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Month: October, 2011

Biscuits to Cry for at Southern Art


Just looking at this bowl of chicken noodle soup makes me feel warm inside. It's good for whatever ails you.

The place: Southern Art

The drink: Bourbon and ginger beer. But only a few sips, I promise. This was lunch after all.

She needs a hot, steaming bowl of delicious chicken soup from Southern Art. That was my first thought when my daughter told me she stayed home from work with a bad cold.

Catherine is in DC though so sadly, no soup-bearing motherly visit was possible. But for anyone else who lives in or visits Atlanta, you’ll want to put Southern Art at the top of your dining list.

Art Smith (Oprah’s former personal chef, TV personality, award-winning cookbook writer and Southern boy from Jasper, FL) served us the kind of meal you’d get if the church ladies made their best dishes and served them all at once. The food is so good you’ll be praising the Lord, no matter what your religion.

Located in the former Pied du Cochon spot at the Hotel InterContinental in Buckhead, Southern Art has transformed the space to be much more open and welcoming. Guests enter through the Bourbon Bar where they may want to stop for a delicious bourbon and ginger beer cocktail, or any of the other 70 bourbons available. Come Thursday through Saturday nights for live entertainment.

Chef Art Smith has restaurants from coast to coast: DC, Chicago, Palo Alto and now Atlanta

But that’s not the only bar here. Southern Art has added a second bar for all you passionate pork people — an Artisan Ham Bar featuring ham and charcuterie. Our meal started with the ham board, a selection of Southern hams, charcuterie and various pickled items. This is the South and if something stands still long enough, we’ll find a way to pickle it.

But now I must lavish love on the Angel biscuits, because, yes, it was love at first bite. In the South you can fling a handful of flour in the air and it will land on a place that serves biscuits. But a truly delicious biscuit is harder to find than a drag queen at a deb party. But honey chile, I found them here. Light and flaky, these biscuits studded with rosemary and cheddar cheese are worthy of the name Angel Biscuits.

I’m also passionate about poultry and the chicken soup and fried chicken both made me happier than a pig in the mud. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like chicken soup,” Art said as he spoke of eating the nourishing nectar as a child.  “I have four restaurants and I put a little bit of my family in each one. For the love and comfort chicken soup brought me, I hope to share it.” Read the full post »

Magnificent Mexico


Pina Colada by the pool or nap by the ocean? A tough decision.

The place: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The drink: Whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s all-inclusive baby!

When I was greeted with a cool beverage and a shoulder massage upon check in at the huge open-air lobby of Grand Velas I knew I’d found a happy place. The resort has one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, all with private terraces and gorgeous views. This all-inclusive includes all dining, premium alcohol and the prettiest wooden wristband, heads above the usual plastic ones you get at other resorts. Restaurant selections range from the casual seaside snack bar to gourmet Mexican at Frida, international cuisine at Azul, gourmet French at Piaf and Italian-Mediterranean at Lucca.

I may have been content to spend my entire time here lounging poolside while enjoying the view of Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre mountains, with occasional breaks for the swim-up bar and an order of fresh guacamole.

But leaving the resort to swim with the dolphins at Vallerta Adventures was a highlight and resulted in my first dolphin kiss, fulfilling a fantasy nurtured since childhood viewings of Flipper.

Read the full post »

Pal Around with Picasso at High Museum


My favorite image from the exhibition, Matisse's Interior with Violin Case

Even it you don’t think you like modern art and are mystified why a shovel hung from the ceiling or paintings of soup cans are art, I’m betting you’ll find something to enjoy in the intriguing new exhibition at the High Museum of Art: Picasso to Warhol: Fourteen Modern Masters.

I got to see a preview of the exhibition last week and will definitely return for a longer look. I don’t really consider myself a fan of modern art, but then I realized the first painting I ever bought was  modern. It’s quite large – a good thing as it fights for attention with the land of cotton that is my house, thanks to my husband’s extensive folk art collection.

Seems the High and the Museum of Modern Art are great buddies and this exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the two, the first of two primary exhibitions born of the partnership. This one, as HMA Director Michael Shapiro called it during our media preview, “celebrates the mother lode of modern art.”

Opening October 15, the exhibition has 129 works of art from 14 modern artists. Most of them you’ll recognize: Picasso, Matisse, Calder, Miro, Mondrian, Pollock, Warhol and Jasper Johns. I am not as familiar with Leger, DuChamp (the shovel guy), deChirico, Brancusi, Bourgeois and Bearden but I enjoy learning about new artists and how they fit in with their contemporaries.

There’s always a thrill to seeing some of your favorites in person. For me that is Matisse’s The Dance, which I’ve always loved and makes me want to frolic with my friends. But with our clothes on. It’s beautifully displayed on a stark white wall at one end of a large gallery. Read the full post »