Imagine Gift Store: Candy, Chotchkes, and Games

One of the several candy aisles at Imagine Gift Store.

It’s always a bit sad to see a theatre converted into some other use, although when that happens,  I am in favor of it becoming a extra-large candy store. Imagine Gift Store, located in the restored Lyric Theatre in Warren, RI, can probably satisfy whatever sweet craving you’ve got — including candy cigarettes.

Madonna in your cup.

Here, you might also stock up on your chotchkes, such as the iPlunge (a mini plunger to use as an iPhone/iTouch stand) or a mug in which the Madonna materializes from a remaining coffee stain (my mother-in-law bought this).

We also left with Bananagrams, a word game created here in Rhode Island, which as it turns out, may be as addictive as candy.

Like Scrabble, Bananagrams enables you to build and connect words, however, the board isn’t fixed so you can change and move words as you see fit. Even better, there’s no taking turns, which means I don’t have to wait a half hour while Geoff patiently contrives a way of using all of his letters. And although this isn’t a win-win situation, it means I win more of the time, which is just fine with me.

Bananagrams, a word game created in Rhode Island.

Imagine Gift Store
5 Miller Street
Warren, 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
Facebook page

Moondust Macarons

Crispy outside and soft inside, these macarons deserve their name.

I often wonder why so many of the tasty treats I’ve discovered in France seem to be either nowhere to be found back home or even worse, simply not so tasty.

That can no longer be said to be true of the macaron thanks to 2009 Bryant University graduate Stephen Fitch. He discovered the cookie during his study abroad in Paris and returned obsessed with the task of recreating what he calls this “culinary phenomena” in Rhode Island. His countless hours of baking and tasting have resulted in the Moondust Macarons collection of flavors (pistachio, lemon, coffee, chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla). Taste for yourself this Saturday at Providence Open Market at Lippitt Park. They are also sold at Eastside Market and through their website.

Moondust Macarons has a stand at Providence Open Market.

Moondust Macarons

Providence Open Market
Lippitt Park
Hope Street
Providence, RI
on Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Newport Antiques Show vs. Armory Antiques

The Newport Antiques Show offers fine furniture and art for antique connoisseurs.

Armory Antiques in Newport, RI features thousands of items from fine antique desks to retro Barbies.

In its third year, the Newport Antiques Show arrived in town this weekend to showcase 40 regional antique dealers selling fine carpets, antique artwork, etched wooden furniture, dishes, grandfather clocks, etc.  Not surprisingly, the show featured a lot of nautical themed objects like paintings of ocean scenes and miniature wooden boats.  The $12/person ticket cost supports the Newport Historical Society and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County.

I can certainly appreciate the beauty of fine antiques, but knowing very little about them makes guessing prices a bit like an absurd Price is Right.  For example, one painting I supposed worth $10,000 was being sold for $180,000.

The only thing I might consider buying was a 10×14 hand-threaded antique carpet from India circa 1920s sold by Oriental Rugs Ltd. At $9,500, it seemed a relative bargain (if you have the money) considering I saw much less interesting rugs for more money at ABC Carpet in New York City just recently.

Armory Antiques in Newport, RI features thousands of items from fine antique desks to retro Barbies.

Armory Antiques in Newport, RI features thousands of items from fine antique desks to retro Barbies.

We enjoyed the visit, but left empty-handed.  Since we hadn’t quite gotten antiquing out of our system, we decided to go to Armory Antiques on Thames Street in downtown Newport, a better bet for people like us who care only what they themselves like and prefer a bargain.  The store is open year-round with no admission charge and features antiques from over 100 dealers.  It’s a much rougher style of antique hunting — with a variety of retro games and toys like Barbie dolls (some clothed, others not), dishes stacked high, paintings leaning on furniture, and plenty of knick knacks.  Likely due to the economy, quite a bit is discounted.  I saw a charming painted wooden crèche in the form of a candle holder — when lit, the fan above swirls causing the figurines inside to circle like a carousel.  The price had been slashed three times down to “$95 firm.”  In addition, several of the vendors offered 25% off formerly “firm” priced items.

At Armory Antiques, it feels more like you might discover some treasure — not of value as an investment, but of personal value.  And in fact, an unsigned pastoral painting listed at $250 struck my eye, and I bought for $200 cash (see the photo at right).

Newport Antiques Show

Armory Antiques
365 Thames St
Newport, RI 02840