Friday, May 23, 2014


This has nothing to do with food or restaurants but food people do like to nose around other peoples' houses and gardens. Three local and semi-local opportunities:

Westport Art Group's Artists in the Garden tour: See lovely gardens, artists at work, eat a terrific boxed lunch at one of the gardens, and maybe buy a painting. This is a mid-week event, Wednesday, June 11.

Stonington Garden Club tour: Visit the astoundingly beautiful town of Stonington, CT and tour local gardens June 13th and 14th, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Providence Preservation Society's annual house and loft tour: On Saturday June 13th, visit historic homes around Cooke Street on the East Side. Take a look at Cooke Street and you'll see why this could be a great tour. The Preservation tours are always a mixed bag, i.e., one house may be over-the-top interesting to see (and give you shelter envy) and another will be an artsy mish-mosh (and give you solace), but worth the ticket. On Sunday, June 14th, tour the Pearl Street lofts and see amazing spaces.


For Rhode Islanders West Side usually means Federal Hill. If you're young, or reasonably hip, or a foodie, West Side means Broadway. Venture farther still and try Loie Fuller's (1455 Westminster Street, Providence  401-273-4375), a bar resplendent with Art Deco woodwork and painting.

Dinner here is bistro fare featuring about ten main courses: a couple of steaks, duck, maybe bass,  scallops, something with chicken and always vegetarian choices. Small plates include excellent salads (lardon aplenty), snails, mussels and frites. A little high in the calorie count but that's comfort food. And it's good comfort. The dining room, open to the bar, is just a fraction up the dress scale from neighborhood bar - casual, it just happens to evoke Piaf and give the sense that it's okay to linger.

You see all kinds of people here, young to old (no tots). Prices are reasonable, main courses range from $15 to $21, but it's common to see a table of "graduate student types" (my, probably totally inaccurate, catch-all phrases for young, interesting-looking persons who don't look rich) eating appetizers and drinking beer.

A plus for me is that the bartender knows what he's doing and can mix modern no-nonsense cocktails (i.e., not the sweet trash served at 95% of local venues).