Saturday, November 29, 2014


By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-The annual parade had special meaning this year. Like many villages across the nation, the day after Thanksgiving is the first day of the Christmas season. But in Stone Mountain, a lovely historic city nestled beside the mighty granite monolith, this parade was part of the 175th anniversary celebration.

Floats, antique cars, bagpipe marching bands, theatrical groups, gospel choirs and more strutted down the Main Street cheered on by several thousand holiday revelers.

Small towns know how to compress joy, peace and goodwill into something intimate that touches the heartstrings. For just a few hours, roasting marshmallows over warming fires brought different people together. On this starry night not far from Atlanta’s shopping districts, the laughter of children replaced the travails of daily living.

There was Santa Claus. The jolly old man with real snow-white hair and beard came on his motorized sleigh and to no one’s surprise stole the show, stopping from time to time to receive wish lists from wide-eyed kids.

On the hill above Main Street, the stunningly beautiful Nativity scene created by a group of talented members of Stone Mountain First Baptist Church was unveiled. Made with hand-sawed wood, everything was adorned with appropriate artwork images and illuminated with floodlights. Behind the baby in the manger, parents Mary and Joseph, and visitors from other lands was the evening finale.

Right on cue, the fireworks safely exploded high above the crowd.

Over five million people visit the famous mountain each year. Stone Mountain Village offers the most spectacular view for observers and photographers. On the hill facing the mountain, the lighted tree atop the mountain compliments the city’s holiday lights. The gazebo is lovely by day and ablaze by night.

Peace on earth and goodwill toward all reigned in Stone Mountain. May this spirit become contagious.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA- “He’s today’s best voice for the authentic South,” says Frank Spence. That was a typical reaction to author and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg after a couple of hours at the Carter Presidential Library discussing the critically acclaimed new book, "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story." Spence, an accomplished raconteur, is a former ranking executive with the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons who knows the South well and can spot a fellow-traveler.

Showcasing his Alabama-accented natural humor to a packed house, Bragg read passages from his book which just hit The New York Times best-seller list. The haunting words belonged somewhere between William Faulkner and Larry Brown.

Bragg, once an Atlanta resident while stationed at The New York Times Atlanta bureau, related hilarious meetings with Jerry Lee Lewis, known also as “The Killer,” was pleased with the final product. “There wasn't a day when he didn't say something that made a story in the book."

Lewis, the 79-year-old “Whole Lotta Shakin’”musician, is still performing. The rock and roll pioneer who began in Memphis at Sun Studio with Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins known collectively as the “Million Dollar Quartet,” has led a tumultuous life, but survived to tell his story through Bragg’s writing talent and intimate understanding of the fiery pianist from rural Louisiana. 

For those who were nearly emotionally shattered by Bragg’s masterpiece, “All Over but the Shouting,” Jerry Lee’s fascinating story is just as entertaining, much like the string of classic hits since the late 1950’s. Success is juxtaposed with controversy dotted with some spicy outrage.

Bragg told his audience that  “Jerry Lee is interesting.” Yes, interesting like a tornado or raging bonfire. Buy the book, fasten your seat belt and take a ride with Jerry Lee into the real South.

Southern Thymes Shared. Beautiful and permanent. Stories, recipes and wines in the Jefferson hospitality tradition. Available at bookstores and Amazon.

Monday, November 10, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

NEW ORLEANS-The New Orleans Bourbon Society continues to introduce distilled spirits that fit the modern American palate and elevate contemporary lifestyles. For those who haven’t enjoyed Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey, here’s your big chance. And where better to drink this exciting whiskey than New Orleans?

Like everything in the Lone Star State, Garrison Brothers-the first and oldest legal whiskey distillery in Texas- had big dreams from the start: No “pop” or trendy bourbon. Instead, make a legitimate contender for one of the best bourbons to emerge in the marketplace.  

Homegrown and handcrafted, Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from organic yellow corn from the Texas Panhandle, premium organic winter wheat grown on their ranch and two-row barley from the Pacific Northwest and Canada. They grind the grain fresh daily and cook their own sweet mash – one batch at a time. Then, they marry the distillate with fresh Hill Country purified rainwater.

The bourbon dinner has an exalted place with a growing number of gourmet restaurants. Here’s the menu at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House in the fabled French Quarter of New Orleans. The venue is also the home of the New Orleans Bourbon Society. Come on over and we’ll have a glass or two during cocktail and hors d’oeuvre hour just before this amazing four course dinner.


First Course
Smoked Scallop Crudo
with jalapeños, citrus jus and sea salt

Second Course
Cane syrup Braised Pork Belly
with pimento cheese grits and cracklins

Third Course
Five Spice Crusted Chappapeala Farms Duck Breast
with peanut sauce, peppers and micro herb salad

Fourth Course
Apple and Fig Crostata
with brown butter ice cream and apple bourbon sauce

The Bourbon House is located at144 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.
Reservations: (504) 522-0111

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

LYNCHBURG, TN- This arguably is the singular event that combines all the heritage ingredients of America, showcasing the tapestry of our country. Visit here in this very small village that looks like a Norman Rockwell painting and the cultural exploration begins. Tour the distillery and the museum and the name Jack Daniel ranks alongside Tennessee legends like Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson. Elvis lived and died in the Volunteer state and the historic distillery is an easy drive from Nashville. There’s barbecue, easily the most popular food in America, and on this glorious weekend, masters of the grill-all champions back home-come to vie for prize money and prestige, friendly competition at the 26th edition of what is known throughout the world as “The Jack.”

One of the country’s top fall attractions, “Jack” is more than competition, it’s an international contest with barbecue champs from faraway lands like South Africa and Germany competing with other nations for one of the awards to take home. Reunion is an operative word here and on this weekend, greeting Master Distiller Jeff Arnett and other notables including Tennessee’s gifted Director of Tourism Susan Whitaker.

Too often overlooked is the wonderful role Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey has as a flavoring for food: Stewed apples, Peach cobbler, Hummingbird cake, and more. Lara Lyn Carter, the fast rising TV star whose cooking show has caused the earth to tremble throughout the South, has taken this noble beverage into her recipes and you’ll enjoy the magic in each bite.

With the holidays just around the corner, Lara Lyn says, “this might be a great time to enjoy food from the sea before the traditional feasts of turkey, ham and roasts.” Here’s her extraordinary original recipe made of course, with Jack Daniel’s.

Scallops in Jack Daniel’s Cream Sauce
                 Lara Lyn Carter
6 slices bacon
1 sweet onion chopped
Lara Lyn Carter
2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
1 lb. scallops
1 lb. cooked linguine
Chop bacon into one-inch pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat until done. Remove bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Cook the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add butter and garlic to skillet cooking for one minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for one more minute. Add cream and Jack Daniel’s stirring until well blended. Add scallops to cream mixture and continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes until the scallops are cooked through. Serve the sauce over linguine and sprinkle bacon over top.

Begin with a fine aperitif:
Jack’s Manhattan
Two parts Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
One part Sweet Vermouth
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice. Strain and serve straight up. Garnish with Maraschino cherry.

Pairing a wine with Lara Lyn’s creation adds dining adventure. A sparkling wine from Italy blends well to magnify some of the flavors, particularly the natural sweetness of the scallops. Santero Asti Spumante NV features bubbles moving like small aircraft, a light straw color, and a delicious nose of yeasty sweet citrus with loads of wonderful taste. 

Holiday Gift Suggestion.
Southern Thymes Shared features a collection of Lara Lyn Carter’s original recipes along with stories about family, friends and places in the Deep South. A lovely production complete with wine pairings, it glows on a coffee table.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Hushpuppies From Florida’s Big Bend

By Doc Lawrence

TALLAHASSEE, FL- Much like biscuits, hushpuppies are an important part of food folklore. I’ve heard my share of stories with claims about where they came from and how they were named. For those not lucky enough to be from or live in the Deep South, hushpuppies are culinary delights with a base of good cornmeal, fried to a brown crust and often served alongside seafood. There’s no magic formula, but you’ll know the real thing at first bite.

Hushpuppies-the genuine ones- are delicious.

Tune in Chef Lara Lyn Carter's Show
Hushpuppies serve as more than accompaniments to entrees. Try them as appetizers, having some sauces and dips nearby to add even more adventure. Your own variation of remoulade, any number of salsas and dressings will work and the result is a conversation piece. Hushpuppies, well prepared and served hot are show stealers and will disappear quickly before a Saturday afternoon kickoff.

Beverages with Hushpuppies? Think like a Southerner. Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey-based cocktails are wonderful any time of year. Wines from Riesling to Viognier are wonderful choices. But because the best story about hushpuppy origins says they came out of the food culture around Tallahassee, why not open a bottle of chilled Blanc Du Bois, a white wine with Florida ancestry? Lakeridge Winery in Clermont and San Sebastian in St. Augustine and respected producers. The experience opens a new world of tastes.

As her TV viewers are well aware, Chef Lara Lyn Carter has the top hushpuppy recipe today, notable for the blend of appropriate ingredients while staying true to Southern food heritage. “I like the ingredients in my hushpuppy recipe,” she says, “and based on my experience at home and cooking for television, these are almost always the big hit each time they are served.”

 Legendary Hushpuppies
Chef Lara Lyn offered one bit of advice: “Try these hushpuppies with some Tupelo honey. They cannot be described, only enjoyed!”

Seminole Hush Puppies
         Chef Lara Lyn Carter
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup sweet onion, finely chopped
½ cup sweet whole kernel corn
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup buttermilk
Canola oil for frying
Preheat your deep fryer to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and using a melon ball scoop, drop the hush puppies into the oil. Fry in batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.

The Renegade

     Doc Lawrence
4 parts Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon
I part cane sugar simple syrup
Dash of orange bitters
Serve over chunk ice in Old Fashion glass

NOTE: Nothing brings more joy to a home chef than an original book about Southern dishes and wines of the world. Southern Thymes Shared brings the magic of great recipes paired with wines of the world, plus it is a lovely production that looks great on a coffee table. Available as gifts for the holidays at

Friday, September 26, 2014


“TEA FOR THREE” Brings Back Lady Bird, Pat and Betty

By Doc Lawrence
Elaine Brumka as Pat Nixon

-What would the political landscape be like if America’s future includes a First Husband in the White House? “It would be great fun,” says a laughing Elaine Bromka. An acclaimed actress who literally channels three fascinating women who occupied the hallowed position of First Lady, Ms. Bromka took the stage to perform as Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford in Tea for Three at Art Station Theatre in the Historic Village of Stone Mountain.

An Emmy Award-winner, Ms. Bromka sparkles in this refreshingly witty portrait of three remarkable and formidable First Ladies. These uncommon women appear at a threshold moment of insight and hope near the end of their husband’s administration. This deeply touching, funny play reveals the personal cost of what Pat Nixon called "the hardest unpaid job in the world."

Weaving in the presidents, tumultuous social change and earth-shattering politics of the time in a way that appeals to both male and female audiences, Tea for Three has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times for its blend of humor and passion.

Energetic and cerebral, Elaine Bromka has achieved the impossible by almost becoming for nearly two hours the three very famous women. If there is an objective other than royally entertaining her audience, it is “letting everyone in the room walk in the shoes of these exceptional women,” Ms. Bromka says.

As Betty Ford
The inspiration for Tea for Three, Ms. Bromka revealed, came about when she starred opposite Rich Little in The Presidents, which she performed across the country and on PBS.  Called upon to impersonate eight First Ladies, she ended up spending months poring over videotapes of the women. Studying nuances of their body language and speech patterns to explore psychologically why they moved and spoke as they did, she became more and more drawn in by their personalities and the degree to which they had to suppress themselves while their husbands were president.

“And I wanted to explode myths,” says Ms. Bromka. “Pat was called ‘Plastic Pat’ in the press because she was always smiling. Look more closely at her eyes, though. There’s nothing plastic about her. You see the eyes of a private, watchful survivor.”

Ms. Brumka Portraying Lady Bird
Enjoying a rewarding career, Elaine Bromka has an impressive vitae. Earning an Emmy for her performance in Catch a Rainbow, Ms. Bromka has appeared on stage, film and television with credits that include The Sopranos, Sex & the City, Days of Our Lives, the Emmy Award–winning Playing for Time with Vanessa Redgrave and appeared on Broadway in The Rose Tattoo, I’m Not Rappaport and Macbeth. A member of the Actors Studio and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Smith College, she has also been on the faculty of Smith and of NYU's Steinhardt School, and has taught a variety of one-day acting workshops at over one hundred colleges and prep schools. 

One morning over coffee doesn’t even begin to allow enough time to explore the visionary personality of Elaine Brumka. Responsive and ebullient, she delights in sharing her insights into these First Ladies. “I remembered much,” she says, “from seeing them on television. I did extensive research for the play, reading as much as I could find.”

For those lucky enough to occupy a seat during Ms. Brumka’s performance, this is as close to being in the same room with three of the most intriguing First Ladies of modern times. Here are some of their most private thoughts, emotions, strengths all wrapped in perseverance and courage. “By walking in their shoes,” she says,  “we experience more than the impact of events and fate on these women. Men and women in the audience learn that the most powerful leaders on the planet were better people with their wives at their side.”

Tea for Three has a limited run at Art Station. Don’t miss Elaine Bromka’s spectacular performance. Ticket information: (770) 469.1105;

Monday, September 22, 2014


Georgia’s Healing Waters

By Doc Lawrence

FDR entertained at Dowdell's Knob
My great-grandmother, a daughter of the Civil War, sat in a rocker during her final years, kept warm by a nearby active fireplace. During the days spent with her, she never once spoke, silenced by the ravages of age as she lived well into her nineties. My enduring memory are the two framed images on the wall behind her: one of Jesus and the other of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The first visit to Warm Springs, Georgia was an introduction to FDR, a highlight of baby days: The gorgeous cars modified for driving with hand controls, the nice house where FDR died in 1945. But, it was a journey up Pine Mountain that still lingers. Dowdell’s Knob was one of Roosevelt’s favorite places to entertain. Local legend says he would have a picnic table set, give the go-ahead to start cooking on the stone grill and mix batches of martinis for guests.

The Little White House
The view is breathtaking.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt built the Little White House in 1932 while governor of New York. He first came to Warm Springs in 1924 hoping to find a cure for polio that had struck him. Swimming in the warm, buoyant spring waters brought him no miracle cure, but it did result in improvement.

FDR dominates everything in Warm Springs. The Civil Conservation Corps built roads, bridges and the recreational state park bearing his name. The research and rehabilitation center has his name and visitors flock to this small town, attracted by his legend. The critically acclaimed HBO film, “Warm Springs,” starring Kenneth Branaugh as FDR and Cynthia Nixon as Eleanor Roosevelt remains a good depiction of struggles with polio and how his days at what became known as “The Little White House,” were transformational for him and ultimately for America and the world.

The critically acclaimed movie
On April 10, 1945 President Roosevelt had his secret service men drive him to Pine Mountain’s Dowdell’s Knob, and leave him there in solitude. The rock outcropping overlooking Pine Mountain Valley’s 14,000 acres is located in the middle of FDR State Park, the largest state park in Georgia.

Roosevelt had picnicked on this spot with other polio victims and the rich and powerful.   This was also the place Roosevelt chose to savor Pine Mountain’s green beauty and meditate.

Two hours later, the president honked his horn for his Secret Service men to come back and take him home.  He died two days later of a cerebral hemorrhage.

While Warm Springs is an easy drive from Atlanta, it will always be like Norman Rockwell’s America. The charm, flavors and friendliness of a small town in the Deep South provide abundant hints about why FDR loved his time here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA- Lunch down South is a ritual of friendship where conviviality is matched with good food. Few performing arts centers have lunch combined with book discussions and signing, but Art Station, the acclaimed theater literally sitting under the shadow majestic Stone Mountain near Atlanta, long ago defined itself as a cultural center where boldness is commonplace.
Susan Coletti (L),. David Thomas, Doc Lawrence and Pat Wheeler

On this late summer day, the crowd gathered to enjoy food prepared by two of  Stone Mountain’s civic and political leaders, Mayor Pat Wheeler and city council member Susan Coletti. Other than the great tastes and flavors of the chicken salad, fruit salad and macaroni and cheese, the added distinction was that each recipe came from Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s fascinating stories in the hit book, Southern Thymes Shared.

Art Station’s managing artistic director David Thomas took the stage to introduce the book and me, reading passages from Southern Thymes Shared that centered on family dining, food heritage and the culinary and wine legacy of Thomas Jefferson. “This book,” Thomas said, “is loaded with poetry and  is a work of art. The recipes and wines include great stories that honor the art of cooking for family and friends, demonstrating that wine has a prominent place on our dinner table that began at Monticello where America became more than a dream.”

The relaxed program encouraged dialogue and for a good hour while guests enjoyed lunch inside the comfortable theater, questions were posed about particular wines and the art of pairing. Dr. George Coletti, author of the Civil War novel, Stone Mountain: The Granite Sentinel (which is being considered for a Hollywood movie), asked which wines would pair with fried chicken livers and gizzards. “Riesling, dry or off-dry,” I replied, acknowledging the brilliance of the query while thinking about how delicious such a meal would be.
Art Station in Historic Stone Mountain

The afternoon included a book signing. Books were bought and signed for personal use at home and for holiday gift giving. The cover of Southern Thymes Shared is gloriously beautiful and as many critics have observed, the advanced aesthetics qualify it to rest on a favorite coffee table.

Lunch ended with a happy and satisfied audience. Everyone headed home or back to work carrying their copies of Southern Thymes Shared. David Thomas went back to work preparing for the Cabaret in a few days-always a sellout- while taking time to call the book publisher. “We sold out and need more books in a hurry. The holidays are just around the corner.”

“Lunch Time Series” is a popular monthly event at ART Station with a mission to create a fresh and stimulating lunchtime option for the extended community. Each “Series” presentation showcases an exciting performance, lecture, or art experience. Art Station serves over 50,000 patrons each year, earning an exalted status in the cultural community of Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. Founder David Thomas is a playwright and director whose works were featured in the Cultural Olympiad of the Winter Olympic Games for a National Tour in Norway and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in South Carolina plus many other prestigious venues. Art Station is in a magnificently refurbished trolley barn, once part of metropolitan Atlanta’s early transit system. It is on the National Register of Historic Places located in Historic Stone Mountain Village, adjacent to Stone Mountain Park that attracts over five million visitors annually.

Southern Thymes Shared is available at Amazon, Art Station, the gift shop at Monticello and bookstores everywhere.

Monday, August 25, 2014



 By Doc Lawrence

DECATUR, GA-Once a lovely town noted for a remarkable school system that actually educated students and the home of Agnes Scott College, it is today one of the South’s enviable centers of prosperity with acclaimed restaurants popping up almost weekly, busy city sidewalks, comfortable park benches, wine and gourmet kitchen stores and much more. Decatur is an urban showcase of excellence.

It’s also home of the annual Decatur Book Festival, an event that today proudly claims to be the largest independent book festival in the United States.

For three days beginning Friday August 29, readers throng to listen to author legends like Joyce Carol Oates who is launching her newest short story collection, Lovely, Dark, Deep at the festival keynote event at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

The festival includes author forums at various locations with discussion topics including the Civil War (July through September 1864 saw the area under siege by the forces of General Sherman), food and wine, the farm-to table movement. Of course, everything is celebrated with a parade beginning at the beautiful Old Courthouse.

Authors and more authors dominate the festival. Thousands will meet Pat Conroy, the beloved novelist who maintains deep roots in Decatur and the Atlanta area. Others include Gail Sheehy, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Karen Abbott, Ron Rash, Lev Grossman, Michael Pitre and many others.

Decatur gives meaning to multiculturalism. The event, just like the city, is inclusive. It is a forum for discussions, debates and the introduction of new ideas. It is also one of the friendliest places anywhere.

The festival crowds are different that those common to food and wine bashes: Family-friendly, a welcome absence of boisterousness, a comfort zone for three days when you have no hesitation to strike up a conversation with total strangers.

Decatur has a long history with books. Mary Gay’s classic Life in Dixie During the War is a first hand account of the sufferings 150 years ago during the siege and occupation of the area by General Sherman, and a favorite son, the great Roy Blount, Jr. began here before writing countless books that prove smart folks know how to inspire laughter.

No matter their age, those who read are after all, a special breed. Cerebral gatherings refresh the soul and stimulate the mind.

The Decatur Book Festival is a perfect way to ease into autumn.

More information: 

NOTE: Southern Thymes Shared now available at ART STATION adjacent to Stone Mountain Park.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Painting by Missionary Mary Proctor

By Doc Lawrence

NORCROSS, Ga-No better event any time of year. But during summer’s Dog Days, Folk Fest, the annual celebration showcasing over 100 galleries exhibiting the works of America’s self-taught artists in air conditioned comfort has little competition. It’s one of the proven ways to beat the heat, have fun with friends and family at a budget friendly price. Folk Fest, now celebrating 21 years and billed as the world’s largest indoor folk art show, has become one of the most popular events in the South.

Visitors to the Atlanta area this weekend can expect more joy from the colorful, family friendly paintings, wood carvings, face jugs and decorated found objects. Folk Fest often hooks adults and children with the magic that comes from talking to artists and gallery owners. It’s contagious, like a celebration loaded with joy.

Folk Fest provided thousands the opportunity to meet Reverend Howard Finster, the sage of Summerville, Georgia who painted according to God’s instructions. The great Myrtice West began painting scenes based on the Book of Revelations after her daughter was murdered. O. L. Samuels, once a prizefighter from rural South Georgia, said he could walk through the woods and certain sticks and fallen limbs would “talk," He took them home, carved images based on these messages with a pocketknife. Each artist has works in the Smithsonian and Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

Many of the artists are from highly inaccessible parts of the rural South. Their art is inspired by spirits and an environment most would never experience. Homogenization of their culture hasn’t yet happened. Many, however, are on up in the years and their talents will drift away as they leave this planet. America and in particular the Deep South will be the lesser.

Collecting folk art is an adventure that can be a profitable. Those who purchased early works of notables like Ms. West and Reverend Finster own art that has appreciated exponentially in value.

Parking is free. Talented musicians perform crowd-pleasing blues.  Food and beverages are available. The facility is very comfortable and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything other than smiling faces.

North Atlanta Trade Center
1700 Jeurgens Ct. Norcross, Georgia (I-85 & Indian Trail Rd. Exit 101) 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Theresa Hightower Returns to Stone Mountain

By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-When she takes the stage, Stone Mountain shakes and rattles. Add some virtuoso piano styling and the nearby mighty granite monolith might turn into Jell-O. It’s Blues, Jazz and Broadway this Saturday night at Art Station’s Trolley Stop Cabaret.

Theresa Hightower is Georgia’s unofficial diva of song. Long thejazz club's main attraction in Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, thousands enjoyed her interpretations of standards by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Aretha Franklin and other legends. Having the truly great pianist S. Renee Clark on stage makes the two-hour performance one of the most memorable evenings anywhere in the South.

On par with greats like Errol Garner, Gene Harris and Nina Simone, S. Renee Clark thrilled audiences with her gospel accompaniment and acting performance with Bernardine Mitchell in the acclaimed musical Mahalia! the story of Mahaila Jackson and her music that transformed much of America.

An evening at the Cabaret is about as near to the clubs and show bars in the French Quarter or downtown Savannah. as possible without being there.

The Cabaret is intimate, the stage elevated, the food and beverages delicious and the music is world class.

The fun starts Saturday around sunset. Parking is free and the audience primed with goodwill and joy. It’s the best entertainment bargain during the Dog Days of August.


Saturday, July 26, 2014


The Legend-Bobby Cox

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA. This was the weekend the city and much of the South, took time to honor three baseball legends, all members of the Atlanta Braves World Series Championship team in 1995. Greg Maddux and Tome Glavine, pitchers who dominated the major leagues during a string of championship seasons and the great manager, Bobby Cox, entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. On this hot July afternoon, fans at Turner Field were treated to a double header: the induction ceremony via the enormous JumboTron, followed by the game with San Diego.

This was an eventful week in Atlanta. The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta was commemorated, one which my great-grandfather Private Bryant Hulsey of the Lookout Artillery CSA, fought. Baseball was popularized during the Civil War, and there was a documented game played after the war’s ends less than a mile from Turner Field.
Tom Glavine
Tailgating was born during the Civil War and it has expanded as a culinary cultural phenomenon in Dixie. The grills, tabletops, vans and trucks all around the parking lots were surrounded by hickory smoke, stimulating aromas and lots of laughter.

Our threesome enjoys hero status in Atlanta. Memories of the Braves baseball supremacy during their roster days are fresh, almost sacred. Even honoring them vicariously was thrilling.

Down South, we celebrate baseball and the Braves with the chop, the chant and the tailgating ritual. This very special Hall of Fame weekend at Turner Field was perfect for two of Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s signature dishes, baked beans and grilled pork sliders. Glavine grew up in Massachusetts near Boston where baked beans are a staple. And few baseball men know good pork better than Bobby Cox. We even have a craft cocktail for Greg Maddux.

It’s time to eat and here are recipes for a Hall of Fame weekend:

Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Baked Beans

1 lb. dry kidney beans
1 sweet onion quartered
4 quarts of water divided
Greg Maddux
Soak beans in 2 quarts of water overnight. Drain beans and discard the water. In a large pot, cook beans and onion in 2 quarts of water over medium-high heat for 45 minutes. Remove beans from heat, cover and allow beans to rest for 30 minutes.
1/2 cup sorghum
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground clove
3 tbsp. Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sorghum, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, ginger, clove, and whiskey. Stir constantly until all of the ingredients have blended well and the sugar has dissolved. Pour beans with the water in a Dutch oven and pour sauce over beans and stir well. Cover beans and bake at 325 degrees for 3 hours.

Pork Sliders with Mustard Sauce

2 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Mix ingredients by hand until combined. Form into 16 mini burgers. Grill over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Serve sliders with sliced Vidalia onion and mustard sauce (recipe follows) on Kings Hawaiian Rolls.

A cocktail choice is made from Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey:

Dockeroo’s Fabulous Old Fashioned
Dockeroo Old Fashioned
Two jiggers, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
I maraschino cherry
½ jigger organic cane juice
Orange peel
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Serve over chunk ice in an old fashioned glass.
Gently muddle orange, cherry, cane juice and bitters in an old fashioned glass. Stir in some Jack Daniel’s and ice until it dilutes. Keep adding whiskey and chunk ice. Garnish with orange peel. Toast the Atlanta Braves and do the tomahawk chop!

Chef Lara Lyn Carter
“SOUTHERN THYMES SHARED” UPDATE-Chef Lara Lyn Carter will be a special guest at the annual “Grape Stomp” at Still Pond Winery in Arlington, Georgia this Saturday, August 2.  Come on over and meet her and she’ll sign her beautiful cookbook which you will treasure. The book is now on sale at Still Pond and just became available at Stone Mountain, Georgia’s nationally acclaimed Art Station Theatre.

Monday, July 14, 2014


It’s Stone Mountain Fresh!

By Doc Lawrence

Smiles with Freah Peaches
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA- Rey Martinez makes Cuban sandwiches with the same skill and gusto as you experience in Miami’s fabled Little Havana. “The secret,” says Martinez, who also owns and operates Rey’s Cuban Café in nearby Loganville, “is fresh Cuban bread, the right ingredients and the process,” a technique that employs pressure toasting that seals in the remarkably delicious flavors.  His Cuban food is one of the growing number of new vendors that increase each week at this latest version of the neighborhood farmers markets.

Rey Martinez Makes A Real Cuban
Honey with Love
With around five million visitors pouring into the adjacent state park, the Historic Village of Stone Mountain’s Market will likely grow all the way to the season’s end which may go into October according to one city official. And, why not? If there is one activity that will usually bring out the best in everyone from locals to tourists it is food.

Heirloom tomatoes are in season. If you haven’t had a sandwich with an heirloom, you haven’t lived the good life. The late Georgia columnist Lewis Grizzard advised using only white bread and real mayonnaise. No argument there..

Heirloom Friendship
The array of products now range from local honey to artisan goat cheese, blueberries,, home baked cookies, and now white peaches from Georgia’s PearsonS Orchards.

Take a few bucks from the piggy bank and grab a free parking space in the village. I’ll see you there near the Cuban sandwich sign. That’s where I get Tuesday dinner.

NOTE: The Stone Mountain Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays beginning at 4 p.m.

Friday, July 11, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

Music Fills the Air at Art Station
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA- Tony Award winner Kenny Leon years ago said that nothing compares with the magic of the live stage performance. “We all breathe the same air, and something good deep inside is released.” Art Station, the highly respected center for theater in the Historic Village of Stone Mountain just opened their new production, "The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns," which takes you to the 1958 Springfield High School graduation. There, we meet the Wonderettes, a four girl singing group with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts. Delightful characters Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy entertain the audience as they celebrate graduation with their fellow classmates and teachers, preparing for their next step towards what they hope is a bright future.

Then comes act two as the musical play zooms ahead ten years where the girls perform as bride and bridesmaids to celebrate Missy’s marriage to her Mr. Wonderful. Songs are pop classics that remain on the oldies but goodies list everywhere including  “Rock Around the Clock,” “At the Hop,” “Dancing in the Street,” “River Deep, Mountain High,” plus a grab-bag of 25 more. Wonderetes, hailed as “delightful and nostalgic” by Broadway World, works with the audience who join in all the fun on this musical journey down memory lane.

Yes, breathing air that propels good music is a big part of the enjoyment of this summertime treat at Art Station.

NOTE: Shows are Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8:00, Sundays @ 3:00, with an additional Wednesday Matinee, July 23, 10:30. More information:

Thursday, July 3, 2014


With Our Braves On The Fourth!

 By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA- Fourth of July celebrations Down South really should include our Atlanta Braves. The post-game fireworks are more fun here at Turner Field and the connection between baseball and the American Spirit is inescapable. What became America’s pastime was popularized during the Civil War. Heroes like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and Atlanta’s own Hank Aaron fit perfectly with songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “God Bless America,” making the 7th inning stretch more than just a tradition. It’s a way of life deeply ingrained in our soul.

This is a day for food, drinks, family, and friends with a whole lotta joy. What to prepare and serve on this special day of celebration, baseball and tailgating? With Chef Lara Lyn Carter, the answer is always easy and natural. “Keep everything Georgia,” she says. “My own sauce is made with Georgia ingredients and with three boys and a husband, cheering the Braves and America is a family tradition. This sauce has some extra backbone because I included Rye Whiskey from my close friends at 13th Colony Distillery, just up the road in Americus.”

13th Colony Sauce
Chef Lara Lyn Carter
(From Southern Thymes Shared,
By Lara Lyn Carter and
Doc Lawrence, Pelican Publishing 2014)

3 tbsp. canola oil
1 Vidalia onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. 13 th Colony Southern Rye Whiskey
Heat the oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic together until tender. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Jim Sanders was the “Father of Fine Wines” in Georgia and his J Sanders label French wines are sold exclusively at Sherlock’s in the Atlanta area. Jim loved good food particularly ribs and Brunswick Stew. A few chilled bottles of his Beaujolais Village will pair beautifully with barbecue of any kind, especially when Chef Lara Lyn’s 13th Colony Sauce is used generously.


NOTE: Southern Thymes Shared, the wonderful cookbook, presents Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s recipes along with her wonderful stories that honor family, friends and the culinary heritage of he South. Each dish is paired with a careful selection of Old and New World wines.  The collectible cookbook is available on, at local bookstores and the Museum Gift Shop at Monticello.