Rhode Island Red Food Tours – Newport Neighborhood Tasting
Certain cities around the globe are known for their unique foods. One trend that is growing in popularity is culinary tourism. It offers travelers a way to explore their destination through food and food experiences, which can range from metropolitan food tasting tours to countryside visits to coffee plantations and vineyards. Tourists want to try the “off-the-beat” restaurants and places only known by the locals. This demand was realized and because of it more food tours have popped up around the globe. Food tours are becoming a more common item on the traveler’s agenda.
One of the newer food tours to pop-up in New England is Rhode Island Red Food Tours.
It’s owner, Paula Silva, has developed the “Newport Neighborhood – Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour.” It’s a three-hour cultural walking and tasting tour that takes you through little-known historic neighborhoods and to the best-kept secret eateries known to the locals of Newport, RI.
Recently, I had the opportunity to experience this food tour. We made six stops at food tasting locations. In between, we walked through several Newport neighborhoods, away from the popular waterfront Thames Street and Bellevue Avenue mansion districts, and learned about the corresponding history.
We met outside our first stop – Van Gogh Pizza at 12 Broadway.
Recently opened in March 2015, Van Gogh Pizza touts itself as specializing in “The art of pizza and the science of sandwichology.” It focuses on combining ingredients with artistic inspiration to create masterpieces. We had the opportunity to taste a slice of The Great White pizza.
This pizza has cheese, white sauce (which the owner won’t divulge the recipe), chicken, bacon, spinach and oregano. It was an amazing combination of flavors and the crust was nice and doughy.
Our next stop was Washington Square Café and Baking Company, located in the heart of historic Newport.
Operating for over a year, the local community café serves house made pastries, breakfast, lunch and brunch. We were treated to two of their specialties: New England clam chowder and a layered Key Lime and Strawberry pie.
All baked goods in their display case are baked on site by one of the owners.
Both the chowder and the pie were delicious. This seems like a great place to hang out and have a leisurely breakfast.
After a short walk, which we were thankful to have in between food tastings, we landed at Perro Salado, a modern Mexican restaurant located two blocks east of Thames Street.
Perro Salado means “salty dog” in Spanish. The restaurant is located in an 18th century naval officer’s home. As it is a house rather than typical restaurant space, the seating is broken up into several small rooms along with an outside patio area. This made the restaurant feel very quaint and cozy.
While we expected to taste some typical Mexican foods, instead we were treated to their special sticky pork ribs, which are marinated overnight in a mixture of brown sugar and Coke.
The ribs were amazing! The meat was perfectly seasoned with the right mix of spice and flavor. The meat fell off the bone.
Finishing the halfway mark on the tour, we couldn’t imagine what was next but a stop at Mudville Pub.
Mudville Pub is an authentic sports bar with not your average pub grub.
We were told that this pub is the best baseball bar – and soon discovered why it can make this claim. We were led to the very back and amazed with a wonderful surprise.
The pub has counter seating with a view of Cardines Field, a baseball stadium located on America’s Cup Avenue. It is believed to be one of the oldest ballparks in the United States. In keeping with the baseball theme, we sampled one of Newport’s local beers.
How fun was this!
We know we will need to stop here again with the boys. They will love this place and want to sit and watch a game!
In keeping with the “grub” theme, we headed on to our fifth stop, Mission restaurant.
This place serves burgers, hot dogs, a falafel and fries – that’s it! The meat patties and hot dogs are ground in-house. There’s nothing frozen or artificial here. Mission’s handmade burgers and dogs also don’t come with a big price tag.
We sampled the slaw dog. It was one of the best I’ve ever had. I’m not a coleslaw person, but this was legit homemade without the goopy mayonnaise, and the bun was buttered and perfectly grilled on the flat top. According to food and travel website Thrillist.com, the Mission burger is the best in the state. I’ll definitely be back to try that in my next visit.
Located within feet from our previous stop was our final food-tasting destination, White Horse Tavern, America’s oldest tavern.
Opened in 1670, The White Horse Tavern was a regular haunt for colonists, British soldiers, Hessian mercenaries, pirates, sailors, founding fathers and early Americans. It is known as the birthplace of the “businessman’s lunch” as in the early 1700’s city councilors dined here and charged their meals to the public treasury.
Wrapping up our food tasting, we had an amazing dessert called the NY cheesecake eggroll.
Served with fresh berries, the eggroll is filled with NY cheesecake custard, dusted with cinnamon and deep-fried until lightly crispy. Despite being full from all the other treats we tasted along the way, we all managed to indulge – and it was worth the calories!
Paula has done a great job scouting out all the “best local” spots and eats. The Newport neighborhood tasting and cultural walking tour was fun and filled with delicious bites and bits of history. When planning your next trip to Newport and you’re looking for something different to do other than the mansions, cliff walk and the waterfront districts, I’d recommend including this delicious destination into your itinerary!
Have you ever been on a food walking tour?
What are your favorite places in Newport, RI?
Disclaimer: While I was provided with complimentary tickets for the Rhode Island Red Food Tours, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.