Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’


The Last Word on the 2013 Color of the Year (& other news)

December 6, 2012

In my Autumn Living Well Newsletter on the 2013 Color of the Year & Color Trends, I reported on predictions of next year’s color of the year by pretty much everyone but Pantone. Although it was looking like “Monaco Blue” would be Pantone’s pick, they just announced that “Emerald” was their pick for 2013.


(“Emerald” in the center is Pantone’s pick for 2013’s Color of the Year)

Interesting that it is very close to Pratt & Lambert’s “Tidal Pool” which was their pick for the 2013 color to watch, a dead ringer for our Full Spectrum “Albania Teal”, that appeared in the October issue of House Beautiful. Here’s a photo of Albania Teal in artist Hunt Slonem‘s NYC studio featured in Russia’s Architectural Digest Magazine (I didn’t even know they had an Architectural Digest!). “Albania Teal” was named after one of his plantation’s in Louisiana. The great thing about this color is that it is both soothing and rejuvenating at the same time.Image

I have to say, I’m still selling a lot more whites and complex neutrals, than the saturated colors predicted. We mostly use the more neutral, easy to live with colors, in main areas and save the jewel tones for jewel box spaces like powder rooms, closets, inside of cabinets and bookcases.

Speaking of whites, one of my biggest “JV Cloud White” (JV for Designer Jon Vaccari & created for his New Orleans showroom) fans, Karina Gentinetta, has been making quite a name for herself on the national scene and will appear on More Magazine‘s television special about women who reinvent themselves (Karina was an attorney for 13 years before becoming an antiques dealer, artist and interior decorator). After seeing this video of her segment, I’m thinking she needs to have her own TV show! (Karina used “JV Cloud White” in her 1st Dibbs Showroom and Annunciation Restaurant in New Orleans which you’ll see in the video.)

(Click here to watch Karina’s More Magazine segment

I’m currently working on my Winter Living Well Newsletter featuring one of Interior Designer Marc Charbonnet‘s latest projects, where he had another designer friend of mine (Ken Tibbils of St. Francisville) make this table:


(I have featured Marc’s projects often over the years. and this latest project showcases his amazing design versatility. Wait until you see the rest of the photos!)


New Orleans’ New Restaurant “Annunciation” – Heavenly!

August 8, 2012

I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Annunciation, a fabulous new restaurant in New Orleans. I mentioned it in my May 19, 2012 blog post “JV Cloud White Gets Around” and was finally able to dine there last week when I was in town. Located at 1016 Annunciation in the Warehouse District, it’s owned by the former chef of Clancy’s and the former general manager of  Tommy’s Cuisine, so not only is the food and service amazing; the decor by Karina Gentinetta is heavenly!

Karina recently used our “JV Cloud White” in her 1st Dibs NYC showroom and liked it so much, she specified it for every painted surface in the restaurant. The building has loads of charm with old brick and plaster walls, exposed wood ceilings and beautiful arched doors and windows that she wanted to highlight, yet make the overall feeling elegant and classic. Known for being a magician when it comes to working within a tight budget, Karina kept things simple with bentwood chairs and schoolhouse pendent lighting from Home Depot. My dinner companion, Isabel Winsberg, raved the entire time about how wonderful the space felt. But that certainly wasn’t the best part! The food was incredible! As we often do, we shared everything so we could taste a number of things on the menu: Fried Oysters with melted Brie and sautéed Spinach, Eggplant Ste. Marguerite, Crabmeat salad with Creme Fraiche and Choupique Caviar, Crabmeat, Lobster and Shrimp Risotto, Cauliflower au Gratin and for dessert, Butterscotch Budino (an Italian pudding topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream sprinkled with sea salt). Every single item was amazing–a word I couldn’t quit using to describe each course. Oh, and you’d think this might have set us back a bit, but our bill (sans wine) was $83! I can hardly wait to go back and am still dreaming about that dessert!

Annunciation Restaurant on Urbanspoon (click image to the left for contact info, more reviews and menu)


“Best turnips I ever put in my mouth” says Beth Arnold

May 26, 2009

Beth Arnold ( who writes for numerous magazines and online sites, such as Huffington Post, &, posted about my last blog post featuring Hunt Slonem’s CBS Sunday Morning segment where she mentioned I made the best turnips she ever put in her mouth. Well, of course, who the heck likes turnips? But, I have to say, she is right about the turnip recipe I have! It comes from my favorite NYC restaurant, Union Square Cafe’.

Mashed Turnips with Crispy Shallots

Heat 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat until it begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low & add 5-6 chopped shallots and cook until they are a rich golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Stir the shallots occasionally while they are cooking to make sure they brown evenly.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Peel 2 large turnips and cut into generous 1-inch chunks. Place them in a saucepan with water to cover & 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered until easily pierced with a paring knife, about 35 minutes.  In a separate saucepan, heat 1 cup milk and 6 tablespoons butter over low heat until butter has melted and milk begins to simmer. Drain the turnips & puree in a food processor.  With motor running, add the melted butter and milk mixture in a steady stream.  The turnips should be very smooth.  Return the puree to the saucepan, season with 1 teaspoon salt & cracked pepper to taste, rehead & serve piping hot, sprinkled generously with crispy shallots.



Best birthday cake ever!

March 7, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of escorting John Berendt around town to see if he might find St. Francisville interesting enough to include in his next book.  John is the best-selling author of  Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, the book that made Savannah’s eccentric folks famous.  It’s often said we have more nuts than a fruitcake and we even have our own Lady Chablis, but here he’s known as Matthew and “Gingersnap”, which is the name on the license plate on his convertible and he certainly isn’t “nuts“.  John came with photographer Bevil Knapp, who just finished a book on St. Francisville and Carter Hooper, who was celebrating his 49th birthday.  We had a wonderful time, filled with tours of plantations, a cocktail party on the veranda of Catalpa Plantation, a great lunch at the Magnolia Cafe’ and a fabulous birthday dinner at The OxBow Restaurant, where Matthew is maitre d’.  We had such a good time, they said they are coming back next month!

Duane Ulkins baked a birthday cake (strawberry) for Carter that had everyone raving, so I asked him for his recipe and have tried making it twice since.  Mine tasted every bit as good as his, but didn’t look nearly as pretty.  I bought a flat of strawberries off the side of the road and couldn’t resist putting too many strawberries into the icing than the recipe called for the first time, and the second time, I got the icing right, but iced the cake before it completely cooled.  But still, I shared both cakes with friends and family and I have to tell you, they LOVED it!

Duane’s Strawberry Cake

Batter:  1 package yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines), 1 package strawberry jello mix, 4 eggs, 1/2 each vegetable oil & water, 14 oz. frozen strawberries (drained) or 2 cups fresh sliced strawberries, 2 T. flour.  Combine all ingredients except strawberries, until batter is thoroughly mixed, then add strawberries & pour into 3 greased & floured cake pans & bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Icing: 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1 stick softened butter, 1 stick softened cream cheese, 1 box powdered sugar.  Combine butter & cream cheese & beat at high speed.  Then, slowly add the powdered sugar.  Once it is all mixed, fold in the strawberries.  Ice cake once it is completely cooled.  You may want to make the icing first and refrigerate while you are making the cake.  Here’s my third attempt!


I brought a Crawfish Cheesecake to the cocktail party at Catalpa and thought I’d share that recipe as well.  It was created by combining a couple of Emeril recipes.  If you don’t have access to crawfish, you can substitute shrimp, crabmeat, mushrooms, or whatever your imagination comes up with!

Crawfish Cheesecake

4   8 oz pkgs. Cream cheese

4 eggs

3/4 C. Parmesan

1 C. bread crumbs

3/4 C. grated smoked Gouda

1/2 C. each minced red and green bell pepper

1 C. minced onion

1 Pkg. crawfish

Stick of butter

3/4 C. heavy cream

Emeril’s or similar seasoning mix to taste

Melt butter, mix with 1/2 C. Parmesan and bread crumbs to press

into pan for crust. Bake 10 minutes and cool.

Saute’ peppers and onions in olive oil.

In mixer or processor beat cream cheese and eggs. Add cream, Gouda and rest of Parmesan. Turn off the heat and add vegetables, seasonings and crawfish.

Pour mixture into crust and bake @ 350 til sets (approx. an hour).

Cool and serve @ room temp.  Makes a good spread on crackers.

Bon Appetit!


Spring is Here!

March 6, 2009

The town of St. Francisville is beginning to look like Spring with azaleas blooming everywhere!  We’re getting ready for our Annual Audubon Pilgrimage which is always held the third weekend in March.  Many plantation homes will be open to the public including Rosebank Plantation, home to Beverly & David Walker.  Beverly is the most talented “Martha Stewart” around, so I’m certain her home will be decked to the nines with flowers!  Also on tour, although I haven’t seen it yet, is the recently renovated 1885 Queen Anne’s Cottage on the corner of Royal & Fidelity Streets in the Historic District.  Patrick Tandy was the decorator, so I’m sure it will be fabulous!  The Cabildo, also on Royal Street, a building dating from 1807, is the oldest building standing in St. Francisville’s Historic District, and served as headquarters when the short-lived West Florida Rebellion declared the Florida Parishes an independent colony in 1810. During Pilgrimage the Cabildo will house an exhibit of new works by wildlife artist Murrell Butler.  An antiques show & sale will also be going on in three locations in the historic district:  Masonic Lodge, Market Hall & Jackson Hall.  Saturday evening will be the wonderful dining al fresco event catered by Chef Scott Varnadoe of Varnadoe’s Restaurant at The Bluff’s which is still open, despite recent news reports about the development closing.  Only instead of dining on the veranda at  The Bluff’s, it will be outdoors under the stars at the other end of Royal Street  from Shadetree Inn, home of Full Spectrum Paints

Here’s a photo of our driveway at Mon Soleil, Azaleas in full bloom!