DSCN2579No, this is not what I’m planning for lunch today. Because that would be silly. You don’t indulge in this much rich & yummy frosted baked goodness for your mid-day meal. These gems from Sweet Treats Bakery, in Tupelo, Miss., strictly are breakfast items. (Note No. 1: Actually, lunch today is a leftover half of the Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Sandwich from City Hardware in downtown Florence, Ala., home of the only balcony dining on Court Street. Note No. 2: I wouldn’t actually eat ALL of this for breakfast. Some crumbs would remain. And Note No. 3: Both of these places are locally owned and locally managed eateries that serve fresh & flavorful food accompanied by friendly smiles and welcoming attitudes. Highly recommended — and that’s a completely unsolicited and un-paid-for recommendation.)

A Party for Grownups — and I was Invited!

I love it when folks who love good food and good wine give parties, ’cause we all know we’re in for a treat. Now, don’t get me wrong. “Party” to me pretty much means a bag of Ruffles and a container of french onion dip. After all, what else do you need? But if somebody’s going to all the trouble of planning something special, then I’m thrilled to get an invite. Such as my friend Sarah’s 60th birthday party, which was at a local wine shop with food from a great local restaurant. Sarah is a former caterer and a fantastic cook and knows her wines, so all guests were looking forward to a memorable evening — which we got, and then some. The food, from Sweet Magnolia Cafe, featured a Cajun flair with deconstructed muffalettas and the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had. Ever. The fruit and chocolate cupcakes were extra yummy, and the Wine Seller folks had appropriate wines ready for everything you could eat. It was the perfect party, made even better by the fact that my fear of knocking over a wine-bottle display proved groundless. It even inspired me to dream big — maybe for the next party at our house, I’ll add a bag of Cheetos. Baby steps, you know. Baby steps.


CupcakesI don’t know about you, but I could sure use a Sunshine on My Shoulder cupcake right about now. Either that or a Strawbaby Blush or Southern Belle. These yummy confections were at The Clay Cup Cafe on the square in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — my husband’s hometown and the place where we met at college and almost 30 years later got married. (Aw … I know. It’s sweet, isn’t it?) We were there for a couple days this past week while my husband went to a journalism workshop on creating new newsrooms. While he was pondering the fate of newspapers, I got to wander around town — one of my favorite pastimes. Murfreesboro is a wonderful town for Murfreesboro, Tennesseewalking, and in the morning I took my cupcake (it’s a great breakfast food) and cappuccino and strolled the historic-preservation districts. I always am in awe of the Boro’s dedication and commitment to historic authenticity — and I always find something new. For instance, I’d never before noticed this playhouse. I spied the 5-foot-high creation in the backyard of a stately Victorian and was immediately charmed. Isn’t it delightful? I would have loved to have crawled in there with my cupcake (OK, by this time in the walk I was on my second — I couldn’t lie to you!) and coffee and spent the rest of the day. But then my husband would have been left with a roomful of truth-seeking journalists, and I couldn’t do that to him.