Top 5 Malta Musts

1- If you like your seafood fresh (and really, who doesn’t?) a side trip to the southern end of the main island lands you in Marsaxlokk, a sleepy little fishing village. Visitors delight in the bounty of colourful, bobbing fishing boats in the harbour.

Dabble Savvy: The fishing boats, called luzzu, sport a painted eye on the hull, protecting them from watery danger.

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Photography by Simon Burn

2- Valletta, Malta’s capital city has many charms. Spend a few days in the pedestrian town to see the sights and enjoy the beaches.

Dabble Savvy: The Upper Barracca Gardens are a bit of a climb (the elevator no longer works) unless you enter via Victoria Gate, then turn left onto St. Ursula Street, go the end of the street and you’ll see the entrance.

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Photography by Simon Burn

3- No trip to Malta is complete without a trek to the top of Mdina. This is the oldest part of the island and the 360 degree views are worth the climb.

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Photography by Simon Burn

4- When you’re ready for some pampering, set out for St. Julian’s, where the chic go to be seen. Picture St. Tropez without the hourdes. A short ferry ride from Valletta brings you there in style.

5- Sure, it’s a bumpy ride, but a Jeep safari in Gozo is a fiendishly fun way to see the island’s main sights. Bring a camera to capture the Salt Pans, Xewkija Rotunda and the megalithic Ġgantija Temples.

Dabble Does Malta

Gozo Salt Pans – Photography by Simon Burn

 

Savannah: Top 5 Travel Destinations

1  For low-country seaside it’s is a quick drive to Tybee Island.  Visit the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet”. On your way back, stop at the entrance of Fort Pulaski and see fisherman catching trout at the Cockspur Island Bridge. If you go at dusk, you might see a herd of white-tailed deer grazing in the marshes.

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2  Seen the movie, read the book, know the story?  Tour the Mercer House in Monterey Square and you’ll enter the real-life setting of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The historic home still showcases much of Jim William’s collection of fine furniture, art and accessories.

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Mercer House

3  Looking for affordable souvenirs? The City Market has plenty. Plus  restaurants, bars, art, galleries and a little touristy shopping.

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4  If you plan to shop River Street wear comfortable shoes to navigate the cobblestone streets. Start at the top of the hill and visit the antique stores and restaurants at Factors Walk. 

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The Cotton Exchange

5  Perhaps North America’s earliest urban planning, Savannah’s squares (21 in total)  form a smart  grid and have been a backdrop to countless films including Robert Redford’s Conspirator.

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Forsyth Park

 

CONTEST: Houses with Charm – Winners Selected!

Houses with Charm

Win Susan Sully’s Houses with Charm: Simple Souther Style

Susan’s latest coffee table book celebrates the warmth and easy elegance of traditional Southern architecture and design. Homes with unpretentious, old-fashioned grace that showcase the talents of the South’s finest design professionals.

Photography by Susan Sully.

Value: $39.95/ each
Courtesy Rizzoli

Winner Selected!

Shellah Threet, Nashville, TN
Elaine Townsend, Kitchener, ON
Bernadette Flaim, Leonia, NJ

CONTEST CLOSED: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Savannah: Top 5 Restaurants

1  Although we can’t guarantee a ghost sighting as rumoured, at the Olde Pink House does deliver great food (try the Shrimp and Grits appetizer) and a charming atmosphere. Dine in beautifully appointed rooms and then take dessert in the  basement pub where the live music infuses the party.

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Sautéed Local Shrimp w/Country Ham Gravy & Cheddar Cheese Grits Cake

 

2   Experience southern food, boarding house style at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. Come early and be prepared to wait in line for at least an hour (yup, it’s worth it!). Once inside you’ll sit family style at a table that’s set for 10 but ready to feed 20.  It’s all for sharing, so try a bit of everything, but save room for banana pudding. And mind your manners – return your dishes to the kitchen just as President Obama does when he visits.

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Home Southern cooking at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

3  A long day of exploring Savannah’s  squares earns you a treat from Leopold’s Ice Cream. Try  the Tutti Frutti and you’ll understand why Johnny Mercer wrote the famous song of the same name.

4  Looking for a taste of Manhattan in the south? Then Local 11 Ten hits the spot. Start the evening with a Gin, Lime Juice and Basil cocktail  on the upstairs patio.

5   For a great view and good food, Vic’s on the River rewards. Try southern classics like Fried Green Tomatoes and Crab Cakes . 

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Crab cakes at Vic’s on the River

 

Savannah: Top 5 Travel Experiences

1  Immerse yourself in history with a visit to the First African Baptist Church, built by enslaved people in 1859. The church was once a stop on the Underground Railroad as evidenced by the drill holes in the floor, just above a four foot crawl space that runs under the church and out to the sea.

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First African Baptist Church member, Rebecca Wilson

2  If design and decorating appeal, then touring Savannah’s Historic Houses  is a must. The Owen-Thomas House is a beautiful example of English Regency architecture complete with period touches like faux-marbre (marble) and faux bois (wood).

3 A riverboat cruise on board the Georgia Queen or the Savannah River Queen transports you up the Savannah River in style.  A sail on the one-hour stern wheel riverboat replicas includes a narrated history lesson. Plan ahead because the tours have fixed departure times.

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Georgia Queen and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge

4  The Savannah College of Art and Design attracts more than 8,000 talented students each year. Lucky for us as their art works are sold in stores and cafes and at the SCAD Art Museum Bring a southern memento home.

5- In Savannah, ghost are rumoured to be friendly and very much present. We didn’t have any encounters on our visit, but if you’re dying to see one for yourself, do one of the Savannah Ghost Walks and enter some of the cities most haunted buildings at night.

Sneak Peek into the pages of Houses with Charm

Southern Style. Author Susan Sully takes us inside the pages of her latest coffee table book Houses with Charm: Simple Southern Style.

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A pair of antique tête-à-tête sofas, an eighteenth-century mirror, and a chandelier with cascading strands of ball chain provide the parlor with a sexy, sophisticated air.

Savannah Kitchen

At the suggestion of interior designers Carter Kay and Nancy Hooff, the dropped ceiling was removed, exposing the original longleaf pine joists and trusses.

Houses with Charm

See more of this house tour in Dabble on January 30th.

There’s an App for That: Blue Mountain Brut & Fried Green Tomatoes

Photography by Gunter Marx Photography Courtesy Destination British Columbia

Photography by Gunter Marx Photography
Courtesy Destination British Columbia

Blue Mountain Brut gets its bubbles using the same high-quality method as in France’s Champagne region, making it rich enough to appreciate solo, yet packing plenty of refreshment for a wide variety dishes.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Photography by Simon Burn

 What makes the two so cozy? Well, no wine loves fried food more than sparkling wine. Its sparkle cuts through any crunchy exterior with refreshing aplomb. And with a lively zing, a wine like the Blue Mountain Brut can hang with a tangy combination of green tomatoes, goat cheese and tomato chutney. A lovely duo for celebrating a laid-back afternoon.

Savannah Gallery

New Orleans Gallery

Sweet Home à la Savannah

  • LEFT: Southerners revere hospitality, according to interior designer Lynn Morgan. Her historic Savannah row house clearly has its own open door policy. RIGHT: The foyer’s gilded Federal style mirror keeps a watchful eye on the well-appointed living room.
  • Sunlight pours through dramatic six-over-six, double sash windows, filling the gracious living room with an inviting warmth.
  • The kitchen’s beadboard, painted in pale blue, extends from the countertop upwards and into the glass display cabinets, providing a subtly colourful backdrop to dishes on display. To ground the busy kitchen and its painted surfaces, Lynn introduced dark stained, oak countertops.
  • Playful green upholstered chairs with white, contrast piping gather round the painted dining table.
  • Lynn’s fondness for Caribbean colour finds its way into her sun-filled master bedroom. A crisp white coverlet, cashmere throw and downy pillows provide the layers of comfort required for sleeping. The bedroom walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Mountain Mist.
  • Adjacent to sleeping quarters is a gracious dressing room, separated by glass doors. The frosted panes soften filtering sunlight.
  • High-gloss white paint draws attention to the handsome baseboards and trim throughout, especially when contrasted with the matte finish used on walls.

Set in Savannah’s historic oak-lined district, the Greek Revival row house was originally built in 1853, likely a family home for a successful shipping magnate. Determined to strike her own pose with the redecoration project, Lynn Morgan was unencumbered by the home’s luminous past.

Instead, she created a thoroughly American interior by hitting the proverbial “refresh” button. Rather than rely exclusively on French and English antiques, the designer incorporated found pieces, painted furniture and humble garden elements, creating an easy, welcoming mix. Lacquered white furniture, saturated colour and bold graphics infuse the public spaces with joyful energy.

Striking pattern is used strategically to create interest in key areas—most notably the checkerboard floor pattern in the kitchen, the bold stripes in the dining room area carpet and the blue zigzag ottoman in the living room. Subtle pattern, like the beadboard in the kitchen and the sisal area carpet in the living room, creates texture and provides a foil to glossier finishes.

Dabble Savvy: Use a dark lampshade, like the royal blue bedside lamp with a narrow opening at the top and wider opening at the bottom, to force light onto the surface of a good book (as seen in the Master Bedroom).

Lynn’s Style Tips

Keep it simple. Glamour and sophistication go hand in hand with simplicity. Lynn suggests removing something from every finished room.

Mix it up. Texture and depth are byproducts of contrast. Mixing finishes—lacquered trim and matte walls, sisal carpets and high-gloss wood floors—enlivens a scheme.

Be an original. Don’t feel compelled to follow the past. Be fearless and set a contemporary tone that speaks to you personally.

Paint it white. For striking architecture or furniture with great bones, a coat of paint is transformative.

 

Southern Exposure

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Southern exposure is coveted because the daylight lasts so long on this side of the house. The sunlight makes its way from intense white light to lingering warmth as the sun moves in the sky. While white walls look great in sunlight, they take on a creamy look when bathed in much-coveted southern sunlight. So, you’ll want to watch for undertones of yellow if you are aiming for a gray or blue white

Pros:
  • Long lasting sunshine elevates mood. Similar to east facing rooms.
  • The mellow glow of southern light visually warms rooms. Very desirable locations.
Cons:
  • Intense mid-day light can cause glare and eye strain. As with eastern exposures.
Colour Cue:
  • Rich blues and greens lose intensity but can appear to glow. Therefore, when I want a full, rich blue or green for a southern exposure I may dial up my choice — pick something just a little more intense. To compensate for the loss of intensity.
  • Browns appear less somber in a south facing rooms. I love chocolate and mink browns. They work really well in southern and even eastern exposures because the yellow emphasis in sunlight brings out the red tones, which are the basis for brown.
  • Window walls appear darker, as they only receive reflected light. Therefore, if you are choosing paint colour make sure to see your sample throughout the space.
  • Mid-tone colours look fresh in the daytime, become richer at night. One of my favorite things about southern exposures.

Paint Recommendations:
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Lemon Ginger

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Mint Julep’s are yummy and we just love Gail Simmon’s–host of Top Chef–twist on the classic Southern drink. Check out her recipe for Lemon Ginger Tulep.

LEMON GINGER ‘TULEP’
Makes one serving

3 tbsp ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
6 to 8 fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
1 cup Lemon Pure Leaf Iced Tea
Cold club soda
Candied ginger, for garnish
Ice

In an old fashioned glass, muddle ginger simple syrup with mint leaves. Add ice and Lemon Pure Leaf Iced Tea; stir well. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a slice of candied ginger and a sprig of mint.

GINGER SIMPLE SYRUP
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water

In a saucepan, combine the ginger, sugar, and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and then set aside to cool. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

To make a cocktail: Add 1.5 ounces overproof Kentucky bourbon before adding the tea.

Developed by: Gail Simmons, judge on BRAVO’s ‘Top Chef’ and Food & Wine magazine contributor.