The first time I met Chris Hastings, he was carrying a yellow legal pad and asked me what kind of muffins I was selling. That was back in the day, when I had Ceruleans. Chris was St. Joe’s culinary consultant, in charge of all things food for Northwest Florida. St. Joe hired me as a creative consultant and handed over an empty retail space in Watercolor. We called it Ceruleans and I transformed it into an art gallery meets bookstore, with a wine and coffee bar and a killer music scene. Unfortunately for me, by the time Chris walked through the door, I had met with so many higher-ups working their yellow legal pads, that when I saw his, I ran. We ultimately had a chill meeting at the Beach Club, where I shared my breakfast and tapas menu and told him that I liked my muffins, and that I didn’t know who he was, but that Ceruleans would be fine without him. Oh yes, I did.

The next time I ran into Chris, a friend had invited me to join her at Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, one of the hottest restaurants in the south. “Oh Ayunnnne, Hot & Hot is faaaabulous, the food is deevine.” We walked through the door and there he was, Chris Hastings. OMG, no. It can’t be.  This time Chris was glammed up in a chef’s coat, painted onto canvas and hanging at the entry of his restaurant. I sat down to savor one of the best meals in my life and that’s when I turned into an undercover foodie.

You can imagine my shock last week when I discovered that the now James Beard Award winning chef, would be cooking at City Grit, a cool culinary salon in Soho. Kiss my grits! How could I be so lucky? There was one thing that I knew for certain: it would be Southern and it would be good. By sight and by taste, each dish was a work of art. My favorite? The poached duck egg with onions, Alabama caviar, and wild foraged herbs. It melted in my mouth and tasted like home.

City Grit is inside the old Catholic school on Prince, between Mulberry and Mott, that is home to WRK Studios, a boutique storage closet for NYC designers, Josh & Jeremy http://www.wrkdesign.com/about. It feels like they kicked the principals out of their offices and turned the space into a found object festival. The hostess greets you at the door and in true Southern style, walks you to your place at the table. On the way there, it’s a found object feast for the eyes.

Fate would have it that the City Grit people seated me next to the coolest couple ever: Kee Edwards, designer and owner of Loup Charmant and her 2125 husband. I felt really special, rocking my Manolo Blahnik’s, but, Kee smoked me out in her edgy and seductive, Loup Charmant. When I asked her about fashion week, she said, “I love it, but I’ve done it and now it’s all about the vacation-life.” That’s when I mentioned 30A and we discovered one of our six degrees of separation. A store in Watercolor called Beach Folly, carries her line. No. Way. Is the world really this small? I found Kee’s website. I’ll take the T-Seam Cover Up and the Starboard Sundress, please. I also found these sexy ruffled bloomers at Barney’s and on the Loup Charmant blog. Want them with the antlers and the secret pink potion, plus a Chris Hastings woodcock-hawthorne feather pin. Uh, yes, Chris he makes woodcock-hawthorne feather pins. I love my southern roots.

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