Watching the game, changing seats, and picking their favorite players.

Watching the game, changing seats, and picking their favorite players.

We’re not big sports fans in our house. So the first day my older daughter played Little League, I realized that it might help her to know the rules by actually watching a few games (we then discovered the Paw Sox). Now with our younger daughter playing ice hockey, a friend suggested that we join them for one of the Brown women’s hockey games.

Waiting to give high-fives to the players as they re-enter the rink.

Waiting to give high-fives to the players as they re-enter the rink.

This weekend, we attended our first game. The women’s hockey games at Brown are thinly attended, despite being free to the public. When my older daughter asked if we had bought the seats we were in, our friend joked that we had bought the whole section. But the low attendance makes it easy to change your vantage point, mid-game. And when the team lined up to re-enter the rink, our girls would run to greet them and lean over to give each player a high-five as she entered.

We found the game packed with plenty of action, and the fans in attendance enthusiastic. There’s also a well-stocked snack bar, which came in handy since my younger daughter was hungry even though we had just eaten dinner. The girls even chose their favorite player — Conway because she was ‘so fast’ — although she was briefly displaced by Najjar when she scored.

And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, they even ‘caught’ an errant puck to bring home as a souvenir.

Our own little hockey player.

Our own little hockey player.

Meehan Auditorium
235 Hope Street
Providence, RI
www.brownbears.com/sports/w-hockey (find the remaining home games in the 2016 schedule)

The traditional caprese salad is made even better at Roslina with burrata cheese.

The traditional caprese salad is made even better at Roslina with burrata cheese.

It wasn’t quite a Griswold Christmas Eve, but it was close. First, it was hard to get into the spirit when it was about 65 degrees on Christmas Eve as we walked downtown to see A Christmas Carol at Trinity Repertory Theatre. It got worse when we discovered we had arrived at the wrong time, and the show we had tickets for was just letting out.

Then, later that night after the girls left cookies for Santa, we discovered a bat flying through our house. And it got away.

Gnocchi, also made better with burrata.

Gnocchi, also made better with burrata.

Fortunately, our day was redeemed by a late lunch between those two events at Rosalina, which for me included a caprese salad made with burrata cheese, kumato tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil followed by gnocchi sorrentina baked with tomato, burrata and basil.

The girls both ordered the meatball sandwiches, and Geoff had the eggplant, mozzarella and marinara sandwich. Since there was no burrata in any of the desserts, we settled for some blood orange and coconut gelatos, along with a cheesecake ‘imported’ from the Carnegie Deli.

I think Geoff was a bit disappointed to skip La Vigilia (the Italian Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes) – but not me. I’ll take a meal full of burrata and marinara any day, including Christmas Eve.

And things are looking up. We caught the bat. And Trinity Rep kindly helped us get tickets for another night. And it seems it’s finally freezing outside (be careful what you wish for).

Rosalina
50 Aborn Street
Providence, RI 02903
www.rosalina-ri.com

Trinity Repertory Company
201 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02903
www.trinityrep.com

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Providence is not much like Berlin – we’ve got a fraction of their population, we lack subways, and you’ll find a lot less people speaking German. But last weekend, we spent a day in Providence that we could have easily spent in Berlin: using the 3D printers at AS220, skating to music at the Alex & Ani downtown skating center, and eating dinner at Faust.

In my opinion, Faust is German food, only better. I’ve never been a huge fan of wursts, which seems to be the default German food, and of course, Faust has plenty of those. But I also found roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries, schnitzel and mashed potatoes, latkes with apple jam, and warm pretzels with mustard.

We liked it so much that we were back just a few days later. And it was just as good the second time around.

Faust
The Dean Hotel
122 Fountain Street,
Providence, RI
www.faustpvd.com

Fried chicken wings and french fries at Soulfull in Providence.

Fried chicken wings and french fries at Soulfull in Providence.

Soulfull is currently in Kennedy Plaza, Providence for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Soulfull is currently in Kennedy Plaza, Providence for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The new SoulFull food truck is now serving up delicious, organic southern-style fried chicken, hand cut fries and seasonal sides including collard greens, mac and cheese, red beans and rice.

Geoff and I made our way down there today to sample the chicken, fries and collard greens for ourselves, and, let’s just say, it’s as good as it looks.

And as if you needed more incentive, SoulFull also donates part of its proceeds to The Tomorrow Fund and research for pediatric cancer.

SoulFull will be in Kennedy Plaza for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon til 2 pm, and for dinner Friday evenings. See their schedule at https://www.foodtrucksin.com/soulfull-fried-chicken or keep up with them on their Facebook page or on Twitter.

ShelfDig aims to support buying local by making it easier to browse and search Providence stores online.

ShelfDig aims to support buying local by making it easier to browse and search Providence stores online.

I didn’t want to start another company.

But then it occurred to me. Why is it so easy for me to find things like balloons or coffee mugs or journals online, but I am often clueless where I’d find these items nearby? Wouldn’t it be great if a website could help me shop in my own neighborhood?

You might say I spend too much in front of my computer, and not enough time in person at the stores near me. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Hence, ShelfDig was born.

A group of us came together to create the website at www.shelfdig.com, and we launched it just this month to the public. We currently have partnerships with over 60 stores in Providence from Stock Culinary Goods to Army/Navy to Creatoyvity to Cluck! to Homestyle.

You can do a search on the site, or if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, we created gift guides for children’s, babies and pet items, as well as gift guides for cooks & foodies, geeks & techiessports & recreation, and the ultimate ‘buy local’ guide with locally-made items. You can even browse by neighborhood.

If you’re curious, come stop by our table at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers’ Market. Our team members (Geoff, Allan, Frieda, and I) will be there to meet-and-greet, offer demos of the site, answer questions, and hand out swag to all passersby (kids are welcome to pick up stickers too!). We’ll be in the market entrance to the South Hallway from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays November 21, December 12, January 9 and February 6.

A still from the film Imagine Kolle 37, shot in Providence, RI and Berlin.

A still from the film Imagine Kolle 37, shot in Providence, RI and Berlin.

I always thought Providence had pretty cool playgrounds. But then we spent four months in Berlin, where we lived across the street from an “adventure playground” called Kolle 37. And then I realized, Providence could be a lot cooler.

For those who are unfamiliar, adventure playgrounds are areas for children to play with fire, hammers, saws, and other tools. Parents are not permitted. Rather, play workers monitor the area to maintain safety, while allowing children the freedom to enjoy what some call ‘risky play.’

Fortunately, there is already a movement in Providence to try to bring an adventure playground to the city.

This Thursday October 22 at 6:30 pm at the Providence Children’s Museum, there will be a screening of the short documentary The Land as well as a screening of the trailer of my film Imagine Kolle 37, followed by a conversation with The Land filmmaker Erin Davis, Providence PlayCorps Director Janice O’Donnell, and myself. I hope you’ll join us

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We have no shortage of great orchards for apple picking in Rhode Island, and over the years, we’ve visited Jaswell’s, Knight Farm, Sweet Berry Farm and Hill Orchard. This year, we all had our requirements — Geoff wanted cider doughnuts, I wanted it to be in ‘apple valley’ (near Smithfield), and the girls wanted some kind of ride.

So we agreed on Sunset Orchards, where there was a small train ride and tractor ride through the orchards, as well as fresh cider doughnuts, unpasteurized cider, and plenty of apple varieties to pick from (including macintosh and empire apples, my two favorites).

We were a bit surprised how bustling it was there (clearly, we hadn’t ‘discovered’ this place), but once you got out into the orchard, it felt more lowkey. Despite the 18 pounds of apples we bought, not one apple went to waste. And the resulting pie Geoff made, well, I guess that had at least something to do with the apples.

Sunset Orchard Farms
44 Gleaner Chapel Road
North Scituate, RI
www.sunsetorchards.freeservers.com

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