Archive for March, 2010
When Newporter Michele Ritter picked up the New York Times Style Section some years ago and spotted the most memorable beach bags sporting the Hamptons catchy zip code on them, she was inspired. “I thought to myself, ‘How cool would be to design something even more attractive with our Newport zip?’” she recalls, acknowledging the time-honored rivalry held between the two summer colonies. After researching various fabrics, all of which had to be 100% eco-friendly, budget friendly, silk screen printable, and, of course, made in the U.S.A., Michele designed a line of “CodeTotes” showcasing our 02840 moniker.
“I wanted to present my idea to someone locally in retail with a good eye and honest appraisal,” says Michele, who headed to Judy Carroll’s Papers, where she has been a customer for more than 30 years. The boutique became the first on famed Bellevue Avenue to carry the totes, soon to be followed by Michael Hayes on Bannister’s Wharf, Beach House, The Newport Historical Society Museum Shop, Bliss Market, Max’s Market, Island Pursuit and Brick Market’s Jason & Co. in addition to (the now-defunct) Sig’s Market and House Interiors. Today, CodeTotes are found in Nantucket, Block Island, Barrington, Bristol, Kennebunkport, and more, touted at everything from local farmer’s markets to weddings, spas and wineries.
To toss a CodeTote over your shoulder or see more styles, visit www.02840.org or visit any of the above Newport shops.
“Live to cook; cook to live,” reads the apropos tattoos of Chef Jake Rojas- an ethos embraced by fine chefs, hobby cooks and foodies alike. Newport Restaurant Week continues, and, in the interest of journalistic integrity, I have indulged in some wonderful lunches and dinners throughout Newport and Bristol Counties (and am wondering if my Newport Athletic Club membership qualifies as tax write-off). It’s hard to decide if the best part of Restaurant Week is dining at area eateries for the first time or rediscovering old favorites. With three-course prix fixe lunches for $16, and dinners for $30 (beverages, gratuities and taxes not included), you’re guaranteed a well-rounded meal at an affordable price. Even better, patrons are not required to participate in Restaurant Week, so in some cases, myself or one of my dining companions were inspired by items off the regular
menu. At The Pier, I couldn’t resist the baby spinach salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, pureéd roasted red peppers and feta cheese tossed with champagne vinaigrette on the regular lunch menu, while my friends opted for the The Pier burger and grilled salmon, respectively, from the Restaurant Week menu.
Another afternoon, we toasted Bristol’s inaugural inclusion in Newport Restaurant Week and dined at Redlefsen’s, a longtime Bristol favorite and on my “must-try” list for years. The menu, featuring German and Alsatian-inspired specialties plus global fare, was a departure from coastal New England fare de rigueur in these parts. My friend embraced the Weiner Schnitzel (when in Rome, right?) and adored the dish– and the remaining half of the meal the next day. My Pasta alla Puttanesca, with angel hair, garlic, Serrano chili, olives, pignoli, anchovies and golden raisins, was as pungent as it was colorful, and a savory lunch altogether. Our desserts, a triple chocolate mousse cake and a Daisy Crepe (a fresh crepe with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with rich chocolate sauce) were worth every evil calorie.
A Newport’s newest eatery, Tallulah on Thames, it was clear that owners Kelly Ann Maurice and Keith Maurice as well as Chef Jake Rojas possess
extensive restaurant experience. From the shabby-chic-meets-upscale-bistro ambiance to the refreshing presentation to the perfectly timed service, Tallulah’s was more than a wonderful dinner, it was an extraordinary experience. Tallulah’s Restaurant Week menu, as well as their regular menu, embraces a farm-to-table approach, with the source of their local ingredients listed whenever possible. I started with the Deconstructed Clam Chowdah featuring a trio of steamed little necks on a bed of diced potato, bacon and oyster crackers. The served then poured the creamy broth into the bowl table-side, the presentation rivaled only by its rich flavor. My friend Annie savored the Aquidneck Farms 143.6° poached egg with Allen Farms pea greens and bacon set in a buttery brioche and lighted drizzled with a black truffle vinaigrette. For my main course, I opted for the Narragansett Creamery “Ricotta” ravioli served atop a bed of Swiss chard in buerre noisette and peppered with roasted beets. It was simply delightful—light as it was flavorful, and cooked to perfection. Midge raved about her Baffoni Farm’s breast of chicken with Schartner Farms carrot ginger puree, chestnuts, fuji apples and red cabbage marmalade, while Annie enjoyed the local black cod with brandade, crispy brioche, nicoise olive and a garlic cream. Salivating yet? If that didn’t tease you, our chocolate fondant dessert, with Nutella dust, a dollop of vanilla gelato and a dash of toasted hazelnuts (which I couldn’t help but gush about right after the meal on our Facebook page) was, in a word, amazing.
I have a few more culinary destinations on the horizon, and hopefully you do to. Enjoy Restaurant Week and Bon Appétit!
With “the season” right around the corner, it’s that time of year to stock up on those coveted colored beads a la Angela Moore! Find 50% off hand painted jewelry collections, dresses, flip flops, totes, one-of-a-kind samples, ties for the guys and more at the designer’s semi-annual sample sale. Sale runs Wednesday, March 24th to Friday, March 26th, from 10am-5pm at Moore’s corporate headquarters office in Middletown:
Newport Corporate Park (just off West Main Road)
2 Corporate Place
Middletown, Rhode Island
Call (401) 849-1900 ext. 1 with any questions.
Spring has sprung in the City-by-the-Sea, and just as the daffodils and crocuses are making their seasonal debut, and so are new shops in and around Newport and Bristol Counties. As this weekend’s warm and wonderful temperatures spread an epidemic of spring fever seemingly everywhere, nowhere did the season seem more fêted than at the grand opening of the Mill Street Garden Shop. Flowering plants, including Phalaenopsis, Hawaiian and Lady Slipper orchids, pepper the shop with doses of vibrant color, while more utilitarian items, like seeds, sphagnum moss and Vermont Compost, ensure well-prepped soil and flourishing plantings. Beautiful handmade pots by artist Ben Wolff of Goshen, Connecticut (as seen on garden-Goddess Martha Stewart’s show) are affordable priced and make a stunning display in the center of the sun-drenched shop (formerly the site of Janet Russo and later, the Luniverre Gallery, which has moved to 146 Bellevue Avenue, where Karen Vaughan used to be).
Stop by the cheerful garden grove at 154 Mill Street in Newport Tuesday through Sunday.
Mill Street Garden Shop, (401) 849-7777
We’re breaking news this morning: Much loved classic American clothier J. McLaughlin is coming to Newport just in time for the summer season.
The New York-based company, known for timeless clothing and accessories for men and women, will be setting up shop at 180 Bellevue Avenue on the Casino Block. The nearly 900 sq. ft. space was most recently occupied by designer Nina McLemore, who hosted a “pop-up” store for about 6 months. Before McLemore, the space was home to the longstanding and sorely-missed Runcible Spoon.
Ladies can expect to find outerwear, colorful tops, skirts, capris, tunics and dresses, many with innovative patterns and preppy flair, while men can look forward to linen shirts, madras shorts, sweaters, cords and, just in time for summer, swim trunks and board shorts. Look for the doors of this welcome addition to Newport’s retail landscape to open in May.
Last night’s episode of WEtv’s Platinum Weddings featured the Newport nuptials of Floridians Michelle Cassidy and John Bannon, a 4-day affair highlighting some of the most fashionable places and quintessential experiences in the City-by-the-Sea. Planned to perfection by Raina Dawn Dieterle, owner of Raina Dawn Events, the wedding took place at OceanCliff, preceded by a traditional clam bake at Eisenhower House. Showing off Newport’s beauty, the couple welcomed their guests to the City with a harbor cruise aboard the Schooner Aurora. A day before tying the knot, Michelle escaped to Castle Hill for a Bridesmaids’ Luncheon for an afternoon of champagne, laughter and tons of girl talk.
We applaud Michelle’s choice of a stunning Marisa gown, a strapless, ivory A-line made from multiple layers of torn silk which she modified for the reception by adding an exquisite detachable one-shoulder detail. By the end of the evening, the bride had changed into a second wedding gown with a ruched bodice and jeweled straps. To see the episode in its entirety, CLICK HERE.
Photo by SNAP!
It was an absoulte delight to be a part of The Rhode Show this morning to chat about spring looks for less found right here in Newport. I’m fielding a lot of questions about the looks, so here’s a breakdown:
Look #1 on model Carolyn Van Petten (pictured above) from Karma: Chanel-inspired vintage yellow dress with matching jacket from B. Altman—legendary store Fifth Avenue in NYC—with hand beaded collar. Impeccable craftsmanship, would retail for hundreds, this one from Karma is $175 (seen with vintage-inspired pearl bracelet for $25).
Look #2 on model Lauren O’Hanley from Wish: Halter dress by TIBI that retails for more than $250 for $100. Paired with Michael Kors “Santorini” Straw Tote, retails for $348.00, at Wish for $125 (hello, bargain!)
Look #3 on model Kerry Tanner from Closet Revival: Beaded top from Ann Taylor, retails for more than $70, at Closet Revival for $45; and jeans by 7 For All Mankind, retails for around $200, at Closet Revival for $45. Black leather heels by Nina, retails for $89, at Closet Revival for $25. And those awesome bracelets were by Jessica Kagan Cushman, retails for $115-$130/each, at Closet Revival for $48/piece. Kerry’s Hype bag, retails for $150-$200, at Closet Revival for $95.
Look #4 on model Jillian Bekke from Karma by Carmen Marc Valvo, would retail for more than $500, at Karma for $200!
Though the name Newport can conjure up visions of hefty price tags (we were, after all, the playground of America’s wealthiest families throughout the Gilded Age), it’s clear that area retailers can get you a gorgeous look for less! To view the segment in its entirety, CLICK HERE.
**Special thanks to the models and shops that participated!
Karma, 13 Touro Street, Newport, (401) 846-0940
Wish, 664 Thames Street, Newport, (401) 848-0202, http://www.wishnewport.com
Closet Revival, 30 Broadway, Newport, (401) 845-0592