Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ultimate Providence

Plane to Georgia, plane to Rhode Island. Pick up my $15/day car from Avis, and on the road. The first stop is the Rhode Island Peoples Ultimate League tournament, which, ironically, takes place in Massachusettes. Rhode Island is the smallest state, so it's feasible that they don't have room for an Ultimate field.

Armed with Google Maps directions, I start heading that way, stopping first at Shaws for some lunch, and CVS for tiny bottles of all the things the TSA believes I'm clever enough to take down an airliner with. I'm flattered.

At the Ultimate pitch the Pink Team (tropical pink, that is) is in the midst of game 3 of 4 of the end of season tournament. I was basically familiar with the game, but really ignorant of the specifics and the lingo. It was fun to watch, and I'm sure really fun to play, I'm sure, other than the fact that it's nearly constant running.

Greg is the captain and a pretty serious player from way back. He was also a cross country runner in college, so he's got the right credentials for this sport. Unfortunately, despite finishing the season in 2nd place, they lost every game in the tournament, and did not play in the finals. I did manage to pick up an official RIPUL Ultimate Frisbee.... I mean, disc.

Back to the house for Greg to get cleaned up, then out to explore Providence. We first stopped at the statue of Roger Williams, a large Jesus-like figure high on a hill overlooking the city.
From there we headed to Brown University. I don't think I ever knew much about Brown, and after having visited there, I don't know much more, other than it is in Providence, and has a beautiful campus, and cool neighborhoods around it. Bender got the chance to get out and take a look around too.
(FYI, magnetic bendable guy feet do not stick to bronze)

By now, it was time to start heading to Wellesley, Massachusettes to the restaurant of Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger. This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants anywhere, and despite the fact that that it's 714 miles from my current home, and 1,120 from my former home in Georgia, this was to be the third time I've eaten there. Once with Jennifer in 2000 (when I was in Milford for training at Waters Corp.), once with Sergey Geodakyan (a coworker from AAI when we were in Milford for training at Waters Corp.) and today with Greg.

We had a reservation for 8:30, and when we got there a few minutes early, we were told by the cute hostess that "we're running 'on schedule' tonight," and were encouraged to have a drink at the bar, which we did. Greg had never been here, and had thought that he didn't know who Ming was, until he saw his picture in the entranceway, and then he realized he did recognize him from TV. Ming was not in the restaurant this time for a change.

We got our seats at a two-top along the left side wall, just beyond the divider. They brought out the basket of interesting breads; a garlic-y flatbread, a fairly standard sourdough, and a semi-sweet brioche-like bread, with fresh butter, of course.

We placed our order with the throuroughly professional waitron, and waited. In no time we had our appetizer. Greg and I shared the Avacado Stuffed Tempura Colossal Shrimp with Pineapple Corn Salsa. Colossal was an understatement. This thing was a mini-lobster! We hacked it into several pieces, and devoured it forthright.

For the entrees, Greg got the Crispy Skin Wild Striped Bass with Hot & Sour Miso Consomme - Smoky Shiso Risotto Cake and New-Style Clams* Casino.(Greg was quite excited!)

I got the Grilled Pork Tenderloin* with Vietnamese Red Curry - Crispy Sweet Rice Roulade and Green Mango Salsa.

Dessert time. And because portions in restaurants like this (and Magnolia Grill, for that matter) are normal-sized, not family sized like a typical American casual-dining chain restaurant, there's room for dessert.

Greg had the Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee and Cookies - Ginger-Fruit & Nut Cookie, Key Lime Butter Cookie, and Chocolate-Spice Shortbread. He couldn't finish the cookies, so I helped him out.

I had the Peach-Almond Cake with Fresh Blackberries - Ginger-Peach Ice Cream Float.

We paid the check, and headed out, picking up copies of the menus on the way out, because there is no possible way I could've remembered the descriptions of that food. Blue Ginger did not disappoint, once again.

Back to Providence and a full night's sleep. This would prove to be my last sleep for quite a while.. .


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