Thursday, September 29, 2011
Where Milkshakes are Cabinets
The other weekend, I endured the incivilities and physical ardor of public transportation to journey up north for a return visit to Providence, Rhode Island, spending the weekend with my lovely and dear friend Rebecca. During my prior visit, we had driven past the Brown University campus, where Rebecca attends graduate school, however, did not stop to actually traverse the grounds. As she was teaching a literature section Friday morning, I took the opportunity to amble a bit, in solitude, and was pleased but not at all surprised at the bucolically traditional nature of the institution. New England was in the midst of fall temperatures, and despite the verdant trees, the entire campus had an autumnal aura. While I loved the almost schizophrenic amalgamation of architecture and design at my own alma mater, a campus quad of cohesive brick and stone buildings is always beautiful.
Following her class, Rebecca and I enjoyed the sun, walking to a favorite brunch and lunch location near her new apartment, Nick's On Broadway. Before dining, we captured a few photographs in the sun, facetiously feigning earnest street style poses.
This wool jacket, with its loose structure and extreme versatility, is a wonderful seasonal transition piece; Rebecca scored the beautiful number while visiting one of our mutual friends out in Los Angeles. It looks meticulous and lovely whether hanging open, or wrapped with a thin belt; I am definitely envious.
Black teaching appropriate shoes that tie, with comfortable heels, perfect for standing before your trembling students and exuding an air of intellectual superiority. While simultaneously instilling a sense of academic confidence, or something.
Rebecca is petite; this beautiful fuchsia wool skirt was once her mother's, who boasts longer legs, and Rebecca wisely had the skirt altered to better suit her frame. The result is an ideal skirt for class, or for social calls. Though vintage, from another era, a tailored wool skirt never fades from style.
With round lens among the trends recently, I was drawn to these vintage Isaac Mizrahi sunglasses, as they emulate the look, without being so bombastic. This black tuxedo blazer served me well for the weekend against the chill; clean black goes with many outfits, when packing accordingly.
I was not able to resist this cotton maxi dress, especially since I found it on the cheap; it is comfortable, and for the most part, has served as a long skirt these past few weeks while wandering around and running errands.
After making a spectacle of ourselves in the street, we arrived to Nick's On Broadway famished; Rebecca enjoyed the corn-encrusted blue fish, politely declining the optional poached egg garnish. Perhaps the correct decision for her cholesterol, but I have a poached egg whenever presented the opportunity.
Pretending to be ladies who lunch, we drank a glass and a half of wine with our meal; mine was a stubbornly subtle and strong red, from France, an organic wine that I probably would not have selected in a store. It was quite enjoyable.
Pulled pork sandwich, an atypical choice for the New England area, but delicious nonetheless.
Friday evening, Rebecca and her new roommate, Devon, hosted a housewarming party to welcome friends old and new into their joint home. Naturally, we journeyed to neighboring Massachusetts in order to purchase an arsenal of tax-free, reduced priced gin and vodka for the classic cocktail features of the evening. I found this greater than life-sized rendition of Captain Morgan, affixed to a platform near the ceiling, to be particularly alluring.
Accessories for the evening: large round gold earrings, potentially an inch or so in diameter, red leather belt with gold buckle, and lucite and black bangles. Leopard print and bright cherry red has always been a favorite combination. This particular dress has a looser fit, and definitely benefits from being cinched at the waist.
An array of cheeses, bleu, cheddar, and brie, to help sate the group of party-goers and to pair with martinis.
The temporary bar for the evening, constructed from Rebecca's butcher block; her chivalrous boyfriend Andrew was a kind and diligent bartender.
Golden Betsey Johnson shoes, also from a shop out in Los Angeles, and Rebecca's new carpet, a beautiful present from her father.
Party preparations, as they tend to, included some artfully crafted text messages.
Rebecca and Devon in their lovely cocktail attire; thankfully, most of the guests followed the suggested dress code. It was a pleasant and fun atmosphere, without the rowdiness of undergraduate affairs; graduate students are certainly refined. Pop music never, ever starts playing past midnight.
Devon is a vegan, and had received these vegan pearls as a gift; I would love to learn more about the process.
Anticipating the guests, we made sure to capture the only photograph of the two of us for the evening.
Devon debuted her Mad Men-inspired Banana Republic dress; the blue floral pattern is a great modern update to some of the trendy florals of the 1960s, and complements her coloring so well. An ideal cut and dress for an evening of traditional libations.
Saturday morning, Rebecca and I went to the Providence farmer's market, in search of luscious shellfish. Up north, the peaches are still heavy on the tree boughs.
The boutique hotdog and sausage stand that parks near the farmer's market sells the substance dreams are made of: chorizo with sweet and hot peppers, doused in egg salad. I cannot even begin to describe how delicious this treat is.
Local soda, which, though amusing, I must admit did not quench my appetite for a strong cream flavor, as I was hoping.
After the farmer's market, Rebecca and I visited the heart of Providence's Italian neighborhood, which a recent and beloved mayor transformed to a type of faux Mediterranean terrace, complete with a large trickling fountain and these frescoes mimicking Renaissance iconography.
It is in this neighborhood that one can have poultry and other fine game animals butchered for them, thrashing feet and a racing heart quickly become a mound for an evening meal.
Despite having devoured a delicious sausage and bun a mere few hours prior, I managed to sample some of the baked goods: an eclair and a cannoli.
Since moving to Providence, Rebecca has acquired a seafood expertise, specifically honing her shucking skills; while I tend to order oysters from Canadian waters while at restaurants, I found these local oysters simultaneously mild and flavorful.
Freshly made ravioli, stuffed with prosciutto and provolone; Rebecca made a delicious homemade tomato sauce to top the pasta.