Monday, January 30, 2012

Events ~ Style Week Providence ~ Providence

Style Week Providence
Providence Biltmore
Jan. 22-28, 2012

Style Week Providence was a fascinating and fun look into the upcoming couture and ready-to-wear styles coming up for Winter/Spring of 2012. There were hundreds of people milling around in L'Apogee, atop the Providence Biltmore.

Style Week L'Apogee

Bear and I attended three days of the seven-day event, and we were impressed (and sometimes a little intimidated) by the fashions, not only on the runway, but in the crowd. It was everything we'd imagined a fashion show might be, from the tall, slender women dressed all in black, to the avant-garde jewelry and clothes that swirled through the halls and among the vendors in the Accessories Showcase. I felt every extra pound.

There was wine everywhere, as well as Vitamin Water Zero (a sponsor). I did learn that the XXX and Spark are both pretty good. The rest... eh.

Our time at the shows was limited due to Bear's midterms the same week - you'd think Providence school district would schedule their midterms around Style Week... but no.

Nevertheless, we were able to see some very nice runway shows:

Sunday night we saw Jess Abernethy's "Alpine Dream" collection. It seemed to be targeted to the apres-ski set, and all the models wore white earmuffs.

Style Week Abernathy long black dress with yellow kick Style Week Abernathy - yellow dress Style Week Abernathy - green dress

Tuesday was a very special show called SEED, where design students from local schools got to compete for prizes including cash, an installation at another show and publicity from Style Week.

From the Style Week Providence site: "Students were asked to support that theme by exploring recycled and sustainable fashion."

The entries were conceptual, and as you might imagine, unique.

Style Week Providence 049 Style Week Providence 051
I think this was my favorite. The model seemed exceptionally tall, and I think was probably on high platforms. The back detail is wonderful, too.

Style Week Providence 013
I also got a kick out of this one.

Naturally, some of the contestants took the term "recycled" quite literally, and we saw clothes made of magazines, empty juice packs, garbage bags and so forth.
Style Week Providence 045

Style Week Providence 036

Style Week Providence 018

Style Week Providence 019
I found this one the most intriguing. The top is made of folded newspaper, and the skirt appears to be a kitchen trash bag with grocery bag flowers.

Style Week Providence 040

Style Week Providence 041
But for Bear the star of the show was this number. Apparently the judges felt the same way, because it took home the prize for the evening. If you're wondering, yes that's an industrial mop and clothes pins.

Thursday night I was back by myself (darn those midterms!), so I was able to stay for all three shows of the evening.

First up was Karen Sabag. She had a line of evening and wedding gowns that was just dazzling. The dresses were flirty and feminine, but the biggest reactions of the walk were for a barely-there red lace number with a flounce at the waist

and a fluffy skirted wedding dress with a crystal beaded bodice.
Click through for larger pictures. You'll especially want to see the fascinator (blusher?) on the bride. It's stunning.

Next was Candice Wu, with a collection that was definitely edgier, with lots of leather and black, and focused on day wear.

I really liked this outfit, especially the OD green shirt.

She also had a lovely gown that played in the same style, with the leather gloves and jacket toughening up the soft falls of fabric.
Candice Wu Couture - black gown

The look carried through to the straps and buckles on the back of the jacket.
Candice Wu Couture - black gown back

Last, but not least, was Chances R, by designer Toni Lyn Spaziano. I'd gotten to meet with Toni before the show and was eager to see her designs.

Most of it was daywear, with a definite vintage sensibility. I could see inspiration from the mid-century in the suits and dresses. The color scheme was mostly black and white.
Chances R - black top w black and white skirt

Chances R - black and white check w cape
I thought it was charming that a couple of her designs included age-appropriate matching dresses for girls.

Her eveningwear added some green, metallics and feathers.
Chances R - short green dress w feathered skirt

Prior to and between shows was the Accessories Showcase (by Blue Suede), a collection of accessories vendors from around the area. Bear and I talked to most of them, and are looking forward to featuring their work individually.

We had a great time at Style Week, and hope we get the opportunity to go again this summer, when the 2013 Spring/Summer fashions will be showcased.

Friday, January 27, 2012

From the I {heart{ Rhody Flickr group

Conimicut Lighthouse
Conimicut Lighthouse by nelights

Slash! Off the top of a cold NE wave.
Slash! Off the top of a cold NE wave. by robert.rinkel

Sailboat at Sunset
Sailboat at Sunset by BarbaraS2009

Creative Billboards Providence R.I.
Creative Billboards Providence R.I. by BlueisCoool

Turk's Head building
Turk's Head building by boliyou (I {heart} Rhody)

After the Storm 2
After the Storm 2 by Amy Martira Photography

ceiling at l'artisan bakery in wayland square
ceiling at l'artisan bakery in wayland square by kobrienjewelry

Incoming V.2
Incoming V.2 by kylenolin

melon by M4D1

Winter Sunrise
Winter Sunrise by mediaguy4

From a Guy's Yard in E. Providence, Rhode Island #11
From a Guy's Yard in E. Providence, Rhode Island #11 by MyDay247

Fancy upshot
Fancy upshot by nat_19901

I-Way project
I-Way project by provbenson2009

Dr. Eugene M. & Jane S. Nelson House
Dr. Eugene M. & Jane S. Nelson House by robtm2010

Thanksgiving Sunrise
Thanksgiving Sunrise by Royston_Kane

Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island by Šarūnas Burdulis

Crescent Park Carousel
Crescent Park Carousel by siriusthinking

View from Castle Hill Inn
View from Castle Hill Inn by sobodda

Rhode Island
Rhode Island by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region

Calligraphy by wildiris

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dining ~ The Square Peg ~ Warren

The Square Peg
51 Miller St.
Warren, Rhode Island


We read on Yelp that The Square Peg had just opened, and were excited to give it a try. It got good recommendations.

Bear, C and I stopped in after our trip to Blue Suede, since they're not far apart. The first thing we noticed about it was the smartly dressed fire hydrant outside. It was so cute! The restaurant looked similarly charming.


Once we went in, we quickly chose one of the window seats, enjoying the novelty. There's not a lot to see in this part of Warren - chiefly residential - but it was fun to sit by the window with the fairy lights.

Window seat

The menu is fairly limited. It's soup and sandwiches for lunch and dinner, plus brunches.

Bear ordered her favorite: a Reuben, and C and I each got a cheeseburger.
Bear was happy with her sandwich, but didn't note that it was anything special.

Likewise, C and I found our cheeseburgers to be fine, but not out of the ordinary.

We did really like the atmosphere, though. The place is clean and the service is prompt. We'd likely go back to try brunch if we're in the area. Parking is a bit of an issue, though, so be prepared to walk up an appetite, and walk off your meal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Artists ~ David Dadekian

Artist’s name: David Dadekian
Shop name: David Dadekian Photography & Eat Drink RI

Twitter: @dadekian

1. Tell us about your work
My work is two-fold, one part is “traditional” photography: weddings, portraits, commercial imaging  interiors, products, etc.) and some art sales. The other part is culinary which includes photography along
with writing (and now some personal chef work and cooking education).

"Turk's Head and Glass"

2. How did you come to be a professional artist?
I always tended toward the arts. I made short films in high school and did some writing, then I went to NYU film school where I really focused on writing and the visual end of things (and film music too). Around 1990 I was doing a lot of still photography and some of my mother’s clients (she was an art consultant for RI businesses and homes) would ask her for local photography. She would show some of my photos and they sold well to lots of law offices, accountants, banks, etc. It was never enough to live on, but it was a nice supplemental income for many years. Then in 2003 I went at it full time when I invested in a very good (at the time!) digital camera and weddings became a joy instead of a chore with film. As for the writing end of
things, I’ve always written and been published. Some years were very good. Some were very lean. I’m back to very good at the moment!

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I’d like to say it’s easy if I’m excited by the subject, but let’s be honest, not every subject is inspiring. I am fortunate enough to say the vast majority of them are. Even when I’m photographing a bathroom my clients tend to be contractors who make these amazing bathrooms that are bigger than my house so it’s kind of fun and inspiring.

Weddings are always fun because they are a big, beautiful party (thankfully I’ve never had any terrible  brides). The food work is easy to be inspired by. My wife Brenda gives me a lot of inspiration as well. Mostly the inverse inspiration of realism when I’m trying to do some crazy work, which is VERY helpful.

4. What’s your favorite item to photograph?
That’s a super tough question. I think the best answer is people at work cooking. I like the food and all, but there’s rarely anything radically new whereas the actual cooking always turns up new things. I also still love doing landscape art work. I have tons of photos from around the world that rarely get seen. I need to change that.

"Monument Valley Tree"
5. What’s your best seller?
I always laugh at this question because truthfully, to me, it’s the most boring stuff. Usually lighthouses or standard Providence or Newport views sell really well. I had a client once, a buyer at a big law firm in one of the high rises in downtown Providence, who asked me if I had anything outside of RI. I was very excited because no RI business ever asks for that. I brought in a ton of photos from the American southwest (Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, etc.), the partners came in and all of them wanted my Providence cityscape photos. It’s good to sell, but it’s a little disappointing people don’t stretch a bit.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I was born here in 1971, moved to NYC in 1989 and then moved back here in 2003. I spent a bit more time here as I bounced around jobs in L.A., Massachusetts and NY in ’94 so it’s kind of hard to put a number on it. But I think I’m a lifer now (though I would live in Ireland if I could!).

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
Clearly the food and the whole culinary community. It’s a spectacularly helpful and innovative culinary environment here. Some of that has to with the size of the state and that we can get anything anywhere in around an hour or less, but the people are just wonderful. I also have always appreciated RI’s diversity. I remember when I moved to NY as a freshman at NYU and I met people at school from around the country, I was always surprised when they had never met anyone Armenian or Jewish or in some cases any race from Asia. Having grown up in RI I just always assumed the melting pot was all around everyone in this country and it wasn't.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I think it’s so great that you, Erika, a non-native, has embraced RI as much as you have. It’s a quirky place! Thank you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dining ~ Ichiban ~ Cranston

146 Gansett Ave.
Cranston, Rhode Island
(401) 432-7220

Ichiban entrance

Our first experience at Ichiban was when a server nearly bowled us over as she came barrelling out of the restaurant to chase down a couple of women who had forgotten their leftovers. It gave us a hint about the service that was right on target.

Ichiban bar

Very shortly after we were seated, we were presented with an array of appetizers.
Ichiban appetizers
Our server was happy to name and explain each one for us. Since I'm not very knowledgeable about Japanese or Korean food, it was very helpful. From left to right, you see fish cake, black beans, kimchi and pickled cucumber.

Not being a fan of fish, I didn't expect to care for the fish cakes, but we all really liked them. They were served cold, and were firm, not falling apart as they sometimes do. The black beans were a bit sweet, and al dente. It was our first experience with kimchi. Bear found it too spicy, and C doesn't care for cabbage. I thought it was okay, kind of earthy and not as spicy as I'd expected, which was a win for me. The pickled cucumber was spicy but sweet, and very fresh - like a fresh-made pickle with a bite to it. It may have been my favorite of the offerings.

Ichiban Shumai
For our appetizer we ordered shumai, agedashi tofu and edamame.
The shumai was sweet, with a salty dipping sauce. Bear and I both thought it was good.
The agedashi tofu came with a creamy sauce that was surprisingly delicate. C, who is an afficionado, declared it good. She liked that the sauce was served on the side and allowed her to soak the tofu. She rated it 8 out of 10.

We ordered hot tea, which looked pale and tasted weak and earthy to us. It smelled vaguely of rice. When we asked the server about it, she explained that it was barley tea, which immediately made more sense. We did enjoy it, once we stopped expecting it to take like black tea.

Our entrees arrived after much dithering on my part, and a lot of help from our waitress, who recommended a couple of dishes for the Korean food newbie.

California Sunshine
Bear likes sushi, and was delighted with her choice of California Sunshine: crab and avocado sushi with strawberries, kiwi and sweet orange sauce over it. She said the ingredients were very fresh, and the presentation was nice. She was so enthusiastic she said it was a dish she'd order all the time.

Ichiban sushi
Even so, she showed a lot of interest in C's dinner, spider roll and spicy tuna. C particularly liked the spider roll. The spicy tuna's sauce was different from what she was used to, and it took her a bit to adapt, but she ended up enjoying that as well.

Ichiban Bulgogi
I tried the bulgogi, which is a kind of Korean barbecued beef. It has a sweetish sauce that's more of an au jus than the traditional thick sauce I normally think of. It came mixed with carrots, broccoli and scallions. All of us tried it and we all thought it was very good.

Did I mention the service was fantastic? That extends to when I left my camera there for a week and a half, and they had it there waiting for me when I finally realized where I'd left it.