We were Conned into a great time

Con Hunley returned to the former Corner Lounge for one night only.

Con Hunley returned to the former Corner Lounge for one night only.

My husband, Alan Carmichael, and I are big Con Hunley fans. And we are big fans of the Knox Heritage Summer Suppers series of fundraisers. We also love caterer Holly Hambright – for her fabulous food and her mega-sized personality.

So when we saw that one of the Summer Suppers was called “Holly’s Corner Lounge Presents Con Hunley: One Night Only,” we knew where we would be on that night!

Ahh, The Corner Lounge. According to historian Jack Neely, writing for Metro Pulse in 2008, The Corner Lounge opened in the 1930s, shortly after the end of Prohibition, as The Corner Grill. Although it sold some simple food, The Corner, as it came to be called, quickly became better known as a beer joint. In 1979, novelist Cormac McCarthy placed one of the scenes of his book “Suttree” in The Corner. The action in the book was set in 1951. (read more)


This was a towering anniversary meal!

Alan enjoys a sublime lunch at Le Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.

Alan enjoys a sublime lunch at Le Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Doesn’t he look a little French in this photo?

While we loved the bistro experience at Les Papilles when we were in Paris last month (click here for that report), we were just blown away by the food, service and ambience of Le Jules Verne restaurant on the second platform of the Eiffel Tower.

This, for us, was one of those “bucket list” experiences.

The brainchild of superstar chef Alain Ducasse, Le Jules Verne opened in 2007. “Much more than a restaurant, this place is conducive to dreams and wonderful memories,” Ducasse himself said of the eatery. He designed it, he said, “to be the most breath-taking venue in Paris to enjoy contemporary French cuisine.”

His vision is a success. It truly does afford guests the best view of Paris from 125 meters in the air, the equivalent of about 38 stories. Add to that the Michelin-starred cuisine paired with excellently matched wines, and the experience is incomparable. (read more)


“Thyme” was on our side at this affair

Time -- or "thyme" -- was the theme of the Green Thumb Gala. This huge clock was a show-stopper.

Time — or “thyme” — was the theme of the Green Thumb Gala. This huge clock was a show-stopper.

The Green Thumb Gala (I love that name!) to benefit the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum might have been a typical silent and live auction, but the venue and the auction items made it special.

Held under a huge tent at the East Knoxville location of the botanical garden, the attendance at the party this past Sunday exceeded last year’s. With a theme of “thyme,” and many items for gardens, patios and landscaping offered for sale, it was a relaxed good “time” for more than 320 people to pleasantly end the weekend while benefiting a good cause. (read more)


Summer Suppers wind down; Elegant Dining starts

Steve Hackney, one of the Summer Supper hosts, offers a Pimm's Cup to guests at the home of Penny Lynch and Kimbro Maguire.

Steve Hackney, one of the Summer Supper hosts, offers a Pimm’s Cup to guests at the home of Penny Lynch and Kimbro Maguire.

The Knox Heritage Summer Suppers are over, but I still have a few posts about them to help us make it until they start again in June of 2015. In the meantime, the Knoxville Symphony League’s Elegant Dining Series will launch October 14 and continue until spring. Both of these series are fun ways to help two important organizations thrive, while getting a private glimpse into the fabulous homes of our friends and neighbors!

And speaking of fabulous homes …

Penny Lynch and Kimbro Maguire bought their 1920s Barber McMurry home on Mellen Avenue in 1998. They spent the next three years renovating the English Arts and Crafts style house, completing two additions that blend seamlessly with the original architecture. The Summer Supper they offered to Knox Heritage patrons was called “Art, Antiques and Architecture” because of the eclectic decor of the house. In addition to modern art, the furnishings include antiques that Penny has been collecting since she was 15. (read more)


Beauty blooms when art imitates art

This flower arrangement containing rattan and yellow calla lilies is displayed beside the art work that inspired it. By Amy Wilbanks, it won first place in its division.

This flower arrangement containing rattan and yellow calla lilies is displayed beside the artwork that inspired it. By Amy Wilbanks, it won first place in its category.

It was Natalie Haslam’s voice on my phone Wednesday. “You have GOT to go to the Museum of Art and see the flower show!” she gushed. “It blew me away!” Knowing that Natalie has the best taste in the world and would never steer me wrong about something she is as serious about as flowers, I made a quick change of lunch plans. I am so glad I did. (read more)


Foodies go underground … literally!

Chef Dustin Busby

Chef Dustin Busby

My sister-in-law, Tess Richard, and I, armed with a little poem we had been emailed, set out for the 100 block of Gay Street last Friday night looking for a very special party.

It was another of the super fun “Trust Fall” dinners. Trust Fall is an underground supper club. Attendees vie for a limited number of tickets that sell out in a matter of minutes — maybe seconds! They don’t know where they are dining until the day of the event when they receive an email that usually tells them the location. But, in this case, all we got was a rhyming riddle.

“What secrets remain — oh, the suspense!/Your clandestine affair is set to commence

You’re about to join a most unusual tribe/Whose primary intentions are to eat and imbibe”

We definitely wanted to find that party! We were aware that the chef for the evening would be Dustin Busby, the proprietor of the Hoof food truck. His partner in the endeavor, handling the wine pairings: Blackberry Farm sommelier and director of food and beverage, Andy Chabot. But where was the darn place? (read more)


Blue Streak gets a ‘Ticket to Ride’ in London

Dawn and Richard Ford with Alan Carmichael, right, on The London Eye.

Dawn and Richard Ford with Alan Carmichael, right, on The London Eye.

Our good friends and traveling companions, Dawn and Richard Ford, love London. They’ve visited three times over the past 10 years. It is their favorite city.

So when Alan and I discussed our joint European vacation with the Fords, we all decided that they would be in charge of planning the London portion of the trip while Alan and I would take charge of planning the Paris visit. Paris is my favorite city.

“I love London because it’s a pretty city and it’s interesting historically,” Dawn noted. “We also feel some emotion about London because Richard and I were there when 9/11 happened and people there were so kind to us.” (read more)


Got art? Great stuff at Artscapes!

Melanie Wood is one of my favorite local artists. I love this piece of hers called "Iris" that is part of the Artscapes offerings.

Melanie Wood is one of my favorite local artists. I love this piece of hers called “Iris” that is part of the Artscapes offerings.

Artscapes is a wonderful art sale benefiting the Knoxville Museum of Art. But it’s also one of the best opportunities around to purchase beautiful original jewelry and art for your home, office or for gifts. (It’s almost the season, you know.)

Artscapes itself is a black tie optional auction and dinner to be held Friday at the museum. Silent auction is at 6:30 p.m., with dinner and a live auction at 8:30. On Saturday, you can return to the museum for an art fair from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. So, you see, there really is no excuse not to pick up some great finds this weekend.

To give you a little taste of what’s available, I attended the Artscapes Preview Brunch this past Sunday and saw some awesome pieces. In fact, so many offerings were sold at the preview that museum folks were scrambling to assemble new items to offer Friday. So, the items on this blog post are only scratching the surface of what’s available. (read more)


Les Papilles: A restaurant to die for

Lamb and vegetables "cooked a long time" at Les Papilles in Paris last week.

Lamb and vegetables “cooked a long time” at Les Papilles in Paris last week.

We were a little taken aback when we opened the door to the very small bistro in Paris called Bistroy Les Papilles, exactly on time for the reservation we had made more than a month in advance under the name of our traveling companion, Richard Ford.

We had not even completely entered the room when an apparently angry man yelled at us from across a counter: “Ford party?” We gave a startled nod and he blurted, “You did not confirm your reservation!” While we were sputtering something about not knowing we needed to confirm it, he ordered, “Follow me!” and rushed unsmiling into the crowded dining area with us in tow.

He directed us to a tiny table in the middle of the tiny eatery. He did not give us menus.

“Here’s what we are serving,” he stated flatly. “First course is potato and leek soup. Second course is lamb — cooked a long time. And vegetables — cooked a long time. Dessert is panna cotta with strawberries and pineapple. You can pick any bottle of wine on our walls. Or I can choose for you.”

“You choose,” I said, not about to cross him. It turned out to be my favorite meal we had in Paris. (read more)


How to launch EventCheck Knox? With a party!

Thank you to Maria Cornelius of Moxley Carmichael for writing this guest post for the Blue Streak. This also was posted on EventCheck Knox. -Cynthia Moxley 

Cynthia Moxley introduces EventCheck Knox.

Cynthia Moxley introduces EventCheck Knox.

EventCheck Knox officially launched with – what else – a party!

Cynthia Moxley, CEO of Moxley Carmichael, addressed the party-goers, along with Natalie Haslam, to officially unveil the website and explain the purpose and necessity of EventCheck Knox.

Haslam entertained the attendees with her account of how Knoxville has evolved from a town with little to do when she was in college at the University of Tennessee to one in which every week seems to bring worthwhile events.

(read more)