The Not So Great Gatsby: Spring has Sprung

Dear Nick,

Spring certainly took its slow sweet time strolling into the city, but when the sun slinks away to escape each evening, shivers streak through any bare skin. As the days get longer and warmer, my social calendar becomes chock full with cool events for the hot summer. Even the events that ramp up to summer have proven to be a lot of fun.

The Eat Drink RI Festival was a fun weekend event between the Biltmore and Gracie’s, although the events could have had more food to even out the free-flowing booze. I left the four-hour Grand Tasting on Saturday and had to hit a restaurant on the way home. I am sure as the festival grows in age and breadth those kinks will be worked out. David Dadekian deserves high praise for his dedication to the local food and drink scene and figuring out a great way to showcase many of the best of the best.

The 3rd annual Jonathan Edwards Chef Throw Down on Cinco de Mayo also didn’t disappoint. Susan Denice and the folks at the Connecticut winery throw a great party, and the big tent at the scenic vineyard was a great way to spend a Sunday evening. The event pits five RI chefs against five Connecticut chefs in a battle for culinary supremacy. Each chef partners with a local farmer to create a dish, and the attendees cast a ballot for the best dish and overall state. With defending champion, Julians, bowing out at the last minute, Gracie’s stepped up and won best overall dish, while the nutmeg state was given the best overall. I may be a bit biased, but I think there may have been some home cooking going on in the ballot box. Next year, we’ll have to get a caravan from Rhody to make sure we sweep the voting.

I am not sure of your weekend plans, Nick, but on May 11 the Home & Hospice Care of RI fundraiser is at Cafe Nuevo. Home & Hospice Care (HHCRI) of Rhode Island is the second-oldest hospice in these United States and they provide quality, compassionate healthcare to people facing the advanced stages of serious illnesses. HHCRI supports patients – regardless of their ability to pay – in their homes, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted-living facilities and at the Philip Hulitar Inpatient Center in Providence, RI. HHCRI’s hospice services are available by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The theme this year is “An Evening in Venice” and my mask just arrived from Italy. It is always one of the most fun evenings each spring, and this year should be more of the same. The cause is a good one, so lace up your dancing shoes and come meet me at the bar.

As the summer swims by, I will try to keep my correspondence light and breezy as the ocean air, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what happened on April 15 in Boston. As you know, I spend quite a bit of time in that city, and what transpired shook me to my core. I was supposed to be standing across the street to watch the race, but bowed out at the last minute. Others, tragically, were not so lucky. I don’t want to belabor what happened, nor do I want to speculate on what should be done with the cowards who perpetrated the violence. What I’d like to do instead is recognize a whole community of heroes who came together and helped those in need and hunted the criminals in record time.

The police officers, the bystanders who sprung to action, the runners who kept running in order to give blood, and everyone who used social media effectively to help those in need are worthy of recognition. Whenever tragedy strikes, the cry goes out to never forget. I would prefer to never give these cowardly jerks the honor of being remembered. They deserve to be lost to obscurity. The marathon will continue, and Boston and everyone involved have already begun to heal. I propose we never forget the heroes who gave selflessly to help strangers simply because it was the right thing to do. Long after I forget the faces of the two brothers who do not even deserve to be named, I will remember the good that quickly thwarted their efforts. In an effort to never forget those good people, I am going to do something selfless for a stranger once a week. Nothing big, but the ripple effect could be infectious. I hope you will join me in my random acts of kindness. The capacity to do good is incredible and it’s in all of us. I am now inspired to exercise it with more frequency. I hope you will too.


Very truly yours,