I love authentic and artisanal! I love places where attention to detail is everything. I love an experience that feels like it was tailored just to me. And I especially love when I don’t have to travel far, nor spend a fortune for such amenities.

Of where do I speak? La Maison de Coco (www.lamaisondecoco.com) in Newport, RI, that’s where.

Nestled on the upper portion of Bellevue Avenue (#28 to be exact), and directly across the street from The Hotel Viking, La Maison de la Coco feels like a Paris transplant.

We thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon at their sidewalk tables, basking in the late fall sun on an unseasonably warm day. We first stopped at the Newport Wine Cellar (www.newportwinecellar.com), a small but well-provisioned shop next door. The owner is friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, with a nice selection of tasty libations. We snapped up a 2009 Hugel Pinot Blanc from Alsace for lunch.

We wandered directly next door for just a moment, into the companion shop to Newport Wine Cellar, Le Petit Gourmet, a wonderful little shop specializing in well-ripened cheese and other artisanal products. We picked up a few truffle oils and nice balsamic vinegar for the road.

Finally, we settled into our sidewalk perch at La Maison Coco. Our wine was thoughtfully chilled and opened, served with a delightfully light fare – authentic French Onion soup, along with mixed greens drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette and a soft, fluffy crepe stuffed with asparagus and mushrooms. The wine was a perfect match – lightly floral, but with nice acidity to cleanse the palate.

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We finished with an assortment of house made truffles – their specialty, and a well-balanced espresso.

Simply marvelous – like taking a trip to Paris without the hassles of airport security, or jet lag!

Bon Appétit!

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