I am always humbled by the bounty of amazing people–the sense of place their friendship offers not to mention the great food and hospitality–that have come my way in this life. And the new and old friendships forged along the way….
It all started in Anchorage, Alaska…where good friends, Moira Smith and Anne Wilkas, hosted a pre-launch book party on a sun-warmed day. Thank you to everyone who came out to kick off the celebration. And for their help and delicious food: Maya of Alaska from Scratch, Carrie Berg, Laurie Constantino, Anna Thomas, Jennifer McGovern, Bear Tooth Grill, TC and Mike with thirst-quenchers from the Anchorage Wine House…And Signe and Marco of Barnes and Noble.
And then to Birmingham where Jake Reiss of Alabama Booksmith has set up a haven for visiting authors; it’s a dream to launch both my books with him and his team….and he says I’m his favorite author even though I know it’s really David Sedaris (and how can you blame Jake?) who sends hand-written notes from all over the map….Thanks to Donna and Martha for letting me come in like a tornado and help me cook up some goodies for the launch.
And then to New Orleans with more good friends. Thanks Adolfo Garcia for hosting me at Ancora and all your delicious food. And Britton of Garden District Books (where there are still signed copies)! Loved seeing old friends (one from my elementary school days! and meeting new ones, including a group of smart, beautiful, amazing women who flew in from California to eat, drink, shop, and meet me. Thank you Juliet for hosting the brunch and Tim for your music and a super delicious dry-roux gumbo. More on that soon! Thanks to Ian McNulty, Brett Anderson, Judy Walker, and Poppy Tooker for helping spread the word.
And then to Chapel Hill where Sara Foster always offers me a soft landing. Before the event, a visit to Chatwood, Frances and Ed Mayes’s home in Hillsborough where Frances gave us a tour of the famous rose garden before a quiet moment with Chicago Chef Robin White and the venerable Jim Dodge. I was happy to learn he is behind the recipe for my favorite Triple Coconut Pie at Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Bakery. And then a wonderful event at Foster’s Market in Chapel Hill with books by Flyleaf. Thanks Jamie! And Sera Cuni at Foster’s for bringing my recipes to life. So good and I love how she made small bites of the chocolate coconut cake and the Korean fried chicken (recipes in A Mouthful of Stars). And Andrea Wegil for your lovely piece in the News and Observer. Dinner at Crook’s Corner with Bill Smith and his ephemeral Honeysuckle Sorbet!!
And special thanks to Frances for her thoughtful and touching introduction. Her new memoir, Under Magnolia, is so beautifully written it is to be savored.
I’ve left North Carolina and am in Houston with good friends, Chad and Bob. After a truly delicious dinner at Underbelly and a good night’s rest, they have set me up with breakfast tacos, a gorgeous view of their swimming pool, Elton John/Sheryl Crow/Cher in the background while they prep the house with flowers, candles, lots of Champagne and more….
Stay tuned for the best bites along this first part of the tour….