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September 4th 2020
Published: September 4th 2020
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It is the Thursday before Labor Day weekend and we have planned a short get away to Providence, RI. There are several reasons for this trip 1) to get the heck out of NYC during Covid and 2) we have decided it is time to move somewhere else. Seven years in Manhattan is enough and the city is well, not for us. It has lost all appeal, there are no Broadway Shows, you can’t go out to dinner, the crime is out of control and the subways, just to risky. Why Providence, it reminds me of Portland before it turned in to hipsterville. Its small, extremely clean and surrounded by water. I will still work for the same firm, just remotely and go into the city a couple times a month, more if needed.

The day started with a few hours of work, as our train was not until 2. We left the apartment around 12:30, and for the first time in about 2 months both air conditioners are going to get a few days off. They have been going 24/7 since June 1. The best part of these short road trip, is that Tarragon gets to come with us. So, we all jumped in a cab and were off to Penn Station. We have not been in the train station since before the lock down, and it was a very different experience, only about 25% capacity. Normally, it is jammed pack with travelers. I guess that is one positive side to travel during Covid.

The train was 50% full, only window seats allowed, unless you were traveling with family. Our train was a bit delayed, but once we boarded, we had very little trouble finding a seat in the first car of coach, no business class and they discriminate against those of the furry nature. Tarragon is a very good train traveler; he basically just is rocked to sleep by the motion of the train. The ride itself was pretty uneventful, everyone obeyed the rules and wore masks. The trip took about 3 and half hours total. It is really a nice trip once you get out of the City, goes along much of the Connecticut coast line.

A bit of an aside here. It has really been a while since I have done a serious blog, yes, I did a bit on our trip to NW

As close to Spain as we will get this year
Connecticut, but that was not up to my normal standards. Since we have not been able to take a real vacation, I am a bit out of practice in the blogging department.

Anyway, the train station is very centrally located in Providence, you can basically walk to any hotel downtown. Our hotel, Homewood Suites by Hilton (points points points) was 5 blocks, a very easy walk with our luggage, kitty and his luggage. Everything looked much newer than when we were here 5 years ago. And god is it clean. Clean like Portland use to be when I was in my 20’s.

We got to the hotel and had a bit of trouble finding the reception, it was tugged around the corner from the elevator so we went up and down a few times before we figured it out. When we did figure it out, check in went very smoothly, and the front desk clerk was very friendly, behind glass like the boy in the bubble, but friendly none the less. We are on the 4th floor in a corner room, with great views. King size bed of course, more for the cat then us, I think.

After getting settled in the room we changed and left for dinner. The evening was pleasant, sunset behind us, gentle breeze, but the humidity was 94%!,(MISSING) but manageable with the breeze and the walk down the river side.

Parkside Rotisserie & Bar

We discovered this place when we were here 5 years ago, we stopped in for wine-thirty. We were impressed enough to give it a try for dinner. While the name would indicate rotisserie style food, it is really fairly French inspired, with the exceptions of the two TV’s over the bar showing sports (we liked it better when there were no sports because of Covid). Rhode Island has both inside and outside seating available. Inside was very nicely spaced. We felt very comfortable. New York is going to really have to change how they cram people in for money, if those restaurants want to survive in this new age.

The staff was very friendly and with out the attitude of servers in NYC. We of course started with a glass of prosecco (we may not be on a traditional vacation, but we are at least out of the city. It just happens to be restaurant week here in Providence, so we lucked out and might save a bit of money. The total bill was also less than a normal night out ($100) as they were currently not offering bottles of wine. It also helps that the sales tax is a bit less here.

We both ordered off the restaurant menu, everything on it looked good, it was hard to decide. The appetizer was perhaps the most difficult decision for me, it was between Gazpacho and Lamb meatballs. Since Gazpacho season is almost over, that is what I went with. It good and a very different style than what I make. Mine starts with a bread and garlic paste, then adds the tomatoes. This was a bit more salsa style, but still good. It did not come with all of the traditional garnish, such as bacon, croutons, etc. It was still very good.

Jerry had a Tenderloin Carpaccio Salad. The greens were spicy arugula. It was a well composed dish, but again not really a traditional carpaccio. A true carpaccio is thinly sliced raw beef, this was much more like thinly sliced roast beef, like you would use in a deli sandwich. Again, not traditional but very good.

The restaurant was probably at full Covid capacity, and the kitchen was having some issues keeping up. We of course did not mind, because we prefer to take our time at dinner and don’t like when the food just comes out in a split second. This gave us plenty of time to enjoy each course and have a conversation. The entrées were up next.

Jerry had a Balsamic Glazed Atlantic Salmon Panzanella Salad. If you don’t know what a Panzanella salad is, it is basically a bread salad with some greens. The bread is the star. I am sure you realize why I just explained that, because when it came out, Jerry’s salad was completely void of the bread. It was supposed to have garlic croutons (one of the reasons he ordered it). We pointed out the error and it was quickly made right. The manager even commented, that the bread was what made it a Panzanella in the first place. Other than that small issue, the dish was very good. The salmon was tasty (and I don’t really like salmon that much). The skin was crispy and flavorful. Jerry, typically does not like
the skin on fish, but this he devoured like it was bacon.

I ordered the Crispy Chicken Confit and crispy it was. A perfectly cooed bone in chicken quarter with a skin so crispy and tasty it was almost as good as duck confit (but nothing really is that good). It came with honey jalapeno cornbread, grilled asparagus and cheddar bacon mashed potatoes. The best part, everything was actually hot. We have had so many meals in NY that the food is just luke warm, which I cannot stand. Next to the chicken the cornbread was the star of my plate. Any cornbread I can eat with out adding butter, well it just has to be good. The only down side was the asparagus, it is late in the season so it was to thick and a bit woody for my taste. It was very nicely grilled and had the grill marks to prove it. We had a relatively decent glass of Oregon Pinot with our entrées. No matter where I am, Oregon Pinot will always be nearby, even if we have to ship it from Oregon. You can take the boy out of Oregon, but you can’t take the Oregon Pinot out of the boy.

To finish we had Dark Chocolate Mouse. It was pretty good, certainly not even close to anything we have ever had in Paris, but still good and a nice end to our first dinner for the trip.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel, the humidity had decreased and it was a pleasant 8-minute walk back. Back in the room we had a bit of wine, I played laser keep away with Tarragon and just enjoyed the room. It had been a long day since we were up at 5:30, so we were in bed by 10:30.

Tomorrow, day one of apartment hunting.


4th September 2020

This is exciting news. I have only been to Providence once but got the same impression. Very like Portland. I hope you are both well. Kimberly

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