Sunday, June 28, 2015

AOA in Providence

This past week I traveled to Providence, RI for the American Orthopedic Association conference.  Aside from the conference itself, I was most looking forward to a reprieve from the 100 degree temperatures in Charlotte.  Beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the low 80s was a welcome sight.

I arrived Monday evening and had two immediate goals  - find a takeout dinner and watch the US women's soccer team play Columbia in the round of 16.  I walked several blocks from the Omni Hotel to get dinner at The Grange, a local vegetarian restaurant.  I could have easily ordered one of everything from the menu, but ultimately settled on two small plates - 

Roasted Cauliflower: sweet chili sauce, green onion, cilantro ginger aioli, and peanuts
Po' Boy: Fried oyster mushrooms, cabbage slaw, pickles, remoulade, pretzel baguette

Both were excellent, but the cauliflower may have been the best vegetable side I've ever eaten.

Watching the soccer game because a bit of a challenge once I learned that the hotel didn't have Fox Sports, but after some stress, I was able to get the game to stream on my computer.  

I was up early on Tuesday to hit the gym for a bike + run workout.  Imagine my confusion when this was the sight out the gym window at 5:15am.  I thought for sure I must have mixed up my alarm based on the bright sunshine.  I wish the sun rose that early in Charlotte!

One of my goals when I travel is to find several great independent coffee shops.  Ellie's Bakery was the source of a spicy mocha and strawberry rhubarb hand pie for breakfast en route to the conference.  Although I normally would never chose a mocha over a latte, this was their house specialty and received rave reviews on Yelp, so I stepped out of my box.  It had a great spicy kick, but was a bit too potent for my preferences.

After a long day listening to various lectures at the conference, it was time for dinner.  Myself and my future Atlanta co-fellow had an incredible dinner at Gracie's.  If you're ever in Providence and are looking for a nice meal, run right on over the Gracie's.  There are several dining options, including a 10-course tasting menu, but I chose the 3-course prix fixe.  Each course was prepared with exquisite attention to detail both in artistry and taste.

Sherry Roasted Beet Salad
labneh, beet harissa, dukkah, local honey, mizuna
Tasting of Spring Vegetables
Trio of carrots, beans and greens in a savory miso broth, and triple baked potatoes with pickled vegetables and house-made aioli
(In reality, the description by the waitress my much more elegant, but I can't recall the details)

Strawberry Shortcake
Deconstructed, strawberry gelato, praline shortbread, whipped cream
A morning break during conference day number two took me to Bolt Coffee Company for a Cafe Miel (latte with local honey) and an almond pastry.  They only offer whole milk or hemp milk in their lattes, so this was the first time I've had a whole milk latte.  I'm a convert to 2% milk in my lattes, but I can't say I noticed a significant difference with whole milk that would make it worth the extra fat.  It was a bit strong for my taste since it was only a 10 ounce cup with two shots of espresso.

After a day and a half of lectures inside a cold conference room, I took advantage of the lunch break and walked a few miles along the river to explore a bit more of the city.  Despite the abundance of businesses and infrastructure, the city was much quieter than I anticipated.

For lunch, I returned to Ellie's Bakery to try more of their menu.  The English Pea Hummus sandwich featured house made sprouted wheat bread, roasted onion, pea greens, carrot, and fennel salad.  And because I lacked the will power to walk out of a bakery without something sweet, a slice of the seasonal Pistachio Rhubarb Roulade ended up in my to go bag.  They sandwich was spot on, but the cake was a tad dry and lacking in flavor.

Dinner on Wednesday night was at Hemenway's Restaurant and included hanging out with Ben, one of my former co-residents, and another girl that I met on the fellowship interview trail.  Ben requested to make an appearance on the blog, so this photo is for him.  On his plate would be a lobster (3 pounds!) stuffed with the claw meat and an assortment of scallops, shrimp, and crab.  We couldn't help but laugh when the bill came and he was shocked by the $30/pound price tag for the lobster.  I bet he won't make that mistake again!  My meal included a shared appetizer of Rhode Island Style Calamari (Pt. Judith squid, hot cherry peppers, garlic butter) and then the Chilled Seafood Medley Salad (Shrimp, crab, lobster, jeffery's greens, feta cheese, shaved red onion, toasted pistachios, orange supreme, preserved lemon vinaigrette).

The final coffee shop of the trip was Dave's Coffee on Main Street.  Their house specialty drink - Honey Latte - is made with soy milk and local honey and was my favorite cup of java in Providence. And, of course, nothing pairs better with a latte than a giant freshly made blueberry muffin.  I ate the crispy muffin top and saved the rest for a snack on the plane ride home.

In between some stellar meals, the AOA Resident Leadership course proved to my enlightening and a great networking opportunity.  Let the 5th and final year of residency begin!

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