Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nick's on Broadway

The other day after worked Susie and I walked the four blocks from our apartment over to Nick's on Broadway, ostensibly just to have a drink. But, one thing led to another and we ended up eating for dinner. One of those last-minute decisions we've been making a lot of in our lives and so be it.

The service, like the food was worth it.
a scrumptious veggie concoction: roasted potatoes in one bowl and a variety of veggies in another

I'll take the fish please with fresh shelled peas and sugar snaps!

Vanilla buns by the French Tarte

Monday, June 24, 2013

Flea market in Providence and a walk out to Napatree Point in Watch Hill

The weather this past weekend in Providence has been, in a word, gorgeous. Summer has officially arrived and with it lots of sun and plenty of heat.

While Susie spent most of Saturday in her kitchen teaching and working on special orders I hunkered down in front of the computer. On Sunday the two of us sought escape from being indoors and under the weight of air conditioning. We decided to risk feeling the heat of being outside in search of  the cool breezes along the ocean coastline.

We started our search along the water to be sure but right in downtown Providence almost where the Providence River hits the hurricane barrier. Located along Water Street, just across the river from where I used to work, you can find a small but very well-organized flea market on Sunday mornings in the summer. Reminiscent of the fascinating marche aux puces in Paris but with more food trucks, you can spend a half hour or so browsing and chatting with vendors and other like-minded folk about the value of things used.

From downtown Providence it was two minutes to get on to I-95 south heading in the direction of Florida although we got off before leaving Rhode Island. In fact, we took exit 1 just before the Connecticut state line and then meandered our way south just inside the protection of the Ocean State in search of the ocean or rather the sound, Block Island Sound to be exact.

We skirted the border town of Westerly and continued moving south ending our journey just about noon in Watch Hill where we joined the crawl of cars and trucks through this beach community all of us in search of just one thing: parking.

Making a quick u-turn I pulled into a parking spot along the street (and avoided paying $30 for parking),  right across from the entrance to where we wanted to go: the beach to Napatree  Point. At about three miles out and back, Napatree Point is as far west as you can go in Rhode Island and is farther south than any other mainland point. Exciting, eh? We tried once before to go out to the point back in September of 2010 but the winds were incredibly powerful that day so we never made it.

Well, this past Sunday was grand day for a stroll along the beach: the wind was perfect, just the right amount of cool breeze and not too many other sunseekers. In fact,  the farther out we went the fewer there were until we reached the point itself and we were virtually alone, just the two of us.
toward Napatree Point from the entrance to the beach

toward Napatree Point

toward Napatree Point

toward Napatree Point

paddle boaters

toward Napatree Point

toward Watch Hill

it appears these died preventing some type of invasion as they wer facing the ocean

looking back toward Watch Hill from Napatree Point

looking toward Watch Hill with the entrance on the rise to the left

looking down into Watch Hill from the entrance to the beach
Oh, and if you go, steer clear of the osprey nesting poles but do keep an eye out for the few remains of Fort Mansfield at the very tip. (We didn't see any ruins but didn't learn of the fort until we came home -- and there had been serious damage along this part of the point from the last hurricane.)

Since you can only park for two hours along the street we had about 15 minutes to get into our car and hit the road. And so we did.

From Watch Hill we really started our serious meandering up and down, sideways and backways, along the various coastal routes in search of someplace to sit outside and have something to eat. Well we ended up settling for a fairly tasteless milkshake at Sticki Fins in Matunick. Skip this place unless you're interested in watching overworked teenagers scoop out mediocre ice cream drinks.

Still,  it had been a perfect day to be out and steel oneself for the heat to come -- in the mid-90s by Tuesday. Napatree Point: put it on your list of places to see in Rhode Island.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Another Friday afternoon early release

One of the benefits of working for Johnson & Wales university is that in the summer most of the staff are given an "early release" on Fridays. This usually means that by 1pm most staff are on the road heading to the beach or the hills or the links or just hanging out, enjoying the sun and fresh air.

All too often we tend to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of following one errand with another and then another and before long those special moments when we get a bit more free time get lost in the shuffle. But this time, at least this one time, I was determined not to let such a foolish thing happen. And since Susie's schedule in her shop is pretty flexible in the summer we planned to rendezvous at home and make an afternoon of it.

I had two objectives last Friday afternoon: mini golf and something else (Susie provided the something else suggestion as you'll soon see).

From Westminster street it was a short hop onto Route 10 and then I-95 south, two exits and off on Route 37 west. We were in search of Mulligan's Island Mini Golf and two minutes later we found it -- although in typical New England fashion it was easy to see but hard to get to.

After parking we headed off to the ticket booth, paid our fees and then to the "caddy shack" to get our club and balls (pink for susie and blue for me).

They have two courses: the blue one reportedly a tad harder than the red. We opted for the blue since there was a large party already on the red. 

We pretty much had the course to ourself and enjoyed just being out of doors soaking up the sun and the cool breezes. There was plenty of shade along the course so we could pop in and out of the sun as we chose.

The course itself was lots of fun and was indeed a bit challenging. It's very well maintained as well. The staff (all teenage girls) were friendly and helpful. Cost was $10 per person (no discounts for seniors) with a $5 replay (if you wanted to play both courses in other words).

catching the breezes!

From Warwick we got back on to I-95, this time heading north and then off at Route 10 and Elmwood Avenue but this time east, not west toward Westminster street.

Susie suggested we check out Roger Williams Park, 427 wonderful acres of green space and water donated by Betsy Williams, the last descendant of the man who reportedly founded the state of Rhode Island as a direct consequence of being exiled from Massachusetts.

Several minutes later we were pulling through the gates of the main entrance to Roger Williams Park and Zoo. (Notice it's always just "a few minutes" here and a "few minutes" there. Nothing is very far here in the Land that Time Forgot.)

As soon as I saw the Swan paddle boats I started looking for a place to park -- and quickly found one by a shuttered boathouse. After paying $15 to the young man overseeing the swans susie and I were pedaling our way around one of the tiny lakes.

cruising the lake by pedal power

and under the bridge

strolling through the Japanese garden, but with no flowers

General Casimir Pulaski, father of the United States Cavalry

the Museum of Natural History, which appeared closed

one of so many pathways streaming off hither and yon

Dalrymple boathouse (closed)
Overall, the park was very nice and quite a few folk were out with their chairs scattered here and there at random, soaking up the shade and cool breeze wafting through the trees. But the more we strolled around it became apparent that parts of the park are in a quiet state of neglect: near the "Carrousel Village" was a building along a bit of water whose roof was half off, covered by tarp with no signs of reconstruction. The Dalrymple Boathouse was closed for no reason, the Japanese Garden not only lacked flowers but was in sore need of weeding -- and this was Friday afternoon. Where were the workers?

The lakes are nice to be sure and the Swan paddle boats were fun ($15 for 20 minutes). The paths for walking are enjoyable and seem to meander everywhere -- no maps available that we could see, though.

But it's a fine place to get away from the noise and grit of the inner city -- which is, of course, where the park is located, And the sculptures scattered around the park made me think of those in Central Park. I mean, who would've expected a statue of General Casimir Pulaski, father of the American Cavalry a stone's throw from the Swan boats!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Brunch at Nick's on Broadway

Some things never change it seems, and in the case of Sunday brunch at Nick's on Broadway that's an incredibly wonderful thing.

A week ago today we returned to Nick's for the first time since our return from Paris. We thought we'd beat the crowd and get there right at 8am when the doors opened but when we turned the corner we found ourselves waiting in line. Yes indeed, some things never change.

But the line moved quickly -- and while waiting we struck up a conversation with a fascinating young man, also, coincidentally, named Nick. Before long we were seated at the counter, sipping coffee waiting for our food.

As always, the food was worth the wait: Susie got one of Derek's great sandwiches and I opted for the "special plus," which consisted of home fries, wheat toast, two poached eggs and their homemade sausage. Deeeelicious!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The French Tarte is back!

Back in her pastry studio in Pawtucket -- baking tried and true pastries and, as always, testing out new recipes!

berry almond brioche (top left) and vanilla pistachio buns

croissants and pain au chocolat