RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Local Restaurant Reviews

Our friends know that we like to eat out.  Or we’re lazy.  My partner is an amazing cook, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do after a long day at work.  A lot of new restaurants have opened near us in the past year.  Here are some review-ish notes of local restaurants we have tried.

Simones in Warren, RI.  This place is owned by the man who use to own The Sunnyside which was a popular breakfast and lunch place on Water Street.  They bought a restaurant on Rt. 103 or Child Street that has been home to a number of not so good dinner places.  When we lived in Warren it was a dinner place with live entertainment on the weekends.  We have seen quite a few bands play there.  First, let me say it is good that they have parking since parking is such an issue in Warren.  However, they have not used the space in front of the building wisely, as it is wasted parking space, in my opinion, with large areas of mulch we had to walk through to get to the front. Poor curb appeal.  Hopefully they will do something with it in the spring.  Their menus change weekly, which is a nice touch.

We sat at the bar.  Immediately Jeff said to me that they need a low temp glasswasher as each time they opened the glasswasher, steam poured over and up the bar.  All the stemware was set behind the bar, glass side up, ready to be filled with dust.  These pieces need to be hanging.  We ordered a few different dishes to try.  The lobster ravioli had little lobster flavor.  It was very bland.  The cucumber martini was delicious but I had to ask for a second.  A good bartender will ask you if you want another drink before you do.  We ordered the bowl of marinated olives but the olive picks didn’t work very well, so we had to use our fingers.  They really could have used a second bartender that night.  The server who was carrying drinks near us needed some training as she was carrying her tray with two hands in front of her.  As someone who waited tables from 1988 to 1993, I wonder how you can even get a job as a server without knowing how to carry a food or drink tray. The Grand Marnier was a good pour at the end of our meal.

I went back with my sister-in-law for drinks and small plates a few weeks later.  The grilled lobster was horrible but the baked oysters were delicious.  Then we brought friends for brunch in December and everything was good, except my Eggs Benedict, which were overcooked.  The three times we have gone, there’s always been something not quite right about our meals, so I am hesitate to return.

In mid to late October, we attempted to get into Eli’s Kitchen, which everyone was raving about, but there is no place to hang out there if there is a wait, so we stumbled into Metacom Kitchen, where Tinker’s Nest was for years.  No parking for this place.  It was pouring out that night (remember October?) and we had to park way down Metacom Avenue to find a spot on the street.  The owners are, Richard & Sue Allaire.  Richard was recently a chef and part owner at Providence Coal Fired Pizza.  He was a also a chef at Tuckers in Newport.

The use of the space, in general, was our biggest issue with the place.  The art work is weird and too small for the space.  The layout of the dining room is wasted space.  They could easily put two more 4-tops in the middle.  And every time the door opens, you get a big gust of wind as there is no barrier/entryway.  Jeff was impressed by the flatware.  We tried the egg in a blanket and it was amazing.  Strangely, in this new day of mixology, there was no drink menu.  Jeff had the burger, as he always does when we try a new place.  And I had the salmon but highly disliked the strange mushroom side dish that came with it.  We weren’t blown away at all.  Not sure if we’ll go back.

Two weeks ago, Thursday, we tried The Aviary, which recently opened in Swansea on Rt. 6, next door to Tickles.  Tickles is a country store with a boutique approach.  They sell jewelry, clothing, Stonewall Kitchens, and knick knacks.  They are also famous for their Tea Room where they sell sandwiches and soups.  Their new restaurant, directly adjacent to Tickles has a beautiful interior design.  Two big rooms, one with a bar and the other with a fireplace are tastefully decorated and laid out.  A lot of money went into the design of this place.  Walking in, on a very cold January night, however, one wonders why the entrance is the furthest place from the parking lot.

We went with another couple and got their early so ordered drinks at the bar.  I had their specialty cocktail, the Whooping Crane, which is organic cucumber vodka with muddled basil and lemon, topped with lemonade and club soda.  Jeff had the Foul Game which was bourbon infused with apples and cinnamon sticks.  Mine was delicious.

For appetizers we tried the duck wings and the deviled eggs.  I wasn’t a fan of either.  The eggs were boring.  If you’re going to serve deviled eggs as an appetizer, they need to be jazzed up in an interesting way.  The best deviled eggs I have tried, since they’ve become a popular restaurant item, were at the Red Fez in Providence.  I ordered the Lobster Salad Roll.  It was good but I don’t think the lobster was very fresh.  Jeff had The Aviary burger, our friend’s had the Aviary grilled pizza and the Handmade Gnocci.  Everyone was pleased with their food and the service.  We will return.  The grilled pizza looked delicious and would be a great meal to have at the bar one night.  I would include the link to their restaurant, but they do not appear to have a website yet.  I had to find the menu on Facebook.

Last week we finally made it to Eli’s Kitchen. We were relieved to finally get into the place.  We sat at the communal table, rather than waiting for a 2 top.  We ordered the Shiraz.  The server let us taste both of the red wines on the menu and the Shiraz had more earth than the Cabernet Franc.  We tried their famous Sweet Chili Cauliflower.  It was outstanding.  For dinner I had the Seared Bomster Scallops, served over a ragout of braised pork and heirloom beans, fingerling potatoes, lemon relish and chervil.  The lemon relish topped each of the scallops.  It was outstanding.  I licked my plate clean.  Jeff tried the Eli’s Kitchen Burger, saying to me as he ordered, “I have to try out the burger to judge every new place.”  He said it was much better than the Aviary burger.  IMG_1592

So, there’s your brief tour of new restaurants in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island as you voyage through 2015.  I’d love to hear your critiques!

 

 

Advertisements

The Freedom to . . . Speak

Freedom-of-Speech-united-states-of-america-21760995-960-720

The Washington Post showed Charlie Hebdo’s cover of this week’s issue in their article discussing it.  The New Yorker didn’t. Nor did The New York Times.  (Although their online edition contains a link to Charlie Hebdo).  I read an article online about the new edition with the caricature of Mohammed crying, holding a sign that says “Je suis Charlie” and the words above him Tout Est Pardonne (All is forgiven).  I hesitated before posting the article on my facebook page.

Yesterday I saw a friend’s post that said “Why is no one posting the cover of this week’s Charlie Hebdo on Facebook? I believe The Times ran a front-page article, but neglected to print the image. We all get kind of quiet when it’s truly risky, myself included.” People are critical of The New York Times not posting it because print readers do not have the access to the links provided to online readers.

This is all very timely in connection to the hack of Sony Pictures in response to the release of The Interview.  There are literal violent attacks on free speech taking place in the world.

As a theatre artist and a writer, this is heavy shit.  And it should give anyone pause who writes, who tries to express themselves through art, pause.  These attacks are on artists.  The people who made The Interview are writers, directors, and actors.  The people who work at Charlie Hebdo are artists and writers.  If you are an artist or writer, you should be upset by this.  Very upset.  And you should be speaking out about what this means.

I have written things that people don’t like.  They tell me.  I tell them I appreciate their opinion.  And then we move on because it is my opinion.  I have also had people comment on my blog in hateful and misogynistic ways.  I delete them.  The difference to me is that we can disagree with each other without being hateful.  We can express our opinion without hate.  Once hate or violence enters the discussion or the debate, we’re not going to come to any understanding or respect for each other.

After 911, the citizens of this country did not come together for a Unity March against terrorism.  We became very afraid.  I honor the people of Paris and of France for coming together against violence, coming together against attacks on free speech.  For coming together.  Period.

images

We are not a nation that tends to come together for much.  We tend to unravel, mistrust, and debate in nasty ways.  It saddens me.  The recent divide on the killing of black men is a perfect example.  I have seen more hate on facebook by defensive white people than I have ever seen.

The gray that is our world is unacceptable to so many people who want to live in the black and white.  Audre Lorde, a feminist writer and activist whose writing inspired so much of who I am and what I believe said “your silence will not protect you.”  She was right.  If we cannot speak and act and create, why live?

dhrimages

It’s 2015 and Agent Carter is Here!

agent carter

Many of my friends and colleagues understand my obsession with Wonder Woman.  I collect all things Wonder Woman and obsessively rant about the lack of female superheroes in today’s media.  In fact, I wrote a play for my doctoral dissertation about the lack of female superheros.  There has not been a Wonder Woman movie.  I know, one is coming, one is coming, but I’m not holding my breath.   Catwoman has had one movie about her, and secondary parts in other Batman movies, but rarely does a tv show or movie feature a strong woman superhero.

Last night I watched the season premiere of Agent Carter. It’s 1946, men are back from war, and Agent Peggy Carter is now being pushed aside as the male agents of the SSR fight crime.  The sexism is rampant in the mostly male cast, but that’s the point.  It’s campy and vampy like a superhero show should be.

H. Shaw Williams critiques the show for not being feminist on Screen Rant.  While I agree with much of what she says, I don’t agree that the show isn’t feminist.  When I look around at how women are represented throughout our media, I will take any positive and powerful expression I can find.  And Agent Carter is that.  She is strong, powerful and smart.  And while it is an “old” story of “I’m just as good as the men” or “treat me like the boys,” it’s still a good message.  And it’s 1946, we have to remember, and the world was much different then.

H. Shaw Williams seems young.  I don’t know her or her writing, but for young women who don’t have any experience watching strong women kick butt and take names, this is a show to watch.  I agree there should be more women on the show and better representation, but we have to start somewhere and I think Marvel might have a beginning here.

Does this give me hope for 2015?  It does.  While the 81% male House of Representatives spends all its time trying to strip away my reproductive rights and any hope I have for social security, I can at least look to Marvel and think, there is the tiniest bit of hope in this dark woman hating universe.agent-carter-7683

my feminist praxis

critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

Ashley.Bendiksen.

The official blog: My personal manifesto on living your best life, every day.

Eric Brewton

A great WordPress.com site

The Feminist Critic

Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.