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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The River.......House, that is. And fine bovine.

Listened to Bruce Springsteen's "The River" on the way to work this morning. It's a wonderful and painful coming-of-age song. Really, it's just what you need before a big day at PP!

"We went down to the riverrrrrrr...
and into the river we'd dive
Ohhhhh, down to the river, we'd ride iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii"

Thank you. On Saturday nights, I take requests.

Anyway, that was a rather clumsy albeit heartfelt segue to the lovely photos of the holy-smacks-about-to-open River House at Lowndes Grove.

So, I don't know if you gleaned this from recent posts, but we (Fish) bought a cow from Cordray's in Ravenel. These fine folks have been producing quality beef since 1907, without using chemicals, hormones or byproduct-based feeds. I can't tell you how many times over the past few months I've asked Nico about the "cow situation" and he would just answer, "Nope, not yet." Well dear friends, the beef is here. Actually, the beef was in the tomato provencal at the Chef's Potluck. And will soon be wow-ing you in upcoming specials.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Traffic, coyotes & hey! new windows & doors!

Photo? That's a traffic jam at Cordray's in Ravenel. Noses to rump roasts, I tell you.

So, my brother recommended this blog to me. It's written by a woman who, at the age of 26, was living in California and owned a small bakery/cafe. One day in 1994, she packed up her belongings and moved to rural Missouri to a "280-acre, 140-year old farm in the middle of nowhere." Anywho, she now lives on an even older, even more remotely located farm on which she raised sheep and chickens AND is working to build an artisinal bakery. (Dude, we are not sure she sleeps.) My point here is that she has a very rich, interesting life and she writes beautifully about it, especially this post...Talk about real life: coyotes eating your sheep, okay?

In other news, was out at Lowndes Grove to sneak a peek at the soon-to-open River House. The much-anticipated doors and windows have arrived and let me just say, they are gorgeous. Photos to come tomorrow. I simply cannot wait to this space decked out for its first evening event, doors and windows open for the warm breeze off the river. Are you kidding me? Simply stunning.

Monday, April 28, 2008


If you missed the Chef's Potluck at Middleton Place yesterday, I am sorry. Because it was just one delicious moment after another, PLUS great beer and wine, PLUS fantastic music. An all-round wonderful event. Mad props to Jamee and Alan at Lowcountry Local First for an outstanding event. I will tell you that my own personal eating branched out a bit yesterday as I tried braised goat for the very first time (thank you, Fez!). It was super tender and very flavorful. Our own Nico Romo and Sous Chef Deveaux Stockton served a hearty stuffed tomato provencal with ground beef (from Cordray's) with a local greens (Rita's Roots) and strawberries with a sweet soy balsamic dressing. Middleton Place served some melt-in-your mouth pork belly with organic Carolina Gold rice and collard greens grown right on-property. And, hands down my favorite dessert was the strawberry calzone from our pals at Evo. Local strawberries and hazelnut chocolate with local honey. Uh, yeah. So awesome.

One of my favorite parts of yesterday's event was watching Sous Chef Deveaux Stockton's daughter dance to the fantastic music (I'll let you know the name of the group as soon as I find out!) His daughter is about 4, and let me tell you, this child can DANCE. She was uninhibited, very limber and absolutely brought the house down.

And, I'm especially excited today because I received proofs of our about to be launched identity package from Gil Shuler Graphic Design. It isn't easy keeping up with the constantly-evolving Patrick Properties team, but with lots of diligent work from the folks at Gil Shuler, they have created a beautiful, sophisticated and clean foundation from which all sorts of craziness, I mean GENIUS can spring. More soonest.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Top 10 Reasons To Have A Corporate Event At The William Aiken House

10. No frightening wall-to-wall carpet that’s so busy you get a migraine.
9. No bad overhead lighting that makes everyone look pale and hung-over.
8. Plenty of beautiful furniture, antiques and art to distract your boss when he asks you where that report is: “Did you see that George III mahogany bookcase? Just gorgeous.”
7. A myriad of good reasons to be late for the morning seminar. “Sorry, I was so intrigued by the Carriage House slate roof. Did you know it originally came from the State House?”
6. Lots of opportunities to be outside: cocktail hour on the piazza, anyone?
5. The amazing food. No chicken fingers, I repeat, no chicken fingers.
4. The most boring presentation ever is somewhat less horrific when heard in a gorgeous historic coral ballroom.
3. You’re steps from more fantastic food and drink (Fish) and great shopping.
2. Again, cocktails on the piazza.
1. Stories back at the office sound better starting with, “The retreat at The William Aiken House, you know, that National Historic Landmark…” Oh, and cocktails on the piazza.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lovely Lowndes Grove, Mrs. Fish & Recycling

Uploaded a bunch of fabulous Lowndes Grove photos (thank you, Lynn Mitchell) to our Flickr page. Go ahead, drool.

You know you're married to your job when...your last name becomes your business name. As in the case of our Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Kitchin being addressed as Mrs. Elizabeth Fish by Pottery Barn. Bahahaha!

Everyone on the PP team is psyched about our recently revamped recycling program. As you might imagine, being in the food and beverage and event business, we produce lots of recyclable goods. In fact, we didn't know exactly how much until we talked to the fine folks at Fischer Recycling. Starting Friday, The William Aiken House, Fish, The American Theater, Lowndes Grove and our corporate offices will all be recycling paper, glass, plastic, aluminum and tin. Plus, Fischer put us into touch with folks who will recycle our corrugated cardboard. All of this is an effort to REDUCE THE DUMPSTER (Fischer's line, which I love) and mostly, to tread a little lighter on the earth (my line). Actually, was talking with Managing Partner Randall Goldman about this. We figure when his young son (age 2) is old enough to realize what's going on, things like carrying your own recycleable bags into the grocery store will be the given. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A different kind of potluck, as in, no cream of mushrooom soup will be used.

How the heck are ya on this fine Earth Day?

Here's to easily biodegradable corn-based drinking cups and a country full of sassy, reusable grocery bag toters. Hooray!

So, what are YOU doing this Sunday? Because I've got an idea...

WHAT: The Lowcountry Local First/Slow Food Charleston Chef’s Potluck. It's a whole posse of local chefs, including our very own Nico Romo , chefs from Middleton Place, EVO, Slightly North of Broad, High Cotton, Fez, Anson, Monza, Anson’s, McCrady’s, The Glass Onion, Savory Market and an array of local growers, like our pal Rita Bachmann for instance. Basically, it's an afternoon of fantastic local food, lovely libations and live music. All to raise funds and awareness of the vital role local farms play in sustaining our fine community.

WHEN: Sunday, April 27th from 4:00 -7:00 pm

WHERE: Middleton Place

DEETS: Hosted by our friends at Lowcountry Local First and Slow Food Charleston. The festivities take place at the Pavilion at historic Middleton Place. Get your local appetite on under a canopy of oak trees on the banks of the Ashley River. Doesn't that sound like big Sunday fun?Live music, beer from Coast Brewery, wine and a silent auction of wares from local businesses. Seriously, what else do you need?

Tickets are $40 and are available at Charleston Cooks!, EVO, Plum Elements, Rita’s Roots at the Charleston Farmer's Market, or by emailing jamee@lowcountrylocalfirst.org. Fish is a proud sponsor, along with “Fresh on the Menu” – a SC Department of Agriculture program dedicated to promoting SC grown products – and Brainstorm Web Design.

In other PP news, congratulations to Laura Patrick (daughter of Celeste and Charles Patrick), who is the proud owner of her first home. May your repairs be few and your housewarming presents plentiful!

As promised, here's an event tidbit from one of our resident professionals, Sales Manager, Adrienne Boyle:

"At The William Aiken House, I always recommend using one large scented candle. It perks up peoples' senses, so they notice your florals more!"

You heard it here first!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Neighborhood cred, updates & advice/entertainment from event professionals

Check it out. That's an OFFICIAL Wagener Terrace neighborhood membership card. It belongs to Lowndes Grove General Manager Ashley Gunnin. I know, you only wish you had one too.

Was out for a quick visit to Lowndes Grove today. (No, not just to be jealous of Ashley's membership card.) Work continues on the super cool catering kitchen and the phenomenal River House, set to open May 1. While chatting with Ashley in the Sales Office, which overlooks the catering kitchen construction, she pointed out a family of baby cardinals in the bush just outside her window. So sweet - and apparently unflappable (HA! I kill me.) as there is quite a bit of ruckus around them currently. Ashley said she watched Daddy (AKA Big Red) swoop in, put food in Mama's mouth who in turn fed the babies.

By the by, the line at Kulture Klash 2 this weekend looked rather like a line at a Madonna concert, okay? Live grafitti art, hula hoop girls, cool stuff from local artists and boutiques like B'Zar. Amazing.

In the coming days, I'll be posting some valuable and no doubt entertaining gems from the PP event team. This talented and dynamic team has been creating authentic moments for nearly five years. (I don't know exactly how many brides and companies have been through our lovely gates, but man, if these walls could talk!) Anywho, I know you are now chomping at the big to hear these tidbits. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bon weekend!

It's looking like a wonderful weekend ahead. Our pal Calder Clark and her posse are busy making The William Aiken House even more gorgeous. (I was especially SWEATING the light fixtures in the tents!)

Don't forget: the Marion Square Farmer's Market is back in full effect tomorrow from 8 am until 2 pm. Buy some fine local produce; grab a crepe; buy some art! It's spring in Charleston, you know what to do!

Some friends and I are heading up to North Charleston for Kulture Klash 2 (which I have to admit that the name somehow reminds me of "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo," but I digress.) Anyway, psyched to hear some great music, see some wonderful art and maybe "pop and lock" a bit.

And, I'll end with a shout to Steve, our Accountant, who's heading off to VEGAS BABY for a week's vacation. This is his first time. Be gentle, Vegas. Be gentle.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Religion, politics & other things you may not want to talk about at dinner

Well, it's a simply gorgeous evening for the Spring Design Walk on Upper King, so I expect to see you out and about shortly. Meanwhile, it was another wild and wonderful day here at PP.

Heard this rather hilarious soundbite this morning on NPR about the Papal visit: "Keep your eye on this Pope." Um, why? Will he steal my backpack? Or, is it more like: keep-your-eye-on-this -rising-religious-star, he's-gonna-be-HUGE type of thing? Such a funny and ponderous quip, NPR lady!

By the by, not sure if you heard that on Monday Managing Partner Randall Goldman became President of the Charleston Local Development Corporation (LDC), a not-for-profit corporation created in 1979 by Mayor Riley and other city leaders. The organization helps create jobs and economic development through loans in Charleston, Berkeley, Colleton and Dorchester counties. You just never know what that Goldman is going to do next, I tell you. Congratulations, Randall. We're darn proud. But, what about that Vice Presidential run?

Randall actually told me a great story this morning, as it was happening. As he was filling up at the gas station, he spied a woman finishing up at her gas pump and then driving away with the gas hose still attached to her car. Ooopsie. She came back, as luck would have it, rather embarassed and Randall spoke to her, basically saying he wished he had filmed and could post it to YouTube and/or post it to this very blog. She wasn't so enthused about that idea. Which is crazy when you consider she couldn've benefited from some instant stardom, much like local boutique owner Kristin Morgan, who is my heroine of the moment. When life handed her an unsteady floor, she rocked out and told her story on Ellen. Say it, sister.

One of our neighbors recently wrote on his blog about the mysterious stencils appearing around the Upper King Street area. Well today, Fish had one on its pristine white exterior. Upon googling the 1.618, we found out that it's called The Golden Ratio. It's like pi (3.14) but way cooler.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Biodynamic wines, the design walk & other reasons to love it here

What did I do on tax day? I went to a free wine tasting, of course. Our pals at EVO in Park Circle hosted a wine tasting with Mendocino Farms, a biodynamic winery in Mendocino, California. Steve Ryan, the biodynamic expert on the team, was pouring some fantastic red and was also a very interesting fellow. A little bit of what biodynamic means: Basically, it's method of organic farms that views the farm itself as an independent organism. Biodynamism, did I just make up a word? Well, it's all about balance between the soil, plants and animals. There are no artificial chemicals used. It's very organic, so we're talking manure. We're talking compost. All the better for yummy wine, my pretty!

In other news, if you're out and about tomorrow night, you should join us for the Spring Design Walk on Upper King. The shopping is EXCELLENT and plus, you'll be right by Fish where it will be Mercy of the Chef Thursday. Do you remember? 3 courses, 3 wine pairings, $40 per person, all Chef's choice. You KNOW you love it when Nico bosses you. Actually, the Mercy of the Chef has attracted QUITE the cult following. If you haven't been, you should definitely check it out. And, of course, check out all of our neighbors. I personally can't stay OUT of B'Zar or Lesesne. T-shirts and letterpress paper? I can't hold back.

P.S. If you need to see us tonight as well, you KNOW it's Wine Wednesday, right? The Charlton Singleton Trio for your jazz and half-priced select bottles of wine. Dig it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

News from the river...

You didn't think we were taking a break out at Lowndes Grove, did you? Don't be mad, as they say across the pond. Check out the progress on the catering kitchen! You might ask, how are you currently getting that delicious food of yours over to Lowndes Grove, if there's no catering kitchen currently on-site? Actually, I have a small moped with a lovely basket. They fill me at at the Fish catering kitchen and then I ZOOOOOMMMMMM over to Lowndes Grove. You didn't seriously believe that, did you? (Not that I wouldn't courier over some tasty tidbits on a moped in a pinch, but that's not how we currently roll over here.) We'll keep you updated on the progress.

This Thursday, Lowndes Grove is playing host to the Montessori of Mt. Pleasant Boosters Club Annual Auction & Student Expo. It's called Bluegrass for A Green Planet. Great name and should be an outstanding event.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Among today's topics: things that make sales managers "feel weird"

Morning snapshot of PP: I walk in through American Theater, which is right near our catering kitchen. As I walk, the unmistakable, comforting smell of baked deliciousness (thank you, Susie) washes over me. Later, I walk over to The William Aiken House. They're re-sodding the lawn, so the air is heady with the smell of fresh earth and grass. On the ground next to the door is a rumpled, bright green tablecloth, a leftover from one of the weekend's events. It's always fascinating to glimpse the "morning after" scenes. (Note to self: photographs of mornings after would make a fabulous coffee table book.)

This weekend kicked off the season for the Charleston Farmer's Market. Friends, local growers and artisans hang up their shingles for a few hours in Marion Square every Saturday from now until just after Thanksgiving. Tool around to see an incredible array of produce, herbs, cut flowers, jewelry, art and crafts. And call me crazy, but everyone who's there is just in the best mood. Folks are walking with dogs, babies in strollers and everyone just seems happy.

In other news, you know that I've been transfixed by Starbucks lately as they struggle to reinvigorate their brand and well, boost their stock. And to those of you who think branding and graphic design decisions don't matter, get this. Today, I got a call from one of our Sales Managers (Charlotte), who had purchased a cup created in their "new" design. "You have to come and see this," she said. Needless to say, I dropped what I was doing.

Upon entering her office, she mentioned that the new design, "made me feel weird." The logo brouhaha is best summarized here. What you'll see is, that in their attempt to get back to basics, Starbucks has, also, gone back to its logo basics. Here begins the "weird feelings." The star of the logo is a siren: she of the two tails and bare, yet tastefully "draped" breasts. Now, after doing some background reading, I saw that in some market testing they did years ago, Starbucks found that female customers were rather "uncomfortable" with the siren, in her um, entirety. So I find it super-interesting they're bringing her back. But, maybe a little controversy is what they're looking for...it certainly keeps the conversation going.

Had breakfast yesterday at one of my favorite local haunts, Alex's on Coleman Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant. Talk about the perfect place to people watch. I started frequenting Alex's when I lived on Shem Creek. I got to know many of the waitresses and staff. (They all call me honey or baby, which I just love. P.S. That doesn't mean you should.)

Sitting at the "bar," you will see the most astounding things. You cannot believe the sheer volume of food and people that move through that establishment on any given weekend morning. It sincerely boggles the mind. What I enjoy most is watching the interactions. How a waitress who's completely overwhelmed will take time out for one of her regular customers. How the more "experienced" waitresses will help/haze a newbie waitress as she sinks into the oblivion of a Saturday breakfast rush. How Miss Debbie, who I've seen expediting orders in the kitchen, cooking, serving, shaking hands with customers and in a photo with Fred Thompson near the restroom (I'm serious), totally runs the place. How refilling a cup of coffee or placing a steaming plate of eggs in front of someone can change their world view, if only for a moment.

Friday, April 11, 2008

More than the recommended daily allowance of stuff

Today at the zoo, I mean Patrick Properties. Holy smacks, people. It has been go, go, go, all the live long day around here!

Was proofing our new identity, courtesy of the fabulous folks at Gil Shuler Graphic Design, and oh my goodness, it is fine! Just wait 'til you see. Soon, people, soon!

Read this interesting bit in an article by John Burbage in The Charleston Mercury. Get this: one large oyster can filter as much as four gallons of seawater per hour. And, once upon a time you could eat the oysters found in Charleston Harbor. Due to population growth and industry, you can't and haven't been able to for years...something to ponder.

Had a fun meeting yesterday with Jamee Haley, one of our pals from Lowcountry Local First. Fish is one of the sponsors of their upcoming Chef's Potluck out at Middleton Place on Sunday, April 27. It will be a fantastic day full of local growers, chefs and some phenomenal food and drink. I better see you there.

And, I leave you for the weekend with this gem, courtesy of one of my favorite blogs. It's a song that some of you may remember...Enjoy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Steve-O!

I believe I have mentioned before on this blog that the PP team has this tiny little mischievous streak (about 50 miles long). Anywho, today is our Accountant Steve's birthday. Now, Steve is a really funny guy and a Jersey native (HOLLA!), but he and the spotlight? Not so much. With that in mind, Managing Partner Randall Goldman placed a call to the lovely and talented Tammy Walters, who put on a gorilla suit and came armed with music and balloons to humiliate, I mean entertain, our pal Steve. Notice in the photo: Steve shrinking away in horror and Tammy dancing so fiercely she's really a blur! Go, gorilla!

I must state, for the record, that I got a tiny bit concerned for the safety of the gorilla (Tammy) when I saw the horrified look on Steve's face. But, good sport that he is, he ever so slightly smiled while the rest of the PP team was hooting and hollering. (Note to self: take the day OFF on your birthday.)

In other news, I can really be a sucker for a good people-watching experience and last night's private Lowndes Grove launch was the perfect setting for it. It was wonderful to watch architect Glenn Keyes, general contractor Jim Rhode and interior designer Paula Adams as a mostly local crowd of revelers ooohed and aaahed their way through the Main House and grounds. As if on cue, the sun set in a warm and spectacular display of orange and red and I thought to myself: this place is alright.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today began with a smiling French baby...

First of all, felicitations (congrats) to Executive Chef Nico Romo who's the proud new uncle of Mademoiselle Charlotte, pictured above. This is the French version of Charlotte, not to be confused with our very own PP Sales Manager/Storyteller/Charleston native Charlotte McDowell, who, by the by, just made me laugh so hard I GUFFAWED. In the email Nico forwarded to us this morning, there was a short message from the proud parents who referred to their new baby girl as a "petite poupee" which is "small doll." Can you stand how cute that is? Ok, I'll stop.

In other news, in a past life, I got to do some super fun research about interior design legend and entertaining goddess Dorothy Draper. If you don't know who she is, dear GOD, check her out! Today, I came across this fantastic quote of hers and wondered why we don't all still speak this way?

Even in a formal dining room you don't want to be ponderous or gloomy. Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it's well worthwhile to make the game as pleasant as possible.
-Dorothy Draper, Decorating is Fun!

And she is SO right. I really don't care for ponderous OR gloomy when it comes to where I'm eating, thank you very much.

In just a few minutes, several of us are heading over to Lowndes Grove for a private launch party. I'm excited to see the expressions on the faces of the folks who haven't seen the property in years, let alone since the renovation.

In you-never-know-what-you're-walking-into-at-PP news, my trusty designer and I were walking through the back parking lot today during our fresh fish delivery. Now. When I say these fish were fresh, I mean they were flipping and flopping around so much, they nearly jumped into my hands as I peeked at them. They were some good lookin' local b-liners, and I watched as our Chef de Cuisine Charron Henry and Sous Chef Deveaux Stockton came out to claim them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Come & knock our door...we've been waiting for you...

Our big, honkin' Lowndes Grove front door welcomes you. (Another lovely shot from our recent shoot.)
I can't write another word without sharing this unbelievably gracious comment card we received IN THE MAIL from a recent guest at Fish.

"This is not nearly enough space for all the words of praise and thanks I'd like to send to you. Of all the places in Charleston that we ate, Fish is by far the best. I loved the room, the decor, the ambience. The meal was absolutely incredible - best seafood in your city! 1/2 price wine night was a nice surprise (didn't know about that one!)!! Our server, Lexi, was as nice, pleasant and friendly as she could be! A lovely lady indeed! Oh, and the jazz trio was perfect. Not too loud for a room that size and very good players. Finally, Jodie Battles (General Manager) could not have been any more gracious. She was so nice to show us around just "chat" after dinner. Thank you, thank you!
-Tom Anderson

In other marketing news, Starbucks just keeps on keepin' on. Today, they gave away FREE 8 oz. cups of their new Pike's Place brew, which according to CEO Howard Schultz is "bold, robust flavor profile that customers have come to expect of Starbucks coffee, but with a smoother, buttery finish." Mmmm, buttery. In my coffee? Anywho, I do admire their tenacity to get, you know, back to the cawfee love. I get so mystified by marketing brouhaha, even if it IS my job. It's constantly changing and engaging.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bridge Run recap & a friend in need

If you're reading this, you survived Bridge Run weekend. Hooray! Some of you (my friend Joe and Elizabeth, our Director of Human Resources) spent several hours AFTER completing the Bridge Run trapped in the PP parking lot. (Our parking lot was on the run route.) Bummer.

Congratulations are in order to PP Bridge Run participants, Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Kitchin (running time: 1:01:36) and Fish Sous Chef Deveaux Stockton (1:14:14). In the kicking butt and taking names category, mad props to my pal Joe who finished in 44:10. Um, whut?

When I asked Elizabeth about her motivation for the run, she said, "There was a guy dressed as a banana running near me. Anytime he pulled ahead, I thought to myself, 'Gotta beat the banana!'" Hands down the best Bridge Run story I've heard.

Congratulations are also in order for Lowcountry Local First Director Alan Moore. He and his wife are the proud new parents of Olivia! (7 lbs. 14 oz., 21 inches) Now there's a baby who will be eating some delicious local food, you know, when she has teeth and all that.

In other news, a friend of PP is in need of help. Tomorrow, April 8th, Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant will donate 5% of its sales to Louie's Kids, a local non-profit fighting childhood obesity. (It's estimated that 25% of South Carolina teenagers are either overweight or obese.) If you're out shopping tomorrow, please go to Whole Foods. You'll be helping the nation's ONLY non-profit dedicated to combatting childhood obesity. Thanks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Run Charleston Run!

The weather turned out to be wonderful for today's Bridge Run Press Luncheon at Lowndes Grove. Warm with a perfect breeze. Yes, we ordered it special!

I had this funny thought as the many generous sponsors presented GIANT checks to the Bridge Run folks and an array of non-profits. Who came up with the idea of giant checks? The lottery gives them out; big corporations give them to non-profits. Wouldn't it be hilarious if you HAD to actually use the big check. You'd walk into the bank with it, all awkward, have trouble getting through the door, possibly hit a few people with it by accident, approach the teller and say,"Hi, I'd like to cash this." I'm laughing just typing that.

ANYway, I digress. To our Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Kitchin, good luck on the Bridge Run tomorrow! Goooooo Tide!

Off to face the Bridge Run traffic jams. Good luck to all you runners. And to you non-runners, we'll see you at the bar at Fish.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Written while both hungry & thirsty

Let's kick things off with another exquisite photo from the Lowndes Grove shoot, shall we?

I'm walking about 50 feet down the street in a few minutes to our friends at Nancy Koltes At Home who are hosting Skirt! magazine editor Nikki Hardin's book signing and pajama party (two great tastes that taste great together?...or something like that). Nikki's selling and signing her book, PMS: Problems Men Started, which she co-wrote with Caitlin McPhillips. I am a huge fan of any woman who can take a dreaded acronym like (gasp!) PMS and turn into something witty and laugh out loud funny.

In other news, was chatting with Pastry Chef Susie Ieronemo the other day and...okay, confession. Part of the reason I went to see her was in the hopes she would let me taste something off the new dessert menu. And so she did, lucky me! I ate the most delicious crepe of my life actually, right out of the pan. It's made with rice flour and coconut milk and is fantastic all by itself. I get positively giddy when I think about what it will taste like filled with hazelnut cream and topped with orange mousse. Shut. Your. Mouth.

While I'm at it, I should share our Manager and resident Mixologist Evan Powell's new additions to our cocktail menu. They are all quite divine and heavily inspired by the lovely spring (all 4 days of it) awaiting us.

Holy City Mojito
Locally grown strawberries, rum, mint and sugar cane

Spring Fling
Limes, cucumber, simple syrup, gin and soda

Orange Sparkler
Cointreau, blood orange juice and sparkling sake

Pink Sparkler
Pernod, pink grapefruit juice and sparkling sake

Sundae Martini
Absolut vanilla, amaretto and cherry syrup

Dirty with an accent
Ni├žoise olives, olive juice, gin and dry vermouth

Now that I have rendered myself both hungry and thirsty, I must away, but will leave you with this: one of the cooler restaurant manifestos I have ever read. From a Brooklyn establishment, brilliantly named Flatbush Farm & Bar(n).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Summer Vacation in Dubrovnik!

So, I am so serious when I say I never know what's going to happen on any given day at PP and here's a great example. Our Managing Partner and Director of Events, who are also husband and wife, respectively, are planning their summer vacation to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Today, aforementioned Managing Partner mentions to me that while they're vacationing, he's booked a tiny little speaking engagement with the students at the University of Dubrovnik. On what topic he be speaking, you ask? How about the development of historic properties in the hospitality industry. Of course, by Eastern European standards, our 200-something year old properties are mere babies, but still, PP does know have some great insights to share after more than 10 years in the hospitality and preservation business. And, how TOTALLY COOL is it to share that kind of information in a city that, as recently as the early 1990s was embroiled in war, and today is a parliamentary democracy thriving with art, history and beauty. Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

When in doubt, throw tens & twenties.

POW! Call it waterfront. Call it historic. Call it LOWNDES GROVE! Sorry, I got all caught up in this fantastic photo by friend and photographer Lynn Mitchell. The other photos are just as lovely and don't worry, more will be shared soon.
Received some great feedback on the Lowndes Grove renovation on a scouting trip this morning with a well-known Charleston publication (I'll let you know who it is if they decide to shoot here.) Our guest mentioned that she had attended events at Lowndes Grove in the past and was always struck by “how much unrealized potential it had.” When we walked through the front door of the Main House, she exclaimed, “YAYYYY!!!” And you know, you can't really ask for better than that. (Well, other than throwing tens and twenties at me. That's pretty darn nice.)

In very cool marketing news, I read an interesting article with W Hotels president Ross Klein about their concept "inclusive exclusivity."

"Our guests, be they straight, gay, transgender, bi, whatever, they expect us to be truthful and authentic, and they can smell it a mile away...We're going to have an experience for you by your own self-described definitions of who are as a traveler. But it's going to be done in a very exclusive way. It's reall about an emotional appeal. It's not necessarily about an income level appeal or a professional appeal or any of those things. It's really more about people who relate to an aesthetic that is comfortable and slightly cool, and a level of service that is respectful but not necessarily servitude."

Love it. All of it. May I book a room, please?

P.S. Today kicks off Fish's printemps menu! And yes, I know it's April Fool's Day, but this is the truth. Trust me.

Fine linens, the Bridge Run & Independent America

What's up at PP? I can't remember if I told you that Nancy Koltes (she of the famous and fine linens) will be paying us a visit this week. Not only is her store, Nancy Koltes At Home, our Upper King Street neighbor, her Italian-made linens are used exclusively in the guest suites at Lowndes Grove. You KNOW you love the luxurious sheets! While I'm chatting about Lowndes Grove, I should tell you that we're hosting Friday's Cooper River Bridge Run Press Luncheon. Thanks to Allison Foster of Foster Marketing and the folks at The Visitor's Network who, on a very tight schedule, filmed some great footage of our newest waterfront venue.

Our friends at Lowcountry Local First asked if we might want to play host to a screening of Independent America. It's the story of two former TV journalists who travel the U.S. in search of "Independent America." The rules, as they established, were quite simple: no stops at any mega-corporate store (Wal-Mart, Target, McDonald's, etc.) and no main roads (secondary roads only). The film has some fascinating things to say about the proliferation of local and sustainable agriculture. Check it out. More than anything, it's interesting to see what's happening in this country at a time when so much feels out of our collective control. It can be interesting what we come back to.