rhode island – day one

The day after Ashleigh and Steve’s wedding, Jake and I went to go hang out at my Aunt Joyce’s house for a bit. We weren’t really on a schedule, we just had to drive to Rhode Island that day. It’s lovely not having a schedule. After hanging out with Joyce and my Uncle Kevin, we headed out for a little brunch before our road trip down south. They took us to the place of their first date! It’s a place called King Phillip Restaurant.

Joyce, Kevin and Jake all decided to have the buffet after we peeked at it. Me? No, thanks. I already spied something on the menu that I wanted and always crave when I’m on the east coast.

buffet-plate-1

buffet-plate-2

Here’s a view of the couple of plates Jake got from the buffet. It’s a mix of breakfast items (eggs benedict and scrambled eggs) with lunch items (meatballs and I think… orange chicken?) along with some slices of beef and ham. 

chocolate-dessert

Joyce made up this little plate of dessert for me. Isn’t it cute she put whipped cream and sprinkles on the plate for me? This was like a really rich fudgy-brownie-pie. It tasted pretty good.

fried-whole-belly-clams

[whole belly clams with baked potato]


My lunch was whole belly clams. Mmmmm. Whole belly clams are the BEST. Way better than lame old “clam strips”. Clam strips are the cheapy-boring part of the clam that hardly has any flavor. The belly is where all the flavor is all. It’s sweet and a little briny all at once – I LOVE THEM. This version was excellent, though I think it’s hard to mess up fried clams. There was a good, light batter around them and I really enjoyed these little suckers. I’m not sure what the price was since it just said “Market Price” on the menu and Kevin was nice enough to take care of the bill for us. Thanks, Kevin! 

King Phillip Restaurant
35 State Rd Rt 2A
Phillipston, MA 01331
(978) 249-6300

After saying goodbye to Joyce and Kevin, we started to head south to Rhode Island!

patriots-football-stadium

While we were driving south, we noticed a sign that said “Foxboro Stadium” off the highway. I asked Jake if he wanted to go stop by and take a gander at it. Initially he said no and then changed his mind. It’s not everyday we get to see this stuff. 

The stadium was right next to a shopping plaza and a few hotels, which surprised us since Qualcomm (Jack Murphy!) Stadium doesn’t have like, anything by it. 

pawtucket-sign

We got back on the road and heading to the place we were staying in Pawtucket, RI.

Spaulding House

spaudling-house-front-center

spaudling-house-front

Using AirBnB, I was able to acquire us a room in this neat, old historic house in Pawtucket, RI. 

historic-house-backyard

This is the backyard.

spaulding-house-marker

The house was built by a cabinetmaker, named Joseph Spaulding back in 1828. The owner of the Spaulding house made quite an effort to keep it preserved and in it’s original state (in 1978 is was authentically restored) and is an excellent example of Federal style houses. The historical society of Pawtucket now runs and take cares of the house. 

twisty-stairs-spaulding-house

Going in through the front door, we were immediately greeted by this crazy, twisty staircase. 

looking-down-twisty-stairs

View down the crazy steep stairs to the front entrance. 

landing-above-stairs

This is the upper landing area. There are a couple of rooms off to the left behind me. Ahead is the upstairs bathroom.

upstairs-bathroom

No shower in here – just a tub! The downstairs bathroom had a shower in it. Luckily we didn’t have to keep going up and down the crazy stairs. 

upstairs-bedroom

This is one the upstairs bedrooms. The floors in here are apart of the original house! It’s even got it’s own fireplace. 

looking-downstairs

These are the back stairs which lead to the other side of the house. STEEP.

stairwell-spaulding-house

Looking back up the steep stairs. 

spaulding-house-living-room

This is the sitting area/living room. That blue chair was probably the only comfortable seat in the whole house. Everything else was super old wooden chairs. 

spaulding-house-living-room2

Don’t mind our crap in the nice, old house. Through the door there is the bedroom we slept in with creaky, springy-not-too-comfortable bed. 

spaulding-addon-kitchen

This is the kitchen which is in the “add-on” part of the house. It was added in the 1960’s. All in all a really cool old house to roam around in, though it wasn’t the most comfortable place I’ve ever stayed. It was cool to be “staying in history” though. 

We quickly learned that the Paxsow, a AAA minor league baseball team, was playing a game nearby and we decided at the last minute to go and check it out. 

McCoy Stadium

pawsox-bear-statue

McCoy Stadium is the oldest minor league stadium and the Pawtucket Red Sox are affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. McCoy Stadium is home to the longest game in professional baseball history – a game that lasted a whopping 33 innings! The game started on April 18, 1981 and continued for 32 innings until about 4am when the game was suspended and resumed the next day. It took 18 more minutes to finish the game and the Paw Sox won 3-2 over the Rochester Red Wings. Cal Ripken, Jr and Wade Boggs were two Hall of Famers who particpated in that historic game!

mccoy-stadium-pawtucket-ri

mccoy-stadium-field

pawsox-mascot

Here’s one of the mascots (they have two) autographing a baseball card for Jake.

pretzel-ballgame

I had dinner plans already set in my mind but I still wanted a little something something to munch on and decided to get a pretzel. 

pawsox-baseball-rhode-island

The Paw Sox weren’t doing too well during that game, but it wasn’t that surprising since the Red Sox called up their best players to the major leagues. It was fun to catch a game though! We were pretty close to the field and tickets were only $13 a piece. They have cheaper seats for $9 but we decided to be high rollers and get the “expensive” seats. 

Olneyville New York System Restaurant

olneyville-new-york-system-menu

Our first Rhode Island restaurant was to a place called Olneyville New York System Restaurant. I’m sure you’re wondering “what on earth do they sell here?”. I’ll get to that in a second. 

When we walked in, we weren’t really sure what to do. The menu just kind of stretched out all the way down the length of the restaurant with little signs all the way down. We just kind of stood around for a minute before someone asked us if we were eating in or out. We said “in” and he told us to have a seat. He asked if we had ever been there before and we explained that we were from out of town. Immediately he asked us if we were familiar with coffee milk and then gave us samples.

coffee-milk-sample

Coffee milk is a 100% Rhode Island thing. Massachusetts is SOCLOSE to Rhode Island and yet, it seemed like no one had any idea what the stuff was just across the border. Coffee milk is milk made with a coffee extract syrup. It gives the milk a bit of sweetness and it’s almost like a really light chocolate milk with a hint of coffee flavor. It didn’t taste a whole lot like coffee to me, but it was creamy and sweet and completely lovely. Jake had one sip (literally just one) and said, “Oh yeah… I want more of that!” 

funny-signs-olneyville-new-york-system

As we were seated, we started to notice a few of the funny signs posted along the back wall. 

ny-system-hotdogs-1

[new york system wieners special / $9.49]

So what’s the special item here at Olneyville New York System? It’s the New York System Wieners (NOT hot dogs, they’re kind of touchy about that). 

hot-dog-closeup

The wieners had a snappy outer shell so when you bite into it, it’s crisp and has a lot of bite to it. We got the wieners the standard way with all the toppings – meat sauce, mustard, onions, and celery salt. The buns are steamed and soft. The wieners are delicious and don’t taste anything like a normal “hot dogs”. They’re a bit thinner and they have a much better flavor and texture. They are made with veal and pork instead of the usual beef that hot dogs are made with. The meat sauce has all kinds of secret spices in it that had a lovely flavor.  

fresh-french-fries

Our specials each came with a plate of hot, pipping fries. Yum! In hindsight, we wish we had only ordered one special. It was a bit too much food! 

jake-olneyville

Here’s Jake with our yummy food.

mary-eating-hot-dogs

Mmmm. Wieners.

New York System Wieners are also totally a Rhode Island thing. So why is it called “New York” system wieners? In the early 1900’s it was a marketing strategy for back when hot dogs were closely associated with New York’s Coney Island. By the 1940’s, Rhode Island’s New York Systems evolved into a whole different thing all it’s own and the name just kind of stuck.  

ny-system-hot-dogs-adding-mustard

The other cool thing? When they prepare your wieners, they prepare them on their forearm! Here’s one of the guys starting out with the first topping – the mustard. 

ny-system-hot-dogs-adding-meat-sauce

And then he adds the meat sauce (a blend of ground beef and spices).

ny-system-hot-dogs-adding-onions

And finally the onions (and celery salt). Cool, right?! 

At a local market in Rhode Island, Jake and I managed to find a package of the Olneyville New York System spices so we could make the meat sauce at home and have a little bit of Rhode Island right at home. We even got the coffee milk syrup so we can have that, too, and recreate this meal! Hooray!

Olneyville New York System Restaurant
18 Plainfield Street
Providence, RI 02909
(401) 621-9500

Olneyville New York System Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


8 thoughts on “rhode island – day one

  1. What a totally fun adventure!!!! Love this post Mary! From the milk coffee to the NY System wieners (interesting way to prepare it; I wonder why they dress the wieners on their arms), the historic house, and the belly clams! Makes me want to go to Rhode Island right now. I like that you included the history of the house and also the trivia behind the longest game ever played (I live for this $%#t!).

    I have been wanting to try belly clams from Point Loma Seafoods (Cathy said they are available there but they are seasonal) but haven’t had a chance to go. Not sure if they are in season now. You buy it fresh then for an additional charge, they fry it up for you.

    1. Thanks, CC – I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m not sure why the dress the wieners on their forearm – I might have read something about that but I can’t remember where (or if) I read anything about the history of it – I just knew that they did it. Rhode Island has a lot of interesting foods that are all their own – more of that to come in my day two post! Ohhh… I didn’t know PLS had whole belly clams, I thought they only had the strips. I will totally have to go check that out – I love those clams so much! I know they also have them at Studio Diner and Bite of Boston. A little google search has also told me that The Rabbit Hole in Normal Heights has whole bellies (http://rabbitholesd.com/food-menu/) so I must return there very soon.

  2. Whole belly clams!!! Me wants. Where in SD can we find such a thing ( I know I recently saw it somewhere on menu…was it a fish market…or like a Boston something restaurant?). Those steep stairs in that house would creep me out at night. Like you’d find that girl from the Exorcist down there or something.

    Why are pretzels so good at a game. Why. I love pretzels right now.

    I’ve seen that forearm trick for the hot dogs before (on tv not like in real life). I’m surprised the station isn’t more of a mess!

    1. Hi Faye! I’ve had while belly clams from Studio Diner and Bite of Boston. CC was telling me they sometimes have them at Point Loma Seafoods (which I must go and check out now!). If I tried that hot dog on the arm thing, I’m pretty sure I would get it all over myself rather than on the wiener. :p

  3. Such memories all in one post. The Mister grew up South of Boston and would rice his bike to Rhode Island, stopping at shacks to pick up belly clams. I grew up in Detroit, where we have ‘Coney Dogs’, with the toppings of chili (no beans), mustard and onions…prepared along the arm in the same manner. Both cities are major baseball towns and both have historic homes and museums (in a suburb of Detroit, there is Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, where historic houses have been moved and preserved). Great post!

    1. Hi Cathy – Thanks for sharing! I have never been to Detroit but I’d like to just to try out some of the different kinds of food they have there. I love checking out historic homes and museums, too, so it sound like a nice place.

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