Monday, November 26, 2012

Naomi and Jonathan Get Married -- a look back

It seems as if was just yesterday. . .

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday night at New Rivers

Susie (aka the French Tarte) and I paid a long-overdue return visit to one of our favorite eateries in a city that loves its food: New Rivers. Located in the shadow of the very first Baptist Church in the United States, in a building that has seen it's share of ups and downs in the past couple of centuries, you couldn't find better food or a warmer place to hang your hat for a couple of hours or so.

We both settled into a pair of Pilgrim '21 cocktails (Prosecco, gin, cranberry juice and Canton).

For starters Susie chose a simple (and simply delicious) Romaine salad and I tucked into Narragansett Bay scallops with Beau Vestal's own smokey bacon -- needless to say the evening was off to a great start.

I couldn't resist the steak with a root vegetable barley and incredibly scrumptious fresh mushrooms, while Susie settled on the Rhode Island fluke with fingerling potatoes and pickled peppers, which she thought tassty in the extreme (and Susie hates anything pickled).
yep, those are homemade onion rings


We closed out the evening relaxing over a 20-year Tawny for me and Marie Brizzard over ice for the French Tarte.

Before we scooted out we stuck our heads in the kitchen to say hi and thanks to Beau and asked about their plans for New Year's -- last year we spent a delightful evening at New Rivers, savoring a multi-course special menu along with Dick and Dorothy and we wondering what they had in store for this year. The word we got from Elizabeth and Beau is that it will be even more of a special evening this year.

We can't wait. . .

The French Tarte on November 24

click for a larger view
This past Saturday kicked off, as they all have ever since the Winter Farmers Market opened in Hope Artiste Village in early November, with Susie arriving at the shop around 6am. I returned about 8 and Susie's helper Lee arrived shortly afterwards.

This morning was a bit special since Susie's sister-in-law Dorothy and niece Mallory (Mary's daughter) came to help out.

One of the biggest hits this fall has been the "Shortbread Bar," where, for 4 bucks a dozen people can grab a bag, and mix n' match from a dozen different flavors.




Mallory was a great help in the kitchen (it runs in the family) and between her and Dorothy they kept the shortbread bar well stacked and organized and the dirty dishes out of the way (thanks, Dor!).






and, as always, the French Tarte kept moving. . 
blueberry brioche
Susie's latest creation, "sugar buns," made from croissant dough!
and a great layout, as usual!
pumpkin ginger tart -- for Thanksgiving, of course!
you can never have enough photos of those sugar buns!

orange pistachio crumble financier (almond cake) 
Dorothy and Mallory catch their breath and take a break 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving at Dick and Dorothy's house 2012

As we have done for so many years since moving to New England, Susie and I joined Uncle Frank and Aunt Cathy at Dick and Dorothy's house in Douglas, Masschusetts for a Thanksgiving meal of wonderfully delicious food and warm friendship.

This year was a even more special since we were joined by friends Andrea and her mother Barbara (a whiz with a knife, believe me) and Magali and her daughter Melodie.
a beautiful day for lively conversation and sparkling wine
Frank and Cathy listen in
Andrea and Melodie swap tales 
Sister and brother
My favorite French Tarte
Magali, making two points. . .  
Andrea's smile tells the tale. . .

Dorothy had everything under control


a perfectly cooked bird who is about to meet its match


With two physicians in the house you knew one was going to grab the knife






mother and daughter
While there were, as always, plenty of food options available, I have always gone for the basics: turkey, mashed-potatoes-and-gravy, roasted carrot and green beans:


Cathy spruced her plate with a bit of color
And for dessert, the tarte's tart: a layer of caramel nut crunchies quietly hiding beneath a scrumptious chocolate ganache filling, all piled ever so gently into a chocolate tart crust shell.

Thanks, Susie!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Back to Paris

It had to happen, going back to France I mean. It's been nearly two years since we've been there and frankly that's far too long. We had planned to go this past summer but, as often happens, matters of greater import intervened and we had to rearrange our lives for the moment.

The plan, as it stands so far, is to leave Boston on British Airways 13 May, landing in Paris the following day and return to the US on 28 May.

What happens in between those two dates will be the focus of my upcoming posts as we find our focus for this next trip. But right now we plan to take the train from Paris (right from the airport) probably to Montpellier and from there rent a car. We've tentatively arranged to meet our friends Richard and Pauline in Limoux, and the four of us will spend several days exploring Cathar castles (with Pauline as guide) and perhaps even catch a glimpse of prehistoric cave paintings in Niaux, all in the foothills of the Pyrenees before Richard and Pauline have to return to the UK and we head north.

From the Languedoc we hope to spend a night or two in the Massif Central portion of France before returning to Paris for a week, possibly at our old apartment on General Renault. Chi lo sa?!

Details to follow!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Autumn is still hanging around Providence

Taken at Swan Point Cemetery on the east side on Sunday, 18 November. It was so incredibly quiet there, too.


Exploding sidewalk in Paris

One of the fascinating things about Paris, and probably one of the coolest things that set the city apart from most others, is the imaginative use of space. some years back, we were strolling up Rue Bonaparte, and just where it meets Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue de Rennes, at the very corner was this incredible sculpture: an exploding sidewalk.

Now if you've ever strolled on the let bank of the Seine, from Gare Austerlitz to Pont Sainte-Genevieve you've noticed the fantastic sculpture along the river in what the city calls its Musee de Plein Air (a play on the Impressionists who first truly advanced the notion of painting out in the open, rather than in the studio).

Skip forward to the present day. So I've been following a particularly peculiar and wonderfully insightful blog written by Adam Roberts called Invisible Paris. While the posts are often about an obscure aspect of Paris, the subjects are always fascinating, the writing is lucid, the style engaging and certainly informative. A great way to explore the city in greater depth, for those seeking to grasp those nuggest, however "invisible," that make Paris such a wonderful place to just "be."

So, on a whim, I asked Adam what, exactly, was up with this bit of rock stuck at one of the busiest corners in Paris (photo above). Here's his answer:

"The sculpture is called 'Embâcle' and was created by the Quebec artist Charles Daudelin. It was put in place sometime in the mid-80s and is actually a fountain I believe. Apparently it celebrates the friendship of France and Quebec, and the moment when running water breaks through the ice after the winter. Given its position in Saint Germain, there must also be some kind of reference to the May uprising (sous les pavés la plage etc...)."

"Embacle" apparently means the piling up of ice in a stream after a refreeze.

And thanks to Adam for turning me on to some other fantastic blogs -- which I've linked right over there to the right. Go ahead, spend some time cruising the hidden sides of Paris. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The French Tarte on 17 November

same look as last week but a couple of new things

like the caramel nut tart (in three sizes)

and the berry almond (also in three sizes)

orange pistachio crumble financier (almond cakes)

pear ginger financier, of course!

butter croissants

and the shortbread bar! mix n' match your own dozen (or two or three or. . . )