Saturday I attended my first and only show of this years rather lackluster Savannah Music Festival, She & Him. She being Zooey Deschanel (actress/singer-songwriter) and him being M Ward (producer). Their sophomore CD was released earlier in the week and I intentionally made a point of not listening to it. I wanted to hear their new offerings in a live venue. Before the show a group of us had dinner and drinks at Il Pasticcio. This was to be my first and last meal there. The food was delicious (I had the lobster ravioli, but also tasted the calamari), rather it was the dreadful service and unappealing aesthetic that put me off the place. The show was grand though. It took place at the Trustees Theater and was completely sold out. Zooey was as lovely as you'd imagine, in the perfect for spring fuchsia frock. Unfortunately though her banter in between songs could use a little work, perhaps nerves got the best of her. But her voice sounded strong and along with providing vocals she also played the piano, tambourine, and on Skeeter Davis' "Gonna Get Along Without You Now," she strummed a ukulele. There were five others in Saturday night's band, including two backup singers who shook tambourines and traded off on one-handed synthesizer chords. The show unfortunately though wasn't nearly long enough, it ended after a mere 80 minutes. After the show we headed to Circa for a few rounds of drinks, before calling it a night.
An energy drink in the form of a latte? Whynatte? The name and drink were born in Santa Cruz, when after a late night out a couple of friends were in the kitchen fixing an espresso to which one friend added a shot of Jager. When asked if he wanted to try it, the other friend answered, "Whynatte" and the brand was born.
Despite the fact that the Whynatte Latte was created initially as nothing more than an inside joke between friends, in November 2008, Whynatte Enterprises launched the Whynatte Latte, an 8oz ready-to-drink premium latte with energy ingredients.
At the time of its genesis, the Whynatte was a cocktail that was made using a hot latte mixed with a cold shot of Jagermeister. The Whynatte cocktail started to gain popularity at bars in Atlanta, and developed a strong grassroots following. The guys behind the Whynatte cocktail grew the Whynatte brand, and started to develop a market for coffee used as a mixer in bars. Eventually, it got to the point where the friends were making gallons of lattes in their home, and delivering it to bars in Atlanta for use as a mixer. They eventually hit a critical mass, where they could no longer make enough latte to keep up with demand, and started to explore the possibility of creating their own coffee beverage. So they hired an expert and invented the Whynatte Latte, a cold energy drink that is also served in bars with your favorite shot of alcohol.
The Whynatte brand was launched in the city of Savannah in February 2010. It is the only city in which the drink can be found in at least 20 of the bars around town. I had my first taste of the energy drink, sans alcohol, while at the boutique Satchel. Elizabeth, the owner of Satchel, being friends with Whynattes creative director (a SCAD graduate), carries the beverage in her shop. The drink is delicious as is, although surely made much better in the form of a cocktail.
Although Saint Patrick's Day occurred a week ago, Savannah is still reeling from the festivities. There are still, in fact, a few revelers lingering in town, wearing their green and toting their go-cups of beer. I don't know if "ya'll" know this, but Savannah boasts the second largest St. Patrick's Day paradein the country. In first place is, of course, NYC. Needless to say St. Paddy's Day is a big deal down here. In Savannah people actually begin to adorn themselves in green an entire week before the parade actually takes place. There is also, in fact, an entire ceremony devoted to the "greening" of the fountain in Forsyth Park that takes place the week before. People come from near and far to observe and participate in the parade, 400,000 people to be precise.
I first heard of Rodin's Olio Lusso face serum when I popped into See Jane, an Apothecary + Beauty Bar here in Savannah. The owner was raving about their newly acquired line, Rodin. Rodin was created by Linda Rodin, a veteran of the fashion business. Rodin has been involved in fashion in one form or another for forty years, first as a model, then a stylist and editor. Despite being privy to the inside scoop on products and after years of searching for the perfect elixir and not finding it, she decided to create her own. Olio Lusso is a blend of 11 essential oils: calendula, arnica, jojoba, apricot, jasmine, sweet almond, rosehip, evening of primrose, argan, neroli and sunflower. The face serum is meant to smooth, soften, and make skin tone dewier and more even. The line is very streamlined, made up of only a face oil, a body oil, and a lip balm. Having used the face oil for only a mere three weeks, I've already noticed a difference in my skins appearance. I've found a mere 5 drops in winter and 3 drops in summer are all one needs. The serum leaves my face looking well moisturized with a hit of "dewiness" and smelling of jasmine.
Last week (March 2nd, to be precise), while in town for his "Main St." tour, President Obama took a break out of his day to have an impromptu lunch atMrs. Wilkes. Mrs. Wilkes happens to be located in the Downtown Design District of Savannah, where I both live and work. The few blocks of Whitaker St., between Jones St. and Taylor St. (considered the Design District), could very easily be thought of as a main street of sorts, at least for those in the know. Often overlooked by those visiting from out of town, it's a hidden gem packed full of antique shops, design boutiques, galleries, clothing boutiques, and one lone restaurant.
One need only spot the line spilling out of Mrs. Wilkes to know that you've discovered a beloved Savannah institution. Housed in the garden level of what once was a boarding house, meals are served family style at this restaurant. There's no menu, you simply dine on what’s been prepared that day, everyday being Omakase (chef’s choice). Tables seat ten at the most. Be prepared to dine with both neighbors and strangers. Break the ice with your table mates by deciding which direction to pass the bowls. The days offerings are a combination of such Southern staples as fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas, okra, biscuits and banana pudding. In the tradition of the boarding house, diners carry their dishes to the kitchen just as Mrs. Wilkes guests have done since 1943. Mrs. Wilkes great-grandson runs the business just as she did during her heyday. Once one has dined at Mrs. Wilkes you can cross another item off of your list of 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.
On the day of the Presidents arrival in Savannah none of us expected him to venture into the Historic District, let alone grace us with his presence in the Design District. Then around lunchtime who pulls up in front of our shop, but a Georgia state trooper. Out of the back seat jumps a secret service agent. Then a fleet of motorcycle cops pull up and the blocks of Whitaker St. between Jones St. and Taylor St. were suddenly blocked off. It was then that we suspected something important might be about to happen. We did ask the state trooper if Obama was coming round, and he nodded in the affirmative. Then, through the grapevine, we found out that he was on his way to dine, family style, at Mrs. Wilkes. Suddenly into the lane (what would be referred to as an alley in any other city, is referred to as a lane in Savannah) pull the President's motorcade and Obama gets out and enters Mrs. Wilkes. While the President dined on wings and black-eyed peas (despite the announcement that his cholesterol was borderline high at a physical earlier in the week), the streets around the barricades were flooded with shop keepers and people from the neighborhood waiting to catch a glimpse of the President once he vacated the restaurant. And get a glimpse of him we did.
Later, we would learn that Obama snubbed Paula Deen by not dining on the lunch she had catered for his speech at the Savannah Technical College. Then he proceeded to rub in said snub when she managed to track him down for a handshake at Meddin Studios. He informed her that he'd just had the most wonderful lunch, not at Savannah Tech, but rather at Mrs. Wilkes. Ouch. "Let me tell you it was so funny, because he busted himself," Paula said about her conversation with the President. "He said, 'I had the most wonderful lunch today.' And I thought, 'Oh My Gosh we catered lunch for him at Savannah Tech and he's fixing to tell me how wonderful it was.' And I was getting my chest all blown out and then he said, "Yeah we went to a place called Mrs. Wilkes. I said, 'What!'"
I recently finished a book I discovered while in Franklin, TN. The cover, of course, drew me in. The title intrigued me. And the story, well that I devoured. Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, by Lisa Patton, is the story of a woman, in her early 30's, from Memphis, who relocates her family to a small town in Vermont to run an Inn on the whim of her fickle husband.
"Memphis belle Leelee heads for Vermont, trading iced tea and kudzu for black ice, black flies, and a winter that lasts well into May. The result? An amusing, touching novel about a steel magnolia who faces an extreme culture clash" Karin Gillespie.
The book begins at a slow as molasses pace and I found myself initially unsympathetic to the hardships Leelee confronts during her first months in Vermont. As the book progresses Leelee faces a "sink or swim" situation where my image of her as a pushover is transformed to that of a steel magnolia. Leelee goes from pampered country club attending homemaker to an in the trenches inn keeper. Leelee’s transformation is hysterical and believable. Having worked at an Inn during my formative years, I found the behind the scenes inn keeping tidbits humorous. The novel possesses a diverse cast of characters ranging from Leelee's Southern belle childhood girlfriends left behind in Memphis to a crotchety older German couple who Leelee and her husband keep on to run the Inn. Patton’s first attempt at writing a novel is, in my opinion, a smashing success.