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June, 2014 |

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How to: Decorate the Perfect Beach Cottage

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This article appears in the July 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Like what you read? Click here to subscribe.


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June 30, 2014



Giovane Café Winebar is the first Canadian café to carry Stumptown Coffee’s Cold Brew coffee on draft. The Cold Brew will also be used in a new cocktail from head bartender, Grant Sceney. The Sicilian Caffe Freddo includes Averna Amaro, Baileys, and Cold Brew. 

Thanks to a successful liquor board application and the recent changes to BC liquor laws, The Irish Heather is once again able to welcome families (including minors) to dine at the pub. A new kids menu is launching next week, and, for a limited time, kids under 10 years will eat free from 11:30am-7pm. Owner Sean Heather is also bringing back the popular family Sunday lunches in the near future.

No chips here…The soon-to-open Boulevard Kitchen Oyster Bar, which is set to open mid-July in the Sutton Place Hotel, has added another industry veteran to its talented ranks, this time in the form of legendary shucker “Oyster Bob” Skinner. Skinner was named best shucker at the 2012 Bearfoot Bistro World Oyster Invitational. 

Chef Josh Wolfe has partnered with Tostitos nacho brand to create dishes for a pop-truck, called Nacho Average Food Truck, which will roll out in Vancouver for one month only starting on July 3. Stay tuned for location details.

John Blakely, owner of Le Parisien, will be turning the West End restaurant, which is now closed, into The Left Bank later this summer. The renovated space will include a 35-seat patio, oyster bar, crepes, and live music. Plans are to be open for weekday lunch, weekend brunch, happy hour, and dinner.


Campagnolo Restaurant is partnering with Masi Wine to present a family-style midsummer feast in honour of peak harvest season on Aug. 6 at 7pm. Tickets are $79 and include multi-course dinner and all wine pairings. 

Blacktail Florist has launched a new brunch menu, available Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm. Look for peameal bacon and poached pear bennies, corned beef skillets with cheddar, onions and potato roesti, crepes Genevieve, and more. 

Bistro Pastis is once again celebrating Bastille Day on July 14 with live music and a special three-course menu for $55. Options include foie gras and chicken liver terrine, baked escargot in puff pastry, smoked duck breast, and cherry clafoutis. 

Famed Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann will be making his first appearance in Vancouver at Cin Cin Ristorante on Sept. 10 and 11 to showcase his unique brand of “Gaucho Grilling.” The first night’s dinner is a five-course menu paired with wines chosen by Mallmann, while the second night’s four-course tasting dinner will have optional bottles and by-the-glass offerings. In addition, Mallmann will be giving special street-side demonstrations in front of the restaurant. Tickets $165/$120 for dinner.

Copyright 2014

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Style: Here’s the deal

Marin is an inspiring place with a population of creative people. So it should come as little surprise that many well-known retail businesses and brands have been developed here. However, most Marinites are surprised to find that of these brands, some support local showroom storefronts. While many of these showrooms are smaller than your child’s bedroom and somewhat off the beaten path, they all tend to offer huge deals on their branded products. But the deals aren’t always your run-of-the-mill outlet kind. Some of their deals are of the service-sort like access to line previews, private appointments and sales, and epoch pieces for special customers. Each brand’s showroom has its own unique balance of service and sales, resulting in deals that are worth the shopping trip. Here are my favorite Marin-grown brand showrooms that every local should know about:

The Deal at rockflowerpaper, San Anselmo

Rockflowerpaper transforms their unique art and designs into colorful everyday products. Stop by the showroom and find spirited art trays, scarves, tunics, pj bottoms, iPhone covers, kitchen towels and canvas totes. While the brand is sold at retail prices all over the U.S., its showroom in San Anselmo transitioned to a wholesale storefront last February. Since then, rockflowerpaper totes have been spotted all over Marin.

Marin-grown business: Yes

Marin-grown brand(s): Yes

Categories: Home, womens, accessories, etc.

Brand: rockflowerpaper

Showroom type: Outlet, buyers office

Deal: Superb service and everyday sales. Get 40-80 percent off discounted products and overruns. Plus shop for samples and prototypes.

Brand experts in-house: Yes


The Deal at Busy Bees, Ross

Recently featured in Gwyneth Paltrow’s, the Busy Bees collection offers boy and girl looks from 3 months to 12 years that are well-crafted, classically-inspired and hand-me-down worthy. While you can buy Busy Bees pieces online and shop for them at local high-end kids’ boutiques, the best place for shopping Busy Bees, by far, is by appointment in its tiny showroom. Your special appointment will guarantee the special treatment from a Busy Bees brand expert. 

Marin-grown business: Yes

Marin-grown brand(s): Yes

Categories: Baby, kids and tweens

Brands: Busy Bees, Miss b

Showroom type: Retail store (appointment only), office

Deal: Superb service

Note: Annual winter sale occurs in January with 40-75 percent off Busy Bees and Miss b product.

Brand experts in-house: Yes


Facebook: ClassicKidsWear

The Deal at Coyuchi, Point Reyes Station

Coyuchi’s former headquarters has been transformed into a storefront that is equal part outlet and retail store. What’s more, it showcases the largest selection of its organic high-end, high thread count bedding, anywhere. Coyuchi fans count this storefront as a must-shop.

Marin-grown business: Yes

Marin-grown brand(s): Yes

Category: Home

Brand: Coyuchi

Showroom type: Outlet, retail store

Deal: Superb service and everyday sales. Save up to 70 percent on discounted and factory seconds.

Brand experts in-house: Yes


The Deal at All Things Rose, San Anselmo

Ruffles, colored crochet trim and rose prints adorn most of All Things Rose clothing and accessories for little girls up to 8 years old. This tiny showroom is worth the stop and shop, as it is the only place to view Rose Cage’s entire girls collection. 

Marin-grown business: Yes

Marin-grown brand(s): Yes

Categories: Girl baby and kids

Brand: All Things Rose

Showroom type: Retail store, workshop

Deal: Superb service. Line preview. Epoch pieces (if size is not available at showroom).

Note: Sales occur about three times a year offering 50 percent off All Things Rose merchandise.

Brand designer in-house: Yes

Facebook: All Things Rose

While everybody loves a deal, Marin-grown businesses and brands offer something more than just a deal. They sell products by us and, at the same time, for us.

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Cast iron skillet popularity soars; Starts in the Tennessee Valley – WRCB

NBC News 

You see them at yard sales and tucked away in countless kitchens across America, often handed down from one generation to the next. 

Many cooks – both home and professional – still swear by them, while others are just discovering them. And that’s a good thing for a company in the South that’s been making cast iron skillets for more than a century.  

Dixie Freeze is famous for its home cookin’. Just off the main drag in South Pittsburg Tennessee, owner David Johnson taught us the finer points of making cornbread.  

“It’s all in the skillet. So that’s what it takes,” said David Johnson, Dixie Freeze Owner.

Buttermilk and the right cornmeal are givens. It’s the cast iron skillet he says that makes it special.  

Cast iron and cooking never went out of style in the South. But it seems the rest of America suddenly thinks cast iron is cool.   

Down the road at Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, they can’t turn the pans out fast enough. In fact, they’re making the plant bigger.  

“I’ve always known the wonders of cast iron, now the world’s finding that out about it,” said Bob Kellerman, Lodge Cast Iron Cookware.  

Bob Kellerman is the fourth generation of his family to make skillets.  He’s got iron in his blood.  

“You can hand it down to your children, your grandchildren. It’s like women and whiskey, it gets better with age,” said Kellerman.  

Cast iron in its simplicity is the perfect friend of food.  It heats evenly.  Is great for dishes that go from stove top to oven.

Real cooks like Melinda Huffman can’t live without it; especially, at the price. A pan sells for about 20 bucks.    

“You needa getcha some! you’ll love it, said Melinda Huffman, Dixie Freeze cook.  

We met Melinda at the lodge store.  

“Cornbread. It’s what I call my Tennessee classic and it is, it’s the best,” said Huffman.

Of that we have no doubts. Turns out Lodge is the last U.S. maker of cast iron cookware.    

“Had two competitors back in the 90’s, but they fell by the wayside so we’re the lone ranger now,” said Kellerman.

Made in the U.S.A., built to last, affordable. It’s a recipe for success.

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Mrs Brown’s Boys kitchen textiles range on the way

Range will go on sale in September in over 200 SuperValu and Centra stores across Ireland.

Rocket Licensing has signed a deal with Poplar Linens for a range of Mrs Brown’s Boys kitchen textiles.

The range will go on sale in September in over 200 SuperValu and Centra stores across Ireland, targeting both the kitchenware and gifting markets in the run-up to Christmas.

Discussions are now in progress to bring the range to the UK.

“The overwhelming success of Mrs Brown’s Boys means that there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t know the show, and especially the kitchen where Agnes Brown spends so much of her time,” said Colm Walsh, business development manager at Poplar Linens.

“That’s why we jumped at the chance to bring her to this range of textiles. It’s by far the best way to have Agnes for company in the kitchen.”

The range includes oven gloves, aprons, tea towels, ironing board covers and reusable shopping bags.

Charlie Donaldson, joint managing director at Rocket Licensing, added: “With the TV show and screen version keeping awareness sky-high, not to mention the Christmas gifting market getting closer, the timing of this product from one of Europe’s biggest and best names in home textiles is perfect.

“We’re sure the Mrs Brown’s Boys kitchen textiles will be a massive hit at retail both as gifts and as useful and entertaining kitchen accessories.”

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Mississippi: From fried food to the blues, this Southern state is full of … – Pasadena Star

Mississippi attractions

Ground Zero Blues Club: 387 Delta Ave., Clarksdale. Cover: $3-$7. 662-621-9009.

Cock of the Walk: 141 Madison Landing Circle, Ridgeland. Dinner: $12.95 adults, $6.95 children under 10. 601-856-5500. .

McCartys: 101 Saint Mary St., Merigold. 662-748-2293.

Mississippi’s Giant Houseparty: July 25-Aug. 1. Neshoba County Fair, Philadelphia. Admission: $15. 601-656-8480.

Mitchell Farms: 650 Leaf River Church Road, Collins. Admission: $8 weekdays, $10 weekends. 601-765-8609.

Driving up to Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss., you might think you ended up on the wrong side of town.

The old brick building, with a flashy neon sign and well-worn couches on a graffiti-covered porch, has the look of a dive, and it doesn’t improve once you enter. Every inch of wall space and tabletops are covered with graffiti.

Co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman and local attorney Bill Luckett, Ground Zero Blues Club opened in May 2001 in an abandoned cotton warehouse. Vintage signs, posters, photos and even guitars plaster the walls. It’s dark, rank (smoking is allowed) and loud.

But then that’s what you might expect from a “juke joint.”

Juke joints started as hole-in-the-wall, backwoods clubs where the songs of the Mississippi cotton fields morphed into the sounds of the Delta Blues. The joints — any crumbling barn or falling down plantation building would do — were places where rural laborers came to enjoy some liquor, dancing and good music.

Clarksdale, at the crossroads of highways 61 and 49 (the location of Robert Johnson’s famous “Crossroad Blues”) in the Mississippi Delta, was at the epicenter of the Delta Blues. The city was the home of such blues legends as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner and Sam Cooke.

“The club’s location makes it unique; it’s ground zero for blues music,” Luckett said. “And the old building fits the character of a juke joint.”

Visitors can catch some of the area’s best blues musicians at Ground Zero every Wednesday through Saturday. And if you plan to visit Clarksdale in the spring, you can join in celebrating the city’s blues heritage at the Juke Joint Festival.

While you’re in Clarksdale, stop at the Delta Blues Museum across the street from Ground Zero for a look at blues history, including Waters’ cabin where he lived during his days as a sharecropper.

Fried feasts

Fried dill pickles, fried catfish, fried chicken, fried onion rings, river fries, fried okra, fried corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes and deep-fried hushpuppies.

Dining at Cock of the Walk in Ridgeland is not for the leafy greens type. But if you want a real taste of Mississippi specialties, this is the place.

Dinner is a choice of fried catfish or fried chicken served family style on enormous platters set in the center of the table. The platters are piled high with river fries, catfish, chicken and hushpuppies (all fried in 100 percent peanut oil). Coleslaw and pickled onions are served on the side. We also shared an order of fried dill pickles (fantastic!) and onion rings.

For the three of us from California, this was our first time trying catfish as well as most of the fried foods. The catfish was surprisingly light and mild.

That’s because Cock of the Walk’s catfish is locally farm raised and pond fed, said Curtis Haley, president of operations for the restaurant.

“Catfish is a pure white, flaky product if handled properly,” Haley said. “The only flavor you should get is the seasoning we put on it.”

Mississippi provides 75 percent of the U.S. supply of pond-raised catfish.

Pottery connection

Lee McCarty was the chemist, his wife, Pup, the artist. For more than half a century, the husband-and-wife team molded Mississippi’s native clay into beautiful handmade pitchers, dinnerware, platters, coffee mugs, candlesticks, vases and a hodge-podge of animals and fish.

Pup passed away in 2009, and Lee, at age 91, carries on with the help of brothers Stephen and Jamie Smith, whose parents were best friends of the McCartys.

“I’m here working every day,” Lee explained to a couple of tourists visiting his shop in Merigold. Though today, with an inquisitive writer as a customer, he did a lot more talking than working.

The McCartys’ unique style of pottery incorporates all the two loved about their home state. Everything is handmade using native clay from a site near Shuqualak. Lee creates the formulas for all the glazes. And most pieces carry their signature mark — a snake-like squiggly line representing the Mississippi River.

McCarty pottery has a rustic look and earthy appeal. The work comes in three main glazes —cobalt blue, jade and nutmeg — with dinnerware being the most popular. The waiting list for dinnerware is close to two years, Stephen said.

Funky fair cabins

Take a small, narrow cabin with a front porch, paint it a wild combination of colors, stack wall-to-wall bunk beds in every room, invite 30 of your closest family and friends, and you’re ready to celebrate Mississippi’s Giant Houseparty, aka the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia.

Every summer, county residents and their extended families gather at their fair cabins for a week of front porch cooking, eating, sitting and talking while enjoying the usual trappings of a county fair — horse racing, concerts, car shows, carnival rides, arts and crafts, and loads of food.

“People in our town, instead of coming home for the holidays come home for the fair,” said Philadelphia native Jo Ann Tinsley-Rounsaville. “It’s a chance to see old friends growing up and old friends made over the years. ”

The first fair was in the summer of 1889 and lasted only a few hours. When the fair transformed into a multi-day event, people began to arrive in covered wagons and started building small cabins on the fairgrounds. The first cabins were single-story, but later grew to two and three stories.

Today, there are about 600 colorful cabins crammed next to one another on narrow lanes. Some cabins are unfinished inside with Army-style barracks and others are what locals call “up to snuff,” meaning they have all the amenities of a home.

Family farm fun

Cotton may once have been king for seven or so generations of Mitchells, but today, the family farm in Collins thrives on peanuts, corn, wheat, soybeans, and a bit of history and agritainment.

Owners Dennis and Nelda Spell Mitchell, their son Don and his wife Jo Lynn, have turned a portion of the farm into a learning and play zone for kids and families with an animal barn, wagon rides, hay bale maze, sand mountain, rope swings, mini old west town, and corn pool.

Dennis and Nelda, both from farming families with roots in Mississippi going back to the early 1800s, moved to Collins in 1960 to begin farming. He worked the farm while she taught first grade.

Don now manages the farm, but all participate.

“I’ve always wanted to farm since I was 2 years old playing with my tractors in the sandbox,” Don said. “I like the challenge, because most of the time every day is different. There are always hardships with farming, but the challenge keeps you motivated..”

In addition to the kids play area, three historic log cabins full of period furnishings, antiques, and Nelda’s beautiful wood carvings and art pieces are open to visitors.

“Dennis and I both enjoyed looking at other peoples restored log houses, antiques and things they had preserved,” Nelda said. “That got us started trying to preserve what was around us. We just hated to see old things left to deteriorate.”

Marlene Greer is a North Carolina based freelance writer and can be reached at

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