Friday, March 27, 2009

Providence, Part 2, The Adult Version: The RISD Museum of Art and Angkor

I had such a wonderful day in Providence with the kids, that for the one day they were in daycare during my vacation, I decided to return. I started at the RISD Art Museum and felt just like a kid in a candy store. The building itself is beautiful, full of arched glass ceilings that let in muted natural light. What I loved most, though, was the opportunity to look at artwork by masters in a small, intimate and quiet space. They have art from Winslow Homer to Mark Rothko, Cezanne to Picasso, gorgeous sculptures by Rodin, beautiful Roman and Greek and Egyptian art works, beautiful textiles and costumes. I was in awe that such a collection existed so close by.

Winter in New England can also be trying for parents. So, when I heard that the Roger Williams Park offered botanical gardens, I couldn’t wait to go. And it was small but lovely. The two main greenhouses that are currently open are free from November to March and offer the chance to relax in 80 degree heat among beautiful plants. There were a number of children there-sketching the plants, watching the koi and enjoying the chance to see bamboos and cacti that only exist miles away.

I have only eaten Cambodian food a few times at Elephant Walk in Brookline. Though I have enjoyed the flavors, it is a bit too expensive for our current budget. Angkor at 333 Wickenden in Providence, however, offered the best of both worlds: food layered with tastes at reasonable prices. I started with the Natang (pictured at the top of the post), a rich mixture of pork and coconut milk. It is served with a crispy rice cake. It was good, though I preferred it with a bit of chili sauce to kick up the flavor. Next, I had a "medicinal soup", or Nam Yaa. The menu listed it as "noodle soup with ginger, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, chicken and shrimp." It was absolutely delicious. The noodles were a thin ramen style, but the best part was the incredible broth: it was layered with flavors and was both sweet, sour and creamy at the same time. Click here for a menu.

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