February 9, 2018
Maybe I’m just unromantic (or boring), but I’ve never been too excited for Valentine’s Day – too much sugar, too much pink, and too much pressure! However, in spite of my cold, anti-Valentine’s heart, it is the perfect time of the year to make plans somewhere warm and cozy with people you love. It’s not quite spring, but the holidays are all over – time to get out of the house and out on the town – be that with your significant other, your best friends (or that person you’re “kind of seeing”). Plus, flowers are always nice, and so is chocolate, and wine…okay, maybe I’m coming around to the idea.
And, if you’re going to celebrate love, why not give a little love to local businesses who are doing good in our home state? By taking the Best For RI challenge these Rhody businesses have committed to increasing their sustainability and community impact (what’s not to love about that?).
To get your date-planning off to a good start, have some Jahmu, a spicy antioxidant drink mix made from turmeric, ginger, cayenne and other flavorings with roots in India and Indonesia (these spices are staples in Ayurvedic medicine). With instant teas, chais and caffeine-free options, Jahmu is a healthy boost to your immune system with the comfort of a hot cup of tea.
Now that you are caffeinated and boosted with antioxidants, you are ready to plan!
According to most Valentine’s Day experts, you need to face the day armed with chocolates (which begs the question, don’t we need to face all the days armed with chocolate?). Try Chocolate Delicacy in Warwick! While they offer the classic heart-shaped boxes with amazing, locally made chocolate goodness, these creations are anything but typical, made with such creative design you’ll be reminded of Juliette Binoche’s chocolaterie in Chocolat. For baked goodies to take home for dessert, try sustainably produced and locally sourced desserts from Rustic Roots Baking, operating out of Millrace Kitchen in Woonsocket and found at farmers markets around the state.
To start your evening off, head to the mills on Valley Street for the new bookstore + bar, Riffraff! Their shelves are filled with a diverse offering of books from underrepresented authors. It is the perfect place for those of us who love books, but also love wine. And, it’s an ideal Valentine’s Day location – go out for drinks, and purchase a gift while you’re at it. Riffraff offers beer, cider, wine and a cocktail menu, which you can sip in the bar area or while you pick out your new reading material. If you’re looking for a quiet mid-day meet-up, they open at 11am and also serve coffee and tea.
If you want to keep things simple but delicious for dinner, head over to West Fountain St. by Federal Hill for a casual night at Southern restaurant, Bucktown. While they offer up tasty sandwiches, oysters and shrimp, and small plates, they are really known for their fried chicken. It’s amazing. They also have a great regional beer selection – the last time I went, I had a Geyser gose from Two Roads/Evil Twin, which is hands down the most interesting beer I’ve tried (in a good way).
For a full, sit-down dinner, head to Bywater. Located 15 minutes outside of Providence in the coastal town of Warren, Bywater is cozy and intimate and has great tunes. You’ll enjoy a fine-dining meal, but with a relaxing, easy vibe. They serve up a long list of small plates (pickles, frites, smoked trout pate and duck tacos, to name a few), as well as entrees like boeuf bourguignon, chicken and biscuits, and porchetta. Pro tip: If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, ask for the “daily shrub” and they will make you something new and delicious (it changes almost daily). Or, there is always wine (red bubbles on tap, anyone?), because Valentine’s Day.
New Harvest Coffee & Spirits in the Arcade building on Weybosset is the perfect way to either end your evening out with a coffee or with a whiskey – in other words, they serve the two greatest beverages (in my humble opinion) in one locale. You can get a regular coffee or a fancy espresso drink, or choose from a wide variety of scotch, bourbon and whisky – and perhaps a Knead Donut or another treat for desert.
There you have it! Maybe I’m starting to warm up to this Valentine’s Day thing after all…
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Impact Accelerator and Loan Program Manager
After 5+ years in the international non-profit and enterprise sectors, Annie believes in social entrepreneurship, innovation and access to resources as key gateways towards socioeconomic equality. She lived in Port au Prince, Haiti for three years as the Operations Director for a start-up ethical fashion brand, helping it develop into a thriving social business. In Haiti as well as in Providence, she has worked with organizations involved in international disaster response, community development, advocacy and micro-finance. Annie earned a BA in Anthropology, minor in Political Science, and a certification in International Non-Governmental Organizations Studies from Rhode Island College. Having recently returned to Rhode Island from Haiti, Annie is excited to be applying her belief in social enterprise towards local development here at SEG.
Outside of work, Annie is a bookworm, yogi and beach-goer, and also teaches gymnastics classes.