Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eating on the roof in Providence

This past Sunday morning promised rain and certainly delivered humidity -- but by late afternoon the weather had turned overcast, with a hint of breeze. This made it ideal for an outdoor BBQ on the top of the Peerless Building in downtown Providence. (photo below: Susie's brother Dick and Susie)

The Peerless is one of the many old buildings "downcity" lovingly preserved and harboring condos instead of offices and workshops. And its rooftop garden, while not open to the public, is open to providing some pretty imaginative events. Gracie's uses a large plot of the roof for its own herb and vegetable garden, providing its customers with plenty of locally produced, homegrown tomatoes, peppers, edible flowers and the like. Today its a BBQ and wine tasting.

Chef Joe Hafner from Gracie's checking on his garden -- and enjoying the wine:

Matt Gennuso, his wife Kristen who run Chez Pascal on Hope Street teamed up with Leigh Ranucci and the staff at Eno's wine shop on Westminster Street, located right in the Peerless, to turn an ordinarily quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon in July into one fun and tasty affair.

Joe Hafner and Matt Gennuso, part of a small group of Providence chefs who are imaginative, dynamic and as-far-from-stodgy-as-you-can-get:

Chez Pascal provided the food, grilled sausage sandwiches with plenty of sides while Eno provided a tasting of wines from the Beaujolais province of France. Susie and I were joined by Dick and Dorothy and we met up with Andrea and her mom. The food was scrumptious, the wines just right, perfect for the day and for the food -- and clearly a good time was had by all.

You should have been there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Like you need a reason to go to Paris

Reason 342,916.543 to go to Paris and go now.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pawsox, Nuns and Running the bases at McCoy Stadium

After the Pawsox game against the Indianapolis Indians last Sunday (3-2 in favor of Pawtucket thank you very much), there was the "traditional" running of the bases for those so inclined. The lead-off runners this time were the nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Paris, Spring and the British Last Trench Veteran of WW 1

I read today that the last trench veteran of the UK passed away at the age of 111. This is dedicated to him:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Pawsox and a beautiful Sunday in Providence

For those of you beyond the pale of professional baseball or Rhode Island sports teams, the Pawtucket Red Sox, or "Pawsox," is one of the farm clubs of the Boston Red Sox organization. Their home games are played at the very family-oriented McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket.

Once before we tried to see a Pawsox game some years ago with Dick and Dorothy but for one reason or another it never came off.

Now that we lived in nearby Providence, we felt we had no more excuses not to get to a game, particularly now that we can buy tickets and choose seats right online (just the like the airlines but with less turbulence).

Sunday morning was an early day in our house -- I took Joyce and Carl to T. F. Green semi-international airport for their flight to Philly and then a connection to Columbia, South Carolina. (I'll pick them up this coming Friday.)

After a leisurely morning at home, right around noon Susie and I headed off amidst partly sunny skies and low humidity to find Pawtucket and the stadium. Traffic was a bit snarled -- the stadium is located in the middle of a working class neighborhood of duplexes and triple-decker homes -- but it really is a small place after all and we were smoothly directed into nearby gameday parking (which is free by the way).

From the parking lot we walked all of a block to the stadium, found the box office, picked up our tickets and walked inside to watch the Pawsox play the Indianapolis Indians.

It had been years since either one of us had been in a ballpark and I had this image of dity facilities and cement benches -- but McCoy Stadium looked new, or at the very least well-maintained. Clean rest rooms, and signs everywhere pointed to past baseball glories or to one family event or another. The seats were comfortable and under the protection of the overhang. By the time the game started the place was packed.

I must say we were both appalled at the incredible volume of junk food that everyone, and I mean nearly everyone, seemed determined to eat. So many people around us spent much of their time either eating junk food or getting up and going and getting junk food.

Anyway, the day was glorious, the weather nearly perfect and the game thoroughly enjoyable. (It was nice, too, that the Pawsox beat the Indians 3-2.)

Susie and I stayed after the game and watched the "traditional" running of the bases, this time led off by the "Little Sisters of the Poor," a local order of nuns.

We couldn't have thought of a better way to spend three hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

It was an easy drive home where we ordered pizza from Fellini's (shaved steak and scallion) washed down with a delicious rosé from Spain.

That night I slept like a log.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just another weekend in New England

My work week seemed to close in a flash. I suppose staring at more than 100k images over and over again pulls me away from any sense of time (not to mention reality). Anyway, Friday was an early release day for the folks at Johnson & Wales (during the summer at any rate) and I was home by 2:30 prepping for the arrival of our guests.

Susie's sister Joyce and her husband Carl were due to arrive from Maine late in the afternoon. They were on their way to South Carolina to see their daughter Melissa and grandson Lucas and flying in and out of Providence -- so the plan was to have Susie's two other siblings, Mary and Dick, over for dinner that evening. It's not often these kids get to see much of each other and so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to spend a little time together. (There would also be a porch part at Mary's the following evening. Thus the photos. . .)


Mike and Jean:
Traffic snarls around Boston aside Joyce and Carl arrived in plenty of time. Soon after they were unpacked sister Mary and brother Dick and his wife Dorothy arrived and we all settled in for a supper of warm conversation amidst a dinner of grilled pork and roasted potato salad (the potatoes not the salad) and a delicious green salad fresh from Dorothy's garden.

Saturday our guests slept in while Susie slipped off to work a few hours at Gracie's (they're in the middle of "restaurant weeks" in Providence). Anyway, after a leisurely morning I took Joyce and Carl downtown to show them Gracie's -- or rather to let Susie show them her pastry kingdom. Afterwards the three of us strolled around downtown, or "downcity" as its called here.

It's always a pleasure to have out-of-towners visit since I get a chance to see new parts of Providence. We walked along much of the "waterfire" route and I was reminded how terribly rare it is for communities to put their collective imaginations and wallets to work together to turn a city's future and fortune right around. But that's what they did in Providence some 20 years ago. Yes, I know this city has the worst roads in the country -- even Carl admitted they are in worst shape than rural Maine -- but what the city did once serves as an example of what can done in a spirit of genuine cooperation.

The day had begun overcast and warm and by late morning the humidity began to rise to seriously damp levels. We sought refuge at Cafe Choklad where we enjoyed a little a/c and iced coffee (for some) before heading off to run a few errands.

About noon the three of us vagabonds drove to Trinity Brewhouse for sandwiches -- and since it was just around the corner from Gracie's persuaded Susie to join us for what turned out to be a fairly mediocre lunch. But it was cool inside, the service was friendly and it was good to just spend time talking about the foibles of our species.

Susie went back to Gracie's, Joyce, Carl and I went back home where we relaxed (OK napped) in the cool comfort of the old Prata Funeral Home.

By late afternoon the humidity quietly dissipated, which was certainly good news to us. Mid-afternoon the four of us drove over to Dick and Dorothy's for a get-together outside on their patio before heading to Mary's house that evening for her annual porch party.

After getting turned around several times with no help from Google Maps the four of us arrived at Mary's about half past five and spend the next three hours or so in animated conversation a couple of her neighbors. Uncle Frank soon joined the party and the evening turned into one of the most pleasant we can recall.

Uncle Frank:

Even though folks were still dropping by at half past eight we had to say adieu – Joyce and Carl were scheduled to fly out of Providence (“PVD”) early Sunday morning so we had to call it a night.

As Scarlett said, "tomorrow is another day. . . "

Monday, July 06, 2009

Scootering along Narrangansett bay

We couldn't think of a better way to spend a gorgeous -- and I mean beautiful -- Sunday afternoon on a Fourth of July weekend than a drive to Colt State Park. Located along the head of Narrangansett Bay the park was packed with folks enjoying the sun and fun and yet it seem crowded.

Anyway, it was a perfect opportunity for Susie to work on her scootering skills. See for yourself:

Of course there were other things to be seen; people going about their lives inch-by-inch. Everyone was enjoying the moment it seemed.

After we left the part we walked a short ways along the East Bay Bike Path which runs right next to the park. We also also strolled through the North Burial Ground (Bristol) and came across a fine example of Grand Army of the Republic statuary honoring soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. This fellow kept watch over the resting places of old veterans who died long ago at the nearby Rhode Island Veteran's Home.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Jane and Dave got married, the animated version

OK, so you've seen the wedding photos -- but have you seen the photos move? Well then, you've come to the right place. . . oh, and turn your speakers up!