The Shop

The latest cafe I explored was The Shop in Fox Point, Providence. We went there early in the morning, but there were several people in there already enjoying their morning. As soon as we walked in we felt welcomed. We had to get going soon, but someone sitting there with his young daughter urged us to stay and enjoy our morning before the chaos of the day begins. We took his advice, and were so glad we did – it was such a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

The Shop was the type of place that treats everyone like family. Each person who walked through the door received an extremely warm welcome, they even knew many of the patrons by name – something you don’t tend to see very often in New England.

I got a latte and E got an espresso. We were both in Heaven as we sat there sipping our morning coffee to Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel by Townes Van Zandt. Yes, I asked Siri what the song was because it was adding to the good vibes.

Since we decided to stay for a bit, we grabbed breakfast as well. They offer many different options of toast, from ricotta, honey and pepper toast, to avocado toast, but I stuck with the OG: salted butter and local jam. It was delicious and did not disappoint. Evan got an onion and mushroom quiche, which he also loved. I was eyeing a spinach and feta quiche that I will definitely be trying next time I come by The Shop.

The atmosphere, food and coffee was everything I was hoping for and it definitely started our day on a high note. I was grateful to the man who urged us to take a moment to slow down and enjoy our morning, and will definitely find myself sitting in this cozy spot very soon.

Cheers!

Good morning Providence

This year has been nothing short of amazing. From finishing the Boston Marathon (…in a monsoon…), to our wedding and honeymoon, we now just recently moved to Rhode Island! I am loving the opportunity to re-explore Providence and surrounding towns. There are so many new restaurants, local shops, cafes, and areas to explore.

A few months back, Evan and I went on a cafe tour of Massachusetts. Every Sunday morning, we chose a new cafe to head to for coffee and maybe (definitely) a bakery treat. It was a missed opportunity to not capture that here on my Cuppa Charm – so I plan to take you along for the ride on my tour of Rhode Island.

Of course, I am partial to the Ocean State. As my hometown, I have many places here that I love so very much. I will share those places, too, but this will mainly focus on places new to me as I enter this new chapter.

I’ll start with a cafe I went to on a whim recently, Dave’s Coffee, on South Main Street in Providence.

I stopped by Dave’s quickly one morning to pick up a coffee milk latte for me (I know, so Rhode Island), and a cortado for E.

Coffee milk latte

I regretfully  didn’t get any food – but they had homemade donuts, muffins, and other treats displayed, the trendy avocado toast, and their breakfast sandwiches sounded glorious. I am a sucker for a good breakfast sandwich, so I will surely be back soon to get my hands on one of those. Also – so I’ve heard – their daily scratch-made sea salt chocolate chip cookies sell out every day.

Cheers!

Friday finds

Happy Friday! We made it through another week. This one seemed to fly by, TBH.

I’m starting a new series called “Friday finds.” It’s going to be anything new to me, that I am excited about and I am starting with this new candy I found. These ‘Squrtz’ are made by CVS’ brand (yep, that’s right), gold emblem.

Evan and I discovered these, and I swear the squrtz sales in Massachusetts have doubled in the past month (CVS, if you’re wondering, it’s all just one customer). If you try them, soon enough you will also be addicted. I’m not sure how long this candy has been sitting on the shelf being overlooked, but not anymore. They’re seriously GOOD.

Dig into your vice

Life isn’t always fair. We have bad days, good days, and “meh” days. One constant that complements any of those categories is ice cream. Ice cream is something that is shared whether you’re celebrating a big win, wallowing after a breakup, or bringing to a friend who is home sick.

Vice Cream Founder, Dan Schorr, saw the joy that ice cream could bring people when he was in college. Dan paid for school by driving a Good Humor ice cream truck during the summer. He served families, adults, and children, who would all stop by his truck and choose their favorite treat. He noticed how happy ice cream made people.

Years later, Dan was crushing it at his marketing agency, staying active, got married, everything was going right. But, as all things in life, we never know what is going to happen next.

One afternoon, Dan was perusing the aisles at Target when he received the phone call that no one wants: “we found something.” Dan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Lymphoma and was given 12 weeks to live if untreated. He didn’t understand. He had always been the healthy one in his group of friends. He did triathlons, ran marathons, ate well. How could this be happening? What now? As any of us would be, he was terrified.

Dan tried to stay positive. He decided to put all of his effort and energy into things that he felt passionate about, focusing on things that provided him more energy and brought him happiness. He continued his love of athletics – he ran, biked, and continued to work out. At this point, the product that he saw bring happiness to so many people, came back into his own life. Dan began thinking about creating his own company, and ice cream was a natural.

Dan wanted his ice cream to be REAL ice cream – not the low-fat, no sugar, dairy-free, fake stuff. Life is all about moderation. Be healthy – go to the gym, drink water, eat enough protein and veggies. But at the end of the day – dig into a pint of deliciousness, without feeling guilty. Thus, VICE CREAM was born with a tag line, Live Life. Dig In.

As of August, 2014, Dan is cancer-free. It was a long, hard fight. Dan feels both grateful and humbled that he is someone who gets to celebrate their cancer-free anniversary.

He now celebrates what he calls “miracle moments” – those moments throughout the day that you learn to appreciate once you realize that you could not have been there for them. These miracle moments are simple things, such as picking up your daughters from school, seeing the stars on a cloudless night, enjoying a day outside in the spring, listening to the waves of the ocean crush against rocks. Once you open your eyes to how valuable life is – and how quickly it can change – you realize just how many “miracle moments” pass by you every day.

And that is why Dan decided build a brand that simply makes people happy. Vice Cream also gives back to cancer-causes, by supporting cancer patients, doctors, nurses and organizations that care for patients and their families.

Vice Cream has flavors such as Choc of Shame, Higher Grounds, Afternoon Delight, Breakfast in Bed and Bourbon Mash that even just given the names, you know you’re in for an indulging treat. Vice Cream is now sold at Roche Brothers, Star Market, Big Y, Super Stop and Shop, and Tedeschi.

Look out for Vice Cream near you!

BRUNCH

I am 100% a brunch aficionado. It is something I would never, ever turn down. I take it very seriously and was heartbroken when one of my favorite brunch spots in Boston recently closed. They had a bubbly brunch, Zocalo – RIP.

I found this list of the best brunch in every state. And now I want to go to all surrounding states.

I started getting suspicious of the validity when I scrolled to Massachusetts and found it was The Hangover Pub in Worcester. Worcester? But… Boston? Worcester is home to several colleges, so it does make sense to have a place with such a name, and a bangin’ breakfast. I went to their site and… wow. It looks amazing (+ all things bacon). I’ll have to go and check this out for myself.

However, I knew the site was legit once I scrolled down to Rhode Island. You don’t have to tell me the best brunch place, I knew what it was — and they did too. The Duck and Bunny, a snuggery. Honestly, having the word “snugg” in there already gets right into my heart. Then there’s this – they have brunch every. day. And champagne, and cupcakes…

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It has been years since I’ve been to The Duck and Bunny, but now I’ll be looking to get back there, now.

EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT.

cheers(:

Summer dessert

Master a good summer dessert recipe

I wanted to find a dessert that was easy, didn’t require turning on the oven, pretty, and on the lighter side.

Got it! I made this dessert just about a week ago when I went over my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner after work one night. I wanted to contribute something, so I brought dessert (and rose, of course). It was my first time making these, and it was delicious, SO easy to make – and very patriotic!

patriotic

Makes about 5 servings — and easy to add to if you need more

What you need:

Something to put them in: I bought plastic champagne flutes from a local liquor store, but you could also use ice cream or parfait cups.

10 Strawberries

Cool Whip (I use the light one)

2 Handfuls of blueberries

Several meringues (I had a hard time finding these. I checked Market Basket and Whole Foods, and neither had them. I was finally able to find them at Trader Joe’s, so if you have one of those by you, I’d start there)

What you do:

  1. Cut up the strawberries into bite sized pieces, and put them aside
  2. Crush up several meringues until they’re in bite sized pieces
  3. Put half of the Cool Whip into a larger bowl, and then add the crushed up meringues to the Cool Whip and stir. You can always add more Cool Whip, or meringues if needed. You want all of the pieces of meringues to be covered in Cool Whip, and enough meringues that each bite gives you a piece.
  4. Divide the strawberries equally between the cups, then top each with a hearty scoop of the Cool Whip/meringue mixture.
  5. Evenly divide the blueberries to cover each, then top each with a smaller layer of the Cool Whip/meringue mixture.
  6. Top each with a full meringue.

dessert

We enjoyed these on their roof deck in the South End of Boston, just at sunset. Beautiful!

Boston

Cheers!

Rhode Island in the summer

I know, I know — I left Rhode Island over three years ago, and have always looked back. I don’t even think it’s just my love for the State anymore though. Seriously — Rhode Island has a LOT to offer, especially in the beautiful weather.

Things to do in Rhode Island this summer:

Providence:

WaterFire

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Roger Williams University

If you have never been, this is a must-do. From sunset to midnight most Saturday nights throughout the summer, the river that goes through the middle of Providence is lit up. It is very romantic, with music playing as the gondolas float down the river lighting the fire. My favorite part of WaterFire is the smell of blazing cedar and pine. There are also many street performers and food trucks around. A perfect plan: get into Providence and grab dinner somewhere downtown, once the sun sets, head on over and enjoy the scenery. WaterFire is free to attend.

Rooftop at G

This is somewhat new, and very cool. Begin your night lounging by a fire pit up on the rooftop, watch the sun set, and enjoy a pizza and cocktail. It sounds perfect. They have a “chowdah” pizza, that I have been dying to try: topped with smoked bacon, native clams, potatoes and oyster crackers ($19). MMMMM. And, they have a DJ every night. Well, aren’t you trying to be perfect, G.

Drinks at The Dorrance

Want to feel like you’ve stepped back in time? Stop by The Dorrance, right in the heart of Providence for a drink. The interior is stunning, and the bar specializes in cleverly named cocktails.

Sit outside in Federal Hill

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TripAdvisor

Some of my favorite memories in Providence were just sitting outside in DePasquale Square. Right at the top of Federal Hill, is an outdoor area that looks like it came right out of a picture of Italy. On summer nights, they have live performers playing music in the square, and some couples will get up and dance, right there in the middle of the City. Grab some Italian food at a restaurant on Federal Hill (some favorites: Costantino’s Venda Bar & Ristorante, Old Canteen, Siena). But, save some room for dessert and stop by Pastiche on your way out. You will not be sorry.

Southern RI:

Block Island

rocks

Ever been to a tropical island? Well, you don’t need to. Just take a 1 hour ferry and welcome to PARADISE. Block Island is mind-blowing for how fun it is, and stunningly gorgeous at the same time. Seriously, save your $$$$ flying somewhere, and make a weekend stop here. Must do: rent a moped to get you around the island, get a drink on the beach at Ballard’s, build a rock stack at Mohegan Bluffs. Dying to go ASAP.

The Coast Guard House

Whether you’re looking to have lunch outside, or just a drink on the deck overlooking the ocean, The Coast Guard House is always a go-to.

Check out Jim’s Dock

Stop by Jim’s Dock for dinner and enjoy the sunset right on the water. The restaurant is BYOB, so be sure to bring your favorite wine or beer to accompany a great seafood dish. It is also dog friendly if you want to bring your favorite little buddy.

Newport:

You cannot go wrong being in Newport in the summer. The upside: there is SO much to do. The downside: this is the most well-known area in RI, so there will be lots of tourists/congestion. But, again, there is so much to do for couples, friends, and/or families.

Some popular festivals in Newport:

Newport Folk Festival July 22-24

Newport Jazz Festival July 29-31

Bowen’s Wharf 26th Annual Seafood Festival October 15-16

Get lunch at The Chanler’s restaurant, The Spiced Pear

I already told you about this one. Have you really not done it yet?

Sunset at Ocean Drive

newport sunset

Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some cheese and crackers and head to Ocean Drive just before sunset. It will be one of the most beautiful sights you have ever seen.

Cheers!

S’mores bites

So, I know I said I wanted to master a good summer dessert recipe. I am not considering this to be it, since when I think of summer desserts I think of something light and cool. BUT — I made these s’mores bites for a potluck at work, and they were a HIT. People loved them, and they went fast. The best part? They were SO easy to make.

smores

What you need:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

6 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar

12 large marshmallows

Reese’s mini peanut butter cups (can also use a Hershey’s bar)

Mini muffin pan that has 24 spots

What you do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your mini muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  2. I don’t know if you can buy graham cracker crumbs at the store or not, but if you can I would just do that. I had full graham crackers, so I took 3 graham crackers and crushed them up to as small pieces as I could get in a medium sized bowl. You want just about 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs.
  3. Mix in the melted butter and powdered sugar.
  4. Distribute the mixture to the 24 mini muffin cups. Press down on the middle of them to make an indent so it’ll be a “cup” form.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes.
  6. While that is baking, cut 12 large marshmallows in half and unwrap your Reese’s.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and place one Reese’s (or you can also use 1-2 sections of a Hershey’s bar) in the graham cracker cup and cover it with 1/2 marshmallow (the cut side facing down). The chocolate will begin melting quickly, that is fine.
  8. Turn your oven on broil.
  9. Put the pan back in the oven for about 2 minutes. Watch them — and take them out just as the marshmallows start to brown.
  10. Let them cool completely. I’d let it sit for about an hour. Then use a spoon to pop the cups out of the pan.

Quick, easy, and delicious.

Cheers!

Good morning

I start every weekday morning off with a shake to wake me up, get me going, and start my day off right with the nutrients I need. There’s not much organization to it, it’s sort of just a cluster of fruits, but it’s a part of my routine I’ve grown to love.

shake

Juice of 1/2 lemon — boosts the digestive tract

1 cup strawberries — great source of antioxidant-promoting vitamin C

1/3 cup raspberries — anti-inflammatory

1/3 cup blueberries — supports heart health

1/3 cup blackberries — lowers the risk of a number of cancers and also helps make skin look younger.

1 banana — great source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure. Also plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.

1 tbsp ground Flax Seed — loaded with Omega 3s

1 1/4 cup unsweetened Almond Milk or coconut water

Tastes good and leaves you feeling even better.

Cheers!