Froyo World

Froyo World opens a new location on Thayer Street which is already bustling.

Some people may question why Froyo World opened a frozen yogurt shop on Thayer Street when we already have Juniper, but not me. I’m ready for the Red Mango, the Pinkberry (please, when?) and any other willing competitors. That said, I did feel a little guilty sidestepping Juniper to try Froyo World.

Froyo World follows the self-serve model, which means the cups are intentionally enormous so that you might foolishly load them up with yogurt and toppings — $.49/ounce sounds cheap but it adds up. What I like about this is that I can try as many flavors as I wish — original tart (not as good as Juniper), chocolate and vanilla swirl (convincingly similar to soft serve ice cream and presumably less fattening than Frosty Freez), and peanut butter (sensing I’ll be craving this later). You’re also not penalized for more than two toppings — and I’m still scratching my head at why Juniper charges $1 for a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

Still, Madeline remained unconvinced and insisted on getting her “old” blueberry yogurt with gummy bears and strawberries at Juniper. So we actually went to both places — good thing they’re so close together.

Froyo World
219 Thayer St
Providence, RI

Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery

The ice cream counter at Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery.

When I read that Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery had s’mores ice cream, I decided to make a trip there with the girls. Although they didn’t have that flavor on the day we arrived, it was well worth the trip (which turned out to be a 20-minute ride anyway).

Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery is actually a toy store/ice cream shop in one (a combination as obvious as chocolate and vanilla) so we picked up a gift for a friend’s new baby and ate some ice cream — chocolate for Madeline and chocolate chip cookie dough for me. As it turns out, they serve Big Alice’s Ice Cream, which once had its own shop on Hope Street. You can still find the ice cream in Providence at Guido’s Italian restaurant — although on my recent visit there (a blog post for another day), I was too stuffed to order dessert, even ice cream.

So I’ll be back for the s’mores. For now, I’ve been sated by the new Ben & Jerry’s flavor, although it’s not quite as tasty when you can read the calorie count on the container.

Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery
1700 Mendon Road
Cumberland, RI
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Art by Avery Boruch

Ten-year-old Avery Boruch currently exhibits her work at the Newport Art Museum.

I’ll admit that sometimes I see a work of art, and I think — my kid could paint that. Ironically, that’s not what I thought yesterday when I saw the work displayed at Meeting Street Cafe by Rhode Island artist Avery Boruch, who as it turns out, is 10-years-old. Her works range from ethereal to passionate, not exactly what you’d expect from such a young artist, but then again she has been exhibiting her work professionally for six years.

Dancing Feet by Avery Boruch

You can currently see her work at the Newport Art Museum as part of the Newport Annual Juried Members’ Exhibition. Not surprisingly, she’s the youngest artist ever to be included.

Avery Boruch

Current shows include:

Solo Exhibition at Meeting Street Cafe
Providence, RI

Newport Annual Members’ Juried Exhibition (through May 22, 2011) at Newport Art Museum
Newport, RI

The Donut Robot at Small Point Café

The result of the donut robot.

There is much to celebrate about the new café on Westminster Street in Providence, not the least of which is their “donut robot.” Small Point Café, which opened a little over a week ago, sells pastries (popovers, malasadas), light meals, coffee, and of course, the aforementioned donuts. After your order is placed, the push of a button launches the donut robot, which converts their sweet batter into fresh, hot miniature donuts — no match for Allie’s Donuts, but remarkably similar to the tasty fried dough at fairs. Of course, with donuts (like bagels), the fresher the better — so it’s hard to resist ones that were literally made only seconds ago.

Small Point Café
230 Westminster Street
Providence, RI

Cakes from Sin Desserts and Allie’s Donuts

The rainbow cake created by Sin Desserts.

When our daughter tells us she wants a rainbow cake for her birthday, we take such a request seriously. Geoff researched making one like this, but quickly realized we had enough to do without cake baking (when Geoff made our wedding cake, he spent weeks refining a recipe). So we turned to Sin Desserts in Providence who with about a week’s notice exceeded our expectations. Not only did they make a rainbow cake, but they added a smiling sun with the cut-out semicircle (Madeline requested her first piece from there) and a drawing of blue sky and puffy clouds on the tray below. The hard crust of the fondant kept the chocolate cake and whipped cream layer inside perfectly moist — and also ensured that Madeline’s anticipatory poking did no harm. Usually cakes this pretty are awful, but I have to say this was an exception — the cake was light with a great chocolate flavor. Although I did skip eating the fondant, I have to admit — that stuff just doesn’t seem edible.

Finally -- an occasion to order an Allie's Donuts donut cake!

Thinking that the cake would feed about 30 small mouths (turns out it was more like 60), we also ordered a donut cake from Allie’s Donuts which we’ve been wanting to do since our first visit there a few weeks ago. At first, I had no idea what could possibly be inside the pizza-sized boxes emerging from the donut place, but it turns out it’s a giant donut. Genius.

When Geoff called to order it, they wanted to know exactly what time he’d be by to pick it up — it turns out they were going to make it immediately before to ensure the maximum freshness possible.  And it showed — it was so soft, it practically melted in your mouth.  I personally could have done without the rainbow sprinkles, but it wasn’t my birthday. We froze some of the rainbow cake, but the donut cake has been eaten, and I’m now awaiting the next appropriate occasion for one.

Sin Desserts
200 Allens Ave
Providence, RI

Allie’s Donuts
3661 Quaker Lane
North Kingstown, RI
Also read a blog post from our first visit.

Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art

Madeline experiments with the Cloth Waves exhibit.

This week, Madeline and I stopped by to see Metamorphosis: The Transfer of Energy, the exhibit created by the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art. This “museum without walls” creates exhibits at available spaces and events, but aims to open a full-fledged museum (with walls) in 2012. The gallery space at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center currently features several interactive exhibits such as Cloth Waves, in which you try to launch soft balls into the center receptacle by creating fabric waves, or the Gear Table, in which you can arrange gears to your liking to play music or spin optical illusions. I think my favorite was Wooden Wave, a table that converts flat pieces of wood into waves through a crank.

Wooden Wave creates a wave effect from flat pieces of wood.

Of course, the challenge of a hands-on museum is maintaining the exhibits. The Water Wheel didn’t quite work properly and a few tubes in the Rainbow Drum were broken — all of which attests to the fact that a museum with walls (and a staff to maintain the exhibits) would be preferable. Fortunately, they seem to have the community’s backing — they’ve received a grant from RISCA and their recent Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal. Of course, it’s a big leap from a $2,500 Gear Table to a multi-million dollar museum so they’ll need a lot more support to make it happen. So go check out their exhibit, offer your suggestions, and donate what you can (they’ll even take your old cameras and computers).

Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art
Their first multi-week exhibit Metamorphosis: The Transfer of Energy is currently open and free to the public through April 15, 2011.
Gallery at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center
175 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI