The weekend began Friday morning, when I set out on my bike, bought a scone and cup of coffee at The Coffee Exchange, and boarded the ferry to Newport, which is running once again this summer. After a soothing ride down Narragaanset Bay, we landed at Fort Adams. I bike to two nursing homes, did some consultations, and met Carol for lunch at Pronto. Friday afternoon, I barbecued a variant of Sandy's barbecued chicken (rum, instead of tequila), a couple of pieces of which we ate in bed, while we watched Errol Morris's "Cheap, Fast, and Out of Control," a documentary about three men who are, as they say in Hebrew, "meshuga l'davar ehad," having a mania for one thing. One built robots, the second was the world's authority on the mole rat, and the third was the topiarist at Green Animals in Portsmouth, RI.
Saturday, the Spinats (Gilda and Sam) and the Kaplans (Lee and Elvin) arrived for lunch--a fabulous gazpacho and poached salmon pasta salad by Carol (thank you Sandy), and a sinful glazed kiwi and strawberry cheesecake from The Pastry Gourmet. Then on to Newport for the beginning of the Newport Music Festival. The 5 PM concert was held at the Elms--a Beethoveniad, featuring the St. Laurence String Quartet, who played with verve and gusto, wild fury balanced by delicacy and a perfect blend, as they always do. They did the Grosse Fugue and a String Quartet. Bernadine Blaha, the pianist, played elegantly, as always. I don't know what's best about the Newport Festival--the brilliant programming, coming back year after year to hear the same artists, who become like family members, get better and better, the venues in the opulent salons of the Newport Mansions, where you can come in shorts and T-shirt, summer dress, or tuxedo. Saturday night we had a superb dinner at Pronto, at our favorite table, in perfect weather, the sea breeze coming in off the harbor. Entrees included lobster in cream sauce with spinach, and corn, portabello mushroom with polenta, rare tuna tempura, sauteed filet of snapper. Then back to Providence to watch Waterfires in the River, which is getting pretty crowded and noisy, and back to our house, where we opened the Matanzas Creek Port that Marjorie and Jonathan had sent for my birthday, along with some Stilton and fresh apricots and fresh raspberries from the Kaplans' house.
Sunday morning, fresh eggs from the Kaplans' chickens, poached or scrambled by Elvin with lox and carmelized onions and bagels and lox. Then on to Newport for a Concert, again at the Elms, entitled "All in the Family," pieces by Richard Strauss and his father, the Schwarenkas, vater und sonn, Clara and Robert Schumann, Lili and Nadia Boulanger, etc. Wonderful French horn playing from Eric Ruske, wonderful baritone who looks like a matinee idol and sings like Fischer Dieskäu: Peter Edelmann. Impeccable pianism from Alain Jacquon. Gilda and Sam returned home, and Lee and Elvin and we made a tour of Ocean Drive and ate the barbecued chicken on the lawn of Ochre Court, looking out to sea, with a fine Kalin Chardonnay. A nap on the grass, a stroll for the Kaplans on Cliff Walk, and on to St. Paul's Lutheran Church for a concert by Cantus, a 12-member male chorus from St. Olaf's College in Minnesota. The oldest was 23, but they sang with a precision and grace that was breathtaking. Each conducted the other with constant eye contact among the members. Attacks and cutoffs were simultaneous. Phrasing was elegant. They were young and good looking, and Lee tried to pick up a couple of them after the concert, without success. Supper at Galaxie. The Cambodian food made the Kaplans want to give up fresh eggs and potbellied stoves for life in the city.
With friends and family and music and weather
and scenery and food like this, what else could one want?