Friday, May 18, 2012

The French Tarte opens with a quiet bang

By now most of you know that he French Tarte (AKA Susie Q) has opened the door of her brand-new commercial kitchen and is up and running. The last two Saturdays were the final days of this year's Winter's Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village and she drew nice crowds both days. She has also posted a schedule of classes through June and they're filing up quickly -- a nice way to launch a new business to be sure.

She also had her first special order in the new space, a croquembouche (tower of puff pastries) from one of her former students. Well, it just so happened the woman who ordered the piece montee (as it's also called) for her daughter's graduation is  French and when she came to pick the order up this past Saturday her sister and brother-in-law joined her to help (it's a bit tricky to maneuver alone). It turned out that her brother-in-law grew up in a patisserie in eastern France. The consensus of the whole family was the croquembouche was delicious, better, so they said, than some they had in France!

Speaking of food, we've been back to a couple of our favorite haunts recently: Ama's and Broadway Bistro -- extraordinary food at a price.

I also want to mention our favorite wineshop in Providence, "Bottles," located on the east side of the city next to Eastside Market and in the shadow of the Great Railroad Bridge Hanging in Midair. They have great prices, wonderful service and an outstanding selection -- on our last trip we found a scrumptious white wine we discovered on our swing through Sicily in the spring of 2005:  a Grillo from Altadonna just west of Palermo; inexpensive and with a smooth balance, we've only seen it once before in this country.

Finally, if you're in Newport you should stop by the Pan Handlers kitchen shop -- recommended by the peripatetic Joe Hafner, we went there several weekends back when Susie was in the market for a tabletop burner. She ended up walking out with a Fissler -- very nice, very handy and works like a charm. The staff knows their kitchen equipment to be sure and are eager to answer questions and even demo a unit if necessary.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Arabs Traveling by Eugene Delacroix

OK, so the Arabs were traveling by horse, not Delacroix himself. Anyway, this is in the RISD Museum, painted circa 1855:

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Grand Gallery

. . .  or from the cold of the medieval to the warmth of the Renaissance and beyond: