Author Archives: Jeff Farrar

“You have to eat ’em to save ’em.”


tamworth pig

The little tamworth might just light up your taste buds…

We’ve added a 2nd Swine & Dine to accommodate the high demand!  Join us on Wednesday, December 4th!

Yikes! A recent letter to the editor called us on the carpet for our plans to serve a heritage breed pig – a Tamworth pig raised by SVF Foundation – for our upcoming “Swine & Dine” Heritage Series Dinner on November 21, 2013.  They labeled this endeavor “the height of insensitivity” and asked what would be next “a California condor or a manatee?”


What the writers didn’t understand was heritage breeds like the Tamworth pig are not wild endangered animals facing extinction because their habitat is threatened or they’re falling prey to poachers. Rather, they are out-of-favor farm animals no longer bred for food.  Farmers don’t raise them because other breeds are easier / faster / cheaper to raise.  The result? Fewer and fewer breeds, less variety in our food and the likelihood that we will lose all but the most profitable livestock animals in our food chain.  This could be a big problem if something bad happens to that last remaining breed.

You can read more about this problem and what SVF is doing about it in this blog post detailing our spring visit to the farm.  But for now, consider this:  This little Tamworth breed is in danger because we DON’T eat it, and you might really like it.  So come to our Heritage Dinner on 11/21 or 12/4 to give it a try.  If you like it, SVF might raise more. In fact, they are planning to sell some this season, and that might help keep this breed viable as a food source.  Wouldn’t that be great?


Coq au Vin – Tavern Style on 9/25/13!

“Coq au Vin isn’t chicken cooked in cheap red wine: it’s rooster cooked in something good enough to drink.”


coq au vin

SVF Coq au Vin paired with Cameron Hughes Cote du Rhone.

Our upcoming Heritage Series Dinner on 9/25/13 will feature a rooster-less Coq au Vin with a local twist:  Heritage Breed White Rock Hens fresh from the SVF Foundation‘s Farm off Ocean Drive. Farm fresh RI ingredients and Chef Rich’s formidable culinary skills promise a culinary tour de force upstairs at The Tavern. We have a few seats left, and we hope to see you there!

Coq au Vin brings back lots of happy memories for me.  I grew up in a French family, and my grandmother, Florence Proux Mathieu, daughter of a Canadian mill owner, made a mean Coq au Vin. In the 50’s – the heyday of Julia Child and her infamous chicken preparation – all the moms attempted coq au vin, but none could match the slurpy goodness of Flo’s dish.

One possible exception was my old neighbor, John Barrett. Every fall John, who never cooked anything else, would announce he was making coq au vin.  It was his signature and only dish, and it attracted an intriguing collection of friends who ate, drank and ruminated about how this year’s batch compared to last. The anticipation was almost as good as the dinner.

On Wednesday, White Horse Heritage Dinner guest speaker, Catherine Zecker of Cameron Hughes, will pair a 2011 Cote du Rhone with Chef Rich’s coq au vin. According to this Wine Spectator video, Catherine and Julia are on the same page when it comes to pairing wine with this classic French dish.
So join us for a little French / American comfort food and wine on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. Click here for details and call 401-849-3600 for reservations.

If you can’t make this one, no worries!  There are two more:

Whiskey Business – Thursday, October 24, 2013

Swine & Dine – Thursday, November 21, 2013

Newport, RI’s Liberty Square


Just across Marlborough St. from The White Horse Tavern is a triangular patch of land known as Liberty Square. The square was donated to the Newport Magistrates in the mid-18th century by members of the Newport Artillery.  The donation was intended to establish a “Mustering Place” where free men could assemble and speak freely under the protection of habeas corpus – a writ requiring a person be brought to court as a protection against illegal imprisonment.

In the heat of our nation’s revolutionary period, militia officers Thurston and Sheffield relinquished their deed to Liberty Square rendering it free from ownership by any corporation, person, city, state or country.  As a result, this little patch of land is not considered real estate, but is more accurately described as “Surreal Estate,” a gift of freedom to our city and our nation.

Many (including this author – see George Sullivan’s comment below) mistake Liberty Square for Ellery Park located at the confluence of Farewell and Thames Street. A very old tree stands there marking the spot where 18th century slaves and free men organized and protested.

In 1755, prior to the Revolutionary War and the British occupation of Newport, Newport’s slaves gathered here to hold the first African election. They congregated under a great tree described in1766 by owner William Reed as a “large buttonwood tree,”  to elect a governor for the coming year.  Continue reading

Popping the Question at The White Horse

SaveTheDateOne of the things I enjoy most about The White Horse Tavern is our history of helping nervous grooms-to-be pop the question in the perfect way.  The Tavern is a popular place for this delicate, romantic maneuver, and we have helped seal many a deal with a private room, a hidden ring and an exquisite meal.  Not only do we help start many marriages off on the right foot, but we also enjoy welcoming these couples back for anniversaries commemorating that special evening that set their married life in motion.

Old Married CoupleI wish I knew how many of these happy proposals this venerable old tavern has witnessed. If you have a romantic Tavern story please share it here.


Wednesday is Burger Night

Your Choice of a Custom Burger & a Beer – $15 or….

1673 Burger – A half pound certified Angus beef burger on a toasted ciabatta, layered with Guinness cheddar, carmelized onions. Served with lettuce, tomato and hand-cut fries

White Horse Tavern Burger– A half pound certified Angus beef burger on a toasted ciabatta, layered with sauteed jalapenos, guacamole, cheddar and bacon. Served with lettuce, tomato and hand-cut fries

Greek Tuna Burger – Yellowfin tuna blended with feta cheese, capers and olives on a toasted ciabatta, slathered with a preserved lemon aioli. Served with lettuce, tomato and hand-cut fries

And Introducing…  Our Black Bean Burger – With cilantro and lime, topped with avocado, shaved lettuce and tomato. Served with hand-cut fries

… and a cold Draft Beer