LaToya and I worked together during my retail days. Now, we're both bloggers. She's written for one of my favorites Refinery 29 and is currently blogging for the popular site Shake Your Beauty. She lives in New York these days, but there's still plenty she misses about RI. Find out exactly what in today's guest blog.
I've always considered myself a New Yorker. I spent 9 years in Rhode Island and I would tell anyone who listened I was a displaced New Yorker, wandering until I could find my way home. I did. But there are definitely things I miss. Paying $1070 for a 2 story loft with walk-in closets is first on the list. I daydream about moving back for the rent alone. For now, every summer (and sometimes fall), I grab a hotel, beach house, or AirBnB flat, and pretend I'm still living the small town life.
Here are the restaurants, scenic spots and shops I must visit whenever I return to RI:
1. Must Eat
My first dinner is always at Broadway Bistro.
After a devastating break-up, where I lost 50 pounds from 'sad-orexia', this place hosted many a solo dining session once I was ready to eat again.
It's dark, comfy, quiet, and serves food that warms the soul. The sexy vibe is free, and so are the small dark chocolate truffles served after every meal. Have the ribs & grits, the scallops and order the Reisling.
Flan y Ajo is my next spot. It's pretty much a standing only tapas bar. You order from the chalkboard menu, which is all in Spanish, and it's BYOB. The whole shrimp in garlic is legendary. I remember the entire restaurant chanting for me to suck the meat from the head. Mind you, this is also the night I ordered a $39 plate of Serrano ham, which I thought was $9. And remember that whole BYOB thing? Take heed and go early.
2. Must Do
I have to go to Narragansett Beach. Summer, Spring or Fall.
I pack a sandwich from East Side Pockets, a dessert from Pastiche and limonatas & vodka. Heaven. That's not a beach picnic if you're looking to keep it light. It's an 'I swan for hours and want to be drunk, full and fed' when I get home kind of spread.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I go to Thayer Street at least once. (Has anyone else noticed it's seriously 2 blocks long? That's one of the things I love about NYC. It never ends.) I like Berk's for its selection of cute summer sandals, fall boots under $50, and the occasional perfect dress. As a matter of fact, I scored a lookalike Marni Bird Dress there in 2007!!!
Shanghai, located above Berk's, has some of the best Chinese I've had in my life. For those of you who are naysayers, save it! Go, but do not order the scorpion bowl. Too much liquor. Have a cocktail instead and get the string beans and the Salt & Pepper shrimp or the lobster.
3. Must Go
Last, but not least, if you're looking for a romantic Holiday outing that doesn't include apple or pumpkin picking, how does a monastery covered in Christmas lights - and nuns softly singing hymns while you walk hand in hand with your beloved and sip hot apple cider - sound?
So, yes, NYC is as amazing and exhilerating as you can imagine. But there are some things RI does so well that it's worth a trip back. If you're lucky enough to live in the affordable rent state (Still can't get over the rent prices!), then you need to experience those things at least once a year. Consider them 'I Love Rhode Island' traditions.
More About LaToya Lewis:
Lover of all things black & gold
Contributor to Refinery 29
Find her regular column on top beauty blog Shake Your Beauty
Launching her own lifestyle blog, Up Close & Epic, in early 2015
Fan of LaToya Lewis
Personal Motto: "Everyone has opinions - I just happen to get paid for mine."
Photos of Broadway Bistro, Narragansett Beach and Berk's, all courtesy of YELP.
Photo of LaSalette Shrine courtesy of their website.