Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Musings from the road: Providence, RI

Providence, Grapevine, Addison, & Dallas. It's not exactly New York, San Francisco, and Boston. But, sometimes business travel takes me to places a little farther off the beaten path. I take 'em as they come and report to you what I find along the way. Today I'll give you a few bits about my recent trip to Providence and tomorrow a few bytes about a dip into Texas a few weeks ago. In Providence, RI I knew that I really would not have much time to search out local beer attractions. It was a 24 hour trip that basically took me from the airport to the hotel (less than 1/2 mile from airport) to the client location (a few more miles) and back to the airport. But, along the way, we stopped in for dinner at the Legal Seafoods located just outside the hotel's front door. Good enough, I figured. There might be a local beer or two (Harpoon, Boston Beer, e.g.) but with a presentation the next day, I was more interested in the food from this bastion of New England seafood dining instead of the beer. What I found here, though, continues to underscore the phenomenon of finding better beer in more out-of-the way locations than ever before. We were greeted by a large placard announcing the upcoming (actually, today 5/14) Samuel Adams Beer Dinner when we walked through the entrance of Legal Seafoods. Inside the menu at our table were inserts describing the dinner as complete with Hors d'oeuvres, 4 course meal, and "education." Wow, I thought. Not only was I surprised by a "chain-like" restaurant such as Legal Seafoods hosting a beer dinner that looked more than something just quickly thrown together. But, I was surprised by the location of it. Downtown Providence? No. Long Wharf in Boston? Nope. The location just outside the Providence airport property in Warwick, but of course. Am I the only one that finds the location odd? Who is the customer base? The local neighborhood, who is that? I'm thinking, how often is it that I consider what food and drink events might be occurring at hotels or restaurants around the Philly airport? In fact, what restaurants are near the airport that I would consider going to on any average night? Not to take anything away from Legal Seafoods. The service was great, the food excellent, and now they're hosting beer dinners! It was a full house at 8pm on this particular Tuesday evening, so they probably do a fair bit of business from transient diners just passing through or at a nearby convention. All I say is, good for them, great for the customers. But, is Utopia being served? No, but hopefully I can expect them to be saving that for Monk's, right? More from my Texas trip tomorrow...

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