Monthly Archives: October 2009

A busy Saturday

Waiting in line

Waiting in line

This past Saturday started out like all of the other Fall ones: Jim, Zoe & Emma heading over to the Eastside for Soccer practice and me cleaning the house with the music blaring. Around 11:30am, Jim called to say, “The Lincoln School is having a Festival of Children’s Books & their Authors, why don’t you head over here and join us?” “Sure”, I said. “Let me just finish up here and I’ll head right over.” Of course it took me almost 2 hrs to finish up, but I made it in time to see this line in front of the Lincoln School!  Wow, I thought, is that line for an author?! Oh heavens no (those long lines were inside!), the line was for the Chez Pascal Mobile Food Truck (sausages, sandwiches, soups, oh my)!! Hewtin's Dogs Mobile

I skipped that line and headed indoors to meet up with the family. Jim was about through with the crowds, so he and Zoe took off for the playground. I ventured into the gymnasium to wait in line with Emma for well-known authors:

Chris Van Allsburg and Brian Selznick.

Waiting to meet Chris Van Allsburg!

Waiting to meet Chris Van Allsburg!

Seeing Emma waiting in line for her favorite authors reminded me of myself when I meet a favorite Chef.

Emma meeting Brian Selznick

Emma meeting Brian Selznick

We finally headed outside towards the Mobile Food Truck, only to have Chef/Owner Matt Gennuso tell me they were all sold out of everything!! He did have some scrumptious squash soup left, so he ladled some into a cup for me. Thank you Chef!!

Deciding what to have.

Deciding what to have.

On the way home, I stopped at Venda Ravioli on Federal Hill and stocked up on cold cuts and meat for the week. I couldn’t resist: Hot & Sweet Capicola, Tuscan Salami, Sharp Provolone, Spinach & Herb Pork Sausage, Short Ribs and more.

Constantino's Venda Ravioli

Constantino's Venda Ravioli

After we arrived home we discovered that the Buckeyes had lost the game. :( Jim and I decided to go to the movies to cheer ourselves up! We went to see: “Paris” at The Avon Cinema on Thayer St. An enjoyable flick, reminding us to head back to Paris as soon as possible! Despite the fact that we had popcorn while watching the movie, we were still hungry. How can you not be, while walking down Thayer St.? Wonderful aromas emanating from all sorts of restaurants and cafes. The choices can be mind-boggling, but we settled on our favorite: Nice Slice Pizzeria.

Nice Slice at night.

Nice Slice at night.

A tiny pizzeria,

Interior of Nice Slice

Interior of Nice Slice

Nice Slice table

Nice Slice table

Nice Slice has a wide array of toppings and choices. Everything from a simple meat pie to more Vegetarian- friendly selections. We settled on two slices:

cranberry-almond-spinach & feta on whole wheat

cranberry-almond-spinach & feta on whole wheat

tomato-mozzarella (fabulous and traditional) & cranberry-almond-spinach-feta on whole wheat crust(amazing!).

a Shepard Fairey original

a Shepard Fairey original

Jim & I made a decision then and there: when we decide to take a Friday night off from making our own pizza, we WILL happily drive across town for pizza from Nice Slice!!

We ended a fun-filled day with a couple beers (Brooklyn Lager) at E & O Tap. A cool, dimly lit bar full of west-side hipsters playing pool and listening to great music on the jukebox.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty beat now.

I wonder what activities next Saturday will hold? (hint: a good friend’s Bar Mitzvah!)

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Getting lost in Connecticut

We really wanted to get out of the house and pick apples on Saturday. It was a beautiful New England Fall day and I wanted to incorporate a nice drive into the day so we headed north from Providence on Route 7. I love this road; as soon as you pass Bryant University, the road narrows and becomes so pictuaresque. Not a light in sight, just the occasional stop sign! We cruised all the way up to Douglas, MA. At this point I realized I did not have a map and I forgot the addresses of the two apple orchards we wanted to drive to, so we took a left and ended up at Douglas State Forest. Bordering both CT & RI, this 5, 730 acre state forest is home to Wallum Lake.

Wallum Lake

A beautiful area where visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and hiling through woodland trails. I only wish we had packed some food to enjoy a picnic with!

Lush green grass in the clearing.

After a short hike through the woods, we took a left outside of the Forest entrance and headed towards the orchards – or so we thought. We were enjoying the scenery(stately town greens, 18th century farmhouses), but nothing looked familiar. Soon we saw signs for Thompson Speedway, which has the highest-banked race track(a 5/8 mile oval) in New England . A short time later we ended up in the center of historic and charming Thompson, CT(inc. 1785). Fierce Dragonnear: Marianapolis Prep SchoolHaunted House or great fixer-upper?

We were pretty hungry at this point, and luckily saw signs for a farm stand! We drove down a charming road and ended up at Chase Road Growers. They had pumpkins and peppers and squash galore. Zoe grabbed a basket and went “shopping for supper”. The rest if us were just happy to purchase a few apples to tied us over till we found our way back home. Jayne Reynolds, the owner, told us the apples came from Woodstock Orchards just down the road in Woodstock CT, so off we went determined to pick some before the sun went down.  We headed south on Rt. 169, 32-miles of which, is a National Scenic Highway.

I have radar for small independent shops, cafes and the like and spied the most adorable tea shop: Mrs. Bridges’ Pantry(860-963-7040): “a little slice of Britain…”. Located at 292 Rt. 169, this was a little gem of a shop where you can pick out a beautiful bone china tea pot from England, English pantry items and even sit down for a respite and enjoy a a perfectly prepared pot of tea paired with scones. We had no time for tea, but we did pick up some goodies for the road.

Woodstock Orchards ended up being just down the road about 5 minutes. We had 1 hour left to pick apples so we got to work. They only had about 4 varieties available to pick, so we stuck with two:  Empire & Ida Red: both great for eating and baking. Jim purchased a bag of Bosc Pears to make some jam with and we were done!

We went south on Rt. 169, took a left on Rt. 6 and made our way back to Rhode Island. We had every intention of making supper at home, but as the hour reached 6pm, we realized we would be much too tired, so we stopped at a place we have been meaning to check out for years now: Cindy’s Diner in North Scituate, RI. One of the last classic diners left in New England. The retro, blinking, neon sign beckoned us in. We enjoyed Roast Pork with mashed potatoes and butternut squash and split a piece of cranberry apple pie. A scrumptious way to end the drive!

Check out this video I made of the trip. Hope it inspires you to go for a drive and get lost!

Fall in “The Quiet Corner” Connecticut.

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