Check out the Hope Street farmers market!

Quick! Today may be your last chance of the semester to check out the outdoor Hope Street farmer’s market — a huge collection of local meat, seafood, produce and various other vendors such as Seven Stars Bakery. The market runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the grassy area between Rochambeau and Blackstone Boulevard, until it moves to its indoor location in Pawtucket for the cold winter months.

With or without parents here this weekend, the Hope Street market is a great place to visit and is easily accessible via the 42 RIPTA bus. It’s more than a larger version of the Wriston farmer’s market Wednesdays — the market is filled with Providence locals, cute children, and animals that remind us that people outside of the age of 18-23 exist (a phenomenon known as the “College Hill Bubble”).

In case you aren’t convinced that this market is our jam, we have a few thousand words to share…

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Ben Affleck in Argo

Now playing in Providence: Argo, Robot & Frank, and more

There’s a certain sweet spot as far as Hollywood’s historical films are concerned: that elusive topic that is simultaneously thrilling and relatively unknown. The unknown factor breeds curious hype, the thrills big box office returns. Argo, the most recent offer from actor-turned-startlingly-competent-director Ben Affleck, hits this spot perfectly by detailing a lesser-known chapter of the Iran hostage crisis.

Based on the true story of a CIA extraction operation popularly known as the “Canadian Caper,” Argo follows the efforts of CIA operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) in his attempt to rescue a group of American diplomats who successfully escaped the U.S consulate in Iran immediately before it was overrun by a mob of nationalist Iranian students. The students imprisoned the consulate staff in a Khomeini-sanctioned hostage situation that went on to last for over a year. Cooperating with the Canadian government and its ambassador to Iran (at whose house the six escaped staff members were hiding), the CIA devised an elaborate plan to send in an agent posing as a producer scouting locations for a Star Wars-themed science fiction knockoff with “a Middle Eastern vibe,” titled Argo.

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Parent Protection Plan

Scarier than Halloweekend.

Today, a cloud will descend upon Brown. Blonde uber-skinny moms and Neurotic Jews will populate our campus for a full weekend, after seven weeks parent-free. It’s Family Weekend 2012, Brunonians. For some of us overly-attached freaks students, this will be a time of free meals, clothes, movies, and ultimately joy.

And for the rest of us, this weekend will produce more anxiety than all of our midterms put together.

Family Weekend is placed right in the middle of midterms. As if we didn’t have to deal with our Orgo grades biting us in the ass, we also have to cope with Hurricane Parent spinning into town, asking endless anxiety-inducing questions about our lives and futures, nit-picking through our room, and ultimately making us feel like crap.

I tried to get them to stay away. “Well, you know, Mum, Dad,” I hedged on a nervous voicemail message. “I’d love to see you, but you know, I am a busy girl… two midterms the next week and a paper…”

The next day, I received a phone call. “Sweetie, we completely understand,” my mother said. “But we’re really coming to see Rhode Island, not you!”

Nice try Mom. The most interesting things in Rhode Island are me and that guy yelling about God on Thayer Street. And since you don’t know about him, I know why you’re here. To torture me.

But never fear, Blog Readers. I’ve come up with some clever methods of subverting my parents’ attempts to connect with me. It’s called Parental Protection, and remember to use it this weekend. Because with parents, honesty is never the best policy.

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The (Anti-)FrugaList: Family Weekend Edition

You work hard. You deserve the best. It’s the little things on the margin that make you (look, smell, and) feel like a million bucks, but on a student’s budget, it’s hard to treat yo’self on the reg. This weekend, let your parents pick up the tab on your typical expenses, but blow them up in bigger and better ways.

Alcohol. You have to make your obligatory weekly trip to your neighborhood liquor store anyway, so you might as well run the errand with your fam. Tell them how tired you are of drinking Karkov, and maybe they’ll get the hint. Over 21? Go to Spats and get a hundred-ounce beer with your folks. Bonding and booze!

Brown swag. You’re proud to go to Brown, and you want to show it. Sure, you already have four other Brown sweatshirts; one more can’t hurt, right? 

Groceries. Have (rental) car, will travel. Hop on down to Wayland Square and hit up Eastside Marketplace or Whole Foods to stock your fridge with some fresh nomz. Consider this a parent-subsidized break from the Ratty. Bonus: your parents yelling at you to put the Cheez-Its back will make you feel like you’re at home again. Mmmm, tastes like childhood.

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Navigating Family Weekend

If you haven’t noticed the masses of parents all over campus, you should know that today marks the beginning of Brown’s Annual Family Weekend. Whether your parents are flying across the country or just driving to College Hill, they’re very eager to see you. And, unlike when a friend visits on Spring Weekend, you need to actually plan what you’re going to do with your visitors for every second of these two days.

If your parents are driving here, don’t underestimate the speed at which they will arrive, like I did my freshman year. You don’t want to wake up to a “we’ll be outside your dorm in five minutes” text Saturday morning, unless of course one of your planned activities is having your family watch you swiffer your floor.

Instead of repeating my mistake, impress your family by having activities planned for the weekend. Check out some ways to maximize family time and keep your parents and siblings entertained during their visit to Brunonia after the jump.

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The Dorrance

Amuse-Bouche: Short-Order Reviews for Family Weekend

The Dorrance

Family Weekend is great for a lot of reasons—we get to have chauffeurs while we run errands, play tour guide, rant to someone new about the eyesore that is the SciLi (and, oh yeah, hug our darlingest parents). But perhaps what’s most exciting is the fact that we get a whole weekend of subsidized non-Ratty meals and adventures off the Hill. That can also be scary: When you’re eating Ratty brunch and spicy withs, it can be hard to know where to begin when it’s time to play host. (Shameless self-promotion: The Family Weekend issue of Post-, our sister publication under BDH, has a full spread of restaurant coverage.) Here, though, we’ll focus on some of the fancy-schmancy restaurants that this reviewer likes to frequent for dinner with her own magnanimous parents. Treat yo’self… Or, let your parents treat you. We love ya, Mom and Dad!

The Dorrance: Full disclosure: I’m sad that my parents aren’t coming to Family Weekend, not because I miss them (pish-posh) but because I wish I could drag them here. Bon Appétit is also a fan: It named The Dorrance one of the 50 best new restaurants in America. Chef Ben Sukle previously worked under Chef Jennings at La Laiterie and then did a casual stage at the #1 restaurant in the world. Now he’s set up shop in the first floor of the downtown Union Trust Building, whose 20-foot (rough estimate… it might be 50) floor-to-ceiling windows, ornate ceiling detail, and mezzanine (THEY HAVE A MEZZANINE, just like the SciLi!!!!!!) set the tone for the food. The food! It’s avant-garde and sometimes downright strange (see also, roasted tri-tip with chanterelle mushrooms and strawberries), but it works. So while the restaurant is prohibitively expensive and swanky for us denizens of the Hill, I have a hunch it’d be perfect for an outing with our doting parents.

New Rivers: This self-proclaimed American bistro takes its ingredients seriously: farmers regularly drop by the kitchen with their wares, and Chef Beau Vestal moonlights as a forager to scout out mushrooms. As a result, the food is constantly changing—like, from week to week, perhaps even day to day—to reflect whatever winds up in the kitchen. Still, there’s a reliable sensibility in the menu that means the food can be counted on to strike a balance between comforting/un-frilly and inspired/novel/very-very-special. Lately the menu is featuring a lot of marvelously autumnal hen of the woods mushrooms, so much squash (pumpkin! acorn! delicata! butternut!), and the last of summer’s tomatoes and corn. Go when you’re hungry; you’ll want to order everything. And they also serve lunch!

More restaurants after the jump… Continue Reading