From Wayland Square to George M. Cohan Square, Maybe Worlds Apart
I was recently invited to The Olive Tap in posh Wayland Square by our publisher, Mike Ryan, to snort the olive oil blends and do a bit of tasting of some absolutely delish-a-mondo foods (seconds please). The chef, Bre Goldsmith (foodplusfashion.com), explained, “Today, everything is fusion!” As far as I’m concerned, she is spot on with some stunning, simple and fantasmic foods prepared for this tasting. The theme of the evening was the collision of sweet and savory, exemplified in each dish, even the dessert, which featured chocolate chip cookies made with, among other things, soy sauce and sea salt. Also served to delighted taste buds: Spanish risotto with chorizo, sweet figs, almonds and picual oil and a salad with fennel and sugar-cured lamb loin. Each preparation, of course, also involved olive oil of one of the varieties carried in the store. Some basic and hearty dry red wines (not as dry as the owner’s humor – the extremely olive-oil-knowledgeable Greg Holtkamp) went well with the risotto prepared with a dashing Spanish flair and delicately herbed and mixed, served before her specialty deserts. A generous joy in conversation, Chef Bre’s food made the evening.
Also on hand was artist Jade Sisti, who currently has her delightful graphic imagery, with strong homage to Italian comic styles, on display in the store’s gallery area throughout the summer months. “It has a lot of similarity to Japanese anime, but the Italian style is subtler, with a little more attention to detail, and they tend to use color differently,” says Sisti. She was more fun than one can imagine … sparkling and perky, and also an art educator at East Providence High School, where I’m sure she is doing great things.
The Olive Tap carries a wide variety of olive oil for every occasion, from the gourmet to the sweet tooth to old school. They offer wine and specially prepared food at in-store tastings Friday evening from 6pm to 8:30pm ($10).
Meanwhile only a few blocks away in another dimension …
Time was that one of our favorite coffee hangs was Reflections Café on George M. Cohan Memorial Square at the top of Wickenden Street in Providence’s hippest annex (we still like calling it Fox Point). But they went away, taking with them their stainless steel bathroom. Well, that area is jumping once again, and if you do not know the history behind the name George M. Cohan, well, shame on you.
There’s a heavily traveled, and very popular, Art Freek tattoo shop on 458 Wickendon St, under the leadership of the multi-talented tattoo artist Don Lussier, who is loaded with great vision and conversation and works well in many different media. He has been at this location for more than eight years and in Providence for more than 20 years. His pristine reputation in the body arts is matched only by his gentlemanly demeanor and friendly smile. The shop is also manned by Mike Lussier, Steve Williamson, Brian Mullen and Pete Fortune. If you’re in the area, stop in and view their portfolios of great work.
Right next door there’s The Shop on 460 Wickenden St, which offers superb coffee and goodies. They’ve been there for just over a year and going strong with an excellent clientele base. They are about to launch the first ever iced coffee delivery service via bicycle. Now that’s a great idea, masterminded by the two daring and darling owners, a wife and husband team, Diana and John Paul Murton. I just can’t wait to get a glimpse of their bicycle delivery service; it’s high time that someone pedal the java.
Right next door to The Shop is a wonderful new boutique, Serrecchia Boutique at 464 Wickenden St, owned and operated by the very smart, very colorful, Miss Ali Serrecchia, who has brought this very stylish place onto Cohan Square along with her all aglow persona and positive energy. I ogled the finely stylish original line of women’s tops and bottoms, SharifWear, for “divas that dance” (Belly Dancing) and I indulged in some perfume sniffing, one of my favorite gifts to buy my favorite necks and wrists. She also has a wonderful assortment of cosmetics. Her shop is a sophisticated and upscale addition to the neighborhood and I’m certain welcomed into the location. Her radiant smile alone should draw you into this well-transformed atmosphere and you’ll feel like you are in Istanbul or Venice or Egypt… or somewhere else exotic that your heart simply longs for.
Serrecchia Boutique is in its infancy, but adds so much diversity and fashion to the strip. You really owe yourself an introductory visit, and I promise you’ll be greeted and treated like royalty.
There are many other such establishments that I rave about in this part of town. I’m proud of the small business folk who survive and I just love seeing them grab hold of their dreams and give it all they’ve got to bring something of quality and vision into being. Come join the fun … and tell them Angelo sent you.