June 28, 2013

Autism Meets Paula Deen

Some boys love sports.  In Justin's case, it is Paula Deen!  My son Justin has autism, and for as long as I can remember, he has been crazy about calendars, food, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and ... Paula Deen.  Because Justin has autism, he has little interest in current events, including news of celebrities who have made poor decisions.  Instead, he lives his life one day at a time.

Justin left school early on a cold December afternoon for a chance to meet his idol, Paula Deen.  When Williams Sonoma learned that Justin had autism, they brought him to the front of the line.  Thank you, Williams Sonoma!

Paula and her husband, Michael, were gracious, friendly and funny.  They were most kind to Justin and seemed genuinely interested in hearing about the meals he was helping to prepare in his life skills class at school.  Justin was quite happy that they signed his cook book and his Paula Deen t-shirt.

During a trip a few years later to Savannah, Georgia, we took an old time trolley to Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons.  The restaurant occupies an entire city block and is hugely popular with tourists.  We went to buy a red "Hey, Y'all!" t-shirt for Justin and ended up going back for dinner.

At the time, they did not accept call ahead reservations which meant we had to wait quite awhile for table.  Genius on their part to locate the gift shop right where one needed to wait in order to hear his or her name being called for a table.  

When our name was finally called, we traveled by elevator to the third floor.  I ordered tilapia which was greasy but good.

Hands down, the highlight of the meal was the skillet hoecake.  Topped with maple syrup, it was a taste of heaven! 

We had a wonderful time in Savannah, and can't wait to go back!


June 24, 2013

A Visit to Liz Gilbert's "Two Buttons" in Idyllic Frenchtown, New Jersey

This weekend, my loving husband and I traveled to Frenchtown, New Jersey, a charming little town right across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania.  Frenchtown is home to coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, antique stores, art galleries and a well-known import store off the beaten path.

We had been wanting to visit Two Buttons, the fun store (warehouse, actually) owned by Liz Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love," and her husband, Jose.  We weren't disappointed. 

We had lunch al fresco in town and then headed off on foot to Liz's store, only about a 10 minute walk.  If you plan to visit the store, keep an eye out for the yellow umbrella by the side of the road.

 The entrance is on the side of the building.

Much of the store's eye candy inventory is imported from Bali, Indonesia and India. 

There are two rooms filled with thousands and thousands of treasures.

There is always time for a quick smooch because (see first photo below), as Liz's priest in Laos said, we have so much love for life that we need nothing more than two buttons in our pockets to get by in this world.