providence, RI. I never thought I would order a meal for a holiday, but Kate and her team have made it so that you really feel like you cooked it yourself. Plus they do fabulous catering for events with the happiest smiling service oriented team.
Easy Entertaining- https://www.easyentertainingri.com/
THE BEST CROISSANTS AND HOMEMADE BAKED BREAD
If you love fresh baked breads on those early mornings and also delicious dinners outside, you will love ByWater Bakeshop. Another incredible team run by another Kate, THE Kate Dickson, who in my opinion, has been one of the key players in driving hipness in Warren, RI for well over ten years.
Bywater Restaurant AND Bywater Bakeshop https://bywaterrestaurant.com/
THE BEST GRINDERS
Since my son was able to eat his first grinder, Riccottis Sandwich Shop has been our local go to place for all things grinders. They have an incredibly easy online ordering system thanks to their own pivot during Covid and for a fifty year family business, they fully understand the importance of service - they have great food and a great team. I have used them for sandwich platters for Bristol’s July 4th, for tailgating at the only outdoor concert I attended this year and I just love this place.
Riccottis Sandwich Shop www.riccottisbristol.com
THE MOST AMAZING TREATS YOU CAN BAKE YOURSELF AND FABULOUS CAKES FOR ANY OCCASION
If you need a beautiful cake, a roll of slice and bake cookies or the most delicious cinnamon buns you can bake yourself on a cold Sunday morning, and a plethora of other delightful treats, Ellies has to be my favorite. I haven’t actually been to the physical place, because I have only had these delights from their easy to order website and many cakes and cinnamon buns later, I am a believer. Ellen, the goddess owner who also owns the famous Gracies, runs a beautiful business that has as much deliciousness in its service as it does in its products.
Ellies Bakery https://elliesprov.com/
THE BEST HOMEMADE PASTA ANYWHERE
We are so lucky to have this homemade pasta business in Warren, RI. Lasagna noodles, pizza dough, ravioli and incredible pasta choices, Prica Farina is pure happiness. Their service, smiling faces and exquisite product make this worth the drive no matter where you live. I have frozen boxes of this pasta when my eyes were way bigger than my mouth (often) and it is just as delicious.
Prica Farina www.pricafarina.com
MY FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY SEAFOOD
I eat a lot of fish, a lot of shrimp and minced clams. I eat a lot of stuffies and smoked fish too and I only buy everything at Andrades. Besides the hands down freshest seafood and choices, David Sr, his son Dave and his daughter in law, Victoria treat me like family when I walk in to this small place on Wood St in Bristol, RI. Plus Victoria has created some great Quahog swag that she lets me sell too at my place.
Andrades Catch www.andradescatchri.com
MY FAVORITE SPECIAL PLACE TO EAT AND THE BEST BOLOGNESE TO GO
This is one of the yummiest special places in RI for sure. Champ, Lisa, and their team never disappoint and for those of you who aren’t going into restaurants regularly these days, you can purchase Champ’s famous Bolognese or Clam Sauce for your freezer to pull out when you need a quick meal. (Great with Prica Farina’s Pasta and ByWater Bakeshop Sourdough.. Just sayin)
MY FAVORITE LOCAL PORTUGUESE BAKERY
This little nugget of a bakery in Bristol has Portuguese rolls and bread for well under five dollars, but my most favorite item here is their old school, delicious Malasadas on Sunday mornings. Old school- Cash only, no website.
Batista Bakery 401-253-9382
MY FAVORITE BREAKFAST PLACE
This old school diner in Bristol with water views and lots of personality is my son’s and my favorite place when we just need a homemade greasy homefries, bacon and eggs and blueberry muffin breakfast. Sitting at the counter, watching and listening is as much fun as eating. Tell Larene that Alayne and Michael sent you if you go. Old school- Cash only, no website.
Hope Diner 401-253-1759
MY GO TO FARMSTAND
At least three times a week, I stop here to buy my fruit and vegetables. Decastros is one of those old time farm stands that came way before the trendy Farmers Markets that have popped up everywhere. I trust their fruit and vegetables and I love this business. It is bittersweet when I see their signs up for Westport Turnip that comes out "after the first frost" because it signals that they will be closing for the season soon. Gives me so much to look forward to though when I see them reopening, it means Spring is here.
De Castros Fruit and Vegetable Stand closed until spring https://www.decastrofarms.com/
THE GROCERY STORE I LOVE
Now that Amazon has ruined Whole Foods for me, I have had to find a new grocery store and thank goodness for Clements Market in Portsmouth, RI, a hop skip and a jump from my house and on the way home from my partner’s. My former mother in law always shopped here as it has been a staple in Portsmouth for longer than I know. This market is one of those places that I just feel good shopping in for my groceries.
Clements Market https://www.clementsmarket.com/
OUT TO EAT
When I have gone out to eat this past year, I have kept it local to the places I know well and with the people I love. Two stand out the most for me. The food, the drinks, the service, the atmosphere makes me so happy and comforted and goodness knows I have needed comfort this past year.
The Lobster Pot https://lobsterpotri.com/
Tavinos no website but Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Tav-Vinos-Restaurant-290796151204/
WORKOUT AND COMFORT CLOTHES- MY PERSONAL FASHION STATEMENT
I don’t shop for clothes much, I am by no means anyone who can speak about fashion especially these days. Comfort is my fashion and ATHLETA is my all time favorite place to shop. Mary and Kayla who are my go to people at the ATHLETA in Newport, RI, have saved me on many occasions when life looked bleak and I needed some serious retail therapy. Besides the experience, the quality of Athleta clothing for working out is the best I have found.
Athleta the one in Newport, RI best service ever https://www.discovernewport.org/listing/athleta/4466/
THE ONLY PLACE I BUY MY ATHLETIC SHOES (or sneakers like they used to be called)
With such ease at buying almost anything online, I really try to stay local when I can and RHODE RUNNER is the only place I buy my sneakers. They fit you well, they have great service and their choices are bountiful.
Rhode Runner https://www.rhoderunner.com/
A GAME CHANGING WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM
A lot of eating going on, but during this past year, a friend of mine hooked me up with this wondrous weight loss group and I managed to lose almost 15 pounds and keep most of it off. (Though by reading the previous choices, you are probably scratching your head in disbelief) This program changed the way I think about diets, food plans and eating in general. It is expensive, it is hard work, and there is an accountability element to this that is not for the feint- hearted, but if nothing has worked for you in the past, this may be the program for you. I have a point person I love so email me or message me on IG if you are interested.
All In (after all of this indulging) https://allinbyteddi.com/
All of this new website changing requires a lot of photography and my friend Meg and I connected during Covid and work really well together. If you need branding photos or special occasion photos, Meg has a great energy and is really talented too. She brings out the best in you when she is taking your picture and I love photo shoots with her.
Meg Heriot Photography https://www.megheriot.com/
During all of this eating and drinking and exercising, I also spend a lot of time writing because I wake up at about five in the morning and usually write for two hours to start my day. In a chance meeting with a client about skin care, I asked her a simple question, What do you do? When Jane said she was a writing coach, we became fast friends. Jane is the reason I felt brave enough to put some of my writing together for an actual manuscript and the book is almost headed to print hopefully this month. If you are trying to write non-fiction, Jane is an incredible ally and I highly recommend her.
Jane Gerhard Writing Coach https://janegerhard.com/
SELF PUBLISHING COACH
Thinking about writing a book is one thing, writing a book is another thing, but actually creating a book that feels legitimate enough to say it is an actual book and to have the guts to self-publish it is an entirely different animal. Jane found Kate Winter for me and she has been instrumental this past two months in getting my writings out of my computer into something that resembles an actual readable book. I have really appreciated Kate’s coaching and professionalism and the real live book will be out soon.
Kate Winter Manuscript Coaching https://manuscript2book.com/
ONLINE WRITING COURSES
The online course world opened up wide and hungry for our staying at home with nothing to do brains. I am a glutton for buying them, promptly placing them in the file marked COURSES and never looking at them again. That being said the one I always look at and actually complete whole heartedly is from my friend Rebecca Gold. She has free courses and paid courses and is brilliant in her way to get you to write often. One of my favorite people in the online course universe and well worth the time and money.
Rebecca Gold https://yogicwriting.com/
As I took the ride back on 2021 I realized how grateful I am for the life I am living despite the terrible losses to my high touch business. I have navigated my life into a new and improved direction, a simpler one in some ways. I spend my hard earned money on many things that give me pleasure, especially because I haven’t spent any money traveling. I have traveled in my own town, my own community instead and I would feel most irresponsible if I didn’t also donate to a place in dire need. While I am busy recommending the best pasta and eight dollar loaves of bread, there are people who are hungry in my community and I make every effort to donate as equally to the East Bay Food Pantry and other local places where I know the money is used wisely whenever possible.
East Bay Food Pantry https://eastbayfoodpantry.org/donations