Archive for December, 2014

It tastes as good as it looks.

It tastes as good as it looks.

The cortado from Dave's Coffee in Providence.

The cortado from Dave’s Coffee in Providence.


I can’t lie — it’s an adjustment being back in Providence after spending many weeks in Berlin. But thankfully, there’s still the cortado from Dave’s Coffee made with coffee roasted right in Rhode Island. It’s as good as any European coffee drink, and it helps take the edge of jet lag.

Dave’s Coffee

341 S Main St
Providence, RI 02903

5193 Old Post Rd
Charlestown, RI 02813

www.davescoffeestore.com

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Outside The Spot

Guest post by Travis Webster-Booth, a songwriter who can often be heard at the Spot under his nom de plume, Straw Man Standing.

And that's just the beer menu...

And that’s just the beer menu…

Where can you go to relax with a beer, munch on avocado frites, and hear the music of eccentric local artists any night of the week? In Providence, that would be The Spot Underground.

I made my way there on a recent “Madcap Monday,” an organized-yet-freewheeling (and free) weekly exhibition of local acoustic music. I parked my car out back (also free) and headed up the steel stairwell with my Martin guitar, equally excited to hear the night’s entertainment as I am to strum a few songs myself.

Mike Baker, at a recent spot performance

Mike Baker, at a recent spot performance (photo credit)

The first performer, who moonlights as the house cook, warms things up with a few numbers. A bafflingly talented singer-guitarist, who might have been a grunge star 20 years ago, croons a set of classic rock songs. Barely missing a beat, an unassuming chap takes over with a hang drum, lulling the crowd into hypnotic bliss. Following him, a pair of older guys grace the stage for a harmony-laden rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” that reminds me how much I love live music. Then again, I’m used to getting my mind blown at the Spot. Several weeks earlier, a young woman got full attention of the audience with an intimate performance on a full-size harp.

When it’s my turn to play, I saunter to the stage, wind a 1/4” cable through my guitar strap, plug in, sound check, and play. I’ve become so comfortable here that I’ve debuted new songs, improvised tunes on the spot, and played with all manner of accompaniment; on one memorable occasion, a talented beat boxer spontaneously joined me on stage, adding backup vocals to boot. As a performer in Providence, you won’t find a safer or more welcoming environment.

Live painting, sometimes *during* performances, is a mainstay at The Spot.

Live painting, sometimes *during* performances, is a mainstay at The Spot.

By the end of the night, I’ve made new friends, caught up with old ones, and notched another performance in my belt. Best of all, I could do it all over again at Re:Creation Tuesday, the Spot’s iconic open mic/open jam (also free). And if I’m not in a mood to play, I can duck back in any other night of the week, when top flight bands of every imaginable genre pack the house and command the dance floor.

The Spot
101 Richmond Street
Providence, RI
www.thespotprovidence.com
(401) 383-7133

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farm-dog-and-veg

Music at the market…

Guest post by Nancy Caronia, a Lecturer in the Honors Program at University of Rhode Island. Check out her blog at http://ncaronia.wordpress.com/

fennel

From the bounty of the market: fresh fennel.

I’m from Brooklyn, NY, but I lived in Central New York for ten years. In New York City, I would frequent the Union Square Market, and in Central New York, I happily shopped at the Rochester Public Market. I love farmers, I love the food they grow, and I love supporting them and eating their food.

That’s why I appreciate the Coastal Growers Market near my current home in South County, Rhode Island. The four-season farmers market is like both of these markets, but actually reminds me more of the market when I lived in Cassis, France during a semester long writing fellowship with The Camargo Foundation. The vendors in the open-air market would teach me French and I would bring home the loaves of hot olive bread, fresh greens, rabbit, olives, cheese and fresh eggs. Each vendor was kind, whether I was buying two heads of lettuce or a bouquet of mimosa that was large enough to make me feel like a beauty pageant winner. They were patient and funny as I made a mockery of the French language. At the market, I met the people with whom I would soon be hiking buddies and purchased ingredients that meant I made excellent meals without ever stepping foot into a supermarket.

zephyr-customer

A customer browses at the Zephyr Farm stand.

The Coastal Growers’ Market takes me back to the market in Cassis. The farmers and vendors are kind, patient, and caring—towards their customers and about the food and products they provide. In the summer, when the market is located at Casey Farm, I meet up with friends and we sit all morning on picnic benches and listen to music by different local bands each Saturday morning while drinking iced tea or a cold-pressed iced coffee from The Coffee Guy and eat the most amazing tacos in New England by Chef Jake Rojas of Tallulah’s Tacos.

In the winter, the market moves indoors to Lafayette Mill and we still listen to great music and drink—only it’s more likely to be an apple cider that’s been freshly pressed by Barden Family Orchard or a juice from Fully Rooted. There’s Seven Stars for croissants and fresh crusty bread and Bravo Wood Fire Pizza. We meet up with our farmers and buy our groceries for the week as well. I get my greens from Mark, the hydroponic farmer of Abasaloma Greenhouse. I buy my fresh eggs from Zephyr Farm. And I indulge in nitrate-free bacon from Pat’s Pasteurized, where I’ve gotten to know Deb and Annie, aka Santa’s Elves, who do service work feeding the homeless throughout the year.

I get my fresh seafood from The Local Catch and Matunuck Oyster Farm, where the young children love to hear Gabe’s stories about bivalves and watch as he opens an oyster just to watch their eyes light up in delight. There’s also Yorerganics where I purchase my laundry soapbuds and Susannah of Susannah’s Ice Cream and Sorbet, who makes the best darn Meyer lemon sorbet no matter what the season.

Coastal Growers’ Market has made my transition to Rhode Island simple. I’ve made new friends and I’ve become part of a community of people who care about food and healthy living. If you need holiday gifts, the market is the perfect stop. And if you just want to meet up with terrific people and have a relaxing Saturday morning, the market folks will greet you with open arms.

Coastal Growers’ Market
Lafayette Mill
650 Ten Rod Road
North Kingstown, RI
Every Saturday from 10am to 1pm until May 2, 2015

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