Monday, April 30, 2012

Sights ~ S.75 - AL - America One by Dušan Džamonja ~ Providence

S. 75 AL - "America One" by Dušan Džamonja

This sculpture sits just off Thayer Street in Providence, at the entrance to the Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Center for Information Technology.

It was a gift to Brown University, by Art Joukowsky (class of 1955) and Martha, his wife (class of 1958). Joukowsky had served as Vice Chancellor, and Martha as Associate Professor of Old World Archaeology and Art.

The sculpture , by Croatian sculptor Dušan Džamonja, was dedicated in 1990. Džamonja frequently used circles and spheres in his work, which most often focused on the heroes and victims of World War II, using found metal.

Friday, April 27, 2012

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Untitled by provbenson2009

Quick pop off the top in the inside foam.
Quick pop off the top in the inside foam. by robert.rinkel

Egret in Flight
Egret in Flight by R Joanne

From a Guy's Yard in E. Providence, Rhode Island #17
From a Guy's Yard in E. Providence, Rhode Island #17 by MyDay247

George DeWolf - Samuel P. Colt House
George DeWolf - Samuel P. Colt House by robtm2010

Warren RI
Warren RI by jambori39

Block Island, RI
Block Island, RI by bell7283

RSCN1368 by BarbaraS2009

Hard Cider in the Winter
Hard Cider in the Winter by GoProvidenceRI

We're in it for the chicks
We're in it for the chicks by dadofliz

S. 75 AL - "America One" by Dušan Džamonja
S. 75 AL - "America One" by Dušan Džamonja by boliyou (I {heart} Rhody)

Blue Waters
Blue Waters by Carly Sabatino

IMG_0932 by E Godfrey

IMG_2810.2 by Amy Martira Photography

Falling Geese
Falling Geese by j.edward ferguson

Mossy Rock
Mossy Rock by MackayPhotography

Pale. by kylenolin

Film wheels
Film wheels by kobrienjewelry

121411_46_melissa_denmark by jwessel

The Westin
The Westin by Jerri Moon Cantone

Tattered by markv20

Pink and Blue Windows
Pink and Blue Windows by martha_jean

Let it Shine
Let it Shine by MattJohnston401

BIg Red
BIg Red by nat_19901

Tranquil Beachgate
Tranquil Beachgate by mmgiard

The Providence Dancing Cop
The Providence Dancing Cop by Rick Payette

Sachuset Point
Sachuset Point by Royston_Kane

Rushing River
Rushing River by wildiris

DSC_7018-Edit.jpg by Wilks2010

Kayaking in Mackerel Cove (B&W) - Jamestown, Rhode Island
Kayaking in Mackerel Cove (B&W) - Jamestown, Rhode Island by misterfoto

St Charles Borromeo interior
St Charles Borromeo interior by mehjg

Harbour Lights from Newport Rhode Island   EXPLORED
Harbour Lights from Newport Rhode Island EXPLORED by Swissrock

That looks gross.
That looks gross. by siriusthinking

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sights ~ The Milk Can ~ North Smithfield

The Milk Can
920 Eddie Dowling Highway
North Smithfield, Rhode Island

We were heading toward Woonsocket when we saw The Milk Can again. Now, I've been meaning to photograph this landmark since we moved here, but either we were too rushed or the weather was bad or...something.

But there it was, on a beautiful Saturday. Opportunity knocked, and I answered.

As it turned out, it was a better opportunity than I'd even hoped. I've thought it was a shame that this cute building had been left to decay.

The Milk Can under repair

When I stopped to take photos, I discovered Steve, the owner, hard at work to fix the place up. We chatted awhile, and he told me that he's planning to refurbish the place, and to open it up to sell ice cream (local ice cream) in the spring of 2013, which was the original purpose of the building.

The Milk Can
You can see that Steve's also working on the wiring in the apron.

The Milk Can
The Milk Can was originally owned by Charles Plante. I can't tell exactly when it was built, but it was originally on the Louisquisett Pike, which was opened to motor traffic in 1928-29. The apron and kitchen ell were added in the 1950s, and a patio area was added in the 1960s.

The structure was moved from its original location in the late 1980's or early 1990's. It has remained unopen. Steve told me that his grandfather had owned the building, and worked on rehabbing it in his spare time, but passed away before he was able to finish the project. Steve plans to finish his grandfather's work.

From The Milk Can's and Art In Ruins' pages:
"The Milk Can is significant for its exemplification of aspects of early twentieth century commercial and transportation history. It is a charateristic example of a distinctive and fast-disappearing phase of the first period of automobile-oriented commerce. The Milk Can represents the earliest period of snack food merchandising. Located on a major highway, it was designed to act as a “sign,” and immediate, eye-catching attraction to auto travelers on the Louisquisset Pike. The heyday of such mimetic architecture was in the 1920s and 1930s, and examples are now rare. 
The Milk Can's flamboyant form is a good expression of the retailing imperitives of its decade. Unlike the highway-oriented chain fast-food outlets of today, whose proprietors can rely upon nation-wide promotion and advertising to gain the recognition and attention of travelers, the Milk Can’s owner, who built in an era of individual entrepreneurship, required a structure which could demand the motorist’s notice, immediately focus his attention, and act as an advertisement for itself."
I look forward to watching the progress, and to trying some local ice cream next year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Artists ~ Courtney Church ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Courtney Church
Business name: Periodically Inspired
Location: Providence, RI
Etsy shop:

1. Tell us about your work My designs are based on the Periodic Table Of Elements - we all remember this from chemistry class! As Sam Kean (author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon) says, "People remember the table with a mix of fascination, fondness, inadequacy and loathing."

I try to keep the phrases intellectually themed by using words such as "wise" and "brainy", and I integrate plays on words such as "Talk Nerdy To Me" and "Wise Ass".

My designs are printed on baby onesies, adult tshirts and tank tops, underwear, coffee mugs and pint glasses and iphone gel-skins. I also plan to bring back bumper stickers and baby bibs this year.

via Etsy
2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter? I've always used the Periodic Table as a sort of word-find, but I started making words with the intention to start making designs as a way to keep busy one boring winter weekend. Now I don't remember the last time I was bored. Periodically Inspired has taken off and kept me very busy - whether it's preparing for arts shows, managing inventory, fulfilling store orders or posting new items to Etsy... there's always something to do.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? Dmitri Mendeleev, the creator of the Periodic Table of Elements, has been my primary inspiration!

4. What’s your favorite item to make? I actually love the baby onesies the most, because the colors are so great. At first I experimented with different colors for adult tees, but I’ve pulled back a lot since adults tend to go for black and white. I still want to bring back red and maybe turquoise for adults, though.

via Periodically Inspired
5. What’s your best seller? The W.I.Se. As.S. tshirts have done very well, but Talk N.Er.Dy. To Me is not too far behind these days.

via Etsy
6. How long have you been in Rhode Island? Since age 0.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? Being near the ocean means a lot to me, even if I can't make it to the beach each weekend. At least I know it's there. And I like knowing that good seafood is nearby, too!

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I'm having a lot of fun growing the Periodically Inspired brand. It’s been great building relationships with RI stores, too. Currently my products are in Pie In The Sky on Thayer Street, Mod Mama in Wayland Square, Homestyle in downtown Providence, Different Drummer in Wickford, Primavera in Newport, The Greenery in Warren and Silver Clay in Wakefield. I've recently acquired a second sales rep in the Midwest, Square1 Reps, and I look forward to getting my products into more stores in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Idaho! Etsy business continues to grow, and I’m really looking forward to next month for graduation and then another holiday season!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Events ~ Craftopia ~ April 28, 10am-4-pm ~ Pawtucket

Hope Artiste Village
999 Main St.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
{alternate and best entrance is around the corner on Warren Avenue}
Saturday, April 28, 10 AM - 4 PM.

Craftopia will showcase the work of 58 talented artists ad crafters. There will be food trucks outside and iced coffee inside, along with a few surprises.

Free parking is located behind the building.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dining ~ Gracie's ~ Providence

194 Washington St.
Providence, Rhode Island
(401) 272-7811

Bear, C and I went to Gracie's on a whim, and lucked into an available table. It was one of the best meals I've ever had in a restaurant.

Dining room

It's a very elegant (and dimly lit) restaurant, with a star theme. This was the wall over our table:

Stars on the wall

The meal got off to an iffy start with a plate of crispy salmon railettes with capers. Although they had a pleasant start, they had a strong fishy aftertaste that I didn't care for.

One of the servers came around with a basket of bread that included a lovely sourdough cranberry. It was moist with just the right amount of chewiness. I'd have bought a loaf if it was available.

We decided to try the three course prix-fixe menu, each order different courses and share them around.

C's appetizer was potato gnocchi with oxtail, foraged mushrooms, celeriac puree and provolone. We all enjoyed it. I thought it was a nice combination, where no one flavor overpowered anything else. There was a strong woodsy/earthy sense to it, and the mushrooms really played that up.

I had the local potato soup with house cured bacon bits, caramelized onion, creme fraiche and black truffle. I was a little confused by the presentation at first: the bowl was brought in with the creme fraiche, bacon, onion and truffle in it, then the soup poured over it. Once I realized that the pat of creme in the middle of the bowl wasn't the entire soup experience, I thought it was a really neat way to go about it. The soup was delicious, although I couldn't identify the taste of truffle.

C thought that, after stirring in the bacon, the soup had just the right amount of salt. Bear liked the mix of flavors.

Local Potato Soup house cured bacon bits, caramelized onion, crème fraiche, black truffle

Bear's appetizer was, naturally, the Hudson Valley foie gras with beluga lentils, butternut squash, shaved chestnuts, pickled cranberries. Hardly surprising, since Bear is a foie gras fiend.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras Beluga lentils, butternut squash, shaved chestnuts, pickled cranberries

While I thought the combination was delicious, smooth and moist with sharp sauce that had a barbecue-type flavor, Bear felt it was too salty for her taste, and a bit underdone.

After a palate-cleansing grapefruit sorbet that had all the taste of grapefruit with none of the bitter bite, we were on to the main course.

C tried the Bomster sea scallops with charred Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, celery root and cranberry mostarda.

Bomster Sea Scallops  charred Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, celery root, cranberry mostarda

I loved the way the bright taste of the sauce brought out the flavor of the scallops. The scallops themselves seemed a bit undercooked, but the overall combination was great. C seemed to enjoy it as well.

Bear's choice was the Crescent Farms duck with roasted root vegetables, pomegranate, foie gras confit ravioli and sage reduction.

Crescent Farms Duck roasted root vegetables, pomegranate, foie gras-confit ravioli, sage reduction

Honestly, I've never seen her react like this to food before. She was charmed by the presentation and the "adorable" ravioli. The sauce was really good, with a citrusy aftertaste, and the duck was "perfect." Her only complaint was that she couldn't have more.

I thought the duck was very good, but I'm not a big fan of duck and was happy to let Bear have the lion's share.

My main course was the ribeye, potato croquette, poached garlic fondu, spicy greens, pearl onion confit and bordolaise.

All Natural Black Angus Ribeye potato croquette, poached garlic fondue, spicy greens, pearl onion confit, bordelaise

The meat was perfectly cooked, the garlic sweet and pungent. The greens weren't exactly spicy, but certainly substantial enough to stand up to the beef, and the sauce was perfect. It was the best steak I've ever had.

C liked the steak, but didn't care for the garlic fondu. She felt it was too vinegary, and that the greens were too salty.

Bear had no interest in trying the steak. She was more interested in saving more duck for herself.

Then it was time for dessert.

My word, they were good.

The clear favorite was my dessert, the chocolate hazelnut mousse with toasted spice cake, poached cranberries and brown butter ice cream.


Bear commented that the spice cake lace looked like angel wings, and I had to agree. The presentation was beautiful, and set us up for the experience.

C, who's not often left wordless, could only say "wow," when she first tasted the mousse. Eventually she followed up with "this is exactly the way mousse should taste and feel." It was smooth and creamy, and the crisp spicy wings set it off perfectly. I liked the browned butter ice cream quite a bit, too. Everyone who attempts mousse aspires to this.

Bear tried creme brulee for the first time, and was not disappointed.
Gracie’s Madagascar Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee
The crisp caramel shell covered a delicate, creamy pudding with just the right touch of Madagascar vanilla. Excellent.

Caitlin ordered Cherry Clafoutis with toasted rye crumbles, honeycomb, and lemon-thyme ice cream. Caitlin loves cherries, so it was a good choice for her, it still wasn't quite the success of the other desserts. I will say that I loved the lemon-thyme ice cream and would have paired it with the mousse.
Cherry Clafoutis toasted rye crumbles, honeycomb, lemon-thyme ice cream

Gracie's is not "cheap eats." It's excellent food, skillfully prepared and presented, and the prices represent that. We didn't limit ourselves in terms of what we ordered (although none of us had alcohol), and dinner for three cost nearly $200. It's definitely possible to eat there for less, however. And the food is definitely worthy of special occasions.