The “Venda Experience”
Photo by Jen Wallace
A Holiday Tradition
Venda Ravioli Why Venda? It’s Rhode Island’s Italian grocery store, and our direct connection to Italy. Gourmet gift baskets. Fresh pasta and breads, prepared foods, a full deli and high quality meats, all at reasonable prices.
The Caffe at Venda Why Venda? An authentic Italian caffe, indoors and out on the flower-filled plaza. Enjoy our famous pasta every day of the week. Gelato and espresso. You’ll really think you’re in Italy.
Costantino’s Venda Bar & Ristorante Why Venda? This newly renovated jewel of a restaurant is open for dinner every night. Known for its classic and contemporary Italian cuisine, excellent wine list, superb service. Now serving authentic Neapolitan pizza from a wood-fired oven. A true slice of life, Italian style.
275 Atwells Avenue, DePasquale Plaza • Federal Hill, Providence
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37 City Style
25 If You Can’t Take the Heat
39 The Look 40 Get Fit 43 Shop Talk 44 Beauty
A kitchen-phobe learns the ropes of cooking
30 Breaking News
The hottest new thing in yoga
47 Feast Three creative cooks take over a West Side kitchen
We go around the table with Providence’s most
49 In the Kitchen 50 On the Menu 53 Review
tech-savvy political reporters
54 Behind the Bar 55 In the Drink 56 Dining Guide
61 Get Out Music and movement join together as one 62 Calendar 65 Music 66 Art 67 Theatre
8 Editor’s Note 9 Feedback 10 Web List
68 The Last Detail Fashion is cheap
11 PM List
17 Providence Pulse The curtains finally go up on the new Columbus
On the Cover: Photography by James Jones.
19 City 23 Malcontent 24 Scene in PVD November 2012 | Providence Monthly
Publishers Barry Fain Richard Fleischer John Howell Publishing Director Jeanette St. Pierre Executive Editor Julie Tremaine Special Projects Manager John Taraborelli Art Director Karli Hendrickson
The New News Reporting If you pay attention to Twitter, you’ve probably come to expect, maybe even rely on the proliferation of breaking news delivered in real time through the social medium – especially now, in the thick of election season. When it comes to local political reporting, though, you might have also observed a curious phenomenon: a lot of Rhode Island’s political reporters are not only delivering news and promoting stories via Twitter, but they’re using it to complement and draw from each other’s work. Because we’ve been noticing, too, how much this affects and enhances the local news landscape, we
decided to bring those reporters together for our first roundtable discussion about local politics and the new news reporting. Read on, and then join the discussion in the Twitterverse about the #RInewsroom @pvdmonthly.
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
Winner! 2010 tOnY AWArD
MeMphis Book & Lyrics By Joe DipieTro Music & Lyrics By DAViD BryAN choreogrAphy By sergio TruJiLLo DirecTeD By chrisTopher AshLey
December 4 – 9
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PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
PPAC Square 220 Weybosset St. Providence, RI 02903-3783
(401) 421-ARTS (2787) • www.ppacri.org For complete PPAC schedule, visit www.ppacri.org PART OF THE
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Finally - Ethiopian in Providence!
events / ProMotions / good deeds
Painting the Town Red
333 Wickenden Street, Providence • 454-1412 www.abyssinia-restaurant.com Free delivery in Providence Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm • Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Head to the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket for Red, a Tony Award winning Broadway hit that’s running November 8 through December 16. Starring Fred Sullivan Jr. and Marc Dante Mancini, the two-person play tells the tale of expressionist painter Mark Rothko, who undergoes an emotional journey while creating a series of commissioned murals for a hip new Manhattan restaurant. Here at PM we love the Gamm, and you can bet we’ll be there in the audience. gammtheatre.org
MODEL APARTMENT NOW OPEN! CALL TODAY FOR YOUR PERSONAL TOUR.
101 Highland Ave. Providence, RI 02906 (888) 493-0957 www.HighlandsRI.com email@example.com
Exclusively created to celebrate you, your wisdom, your spirit, and your life – The Highlands on the East Side is a newly designed Assisted Living residence with all the comforts of home…and more! With just 64 studio, one and two bedroom apartments in total, The Highlands represent a special opportunity for seniors to live in an intimate and comfortable community in the heart of Providence’s most vibrant neighborhood.
Dance Magic Dance Help Fusionworks Dance Company celebrate its 25th anniversary by checking out one of their exciting performances this month. On November 16-17, Rhode Island College will host Fusionworks’ Annual Fall Concert Series with hits including Moons of Rousseau and Uber Geeks. Featuring the choreography of artistic director Deb Meunier, you can expect an energetic show that’s sure to please young and old alike. fusionworksdance.org
An Early Shopportunity On November 11, visit Hope Artiste Village for Craftopia, the area’s premier one-day craft show, which showcases the fun and funky artwork of over 70 artists and artisans from around New England. Whether you’re shopping for your wife, your boss or your grand kids, you’ll knock down that list in no time. There will be food trucks outside and hot coffee served inside, in case you end up staying longer than expected. We’re pretty sure you will. rhodycraft100. blogspot.com
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
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Feedback Many Cheers Cheers to you, Providence Monthly, for the very kind words about our new What Cheer location (“Three Cheers for Vinyl,” Shop Talk, October 2012), by Erin Swanson. We love being on Thayer Street and look forward to many more years of vintage and vinyl. Jennifer + Chris Daltry What Cheer Antiques
Violence in PVD It is not only the murders that should be highlighted (“Bullet Points,” October 2012). What about all the individuals in Providence who have been shot, but who have managed to survive? One example is the 21-year-old female who was critically injured by a stray bullet in August near Broad Street. Please don’t forget those crimes that are part of the overall violence in Providence. I have enjoyed working in the city for the past 25 years, but it has been getting worse in the last couple. Robin Mason
Spreading the News I was just on your website and noticed that you have given us an ad on your home page – wow! I had no idea. Thank you so much for giving us that prominent position. Every mention really helps during this season when we are hoping to remind people of the need that exists in our community. We’re so excited about the story you’re running in The Bay on Bill Harley & Keith Munslow this month [“A Tale of Thanks,” On Stage, November 2012]. Can’t wait to spread
that around! Cindy Elder Rhode Island Food Bank
It Means So Much Thank you for the fabulous ads for the AIDS Walk for Life in Providence Monthly and Eastside Monthly. We are honored by your contribution this year. Your support of the 27th annual Rhode Island AIDS Walk for Life means so much to us. It will help AIDS Project Rhode Island to continue providing our community with the vital services and education needed to combat HIV.AIDS. The 2012 Rhode Island AIDS Walk for Life raised more the $65,000! We could not have achieved this without your help. We are most grateful for your support. Thank you so very much again! Thomas Bertrand Executive Director, AIDS Project RI
From Facebook Providence Monthly has an awesome online presence now as well - thanks to John Taraborelli and Julie Tremaine. Check out their coverage of the Providence Preservation Society’s upcoming event. -Lisa Carnevale A true townie is in the news and it something for all of us to be proud of because Ms. Karen Bentley has been featured in Providence Monthly. Congrats Karen. Keep up the great work and make EP proud! -Julie Silva
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Margaritas & Sangria & Sangria Margaritas Excellent Selection of Tequilas Excellent Selection of •Tequilas 351 Atwells Ave. Providence 454-8951 www.donjoseteq.com
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Our web series continues with horror makeup artist Jesse Corey
From birth control to pregnancy, from menopause to disease management, seeing you through all the stages of your life is our privilege. 297 Promenade Street :: Providence :: (401) 490.6464 www.center-obgyn.com
Statewide Restaurant Reviews Get our critics’ takes on the Rhode Island dining scene with reviews from our sister magazines in South County and the East Bay.
1800 mineral spring avenue
Providence Monthly | November 2012
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Welcomes Elizabeth Cappelletti, MD to our practice!
o u r f a v o r i t e places to shop for the holidays
756 Hope Street, Providence 401-521-0101 • www.stockpvd.com
HOUSE OF HOPE BOUTIQUE
Stock Culinary Goods welcomes food lovers who seek thoughtfully sourced, well-designed cooking tools, resources and gifts. Stock blends new products with vintage, emphasizes local and American made products, and offers a variety of social and educational gatherings for all ages, timed to the season. With its cookbook resource center and its big central table, Stock aims to be a convivial place for people who want to talk food, swap recipes and share ideas.
House of Hope Boutique features handmade, fair-traded gifts for all your holiday needs. The boutique offers an assortment of items including children’s gifts, jewelry, housewares and even something for your pets. Each item has a mission and purpose and is helping someone in the world to better their life. All proceeds go back to offer job training to disadvantaged women in RI.
Stock culinary GoodS
1160 North Main Street, Providence 401-351-3398 Norm’s Jewelry has been your hometown jeweler since 1982. Stop in and browse their unique selection of new and estate jewelry. Layaway and free gift wrapping are available for the holidays. Expert services include jewelry and watch repair, machine engraving and buying used jewelry. Mention this ad for $5 off a purchase of $50 (not valid with any other discount or promotion).
3190 Post Road, Warwick 401-463-3324 x231 www.hohboutique.org
Moon and PeePers Pottery 401-263-6403 www.moonandpeeperspottery.com Moon and Peepers Pottery is a hand-crafted artisan studio based in Rhode Island. Wonderful one-of-a-kind pieces are made by Sandy and Geoff Flickinger, a husband and wife team that creates ceramic bowls, handthrown mugs, carved vases, beautiful garden sculptures and birdbaths. Each gift is sure to bring a little magic to any home or garden.
FROG & TOAD 795 Hope Street, Providence 401-831-3434
For more than a decade, Rhode Islanders have been flocking to Frog & Toad for that special, one-of-a-kind gift. This neighborhood mom and pop is packed with unique offerings that appear well considered and sometimes irreverent. From work by local artists to handmade American jewelry to affordable hand-knit sweaters, you always know you won’t need to look elsewhere . . . even for that insufferable stinker on your list. Some staff favorite items include the t-shirts, “Don’t Mess with RI Either” and “You can go to Hell, I’m going to Pawtucket”, the amazing goats and pigs made out of recycled steel oil drums, and the RI Soapworks line of luxurious bath and body products. And here’s an insider’s tip: they have FREE gift wrapping and you don’t need to ask, they always offer!
GIVE LOCAL The CuraTorium
235 Westminster Street, Providence 401-272-4285 www.craftlandshop.com
197 Wickenden Street, Providence 401-453-4080 www.thecuratorium.com The Curatorium is a crazy mashup of gift-giving opportunities. This charming little emporium has the perfect gift for everyone you need to placate. Mustache emblazoned pacifiers, Lego architecture, colorful leather wallets, in prices ranging from fifty cents to hundreds of dollars, the items offered at The Curatorium will make mincemeat of even the most difficult holiday list.
The 11th Annual Craftland Holiday Show is a staple of Providence gift shopping. Craftland features a fresh selection of work by 160 independent local and national artists specializing in gifts, prints and jewelry. This sweet necklace is made by New Bedford, MA artist Headcase Press using a combination of sterling silver and assorted vintage letterpress type. And bonus – Craftland is sales-tax-free.
The hopscoTch Room
19 Sanderson Road, Smithfield 401-949-4849 www.facebook.com/flauntri
2209 mineral spring Avenue North providence 401-349-4409 www.hopscotchroom.com
Unique. Bold. Vibrant. Independent. These are just four words that describe the amazing line of handpainted women’s leather bracelets by Mallory Musante Designs. These exclusive accessories are all genuine leather painted with acrylic-based, non-chip leather paint, bold colors and unique designs. Every piece is individually hand-painted, making each a completely one-of-a-kind gift.
The Hopscotch Room is Rhode Island’s newest resource for home decor and home entertainment items. Their selection includes everything from bars and barstools to stemware and martini shakers, and even chandeliers! With knowledgeable customer service, they can help you furnish a room, plan a party, or select the perfect gift.
Farmstead mercantile 384 market street, Warren • 401-289-2102 www.farmsteadri.com
Farmstead Mercantile One of the most festive and unique shopping experiences this holiday season, Farmstead Mercantile is a premier destination for antiques, art, gifts, and home decor. Formerly Bradford Mercantile, Farmstead is located on two floors of the historic Haile-Nunes Barn. Visitors can expect a mix of old and new: artists, craftspeople, and antique dealers from the East Bay, New England, and beyond come together to offer a unique selection of goods in a spacious yet intimate environment. For the holidays, the shop offers an enormous selection of ornaments, floral, and other seasonal decor which complements its year-round selection of furniture, lighting, gifts, candles, and accessories. As part of the Warren Arts District, Farmstead is able to sell original and limited edition art without charging sales tax. Come through and decorate your entire house in high style at a low cost.
our favorite places to shop for the holidays GALLERY BELLEAU
424 Wickenden Street, Providence 401-456-0011 www.gallerybelleau.com Gallery Belleau sells unique handmade gifts by local and nationally acclaimed artists and artisans: jewelry, paintings and works in clay, glass, wood and metal. Stop by on Thursday, December 13 between 10am and 8pm for the Hang 10 Sale, where everything in the gallery is 10 percent off in honor of their 10-year anniversary. Give gifts that are a perfect 10!
THREE WHEEL STUDIO 436 Wickenden Street, Providence 401-451-2350 www.threewheelstudio.com Potter Dwo Wen Chen has a bit of a cult status in the city. Wen Chen has taken his whimsical pottery to a new location on Wickenden where visitors can browse a multitude of his functional artistic pieces and chat with the maker. The RISD grad creates stoneware, porcelain, earthenware and terracotta bowls, plates, vases, cups and more.
SWEENOR’S CHOCOLATES 21 Charles Street, Wakefield • 401-783-4433 / 800-834-3123 Garden City, Cranston • 401-942-2720 www.sweenorschocolates.com Give the gift of local and delicious edibles with an assortment of Sweenor’s Chocolates. With two Rhode Island locations, Sweenor’s is owned and operated by third- and fourth-generation confectioners who are committed to using the finest ingredients. As the largest chocolate manufacturer in the state, Sweenor’s is unmatched in selection and quality. Satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth with handmade chocolate, truffles, fudge, caramels, bark, nuts and even sugar free products. From beautifully boxed assortments and gift baskets to their unique nautical and seasonal treats, gift giving has never been so sweet. Check out their website for online ordering, favors for events and a list of fine retailers that carry the Sweenor line.
The KnoTTy Dog 31 Bradford Street, Bristol 401-396-9520 www.theknottydog.com
The Knotty Dog’s selection is second to none, specializing in locally made coastal products featuring reclaimed materials. Whether you’re in the market for custom furniture or just a dainty jewelry gift, The Knotty Dog is the place to go. From candles to fireplace accessories to cozy throw blankets, they’ll keep you warm this winter. Selling handmade soaps for mom, hooded bath towels for children and collars for Fido, shoppers are guaranteed to find unique gifts for everyone on the list. Serving customers near and far, the shop offers friendly customer service in-store and free shipping on all web orders over $50. Open seven days a week and late on Fridays through December. Bring in this ad for a free gift with any purchase.
Come and Enjoy Our Delicious Chinese Cuisine & Extensive Drink Menu! Cuisine
Federal Hill 220 Atwells Avenue, Providence 401.369.7040 | www.mumucuisine.com
SingleS in the City Providence Monthly is looking for fun, sophisticated, sexy guys and gals who are enjoying the single life for our annual Most Eligible issue in February. Lonely and lovelorn? Not for us -- weâ€™re looking for fun and flirty. Submit your nominations now at providenceonline.com/most-eligible/
Providence Monthly | November 2012
Providence Pulse CITY / MALCONTENT / SCENE IN PVD
Photography: Dan Schwartz
A Celebration of Theatrical Proportions Providence will regain use
Inside the renovated Columbus Theatre
of one of its most beloved historic buildings this month as Columbus Theatre reopens its doors for the first time since 2009. Originally founded in 1926, the theatre once featured vaudeville and silent films before expanding its offerings to include other film, music and theatre presentations. In 2009, Columbus was forced to
close its doors due to fire code updates. Since then, owner Jon Berberian has been slaving away to meet those requirements saying, â€œThe community has been very supportive and patient during our efforts to restore and update the building, and I look forward to this chance to give back to those who have been waiting a long time for our doors to open.â€?
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And what a party it will be. On November 19, the theatre will host Revival!, an all-ages bash featuring music, food, beer and merriment. Most importantly, it offers the public a chance to feast their eyes on the amazing interior renovations that were recently completed. Seriously, the place is stunning. The Low Anthem has been using the theatre as a practice and recording space for the past year and will headline the party, along with fellow RI-based indie folk band, Brown Bird, the Sugar Honey Iced Tea and The Barr Brothers. Julian’s
and Nice Slice will provide the food truck grub and Revival Brewing will be on tap as well, no pun intended. Jeff Prystowsky of The Low Anthem sums up the sentiment that many are feeling quite well: “The Columbus Theatre isn’t just a venue; it’s a musician’s dream. Its architecture, design and acoustics all point towards one source: the music. Its reopening on November 17 is a revival, not just for itself, but for anyone who loves music in Providence.” 270 Broadway. columbustheatre.com. –Erin Swanson
Books That Go Bump in the Night
Recycling Just Got Even Simpler David Baldacci
Pop the champagne corks and bust out the good whiskey, because it’s time to celebrate the death of Providence’s clunky blue-bin-green-bin recycling program. That’s right – no more scratching your head while staring at the two bins and asking yourself, “Is this considered paper or plastic?” As part of the statewide transition to single-stream recycling, Waste Management is dropping off new 65-gallon gray barrels specifically for trash to all Providence residents; the 95-gallon green barrels (the old trash barrels) are receiving new blue lids and should be used for all recyclables, from paper to plastic to glass. The City will maintain a “no bin, no barrel” policy for all garbage and recyclables collection: Residents who do not put their recyclables out on the curb on their collection day run the risk of not having their other trash picked up. Either adapt the new initiative or
get left behind. www.providenceri. com/sustainability. –Dale Rappaneau
Providence Monthly | November 2012
You’re in the mood to curl up with a good book… or a bottle of Jameson… or both. That’s settled. The real question is, what should you read that’ll keep you wide-eyed well into the night, rather than passing out after a few pages. Look no further than the Thriller Writers Panel at the Brown University Library for your answer. Happening November 15 at 6:30pm, this free event features a world-renowned panel of authors discussing their work. Attending writers include David Baldacci (Absolute Power, The Winner), Steve Berry (The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy), Nelson DeMille (Word of Honor, The General‘s Daughter), Lisa Gardner (The Survivors Club, I‘d Kill For That) and R.L Stine (Goosebumps, Fear Street). The event includes a free book signing as well; finally, some validation for holding onto your copy of Go Eat Worms! all these years. library. brown.edu –Dale Rappaneau
Come On In and Nerd On Out Whether you argued with your parents after they threw away that Star Trek poster, or you’re a college kid who still loves Pokemon, your guilty pleasures come alive this month at Rhody’s first ever Comic Con. Billy West, the Battlestar Galactica cast, Gil Gerard, Gary Graham, Jason David Frank and Larry Thomas are just a few of the geek lineup. Beginning
on November 3, and continuing all weekend, attendees can expect costume contests for children and adults, video game competitions, trading card tournaments, toy shows, vendors and – did I mention comic books? In brightest day, in darkest night, nerd cultures unite. Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. 458-6000, reconvention.com. –Don Previe
Zombie Nation Joining the legions of undead
Illustration: Ashley MacLure
Anyone who knows me
knows that I spend a great deal of attention towards enhancing my outward beauty. Airbrushed nails, shimmery eyeshadows, perfectly plucked brows and cotton candy stained lips are all matters of necessity to this girly girl. Each fall on October 31, armies of women dress up as vampires, or witches, or [insert any grotesque and macabre creature here]. Me? I’m busy applying body glitter and big fake lashes while thanking the heavens above for an excuse to slut-up my wardrobe, even if just for one night. This year, I decided to dabble in a little pre-Halloween de-beautification: I got made over (well, made under) as a zombie for the 2012 Providence Zombie Pub Crawl. This was no haphazard throwsome-baby-powder-on-myface-to-look-dead thing either; I turned to Jesse Corey, the horrifically talented makeup artist behind Cranston’s Core Creations, for a total zombification, complete with oozing sores and open flesh wounds. That’s sexy, right? Jesse seemed super excited at the opportunity to gory me up, noting that the makeup application would take about an hour. She asked if I had allergies to latex, and encouraged my input as to shaping the “look” I wanted. My natural instinct found me replying, “I want to look like a zombie but not a disgusting zombie – i.e. no bones sticking out of my face.” Ugh, I thought to myself, I’m being such a princess. I shook my head. “On second thought, just do whatever you want.” I arrived at the Cranston studio at 5pm, barefaced and curious. Jesse had prepared a mold ahead of time: Apparently I would be strutting my stuff around town with a circular saw protruding from my body. “It’s a real blade,” she said with a proud smile. “My boy-
friend sanded the edges down, though, so you won’t injure anybody.” Um, he what?! She looked me up and down. Her smile grew larger. “Your outfit is perfect!” I had planned ahead and ordered a post-apocalyptic vest fashioned from bicycle tire inner tubes that exposed
both my stomach and my chest, per my slut-it-up-it’s-Halloween tendencies. Jesse held the mold up against my body, searching for the perfect spot on which to affix it; she decided it would be most noticeable nestled just above my cleavage. Lovely. I was surprised at how quickly the time passed as I sat in her chair being poked, prodded, dusted with liquid latex and dabbed with gobs of fake blood. She tore bits of toilet paper off the roll and pasted them on me, dabbing the mounds with makeup, building Hollywood-worthy wounds on my body and face while intermittently blasting
me with puffs of hot air from a blowdryer. Eventually it was time for me to take a look at myself in the mirror. Holy crap was I atrocious! It was perfect. Core Creations makeovers include a photoshoot, courtesy of Jesse’s cousin Amanda Corey. The transformation experience was so incredibly cool, I wanted to remember it forever and as I posed for the camera, my wound-covered face being lit up by bright bulbs, I knew that I would. The PVD Social Club was stop one on the annual crawl; my friend Ellen and I arrived there promptly at 7:30pm. The undead - in all shapes, sizes and levels of decomposition came out in full force. I knew immediately that my makeup looked sick (in a good way) simply by all the appreciative stares and compliments I received. Huh. I thought. Maybe I should dress like this everyday. If nothing else, the makeup and prosthetics cover my ever-increasing wrinkles, and there’s something to be said for that indeed. I was a bit disappointed in the crawl itself because - in comparison to pub crawls I’ve done in other cities - the execution of this one was haphazard due to the fact that pub crawls are a no-no in Providence. We were given a list of bars, but the group didn’t travel as a whole. It was more of a fend for yourself thing, which took away from the essence of the “horde,” in my mind at least. In any event, at least I wasn’t subjected to several hundred drunken zombies all at once... I am getting a little bit old for that. One thing I will definitely never be too old for, however, is dressing up come Halloween. Go online to read more and see photos of the makeover as part of our “An Hour in the Life Of” web series. 1320 Cranston Street, Cranston. 6639266, corecreationsri.com.
adolescents & young adults
Harry Fish MA, BCC 80 Calendars, LLC 401-465-5491 80calendars.com
Juggling Instructor Serving the Best Breakfast!
Blue Cottage RestauRant Lunch Too! Great Food at Great Prices Open Daily 7am-2pm 748 Hope St., Providence 383-7307
Perfect nails every Time
Justina nails and spa
Pedicures • Manicures Shellac and More November Special
15% off servIces
By Kim And Chen (Except Polish Change)
Walk-Ins Welcome 742 Hope Street, Providence 272-5072 • justinanails.com
November 2012 | Providence Monthly
101 Orange Street Providence, RI 401.808.6777 www.studio101ri.com
Studio 101 launched by Jason Dolan
is the newest salon to hit Providence. Jason didn’t become one of New York City’s most sought after colorists by accident. The RI-native and 15-year veteran of the world-class color team at Bergdorf Goodman’s John Barrett Salon has built an impeccable reputation over the course of his career, most recently gaining critical acclaim for his work in cutting-edge color techniques such as ombre and ballyage. Since entering the New York City scene Jason has worked diligently to build his enviable client roster, which includes a who’s who of actors and actresses, models, fashion editors and media personalities. His talents have brought him from the runways of New York City’s Fashion Week and America’s Next Top Model to the pages of Allure Magazine, and everywhere in between. Several years ago, after closely evaluating the current style landscape in his hometown, Jason made the decision to begin
making bi-monthly appearances at a downtown Providence salon. The idea was to bring a bit of New York City flavor to the folks back home. It didn’t take long for the news to spread and Jason began booking weeks and months in advance and made the choice to up his visits to every four weeks. As much as he loved making these appearances, the desire to create something of his own in the town where he was born and raised intensified. Fast-forward two years and Studio 101 is born – the preeminent hair salon experience located in the heart of downtown Providence. It only takes one step inside the space to evoke a visceral feeling of chic New York City décor and modern luxury. Offering an array of style and color services, Studio 101 brings an entirely new element to the flourishing downtown scene. Jason and his expert team of stylists and colorists (including several of his New York City peers) look forward to serving you and becoming your new trusted source for all things beauty in Rhode Island.
by John Taraborelli
Keep it Simple, Stupid Why does fun have to be so damn difficult? A funny thing happened
in Providence on Columbus Day. The fifth annual PRONK! Providence Honk Fest kicked off in India Point Park. It’s a daylong gathering of street and marching bands, a truly grassroots event that came to Providence after the original Honk Fest was founded in Boston. What struck me as funny was its simplicity: you just show up. Granted, a substantial effort goes into organizing this thing – people volunteer their time, money is raised to cover transportation for bands from all over the county, visiting musicians are housed in guest rooms and on couches of local participants, organizations like the Providence Tourism Council and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts pitch in – but the experience for the end user, the person attending the festival, is refreshingly simple and low impact: you just show up. There’s no ticket to buy, no list to be on, no cover charge to pay. And when you do arrive, there are no food vendors charging pumped-up prices for mediocre food, no bar where you need to show ID or buy drink tickets, no merch vendors hawking t-shirts or posters. There are no lines to wait in, no rules to follow (other than the everyday rules of a civil society, of course), nothing to do except enjoy the music and have a good time. It sounds simple, but how many examples of that kind of streamlined, low impact fun can you bring to mind? Another great example of this simplicity is Project Night Vision, something that I’ll call an after after school program. It’s an intramural sports and activity program for children and teens in underserved communities – basically, it’s a way to keep kids off the street who might not otherwise have somewhere to go and something to do. Again, a tremendous amount of (unpaid) time and effort on the part of dedicated volunteers led by founder Kobi Dennis goes into making Project Night Vision happen. But again, the beauty is the low bar to entry and the
low impact on the end user: the kids just show up. They don’t apply to be in this program. There’s no tuition or fee to be paid. No permission slip to be signed. No application to be filled out. They show up and play a game of basketball or hang out and listen to music or join a discussion of an issue that affects them. It’s simple, enjoyable and effective. Unfortunately, most things that happen in our society – even most good things, like music festivals and sports programs for kids – are not that easy. In addition to the work and cost that goes into making them happen, participation for the end user is expensive, difficult, inaccessible, confusing, high pressure or otherwise less than enjoyable. There are additional costs to be paid, extra products and services to buy, paperwork to fill out, applications to submit, tickets to purchase, rules to follow, lines to wait in. In a highly regulated, litigious and economically troubled place and time, we don’t allow many things to just happen. We’re constantly asking for permission instead of begging for forgiveness. Musical performances, basketball games, fun, activity, community – these are things that should just happen spontaneously and be nurtured when they do. Instead we muck them up with planning, permits, fees, expenses, sponsorships, grant applications, ticket sales, product placement, crowd control, regulations, more complexity, more bureaucracy. Look, we need safety, order and the ability to generate profits in order to maintain a stable, civil society – but we also need to leave room for things to just happen. We need simplicity. We need to make sure a good idea doesn’t die on the vine just because we’ve created an environment in which it’s too damn difficult or expensive to execute. We need people to feel like they have the power to make something happen. And when they do, sometimes we need to be able to just show up.
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November 2012 | Providence Monthly
Scene in PVD
The 2012 RiverzEdge Industrial Ball: Rocket to Woonsocket took place on October 12. Attendees cheered on belt-sander racers, enjoyed food from Russell Morin Catering and took part in live and silent art auctions. The event benefited RiverzEdge’s community building programs, focused on developing artistic expression, disciplined effort and self-reliance in local youth.
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Learning Good Taste(s) A kitchen-phobe learns the ropes of cooking Story and Photography by Julie Tremaine
ell, if we’re being completely honest here, it’s not that I can’t cook – it’s that I really, really don’t want to. I do technically know how a stove works, and have successfully cooked tens of meals on mine. I can bake with the best of them, but my feeling is that if I’m going to spend an hour in the kitchen, I damn well better have something pretty to show off as a result. There’s just nothing glamorous about chicken and Brussels sprouts. My aversion to cooking is such that I once brought lunch to work that I had made at home, and this conversation ensued: Coworker: What are you eating? Me: A sandwich. Obviously. Coworker: Yeah, but who made it? Me: I did. Coworker: You did? But how can you eat food that wasn’t brought to you by a waiter? But really, how can you blame me? Providence is a delicious city, already populated by countless people with real culinary training, all waiting, butcher knives in hand, to make me dinner. But soon after that conversation, I started noticing a trend. Many of those same restaurants where I had spent night after night (and paycheck after paycheck) offer cooking classes. My final objection – that what chefs cook me is vastly preferable to what I can muster at home – had an answer. I set off to learn how to cook.
they train high quality chefs over the course of many years of study, those professor/chefs also teach a huge variety of Chef’s Choice Cooking Classes.
D I chose to spend one dreary Saturday morning at JWU’s Harborside Campus learning Modern American Appetizers, an overview of how to make 10 surpris-
Porcini Risotto at Professor Chef
Step One: Feeding My Friends If I was going to go to the trouble of learning to cook, I was going to start in a way that would provide maximum benefit to my life – namely, being able to cook small, delicious things to impress my friends at a cocktail party. My first stop was Johnson and Wales. While
Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon at JWU’s Chef’s Choice Class
ingly simple, gourmet small bites. Chef Peter Cooper began the lesson with a lecture, covering his background in cooking (he owned a restaurant for 20 years before committing full time to teaching at JWU), basic knife and kitchen techniques, and how the class would run. There were eight teams of three people each, and each was assigned a JWU student volunteer to help us find ingredients and (somewhat embarrassingly) show us the full extent of how much we don’t know about cooking. One saved the cranberries I was reducing (read: burning) from total destruction. Of the ten choices, my team – a mother/daughter duo on a birthday weekend in Providence and me - picked Oysters on the Half Shell with Apple Mignonette, and Baked Brie with Cranberry Compote and Herb-Candied Pecans. Others had choices like Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Dill and Black Sea Salt; Spiced Corn Cakes with Avocado Lime Salsa; Crostini of Beef Carpaccio with Red Onion Jam and Blue Cheese. JWU isn’t messing around with the lessons it offers – but though the food was complex, it was presented to us in a way that was easy to follow, simple to cook and, as I learned later, nicely recreated at home. After our food was done, I walked around the room to talk to other students as they were finishing their dishes. Two were there celebrating a birthday; one was looking to spice up his traditional game day recipes in preparation for football season. They all had different levels of cooking skill, but didn’t have a problem executing their recipes. After we were done cooking, we brought our dishes to the dining room, with an expansive view of the harbor. All of the students had bonded through the three hours, and we all tasted and complimented each others’ cooking. I, at least, left feeling like I could easily
November 2012 | Providence Monthly
Black Bean Sliders
cook something as daunting as Beef Carpaccio at home, and more, that I actually wanted to. jwu.edu
Step Two: Feeding My Ego Because I had conquered the unknown, I felt like I was ready for a treat – literally and figuratively. A baking class isn’t precisely a cooking class, but I love baking too much to have resisted the allure of All Things Tarts at The French Tarte, a patisserie in Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. The Francophilic bakery, run by Cordon Bleu-trained
Matunuck Oysters with Green Apple Mignonette
Susan VandenBerg, sells seasonal baked goods to order. Susan (who for four years was the pastry chef at Gracie’s) also offers twice-weekly classes in madelines, puff pastry, brioche and other French treats. While I’m an accomplished baker, I tend to stay away from anything involving making my own dough. I fall on the cakes, cupcakes and cookies side rather than what I had already decided was the rolling, kneading, rising, flour-everywhere, rolling-pin-thrown-through-thewindow side. This class seemed like the perfect way to complicate a subject in which I already had a solid foundation.
It turns out that making and rolling out dough is surprisingly easy. At least, it is if you have someone as practiced as Susan teaching you. All it takes is combining a handful of ingredients, crumbing them together with your hands, letting the dough chill, and then working quickly to roll it flat and lay it in the tart pan. We worked in three teams of two people in her charming kitchen, and in a couple of hours learned how to make two doughs, and all kinds of fillings. While we focused on sweet tarts – fresh berries, almond cream, lemon curd, blackberry mascarpone, chocolate ganache – the same doughs can easily be applied to savory foods. I was so energized by the simplicity and elegance of the tarts that I immediately went out and bought a French rolling pin, pie weights and two sizes of tart pans. Later that week, I did something practically unheard of: I made dinner. In my house. For other people. On the menu was something that combined Susan’s impeccable technique with Chef Cooper’s philosophy of letting a few high quality ingredients do all the work: a caramelized onion tart with gruyere and fresh thyme. It was simple to make, but looked and tasted restaurant quality. frenchtarte.com
Step Three: Feeding Myself
Almond Berry Tart at the French Tarte
Providence Monthly | November 2012
I had successfully learned how to cook for a party, but that was something I had already kind of wanted to do. (After all, if I’m going to go to the trouble of cooking a bunch of stuff, you bet your ass I’m going to find a way to get praised for it.) It was time for a real challenge, the one I didn’t think I’d ever truly conquer: learning
to cook for myself. I headed to North Providence for a lesson in making risotto from Professor Chef. Professor Chef is Phil Griffin and Malinda Coletta, a husband and wife duo who teach out of their own gourmet kitchen. Phil is a former JWU professor and chef at Providence restaurants like Adesso; Malinda has a bachelors degree in Home Economics. Six students gathered around their kitchen island for a lesson in good home cooking practices: they gave us tips on where to buy the cheapest, best quality ingredients; how to minimize kitchen waste; how to make our own very simple and high quality stock for our home cooking. While the other lessons had been more hands-on, this one was more of a demonstration – in between Phil and Malinda’s comedy act, they showed us how to make three different kind of risotto, giving step by step instruction, involving us one at a time in the cooking process. We asked questions while enjoying Truffled Porcini Risotto, Beet and Goat Cheese Risotto and Seafood Risotto. We had all individually made risotto before, but vowed to never do it again, after an hour’s worth of effort ended up with a soggy, gluey mess. Phil and Malinda so effectively demystified the process, showing us how to make exceptional risotto that only needed to cook for 20 or so minutes, that I made one the next day. And later on that week. As I cooked, I started a bag of vegetable scraps to make my own stock. A friend saw it in my freezer and said, “you’re cooking, you’re cleaning up after yourself, you’re making your own stock? Who are you?” Apparently, no longer a kitchen-phobe. www.professorchef.com
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November 2012 | Providence Monthly
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
It’s an interesting time to be a journalist – and in particular, a political journalist. There are more tools and less resources at their disposal than ever before: the demand for news has exponentially increased while newsrooms are shrinking. Alternative voices are easier to access yet more difficult to verify. Information is
Reporters Ian Donnis: Political Reporter, Rhode Island Public Radio Ted Nesi: Digital Reporter, WPRI Erika Niedowski: Reporter, Associated Press, Providence Bureau Dan McGowan: News Editor, GoLocalProv.com Tim Murphy: Assistant Managing Editor, Public Policy Desk, Providence Journal; Editor, Politifact RI David Scharfenberg: News Editor, Providence Phoenix Tim White: Investigative Reporter, WPRI
Moderators John Taraborelli Julie Tremaine
Photographer James Jones #RInewsroom
We have seven reporters seated at the table and only one representing a print daily, which is quite a change from how this conversation would have been 10, 15, 20 years ago. What is the changing nature of this profession in the new media landscape? -John T Ted N: I think it’s interesting, because we’re at a time where you can jump in in different ways. My job was just an experiment by Channel 12. They never would have had a writer when it was just a TV station; there was nowhere to put the writing. And now everyone has a website. Erika’s stuff used to be primarily available inside a newsroom until it got into a paper. Now the AP has a mobile site… I think a lot of it is just trying to keep an eye on where things are moving and sort of get there along with the readers – not wait until you realize that people have migrated, and then you’re left behind. Ian D: We’re obviously in a time of tremendous change for media. The Internet has ushered in an upheaval in a way that few could anticipate. The traditional advertising base for newspapers has collapsed. Classified ads, for example, used to be a very lucrative source of advertising for newspapers, and that’s
more accessible, yet the truth is harder to pinpoint. In short, journalism is changing quickly and dramatically. We gathered seven of the state’s top political reporters from a variety of media around our conference table the day before the first Cicilline/Doherty debate to discuss these issues and more.
all gone online and melted away from newspapers. Part of the reason why it matters is that newspapers have traditionally had the large staffs that have been able to do a watchdog function of government and other powerful interests. If newspapers have to downsize, where does that kind of watchdog reporting come from? In some cases we’re seeing new websites like Dan works for, or we’re seeing TV stations add more people, as with Ted. Rhode Island Public Radio didn’t even exist years ago. I don’t remember who said it, but some smart media person said, “It’s a great time to be a reporter. It’s a terrible time to be a newspaper.” Regardless of what format we work for, I think we want to see newspapers succeed, because they play a vital role in Rhode Island and elsewhere. Dan M: In terms of where the beat reporter is going, it’s morphing in a lot of ways. You still need [Projo reporter] Kathy Gregg pounding it out at the State House and you need people on Twitter that are going to be doing that sort of process style reporting. People are reporting it as it happens, as opposed to maybe waiting and sitting on a story and running it in the Sunday Journal. We’re seeing way more news – certainly among the people who really follow
politics – and news broken on Twitter. Erika N: Beat reporting in a lot of ways hasn’t changed. There are some tools that are different – there are a lot of tools that are different. When I got in it in 1995 I wasn’t using Twitter, there was no social media, there was barely email. I can’t even remember how I would have done a story back then… But in a lot of ways the building blocks of what we do are exactly the same… Despite all the change, there are a lot of fundamentals and there are so many more ways to get news that the news business, in a way, is thriving.
Ted Nesi, WPRI @tednesi
November 2012 | Providence Monthly
Island, but there’s not a significant nonprofit newsroom here, yet. Tim W: How would that help? Dave S: I think there are resources potentially for more investigations happening there, and just kind of… Tim W: But aren’t non-profits hurting just as much as capitalist organizations?
David Scharfenberg Providence Phoenix @d_scharfenberg Tim W: I’m a little more bullish on the prospect of reporting and finding a job as a reporter. I think six of the seven people at this table right now: their only choice 10 years ago, besides maybe the Associated Press, would have been to work at the Providence Journal. Now, there are a lot more opportunities. It doesn’t mean that reporting isn’t happening; it just means it’s happening at a lot of different places. Tim M: Everyone’s touched on one of the key issues here, which is resources and the economy – what’s the economic model of the news? Nobody’s going to want to work for free, obviously, so how do you pay that beat reporter, how do you provide the resources that can sustain an investigative reporter for a long period of time? That’s a real difficult question – not just for newspapers, which are feeling it probably the most profoundly, right now – but everyone at this table has felt that challenge. We’re up against a culture that wants everything for free on the Internet, and we don’t want to work for free. Nor is what is provided for free often very good; you do get what you pay for. What’s the economic model going to be? No one really knows the answer. Everyone’s trying to figure out different ways, including some print operations. The Orange County paper in California, they’re all of a sudden saying, “We gotta go back to total print.” They’re pulling people off their blogs and online reporting assignments to really push the print part of their operation, because that’s where they make a lot of money. Dave S: We do all have outlets that, in one form of another, may have not been here, but you’re looking at them. I mean, there’s six or seven of us; there’s not the dozens of people that used to be in the Projo newsroom and that matters. The one missing piece in Rhode Island is some sort of non-profit news outlet. There are some around the country – Saint Louis, Twin Cities, San Diego – they’re doing some interesting stuff, much larger scale than newspapers. That, in very small ways, exists in Rhode
Dave S: To some degree, sure. If you have a few wealthy people who want to fund these things, or find donations that can keep them going to some degree, you can keep it up and running. It’s never going to be the size of a newspaper, but you can get seven or eight smart journalists who can’t get jobs elsewhere, give them investigative jobs that can supplement, if not replace, a newspaper.
scrappy second voice on the news. Ian D: It’s part of the irony of the age we live in: there’s so much information you can immerse yourself in – from the Projo to the tweets that we do, the websites – but the thing is, it’s only the most avid news consumers who are going to avail themselves of most of that. You want people to be well informed so that important issues in a community can be addressed and that’s a role of a statewide newspaper. We’ve seen the Journal put a lot of attention in the last year on the economy with its Reinvent RI Series. I think the issue of how well or how poorly citizens are informed comes into whether some of these issues get addressed or not, because there’s a big impact on the political culture, how decisions get made.
important. I don’t mean to be the wet blanket here, but we get an email every morning from the editors in Philadelphia, which is our regional hub – what stories are playing hot in the region that day. I can’t tell you how many times the three or four stories that are playing hot – sometimes it’s the big Sandusky story, sometimes it’s, you know, the lab scandal in Massachusetts – but a lot of times it’s a guy who was walking underneath an overpass and a shopping cart fell off, or the two-headed cat. [laughter all around] Erika B: But it’s real. I have a picture of it. Sometimes I write the story about 38 Studios or Central Falls, and that stuff really matters. Then I’ll write a story about some dispute between neighbors, which is really kind of ridiculous. I know that’s going to get more eyeballs, picked up in more of our member papers, but that’s not really civic culture. I think it’s our job to continue to put forth the stuff that’s important so people can make decisions on issues when they go to the ballot box. But I can’t force someone to read a story about Central Falls if what they want to read about is a crazy two-headed cat. Dan M: We know the hot story. I see every page view that we get and I know the first congressional district is very interesting and the second congressional district isn’t particularly interesting. I think that’s sort of a scary thing, because it’s two sides of the state. Both things deserve to be covered equally. But there’s no question that we definitely see decisions made by what people are going to read.
“We want to see newspapers succeed, because they play a vital role in Rhode Island and elsewhere.” -Ian Donnis #RInewsroom We just haven’t seen that here, yet. Ted N: The obituaries for the Journal are written far too often and far too frequently. I think, all of us would agree that if something’s on the front page of the Journal that is the news that day in Rhode Island. I think all of us are having some effect on getting things into the news bloodstream, but there’s a different impact still when something hits the front page of the Journal… That’s still a very powerful megaphone, especially in a state like Rhode Island. We didn’t have a Boston Herald like Tim and I grew up with in Massachusetts as sort of a
Providence Monthly | November 2012
Tim M: I think there’s a real risk if we lose that sort of culture – coming from a nostalgic newspaper point-of-view. One of the dangers that we have with so many sources of information is people tend to gravitate to only what they want to hear. This is kind of reinforcing their beliefs and they’re not really getting a broader sense of what’s going on, the give and take of both sides of an issue. I think there’s a real risk as we move forward in this uncertain future that we lose that sort of culture, that kind of common thing that binds us all together. Erika B: I think civic culture’s incredibly
Erika B: Yeah, we serve a master that’s demanding clicks. There are all these escalating levels of connectivity now between you, your audience and your subjects. How does that change the job? -John T Ian D: It can make for some really unusual moments. Something comes to mind: I was monitoring Twitter, as a lot of us do, and Curt Schilling was getting in a dispute. Tim had the interview with Don Carcieri and went to press him on his responsibility and his response to how 38 Studios blew up. Ted N: Ed Fitzpatrick tweeted it to Schilling, and said, “What do you think?” Tim M: Carcieri said, “You were a crappy businessman.” Ian D: Right, so Ed Fitzpatrick approached me and some other people. We started communicating with Schilling via Twitter, and it was just bizarre. The Journal had an interview with
Schilling, but he had been very sparse with his responses to media outlets. My organization tried getting an interview with him. Here he was communicating with me and other reporters through Twitter, because Schilling sees that as a pure format where his words aren’t twisted around. It was just kind of bizarre. Tim W: But that’s a downfall, in many ways. I remember that night vividly. My tweet to him was, “We’ll give you 30 minutes commercial-free. It won’t be edited.” His response was, “Oh, I disagree with you, Tim. This is the purest form of communication.” But it is homogenized at 140-characters at a time. He couldn’t be challenged with questions that he needs to face. Ian D: Yeah. And you tweeted something to the effect, “This is not the best way to have an intelligent conversation about this.”
Tim W: Absolutely. For some, including Curt Schilling, it’s been just another way to spin their message… Tim M: It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s great to have that kind of back-and-forth and connectivity and be up-to-date and following people. But it’s time consuming. It takes your brain away from a higher level of thinking about issues and concepts that can’t be dissected in a 140-word comment. For example, during the presidential debate, I had my iPad and my TV and I was following on Twitter. I was also re-tweeting a lot of what the Politifact nation people were doing, and I realized pretty early on that I could not pay attention to what was going on. My wife would say, “What did he just say?” or “What does that mean?” “I don’t know.” What’s the point of that? For the vice presidential debate I put my iPad down and I got a lot more out of the debate. Tim W: But I think it helps to get people more engaged, and that might be the other side to it. There might have been more people dissecting certain policy issues because something was trending on Twitter. Unfortunately, Big Bird was the big thing on Twitter.
Dan McGowan GoLocalProv @danmcgowan
Erika N: It’s very easy to get distracted. But it’s our job; we’re professionals. We know how to separate out, compartmentalize. In terms of connectivity, I think overall it has to be beneficial to us. People at this table being connected to each other makes us all better. I remember the Schilling thing exactly. I watched
it with this weird mix of fascination and I hung on every single word, because he hadn’t spoken to us. I was also horrified by it, because everybody had gathered around him in this way, and he was driving that conversation in the safe way that he wanted to. That was horrifying, because if we mistake that for interacting and getting information from Curt Schilling, then we’re just shot. We didn’t really learn anything about what happened with 38 Studios from Curt Schilling sending off tweets. Ted N: I think the existence of things like Twitter is a huge reason why my job exists, because you need alternative ways to reach people. Channel 12 isn’t the blog show. I had to get people to come look for writing about the topics I cover on the site, and it was a good way to connect with people, to get things out there. You have to find ways to convince people to read what you’re doing. And this gives people a tool that they might not have had otherwise. Though you work for competing news outlets, it seems like Twitter makes it really easy for all of you to work collectively… One person can contribute one small part of the story and another person releases another part. We’re in this bubble in Rhode Island, where you work together on these stories. It’s something that happens to an extent in bigger towns, but I feel like it’s happening here right now more than anywhere else. -Julie T
tively. I would use the word collegially, because I think we all want to get that story first. We are competing with one other. But at the same time, we do have a respect – a grudging respect for each other. [laughter all around] Ian D: We do have admiration for professional colleagues when they break an important story or write a story particularly well, and that’s why we might re-tweet it. I’m glad to see the Journal has gotten more active on Twitter. We’re at this moment where there’s still very much a need for “old time journalistic values,” fact-based reporting, but there are more ways than ever of getting that out. The most successful news organizations might be those that can balance those two different things. Ted N: We’re talking a lot about what
Tim Murphy Providence Journal/ Politifact RI @politifactri
Ian D: I wouldn’t use the word collec-
November 2012 | Providence Monthly
Tim White, WPRI @white_tim the digital changes have taken away – in terms of audience, in terms of ad business, in terms of common culture – but it’s given us a huge range of new tools. You can get documents so quickly. That could have been days going to city halls, or you had to have a library like newspapers used to have. Now, it’s all on a website; you can grab it quickly. I know people complain that it’s sped up the reporting process, but it’s taken away time that wasn’t useful – you know, driving off to some state law library somewhere in Kingstown. Tim M: It’s also value added to the consumer, to the readers, because you can share the actual documents and sources with them. When this first started, I sent out a tweet from Providence Monthly about how we’re all here for this roundtable. Somebody tweeted back to ask if we’re streaming this somewhere. According to the rules of the new media age, I should be tweeting highlights from this, we should be streaming it, I should be answering this guy’s question. But if I’m doing all that, to your point about the debates, I’m not paying attention to what you are saying. How do you prioritize, especially when you’re dealing with this pressure on the one hand to get the story out first, and on the other hand, to verify? -John T
press conferences we were all tweeting what the governor was saying, and what changed for me was I actually used that as my electronic notebook. He says something that’s new and noteworthy, I’d tweet that out. Ted would put it out. Ian would put it out. And then when I’m compiling my story – writing it, I should say – for the newscast that night, I went back through the tweets and wrote my story based off of that. You are paying attention even more while you’re tweeting, in that case. I think when it’s a distraction was something like the debates. Ted N: I think it’s also made us and other organizations more transparent, like it or not. Some organizations have resisted that much more, but I think it’s not a bad thing for the press to be accessible, for people to be able to quickly hit back at us if we’re off. We do get off on the wrong track sometimes, or we are fumbling for conventional wisdom that’s missing a big alternative point-ofview. I think that’s it. I struggle with the time management and attention thing, because there are different pressures. There’s the pressure to be on top of everything that’s happening in real-time, and then there’s the pressure to come up with interesting new takes, which inevitably involves going into something that’s not being tweeted about. Ted N: Ian and I were both taken out of print and put into broadcast outlets, but asked to keep writing. I don’t know if you’ll see more of that, but you should, because if there are more resources at broadcast outlets right now and they all have websites, they should be putting news online. I don’t think they do. On this next topic, I’d like to start with the man who’s got his hand over the “Pants on fire” button. There’s the concept of false equivalence, with respect to presenting both sides equally on every story, or saying on particular stories, “Look, this side is lying; this side is not equal to the other side of the debate.” How do you balance those decisions? -John T
Tim W: When we would cover Chaffee’s
Erika Niedowski Associated Press @eniedowski
Tim M: That’s an interesting and difficult question. Traditionally we have been, let’s present this side, let’s present that side, let the reader make up his or her own mind. That does work in a lot of cases, but Politifact was created for those occasions where it just doesn’t work, where you can present two sides of a complex argument and the reader’s totally befuddled and unsatisfied. The reporters who created Politifact knew that there were times when this was absolutely not true. It’s just not true and there was no form or outlet in traditional balanced he-said/she-said journalism to make that declaration. I was up in New Hampshire backpack-
Providence Monthly | November 2012
ing over the weekend and I was at one of the Appalachian Mountain Club huts. There was a woman from Canada who started talking about global warming and she was adamantly convinced that there was no such thing and it was a total conspiracy of the media. It was a very difficult conversation, because I think the consensus is now, and the media is – well, we’re not going to pretend there isn’t global warming. We’re not going to pretend there are two sides here and that we have to treat both of those sides equally… I think there’s still value to balanced, he-said/she-said reporting, but we do find occasions where that just doesn’t work. Dan M: I think it’s helpful to have Politifact, particularly when you’re just getting press release after press release, or people are having press conference after press conference. The one that comes to mind, that all of us covered, of course, was Anthony Gemma and the voter fraud accusations. It was made into an event that we all had to attend and give it credence, in the sense that there were huge accusations being made. We’re willing to cover it initially, but… Tim was early in doing shoe-leather reporting that one part of it was a little bit false or stretched. Then Politifact and the reporters at the Journal had something about how people who were making these accusations had been accused of voter fraud themselves. It’s strange – you kind of had to cover that, it was the story of the day, but at the same time you needed to go out and say, “Well, maybe this is a stretch.” The benefit of Politifact is when a congressional candidate sends out a press release that makes some sort of accusation, it’s good to have you there to say, “Pants on fire.” Erika N: That story’s a really good example of the he-said/she-said conundrum because I was frankly uncomfortable with a lot of the coverage that came out of that story. Anthony Gemma did not substantiate his claims. I think most people at the table, if not everyone, would agree that he did not present evidence to back up some of the sweeping claims that he made. I don’t have a great solution for that, because you’re right, we did have to cover it. But the thing is that not everybody gets around to reading Politifact. What they see is the headline – the initial story comes out and there are claims of voter fraud. Dave S: I don’t know. I feel like the skepticism came through pretty strongly. Ian D: Yeah, look at Gemma’s campaign. I hear what you’re saying, but I think a lot of voters made up their minds that he was not the most credible candidate, and how he fared in the primary was a reflection.
Erika N: Maybe. But I don’t think we should leave it up to, “I hope they can figure out that Gemma didn’t have any evidence.” Dave S: I think the Projo’s stories very clearly said, up top, “unsubstantiated claims.” Tim W: That story stressed me out. We could all see it coming like a train, because he announced it a few weeks in advance that this press conference was coming. I said to Ted two days before, “I don’t like this story because it’s going to be a he-said/she-said story, and we need to do some gumshoeing.” That initial story’s a very important one… But then it was our job to go out there and literally knock on doors for these voters that are registered at wrong addresses, which we did, but not every news organization is going to devote the resources to do that. That’s what scared me about that story. Ted N: [Politifact is] referenced a lot. Politicians say, “Don’t Politifact me on this, but...” – which almost is like saying, “I’m going to lie.” Dan M: It’s important, the fact that there’s a [Truth-o-]Meter. That’s something that people can understand; they see it. Dave S: With the Gemma story, I wonder if there was a flipside to this, too. After he got crushed for having the ridiculous press conference, five days later, one pretty credible person was interviewed in the Projo talking about voter fraud with the Cicilline campaign, but by that point it had almost no impact. Did the media really pursue this story? Anthony Gemma, say what you will about him, he said, “Go into this neighborhood and find people.” Did we go into the neighborhoods and find people? Dan M: The Gemma stories did come out of it. The Journal reports on a Saturday about this video of mail ballots and it’s mysterious and everybody went and watched it. By Monday, we reported that this former campaign volunteer got a loan that he didn’t pay back from the Cicilline administration during his time in Providence. That’s a legitimate story: campaign volunteer getting money and not paying it back. Ted N: Part of why you get into he-said/ she-said is because reporters aren’t confident enough on the issues being debated to be able to call balls and strikes. It’s not easy; I put a lot of time into trying to get better at that. During the pension debate that was key, because people will just throw things at the wall and see what sticks. The more we don’t feel comfortable with the basic level of poli-
cy that’s being debated, the harder it will be for us to say, “Okay, that’s way out there,” or, “Wait, that was contradicted by this study.” 38 Studios is a good example. That was a time where a lot of people fell down on the job. I don’t think there was nearly enough skeptical coverage of the original deal back in 2010… But I did two stories that I’m proud of because I called up a bunch of video game analysts all over the country and they said just what ended up happening. They said, “This is the most risky type of game to make.” They didn’t say, “This will fail.” I can’t claim that my story says, “38 Studios will collapse in 2012.” But they did say, “This is the most risky kind of game to make, it’s incredibly expensive, the gaming industry is going in a different direction right now.” We also had other stories that said the regulations hadn’t been written yet when they handed that money out. The bond documents were written in a way that the company was set up to fail – this was not a scandal that no one could find. This was not hidden by Carcieri. They brought us in for briefings. That’s a time where I think it was right in front of our faces, but there just wasn’t enough close scrutiny at the actual policy decision that had been made. How do you guys get out there and say, “We do our homework. Regardless of what you think of it, regardless of what media we use, what we do is verifiable, it’s credible, it’s important and, in one form or another, it’s worth paying for.” How do you maintain that message nowadays when people are going to their opinion-based sources to bolster their particular worldviews? -John T Tim M: I think that the most important thing is to make it clear in both our minds and our leaders’ minds that we are about the journalism of verification, not assertion. It’s easy, especially in the hyper-competitive, rapidly paced online world, to assert things that haven’t been verified, because you think or you’ve heard; that’s dangerous for us. We have to be all about verification and transparency.
“We’re up against a culture that wants everything for free on the Internet, and we don’t want to work for free.” -Tim Murphy #RInewsroom Ian D: Facts matter and I think there has been a trend toward a lot more opinion in the information that goes out to people. There is a place for thoughtful analysis, but facts really matter. Ted N: We build trust; it’s a long-term project. Every day you try to do your best work, you try to put things forward that you’ve worked hard to make accurate, you try to make sure you’re always challenging your own biases, you’re making sure to keep a diverse set of publications and analysts and people you read, so that you’re making sure you don’t end up in a bubble that you created for yourself almost unknowingly… That’s the key in the end: are we writing things that reflect the world people actually live in? People notice after a while if we keep reporting things that don’t seem to reflect the world they’re in; they try to find someone else who’s reporting something that does. Erika N: And if we make mistakes we have to correct them quickly and transparently.
Ian Donnis Rhode Island Public Radio @IanDon
Dave S: I do want to put in a word for analysis, too, because the news in particular can be gray and dull and stale – that scares people off as much as distrust of media. You have to be careful in your analysis and it has to ring true, but
you need that to get people interested. Ted N: Being interesting – okay, we always talk about that. Local TV news gets a bad rap. Sure, there are nights when we get more car accidents than reflects the proportion of car accidents in the general population. But, on the other hand, what TV news does a good job of is relentlessly thinking about, “How can we make this both interesting and relevant to the people at home?” And I try to take that – when I’m writing something with a chart about the pensions, I try to think, “Why am I doing this? I find it interesting – why do I find it interesting?” Drawing people in is so important. We should be self-critical if we feel like we’re losing our audience. Why are we losing them, if we think what we’re doing is so important? We should look inside and try to see what can we do to get them back. Tim W: As you’ve always said, it’s trying to get the Brussels sprouts into the story. I’ve done more television stories in the past five years that show screenshots of an Excel spreadsheet – that’s real exciting. But there are ways to make sure that it’s ringing true to a broader audience. I think the brand of journalism is one that news outlets haven’t had to
worry about selling, and now we do. I think the only way you can sell the brand of journalism is to make sure it stands the test of time, which is just a slower process. Dan M: I love covering politics, but I know not everyone cares. I use this example all the time: not everyone cares about campaign finance reports, but if you put it into the form of a list – who has the most money, who spends the most money – that matters to people, and the page views and comments show it. Ted N: We were meeting about prep for tomorrow night’s Cicilline and Doherty debate on our station. What we kept coming back to is what are the people at home worried about? When they’re driving home at night or at the kitchen table, what things concern them that a congressman might be asked to speak to or might have a thought about? There are times we can get too involved in the stories we find interesting and lose sight of what the people at home are worried about, even though we feel like we’ve written that story already. Unemployment’s been very high in Rhode Island for years; sometimes it feels like there’s no story left to write, but we have to keep writing about that, because it hasn’t gone down.
November 2012 | Providence Monthly
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
AT HOME / SHOP TALK / THE LOOK / BEAUTY / GET FIT About the Homeowners
Henry Tingley and Margaret Rancourt live in Calendar Mills in Olneyville. Henry is the assistant manager at Frog and Toad on Hope Street; Margaret is a designer for L’Image Jewelry.
Photography: James Jones
(Not So) Run of the Mill 1. Margaret was a sculpture major. That octopus was one of her installations. It’s all hand-sewn felt with wax poured on top. 2. That’s a wall of inspiration for our studio space. If Margaret finds an image she likes, she’ll put it up on that wall. Cindy Sherman is up there, she’s one of her favorite artists. 3. The throw is from Frog and Toad. Margaret made the pillows and the slip cover. 4. That’s Louise’s cage. She’s a house trained black rabbit. There was a sign on a telephone pole saying someone
was giving her away, and I really love rabbits. The Warren artist Will Schaff did a paper cut of Louise as a gift for me. He’s my favorite artist. 5. The hammock was a gift from my boss. I put it up as a joke that wasn’t going to stay, but it’s really comfortable, and it divides the room nicely. 6. We’re the only ones in the mill who have a spiral staircase. Each unit is a little different. It’s all original flooring from when the building was a mill.
November 2012 | Providence Monthly
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
City Style |
by Jane Parisi and Jen Brister
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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I live in Smith Hill in Providence. I have lived here for two years. Before that, I lived in Atlanta for 10. I make jewelry full time for my own company, Larkin and Larkin.
I have been buying only second hand clothing my whole adult life. Can you describe the jewelry you design? I source all of my materials locally. I use mostly vintage supplies and raw earth: natural minerals and stones. I’m primarily influenced ascetically by the ‘70s and tribal African culture. How would you describe your style? On a regular day, somewhere between ‘90s riot girl and lesbian nerd. If I’m actually getting “dressed” then it’s influenced by the ‘70s and tribal African culture. I tend to dress really plainly. I have been buying only second hand clothing my whole adult life. That influences my style too. What I have access to, and what I can source kind of just becomes the outfit. You design such beautiful, big statement pieces that some people find intimidating to wear. How do you confidently wear statement jewelry? I would say, in all things in life, don’t succumb to the fear. Especially in fashion. Don’t be afraid of what people think. If they’re looking at you, it’s probably because they’re jealous. Are there any style tips you’d like to share? Wear anything you can wear while standing up straight and with confidence. Standing up straight, you can pretty much get away with wearing anything. My second style tip is to invest in ponchos. They forgive all of the crimes happening beneath them. I have like seven.
Photography: Corey Grayhorse
What’s one thing that you wear that instantly makes you feel more confident? Big hair. How does living in Providence inspire you? I just completely fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. Providence is oozing with cosmic and historical juices that are inspiring. I see it as this amazing, romantic, decayed, still vibrant, living entity of a town. I really love this place. etsy. com/shop/larkinandlarkin. Jane and Jen co-founded I am the Everyday Girl, iamtheeverydaygirl.com.
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November 2012 | Providence Monthly
City Style |
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I first started practicing yoga about a year-and-a-half ago. Nursing a foot injury, I was trying to find a way to keep up my fitness routine when high-impact workouts were off-limits, and yoga ended up being exactly what I needed. It was just about the only workout I could do without foot pain, and although I was skeptical, I learned it really is a full-body workout. Bikram yoga had been on my radar for a while because I’ve met some dedicated followers of the practice who swear by it for both the physical and mental challenges it presents. Even before I went to Boiler House Bikram Yoga in Providence for my first class, I knew it would be an intense experience: Bikram yoga is practiced in rooms set to 105 degrees, and as someone who sweats during even a light workout in a chilly room, I knew I would truly be feeling the
heat of the workout. My instructor was Boiler House’s owner Derek Stout, who opened the studio in September. He has been practicing Bikram yoga since he was 16 years old and teaching since 2006. There were about 10 people taking the class, a few beginners like myself and a few people who were obviously regular practitioners based on the way they flowed effortlessly from posture to posture. “We do not have different levels of classes,” Derek says. “A Bikram yoga class is unique in that there can be two people standing next to one another from completely different backgrounds and levels of ability who are equally challenged by the practice.” (I was, indeed, challenged, and I had the buckets of sweat to prove it.) Each Bikram yoga class consists of the same 26 poses, performed in the
same order, every time. But while the postures and breathing exercises are the same each day, each class is still different. “The mind and body are constantly changing,” Derek says. “By keeping the postures and technique the same, the body and mind mold around the healing nature of the practice.” Derek’s class was cleansing, humbling and intense. And even though I know there is room for vast improvement on my part, I really enjoyed it. The series of poses helped me focus only on the tasks at hand, not the thoughts and to-do lists that typically run through my head. Using my mind, body and breath, I released tension, energized my body and got a darn good workout. Not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. 166 Valley Street, #201. Bikramyogaprovidence.com.
vard, Cranston. 275-5250, rei.com. Let’s face it: Finding the motivation to go for a run on a dark, chilly November evening can be tough. Knowing you have people to run with can make it a little easier. A group of local runners, all various ages and abilities, meet each Thursday evening at 6:30pm at different restaurants around the state and
embark on five-mile runs. Afterwards, they all grab a bite together at the restaurant. On Thursday, November 8 the run begins and ends at Harry’s Bar and Burger, 121 North Main Street, Providence. Anyone is welcome to join. Lights and reflector vests are strongly encouraged. Contact Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Don’t miss out on the great gear bargains at REI Cranston on Saturday, November 10, during its Used Gear Sale of imperfect merchandise. You’ll find goods at 30-60% off regular prices. A REI membership is required to purchase, but a lifetime membership is only $20 and can be purchased on the day of the sale. 10am-2pm. 22 Chapel View Boule-
Providence Monthly | November 2012
Photography: Amy Amerantes
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www.TheColorHouse.com November 2012 | Providence Monthly
Providence Monthly | November 2012
S ar a Z arel la P hotogr aphy
City Style |
Come See What’s NEW!
By Erin Swanson
Keep it Civil A skate shop adds a location downtown
The “R” Bar & Lounge is Now Open! Visit Our Expanded Dining Room To Celebrate Enjoy 25% OFF Any Purchase Sunday through Thursday 310 Atwells Avenue, Providence • For reservations call 331-5000 • romaprov.com
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Photography: Amy Amerantes
Opposites often attract. Think peanut butter and jelly; Popeye and Olive Oyl; yours truly and… every man I have ever dated. Seriously. An adrenaline junkie I am not, yet somehow I always seem to attract the thrill seekers. They ride motorcycles, they race cars, they jump out of planes into mountains of snow. Oh, and they want to drag me along for the ride. Let’s face it: I’d rather park it on the couch, book in hand. The one tricked-out sport I could ever get down with is skateboarding, probably because I was never expected to hop on the back of the board. I was excited to check out Civil, the newly opened skate apparel and supply store downtown (where the old OneWay Gallery used to be). Owner Rob Asselin experienced so much success at his East Greenwich store that he decided to expand the business to include this second location. I must say, the space is minimalistic-chic, and it fits in seamlessly with its artsy Westminster Street neighbors. “On a business and a personal level, the Providence store just made sense,” Rob says. “There’s always been a local skate shop here in the city since we were kids and it was important to keep that alive. Kids have been taking the bus down to EG – a lot of college kids don’t have a car.” Rob began scouting locations in the spring and settled on this spot in June. “And then came the lease negotiation,” he says with a laugh. While he jokingly claims to be in
“old man skater mode” these days, Rob has been riding since the age of four. Clearly, he has a true passion for the sport. Also, he might have OCD. Everything in the store is meticulously arranged, boutique-style, with none of that frustrating mall store mess. From skate decks to grip tape to wheels, bearings, shock pads and bolts, the equipment’s all here. And the service is friendly. While some stores stock only the mainstream brands, Civil goes beyond, which is something diehard skaters will appreciate. Rob’s taste, aesthetically, is very good: he’s stocked up on funny Antihero decks, colorful Brixon watches, tons of graphic t-shirts by Huf, The Hundreds and Plan B, as well as jackets, hoodies, wallets, headphones, sunglasses and hats. Oh, and I can’t forget the sneaker wall; I don’t think I saw a pair I didn’t like. In fact, I even mentally styled my future ex-boyfriend: black Brixon flat brim hat, Huf denim button down, Black Levi’s 511 jeans and gray-on-gray Nike SB Dunk Mid Pros. This is definitely the place to shop for your skateboardloving loved ones this holiday season. Although the bulk of the goods are geared towards men, there are a few goodies available for the fairer sex too, including some adorable glittery Tom’s that I would totally rock while being dragged to the skate park. It’s only a matter of time. 231 Westminster Street. 383-1622, wearecivil.com.
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
More than any season, fall’s particular smells and tastes appeal to me. The popularity of pumpkin means any and everything that can have pumpkin added to it has. (Pumpkin macarons, anyone? Pumpkin Greek yogurt? It’s a whole new world of gourds and that world is delicious.) Until recently, I thought that the proliferation of fall’s iconic flavor was limited to food and drink. Not so. It turns out that Butter Day Spa offers seasonal treatments that benefit your skin and allow you to enjoy autumn, even on a spa table. So in I went to for my firstever fall-inspired facial. Butter’s unique location – in a bright yellow Victorian on the College Hill section of Hope Street – was a smart choice by owners Alicia and Arnell Milhouse. It’s a whole new kind of vibe to walk into a grand parlor of a late-1800s mansion, old world art hanging from the walls, to wait for a spa service. I was greeted by Chifferobe’s Kristen Minsky, who directed me to a table laden with French wine and cheeses while I waited for Dayja to lead me to the treatment room. More lovely old art, candles and drapery waited there, in what I’m guessing was once the family dining room. It was a welcome departure from the tiny, muted-color treatment rooms you find in most spas. The treatment of the day was a Fantasia facial, one of Butter’s signature services. Dayja began by cleansing, toning and assessing my skin type and the kind of products she would be using on me. The spa uses a British skincare line called Pevonia that’s popular in Europe but largely undiscovered in America. She placed chilled green tea and jasmine teabags on my eyes to depuff and improve dark circles, which was new for me - and, it turns out, very effective. We went through the standard steam treatment (with the added benefit of aromatherapy: Dayja gave me my choice of scents like sweet orange, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and pep-
permint – I chose rose) and extractions. Then the seasonal elements started, and they were lovely. First, Dayja moisturized and massaged my face, arms, shoulders and décolletage with a delicious smelling pumpkin moisturizer. Normally, pumpkin scents can be overly sweet and spiced and not smell much like pumpkin at all. This product was delicate and perfectly autumnal. (She added that they would be continuing the seasonal treatments into the winter, next with cranberry products.) Dayja then painted on a pumpkin enzyme mask – the antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K in it clean out the pores and promote cellular turnover. There was more massage while the mask did its work, so I was in a totally blissed-out state when Alicia came in for my spa reflexology treatment. I had never tried reflexology, but had long been curious about it. It turns out that the Asian methodology is basically a really excellent foot massage, but with an eye towards the fact that certain pressure points in the feet correspond to other parts of the body. Alicia walked me through each one (big toes for head and scalp, arch for liver and intestines) as she applied pressure. I swear I could feel a little sensation in each place before she told me what would happen next. More than anything, it’s completely relaxing. I left Butter with refreshed skin and walked out into the night with a whole new appreciation for the season. 255 Hope Street. 383-4771, butterdayspa.com.
Illustration: Caleigh McGrath
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Shaolin Warriors November 2012 | Providence Monthly
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Photography: Tiffany Medrano
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November 2012 | Providence Monthly
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Providence Monthly | November 2012
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In the Kitchen
By Stephanie Obodda
An Evolution of Taste danny Teodoro on his culinary passion When did you get involved with Pizzico? I partnered with Jim Harris about six years ago when he had owned Pizzico for about six years. I got involved in the restaurant and we started Decadent Catering out of the same facilities. I’ve been in the business since I was a kid (my godfather was a chef) and have a background as a chef restaurateur. We had similar goals in the industry and it’s been a good collaboration. Tell me more about your catering business. Decadent Catering is a boutique catering company. What sets us apart is that we’re not looking to be huge, but we have the backing and knowledge of the industry and a busy restaurant behind us. We leverage those to deliver great catering. We can do any size event, but most tend to be on the smaller side and customized. We like to create a restaurant experience for the guests even though they are in another venue – that’s been the recipe for our success. Is it difficult to juggle both businesses? Balancing catering and the restaurant isn’t difficult for me – it’s my background. It’s all about controlled chaos! The more detailed and organized you are, the better chance you have at success. We run a pretty tight operation and everyone is cross-utilized. Most of our staff has been with us for a long time, and we have a catering director who oversees that area.
Photography: Mike Braca
How would you describe Pizzico? Pizzico is a rustic bistro. The restaurant opened in 1991 and has gathered a loyal following over the years, but it needed to be updated when I arrived six years ago. We had the creative challenge of mixing customer favorites from the long-standing, diverse menu with trendier dishes and other touches that would appeal to new customers. Is it still evolving? In the restaurant industry, you always have to keep evolving so you don’t get left behind. You need to keep adapting and changing based on what’s happening and what the customer
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wants. Since we’re in a residential neighborhood, we have regular local customers, so when we try something new we’re able to get a lot of direct feedback. This helps us know how we’re doing and whether our vision is in the right direction. Describe your menu. Our regular menu has lots of choices for different tastes and palates, and we have a local board, which features dishes from local produce, farmers, and producers. It changes weekly and there are often five to six different farms or local suppliers per dish. We don’t just do this because farm-to-table is trendy, but because we like to educate diners about what’s available around here. What’s been on the local board lately? Our local menu changes every week; we coordinate with Farm Fresh RI to get what’s in season. For example, we’ve been featuring some great cod and scallops from Local Catch, based out of Narragansett. Last week we featured roasted parsnip and pancetta with cracked black pepper fettuccini, finished with extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley and Cloumage cheese from Shy Brothers, who are
based out of Westport, MA. The pancetta is from Daniele, a larger charcuterie producer in Rhode Island. What are some popular dishes? The menu is so diverse it’s hard to pick, but I’ll tell you my favorites. One is the Duck Confit, served over a wild mushroom risotto with creamed spinach and truffle oil, finished with a red wine demi-glace. Another, my personal favorite, is the Spigola. It’s pan-seared sea bass served over lobster risotto with a shrimp saffron brodo (broth). These are the hearty dishes that people crave when the weather gets colder.
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November 2012 | Providence Monthly
On the menu
By John Taraborelli
Take a Bite
more restaurant openings keep the dining scene fresh
Rice) and elsewhere (Singapore Style Rice Noodle, Malaysian Curry Stew). They’re open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. www.veggiefunri.com Another new food truck has taken to the streets, as well – though it prefers to be called a “mobile café.” Acacia Café is based out of Little Compton and is the creation of Chef Dawn Brooks-Rapp, who is not only a culinary school graduate, but a registered nurse, too. As you might expect, the focus is on fresh, local, all natural and, whenever possible, organic ingredients. The menu will change seasonally, but primarily offers sandwiches, burgers and soups. Some examples include the JD Cuban with turkey, ham, Swiss, pickles and spicy mayo; their version of the famous Vietnamese sandwich Banh Mi with chicken; and a butternut squash and apple soup. Check www.acaciacafe.com or follow @AcaciaFoodTruck on Twitter for more info and locations. One of the most unfortunate aspects of last year’s closing of DownCity was the fact that one of the city’s best restaurant spaces was left tragically vacant. Well, this month 50 Weybosset Street is officially back on the culinary map with the opening of Circe. It’s the culmination of several years of searching and planning by bartender-turnedrestaurateur Carlo Carlozzi. He’s spent the last decade behind the bar at 10 Prime Steak & Sushi, but has long dreamed of owning a restaurant. When the space became available, he seized the opportunity, recruiting Kyle Poland from 10 to run his bar and Simon Keating from XO Café to head the kitchen. After remodeling the spacious restaurant, he promises that it will be like “walking into a breath of fresh air.” DownCity’s signature orange has been replaced by white, the painted-over bamboo floors have been returned to their natural tone, and the upstairs mezzanine is now an area for private parties. As for the food, Circe will offer what Carlozzi calls “American-infused Mediterranean” cuisine. Of course, there will
Providence Monthly | November 2012
2 Pauls Good Food
be drinks too. He points out that while chefs usually open restaurants, it’s rare for a bartender to do so. “So, you know the drinks will be really good,” he adds. Indeed, the restaurant takes its name from Circe, the nymph in Greek mythology known for her magical potions. And good news for fans of DownCity: Circe will continue the former occupant’s tradition of featuring Sunday brunch with added entertainment. Alternating weekends will feature a DJ spinning ‘70s/’80s favorites and Michael Dutra’s Sinatra tribute. “I’ve been in this business so long, one thing I’m good at is listening to people,” Carlozzi says. “I have some-
thing at this restaurant that everybody wants.” www.circeprov.com BEER-TASTIC NEWS The Great American Beer Festival makes its second appearance of the year at the Convention Center on Saturday, November 5. There are, as always, two sessions from 1-4:30pm and 6:30-10pm, allowing you ample opportunity to sample ales, lagers, stouts, IPAs and other fancy stuff you haven’t even heard of yet from brewers around the country and around the world. There will also be food and entertainment. Check beerfestamerica.com for more info and tickets.
Photo:graphy Dan Schwartz
The autumn continues to be a busy season on the local dining scene, with several new openings over the past couple of months. First, just about a year after opening The ROI in the Jewelry District, restaurateurs Paul Shire and Paul Roidoulis are at it again. This time they’re taking over a spot in East Providence to open the appropriately named 2 Pauls Good Food (315 Waterman Ave.). The location has been home to a number of restaurants over the years – most recently, Vine Yard East – but, depending on your age and East Providence roots, it is best remembered either for Cattails City Grill or Joseph’s Family Restaurant. While the former had its adherents based on its sophisticated city-style dining, Chef Shire promises that 2 Pauls will be closer to the latter, a neighborhood fixture he remembers from his childhood growing up in Rumford. The menu will focus on what Shire calls “neighborhood comfort food,” meaning burgers, steaks, chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, and, of course, meatloaf – a dish for which Shire is known several restaurants over. The prices and atmosphere will be inexpensive, accessible and friendly – appropriate for two business partners who met on the golf course and bonded over a Grateful Dead cassette. They are open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. www.2paulsgoodfood.com Back over the city line, Veggie Fun (123 Dorrance St.) has opened downtown in the former home of Asian Bistro. The new restaurant will continue to serve pan-Asian fare, but only vegetarian and vegan dishes. The menu features an array of familiar Chinese preparations like Peking Duck, General Tso’s Chicken and Orange Beef, but with wheat and soy based substitutes in place of the traditional meats. In addition to Chinese classics, they will offer a variety of dishes from around the continent including Korea (Bi-Bim Bap, a type of rice bowl), Japan (Udon or Soba Noodle Soup), Thailand (Pad Thai and Bangkok Fried
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November 2012 | Providence Monthly