Every Monday we bring you the SL Hot List, a round up of the five latest and greatest things to hit the South. Consider it your weekly update on our region’s most buzzworthy food, culture, and style news.
1. New Asheville watering hole. At her restaurant Cúrate, James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist chef Katie Button serves up Spanish small plates. Now she’s concentrating on speakeasy sippers with her second venture, Nightbell. Inspired by the secret bars from the Prohibition era, Nightbell will have snacks like a truffle grilled cheese and hush puppies. Her husband Felix stocked the bar with plenty of beer, wine, and top-shelf spirits for the clever cocktails like “Your Word Against Mine” with pineapple-infused plymouth, amontillado sherry, and rosemary. And keeping it in the family, the nightclub’s decor from a blue banquette to turquoise chandeliers was designed by Katie’s mom, Liz, while Felix’s brother will deejay.
2. The Monuments Men. You probably know that the George Clooney-directed movie has an all-star cast featuring Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and Bill Murray, but did you know that a Southerner played a big role in the story that inspired it? The film’s about a team of men and women charged with recovering works of art from the Nazis, and one real-life participant was Richard Foster Howard, the director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts before World War II. After serving in the war, he was named deputy chief of monuments, fine arts, and archives. Later he was director at the Birmingham Museum of Art where today the museum has one rescued painting, Entrée d’un Gave, in their permanent collection.
3. Chocolate pop-up shop in Dallas. After sharpening her sweet tooth as executive pastry chef at Nobu and executive chocolatier at Chocolate Secrets, Kate Weiser will soon open her own shop in the hot spot development of Trinity Groves. Meanwhile, she’ll host a pop-up shop at eatZi’s Market & Bakery on Thursday and Friday. Make your own box of chocolates from her handpainted selection like Fresh Mint, Red Wine & Berries, and Hazelnut Latte. (Tell our valentine that we’re wishing for a “Warm and Fuzzy Heart,” a peanut butter ganache and strawberry pâte de fruit concoction!)
4. Southern photo exhibit in Charleston. Explore photos from the past at the Rebekah Jacob Gallery in Charleston now through the end of the month. The show Masters in the South: Black & White Documentary Photography from 1930-Present features timeless shots from Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Julia Cart, and others covering photography of the Depression-era rural South, MLK’s last speech and more from the Civil Rights movement, and Lowcountry marshes and beaches.
5. Mardi Gras festivities begin. Sure, Fat Tuesday isn’t until March 4, but the first parade rolls through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter in New Orleans on Saturday. Look for actor Hugh Laurie to reign as King of Bacchus in the Krewe of Bacchus Mardi Gras Parade on March 2. But Mardi Gras isn’t only a Crescent City tradition–the parades also begin on Friday in Mobile, Alabama.
5 1/2. Cooking classes in Nashville. Music City’s got a celebrated food scene and new classes offered by coworking space and community hub, The Skillery, let you get in on the action. As a part of their “Food Lover’s Month”, The Skillery is hosting a slew of useful food-themed classes continuing with a pie-making course tonight and homemade mozzarella class on Tuesday. Other offerings this month include a comprehensive bourbon course, how to start canning, and knife skills.