Now moving on to the fun stuff!
I recently took a trip to Providence, RI and NYC for a whirlwind week of pre-wedding festivities/shopping/errands. I think I mentioned that one of my best friends is getting married later this year. The first half of the trip was to Providence to throw a bridal shower for Gillian. I flew to Providence on a Thursday. I left the 75 degree weather in Tampa and landed in freezing rain. Gah! I think it was only in the 40's, which I can handle (and even enjoy) but with the rain, it was awful cold. Thursday was pretty uneventful. Everyone else was scheduled to arrive on Friday, so G and I spent the day lounging about her (really cool warehouse-like loft) apartment and catching up. Once David got home from work, we all three braved the cold to get some Greek food for dinner. I can't remember the name of the place (I'm such a horrible travel-memorizer) but it was just a little college hangout Greek place near Brown University. I had a gyro and we all shared falafel. As much as I eat Greek food, this was my first falafel experience, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The gyro was pretty darn tasty too!
We had dinner at Gillian and David's apartment on Friday. We had a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (a homemade one was put off by re-routed flights and a surprise trip to pick up Natalie, maid of honor, from Boston), along with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. I'm happy to say I now have a new recipe for brussels sprouts (thanks G!). More lounging about on Friday night after picking Natalie up from her late flight into Boston.
Saturday started with a trip to the farmer's market. I bought some raspberry chocolate jelly for myself and a couple gifts as well. I sampled all sorts of stuff to my heart's content. We ate an early lunch in the food-court area of the market (which is indoors in the winter...go figure). I had a bowl of Portuguese Fish Chowder from a restaurant whose name I also can't remember. Doh. But holy cow, it was amazing. I could've eaten 5 more bowls of it. Then we all shared a butter and sugar crepe which was TO. DIE. FOR.
Saturday night, we all braved the cold (windchill was something like 8 degrees!) and walked to dinner at Siena. We shared appetizers of fried calamari and some sort of fried lobster risotto ball thingies. I loved that their calamari was all rings and no tentacles. The tentacles kinda scare me. And the risotto balls...holy yum. I can't remember the name of them, and they're not on the menu because they were on special. Sorry. I should really take notes (and more pictures) when I go on vacation. Note taken for next time. For my entree, I had the Tortellaci con Zucca. Yeah, no idea what that means. It's ravioli filled with butternut squash, amaretti crumbs, caramelized onions, provolone, and parmesan cheese. And then....and then....AND THEN...they pour BROWN BUTTER over the top and add crispy fried sage leaves to the top it all off. Needless to say, I will be attempting to recreate this at home. It was so rich, but I ate every bite. Quite a few of the rest of our party had the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, which I can also say is extremely tasty. For dessert, we took home some doughboys to enjoy while watching Tom Brady and the Patriots cream my boyfriend Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Sigh. That was sad. But the doughboys cheered me up. They're basically huge fried cinnamon sugar donut puff-things. They come with vanilla ice cream and Nutella for dipping. Yeah, no further explanation needed.
Sunday was the bridal shower. Natalie (MOH), Bailey (G's sis), and I had been planning for a couple of months and were really hoping it would turn out nicely. We were pleased how it turned out. Our only complaint was that the room was FREEZING!!!! We reserved a room CAV Restaurant for a brunch shower. The restaurant has such fun, eclectic, shabby chic decorations. I loved the crystal chandeliers and was impressed with the food. I had the French Toast which was amazing. Thick and fluffy, with a crispy crust and super-sweet, just how I like it. The other options were salmon frittata (which I don't think anyone chose) and eggs with toast and bacon. They also provided a nice fruit platter and unlimited coffee, which we needed since the windchill decided to be NEGATIVE 5 that day and the room wasn't much warmer. Garsh, we Florida girls were chilly. For dessert, I made a batch of Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing (at G's request) and a batch of the famous Magnolia Bakery Vanilla-Vanilla Cupcakes. That's my go-to vanilla recipe, but more on that later. The shower seemed to turn out really nicely and gave G and all the lovely ladies in her family a chance to catch up and congratulate the bride-to-be.
Sunday afternoon, we took a drive up to Federal Hill to Pastiche BakeryCaserta's to pick up a couple of pizzas. We got a plain cheese, a spinach pie, and a "bakery pizza" (aka Rhode Island Pizza). The cheese was pretty good as far as cheese pizzas go. The spinach pie, however? Amazing. It was more in the shape of a calzone and was filled with spinach, cheese, and apparently black olives, but I couldn't taste them. Which is good. I hate black olives. Rhode Island pizza was something new to me. Gillian and David had described it to me as pizza with no cheese or toppings, served cold. So, cold bread with cold tomato sauce? Yep. Pretty much. Sounded sorta gross to me, but once I started eating it, I couldn't stop. We had picked one up Friday night too, so we snacked on this all weekend. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
Sunday night, we watched the Golden Globes and gossiped about everyone's dresses and how pretty/ugly/weird everyone looked. Then we hit the hay early for our whirlwind trip to NYC!!!
NYC is going in the next post, since I doubt anyone is even reading this anymore. We packed so much into 2.5 days that it's going to take a ridiculously long post to write about.