Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gracious Architecture

One of my favorite endeavors while touring the Deep South is admiring the wealth of beautiful architecture. From creole cottages to Greek Revival, I love it all. These pictures are all of the tiny but mighty Charleston, South Carolina.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Moon Pies

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Patsie pigs out in Charleston
One of the unexpected surprises in Charleston was the Moon Pie store. I hit the motherlode of my sugary Southern upbringing. MMM. They carried moon pies (sandwiches of flavored icing, cookies, and marshmallow filling) in 2 sizes and eight flavors.

Yes, friends, the whole store carried only moon pies. And RC cola, to complete the full Southern comfort snack experience. (Where was the Dr. Pepper and Orange NeHi?  Probably at the Piggley Wiggley)

Your Imaginary Future Diabetic,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cookie Monster

Batman, I mean, Parker, loves chocolate graham crackers. Go, Keebler elves!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snow Balls!

One of the most deliciously chilly treats known to mankind is the snow ball. Known elsewhere as the snow cone or Hawaiian shaved ice, the snow ball reaches its culinary potential best in the land of dreamy dreams. Although it is best consumed in sweltering heat, its true devotees consume the snow ball year round in New Orleans.
The array of flavors runs the gamut from Tiger's Blood to Wedding Cake. Or tigers eating wedding cake; I am not sure. But if you like to reach sugary bliss, this is the glycemic pathway.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Angel Oak

Over 2000 years old, the Angel Oak near Kiawah, South Carolina, graces the low country with welcoming arms. It shows hospitality to moss, lichens and gracious fronds of Spanish moss.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

King Cakes and the Kracken

Vodka that tastes like King Cake is manufactured by Taaka Vodka in New Orleans and available for purchase during Mardi Gras season.
And don't forget to buy a bottle of The Kracken. Then unleash it!
Viva New Orleans.

Swamp Critters

What comes with swamps? Gators! Cypress tress with knobby knees.
Spanish moss. Skeeters.
But it is worth it to tour the otherworldly beauty of Southeastern swamps. Hairlike Spanish moss reminiscent of the spiderwebs of haunted houses laces from tree to tree in the swampy cypress pond at Middleton Gardens.
Atmosphere is everything!

Your fellow traveler,

Gators in Charleston

Cypress Bayou in Middleton Gardens

Friday, February 15, 2013

Middleton Gardens

Camellias in full bloom

Spanish Moss Frames a View of the Ashley River

Formal Lawn and Butterfly Lakes of Middleton Gardens
When Washington, DC, is gray and devoid of vibrant vegetation (Winter!), I like to trek South to see some greenery and flowers. That is exactly what I found near Charleston, SC, this week at Middleton Gardens. You have never seen so many blooming camellia trees in your life! Some are massive and old, and some are new.

Middleton Gardens are the oldest professionally designed and installed gardens in the United States.

Ancient Oak

Camellias, Cherry Tree, Tulip Magnolias and Azaleas in Bloom

Pea Hens

Wood Nymphs and a Carpeted Path of Camellia Blossoms

There is also a restaurant, a gift shop and many acres to explore, all about 30 minutes easy drive from downtown historic Charleston. The original plantation home was burned down by Union Troops during the Civil War, and only a brick ruin remains. But the gardens endure, all these 175 years.

Your Garden Buddy,

Holy City

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Charleston, South Carolina, refers to itself as Holy City, as its beautiful old church steeples push above the surrounding quaint architecture, and predominate its skyline when seen from the Atlantic Ocean.
I found wonderful food, beautiful Southern architecture, charming citizens, manners galore, low crime and a clean bustling city. It was a heavenly experience, so maybe it was holy.

Far from a sleepy town, little Charleston has managed to combine the newest food trends with its traditional Low Country fare. Try this on for size: Tilefish upon a bed of fried green tomatoes and caramelized onions. I had never even heard of tilefish. Now I am its biggest fan, having devoured it at Cru Cafe on Andrew Pinckney St. this week. Set in a charming old home, Cru Cafe is owned and operated by a Cordon Bleu chef who just so happened to graduate first in his class. Making my life even sweeter, it was a half block from my hotel, which I adored. I highly recommend Andrew Pinckney Hotel. It is wonderfully situated geographically (see above!) and is one block from the famous Market that runs daily.
My Fave Hotel in Charleston
This hotel is priced right, has lovely clean rooms, and a free breakfast that will make you foodies out there happy. The employees are just as nice as any humans I have ever met. That is saying a lot. If you book with them and not through a travel site, you will get the best treatment, if something goes awry with your plans.
And what does the Market have to offer? Well, try the Charleston Shoe Company for some of the cutest and most comfortable shoes that your tiny hoofie has ever tried. Check out intriguing salad combos at Caviar and Bananas Deli. Or buy a sweetgrass basket, scents, towels, spices or condiments. Reminiscent of New Orleans' famed French Market, Charleston's market has jewelry, pottery, children's clothes and just about anything you can think of.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kazan Restaurant

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Would you like to fantasize that you are somewhere exotic, without spending a dollar on an airline ticket? Why not dine at an unusual ethnic food destination, close your eyes, and savor the taste sensation?
One such destination in the Washington, DC area is Kazan, a Turkish restaurant in posh McLean, Virginia.

Sample the doner kabob, for which they are famous.

Another treat is Dishes of India in Alexandria, VA. Hidden away in a basement of a strip mall(!!), this restaurant has some delish chicken tikka masala, and palak chaat to rival the much pricier Rasika in downtown DC.
Washington, DC is rich is ethnicities.

Take a trip with your taste buds!

Your imaginary gastronomer,


Saturday, February 9, 2013

That Fabulous Hospital Wedding

Dear Creative Minds,

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get married in a hospital?

Wedding garb: Hospital gowns for two, with the breeze blowing into the gap
Chauffeur: Just pushing your wheelchair down the ramp
Instead of rice: Throw some vicodin at the happy couple
Instead of an expensive sit down dinner: Serve IV bags of saline solution, and maybe a little Jell-o and Ensure
Wedding favors: ID bracelets for all
Something borrowed: A gurney for a quick honeymoon getaway
Something blue: The bride wears blue latex gloves
Instead of a DJ: Musak

So romantic and so cheap.

I had best patent this idea quickly.

Your imaginary friend,