The Shot

Chef José Andrés Fills Plates, Warms Hearts in Puerto Rico

Plus: Bill Murray speaks the songs; celebrating soul food; and greenspace atop an Atlanta freeway?

Welcome to The Shot, G&G’ers, your weekly nip of Garden & Gun. It’s been a terrible news week already, and it’s only Tuesday. Here is a roundup of some good things happening around the South.

Chefs for Puerto Rico

Photo: Nate Mook

Chef José Andrés (second from left) and his World Central Kitchen are feeding thousands in Puerto Rico. Chef Jose Enrique (right) is helping the effort, lending his eponymous San Juan restaurant as a base of operations.

A paella pan the size of a tractor tire won’t solve all of Puerto Rico’s problems, but it can feed hundreds of hungry people every day. And that’s exactly what D.C.-based chef José Andrés has been doing since he arrived on the island more than a week ago to help with the recovery from Hurricane Maria. Along with his non-profit World Central Kitchen and an armada of volunteers, Andrés and #ChefsforPuertoRico have been making sandwiches, paella, and sancocho (a Caribbean stew) for seniors, kids, and anyone else who needs it. Andrés is also sharing the reality on the ground through his Instagram feed, not to mention his full-MacGyver hacks for putting out thousands of meals a day without electricity or a functioning kitchen.

Ear Candy

Somewhere between playing a killer bee on Saturday Night Live and the combative, complicated war veteran in St. Vincent, Bill Murray became a legitimate master of the spoken word. For proof, look no further than the release last week of Murray’s latest album, New Worlds, a mashup of Murray reading from great works of literature, accompanied by cellist Jan Vogler and others. Murray practically has born-here status in Charleston since he owns a house in the Holy City, as well as parts of several restaurants and the Riverdogs minor-league baseball team. His New World tour includes various stops across the country, including one on October 16 at Carnegie Hall, but, alas, none so far in the South.

Atlanta Park-ing

Photo: Michael JN Bowles

Thomas Woltz

A new building in Atlanta? Yawn. A new series of parks in Atlanta built over an eight-lane expressway? Let’s hear it. The ambitious project is the latest for the city envisioned by Thomas Woltz, the Charlottesville-based landscape architect who is looking to put a farm-to-freeway spin on Georgia 400, the interstate that split the city’s Buckhead neighborhood nearly 25 years ago and could finally be reconnected by Woltz’s design. Look for Woltz to discuss that and his visionary approach to sustainable design at the Atlanta History Center October 12. With Woltz on board, the popular BeltLine trail system already in place, and several more large green spaces planned for the city’s West Side, Atlanta may finally be getting good at parks again.

Seeing Savannah

Thank you to everyone who came out last night and to everyone who helped to make our grand opening such a success! We are thrilled with the turnout and with the response! We just wish we had gotten a headcount! Our new hours are in effect and we are open Weds and Thurs 11-5, Friday 11-6, Sat 11-2 and by appointment. Check our stories for more fun from last night. #love #community #art912 #visitsavannah SWIPE for more 📸 by @stephanieraines1 @melissa_messina @dtnash

A post shared by Susan Laney (@laneycontemporary) on

Casual observers sometimes think of Savannah as Charleston’s pretty little sister. But the centuries-old Georgia port city has a powerhouse art scene all its own, thanks in large part to the Savannah College of Art and Design. Last week, SCAD graduate and seasoned dealer Susan Laney added another force to Savannah’s art world with Laney Contemporary, a new gallery that will be a showcase for Southern contemporary artists. The gallery is also home of the work of the late Jack Leigh, the Savannah-born photographer who understood Savannah’s darker, twistier side better than anybody, including his iconic image that covered Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.   

Celebrating Soul

Photo: Keely Laughlin

From left, Sharon Grant Coakley, Linda Pinckney, and Julia Grant of Bertha’s Kitchen share a laugh with Randall and Jennifer Goldman. Randall Goldman is CEO of Patrick Properties Hospitality Group.

Eat your way through the South and you’ll get everything from innovative fine dining to get-in-my-belly soul food. But you’ll rarely get both on the same plate, unless . . . you went to the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour dinner last month honoring Bertha’s Kitchen. The turquoise-painted Charleston soul food spot is so legendary it won its own JBF America’s Classic award this year. It also inspired the one-time-only menu from FIG’s Jason Stanhope and Mike Lata, Digby Stridiron from Parcel 32, and eight other culinary stars who came together to celebrate the Bertha’s Kitchen team and thank them for the best fried pork chops, lima beans, and fried whiting anyone will ever eat in this lifetime. “Bertha’s is true culture,” Stridiron says. “I love the authenticity, how they haven’t changed the recipes or style since they opened. They have a strong understanding of what they do and you can taste the love in the food. It’s important to pay homage to those that have a story to tell through food, and continue to do so after many years.”

Parting Shots

If you know that the Love Shack really was a shack, or ever made a pilgrimage to Wuxtry Records where Michael Stipe and Peter Buck met, then you should definitely pick up Athens Potluck, a coffee table book out this month that documents the Athens music scene. … Jamie Lee Curtis confirmed last week that the next installment of the Halloween movie is baaack and will start filming in Charleston later this fall.  Who knew Michael Myers was a foodie. … And finally, Penny the Lab made major news last week after the truck she was riding in was stolen and her owners put the word out on Facebook. The truck was still missing when Penny was found safe and sound. And now even the truck has turned up, too. It must be said: That’s one lucky Penny.

Until next week, G&G‘ers.