- The Scout Guide -

WORDS WE LOVE // What Christmas Means


The Gift that Keeps on Giving

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This year I became a Young Fellow of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and it was one of the best decisions I made all year. I have enjoyed meeting new people, learning more about the arts, and feeling invested in the future of my city and its cultural instituions.

There are so many benefits to belonging to this group, but the highlights have been cocktails with Mel Chin, a visit with George Dunbar at his home, a private dinner and tour of Upperline’s art collection, and a special White Linen Night party at Octavia Art Gallery. The group is a diverse and engaged group, including community organizers, bankers, freelance writers, designers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, doctors and marketing professionals, making it a fabulous group with which to network and make new friends.

Its not all wining and dining, benefits also include free admission to yoga, pilates, and tai chi in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden and NOMA galleries and reciprocal membership privileges to numerous major art museums throughout the United States and Canada.

If you’re still searching for the perfect gift for a family member age 21-45, I would highly recommend giving them the gift of a NOMA Young Fellow Membership. If they love New Orleans or art or meeting new people or even just an excuse to get together for cocktails, they will certainly enjoy being a part of this dynamic group of young professionals. Molly Cobb at the Museum will be happy to help you with giving the gift of a Young Fellows membership. Please call or email her 504-658-4127 or mcobb@noma.org or you can buy online here.

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Meauxbar’s Chef Kristen Essig Shares a Holiday Recipe


Dirty Dancing begins tonight at the Saenger Theatre and runs through Sunday, December 21st, and I can think of no better place to have the pre or post theatre dinner than at Meauxbar. Meauxbar offers late night dinner service (until midnight) on Friday and Saturdays. Chef Kristen Essig has quite the following and with the help of General Manager Natalie Secco, these two dynamic women have created a restaurant where guests enjoy great food, great drinks and great times.

Their wine carafe program offering most of their wine list in half-carafe options is an excellent way to indulge without having to commit to the price tag. Holidays are about sharing, especially over meals with family and friends, the Meauxbar’s wine carafe program allows for a more open dining and drinking experience.


Having attended dinner there just this past Friday, my menu recommendations are the Bone Marrow Escargot, the French Onion Grilled Cheese, and the Spaghetti Bolognese. The first two are very indulgent, and while you would think the Bolognese would be too, there is something light about it that doesn’t leave you with that “Oh my god, I am so full” feeling.

To get you in the holiday spirit, Chef Kristen and GM Natalie share two holiday recipes:

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Pain d’Epice, or French gingerbread, is a delightful way to end a holiday meal, to give as a gift, or enjoy for a delicious Boxing Day breakfast. It’s a bit of a fussy recipe, but perfectly embodies the scents and flavors of the Winter Holiday season. The fragrance of the gingerbread filling your home is worth the effort alone. Happy Christmas and Season Greetings! xo-Kristen


Yields: 1 12 inch x 4 1/2 inch loaf

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 3/4 teaspoon sorghum (you can substitute molasses)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup beaten eggs

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons boiling water

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray one 12 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, the spray the parchment. Place the flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Add the salt and whisk together. Place the brown sugar in the bowl of of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed to break up any lumps. Add the molasses and mix for about 1 minute or until smooth. With the mixer running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and continue to mix for about 1 1/2 minutes, until completely combined.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs and mix for 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the dry mixture in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each. With the mixer running, add the water, 1/4 cup at a time, incorporating each addition before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl again. Fold in the lemon zest.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack, remove the pan and cool completely upside down.

The cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. Defrost in the refrigerator and re-warm if desired. This gingerbread is the best made a day ahead to allow the flavors to develop and deepen.


Natalie shares her favorite cocktail for when you’re not quite sure you’ll make it through the family holiday function.


2 oz Glenfiddich (or your favorite peaty scotch!)

1/2 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram

1/4 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup

Make your cinnamon syrup in a pot, with a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar to water and add cinnamon sticks to flavor. Stir all of the ingredients together over ice and enjoy!


Meauxbar is located at 942 N. Rampart Street and it has recently opened under new ownership with a new menu and decor. Visit over the holidays or one day soon.



Photos by Sara Essex Bradley 


A House Without Books Is Like A Room Without Windows


“A House Without Books Is Like A Room Without Windows” – Horace Mann

Several years ago, my mom introduced a tradition for holiday gift giving – Want, Wear, Read, Need. Each member of the family receives four gifts, one in each category. My godmother would tell you, my mom sometimes doesn’t follow her own rules…and far exceeds the limits she set herself. Nonetheless, she gives every gift with these intentions. In the spirit of needing to fill the “read” category, here are my suggestions. No matter whether you follow this tradition, books always make the best gift.

1. LINENS: FOR EVERY ROOM AND OCCASION – I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is picture perfect and full of wise wisdom by New Orleans very own Jane Scott Hodges, founder and owner of Leontine Linens. It will inspire you to take a fresh look at how you live and entertain. Available at Leontine Linens at 3806 Magazine Street. 

2. THE KISS – If only you knew the real story about how I discovered this book…but Santa’s elves can’t give away all of their secrets! Give this to someone with a bag of hershey kisses, and they will certainly know they are loved. Available at Malachite at 3806 Magazine Street. P.S. I stopped by there this weekend to discover they also have two fab books called The Flower Recipe Book and the Plant Recipe Book. If you have anyone interested in learning to arrange flowers or indoor plants, these are great as a pair or by themselves. 

3. TORY BURCH IN COLOR – 100% of the proceeds of this book go to the Tory Burch Foundation. The Foundation supports the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs and their families through affordable loans, mentoring programs and entrepreneurial eduction. Available at Jade at 324 Metairie Road. 

4. THE ESSENTIAL SCRATCH AND SNIFF GUIDE TO BECOMING A WINE EXPERT – Need I say more? Pair it with this Vinnebago to keep your chardonnay cold while on the go! Available at Jade at 324 Metairie Road. 

5. THE SCOUT GUIDE – Are you giving someone a trip for Christmas? Explore thescoutguide.com to see if our network is located in the destination of your choice. The Scout Guide is always available for free locally, but you can buy a copy of any Guide on the internet. TSG is a collector’s item, a beautiful coffee table book, and a Guide to the best of living local wherever you go.




Color Story: Pink Party

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1. Deep Eddy’s Grapefruit Vodka is one of my two go-to cocktails (the other is a Pimms Royale). If you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out! Drink it chilled or over ice with a splash of soda water. Pick up a bottle  for the next holiday get together at the reopening of Martin’s on Baronne Street today. 

2. When I scouted Elise Allen’s ”Pink Party” paintings, I immediately thought Trinity! Anyone who has a soft spot for the school or church will love this collection. Elise Allen’s technique stands out from others because she uses venetian plaster and acrylic on wood panels. So unique that you’ll just have to stop by her studio for yourself and scout it out. Elise Allen’s Studio is located at 6063 Magazine Street between State and Webster Street. 

3. Snuggling on the couch in this bright blanket will make the colder days more bearable! Loomed NOLA and Christmas share a special connection. It was in December 2011 that New Orleanians Paul and Molly Babineaux were living in Turkey and looking for gifts to send home for Christmas. They stumbled on a store that sold only hand-woven, authentic Turkish textiles. They immediately formed a bond with the owners (as all good scouts do!) and several months later the idea of importing them to the USA became a reality. They are truly keeping the craft alive by supporting these Turkish families. Loomed NOLA is located in the Rink at the corner or Prytania Street and Washington Avenue. Just another reminder that Santa will be at the Rink tomorrow! The Rink is home to many great local businesses so be sure to scout it out. 

4. Little Luxe is the cutest thing I have discovered in a long time! Hattie Moll, owner of Hattie Sparks, can tell you the story better than me, but I will give it a shot. There is a jewelry line called Gunner and Lux, and the daughter to the owners, could not help but want to create. She also wanted to wear the grown up pieces to school, but since the necklaces were almost as big as her, they helped her design her own jewelry line. This kids only collection is adorable and available at Hattie Sparks at 714 Adams Street. Be sure to follow Little Lux on Instagram. They post the cutest photos of the kids sporting their “jewels”!

5. I am a freak for slippers. I love wearing them, but I am also very particular about what my slippers look like. I searched high and low at almost every local store in New Orleans, but I could not find a pair I liked. As much as I hate to do it, and even more so, hate to admit it, I turned to an online chain store and ordered a pair, and then wouldn’t you know it…the day after they arrived, Emma’s Shoes and Accessories posted on Instagram these adorable Kate Spade Slippers. All I could think was darn it! Slippers make a great gift, so grab a pair for a friend, daughter, or your mother. Emma’s is located in Old Metairie at Metairie Road and Rosa Avenue. 

6. Mahani Box from Eclectic Home on Oak Street. Fill it with photos from the past year…or family trivia questions for a game on Christmas day! Trivia tip courtesy of my aunt who for her Thanksgiving conversation assignment (that’s another story!) dug up great questions about my family’s past, wrote the question on an envelope, and inside the envelope placed a scratch off lottery ticket. When you answered the question correctly, you won the lottery ticket as your prize! It was great fun sharing the memories with our family on Thanksgiving Day. I hope she is at work creating new questions for Christmas Eve!




Martin’s on Baronne Street Reopens on December 12th!


I was talking to my cousin just the other day about how hard it is to find the perfect turkey sandwich in Uptown New Orleans…those moments when you just want a good old fashioned club sandwich. It led us to the subject of the deli at Martin Wine Cellar, and how no one has really seemed to fill the dine-in niche for the classic staples since they closed their doors as a result of Katrina. Well, I am pleased to announce that Martin Wine Cellar on Baronne Street reopens its doors this Friday, December 12th!

The new, one-story, 14,000 square foot store at 3827 Baronne Street is packed with wine, spirits, beer, cheese, gourmet foods and more. The 120 seat Bistro/Deli offers lunch, dinner, happy hour, Sunday brunch, entrees-to-go and catering.

New Orleanians grew up going to Martin’s on Baronne Street, it was the original location. In my memory, it was the first “gourmet to-go” destination in New Orleans, the place to be seen sipping on large glasses of iced tea and the roast beef po-boys, and perusing the long aisles of the most extensive wine collection. It was a gathering place for the community. Only in New Orleans, of course, would a liquor store be such a place.

Cedric Martin, President & Owner of Martin Wine Cellar says, “There are no words to express how excited I am to open those doors on Baronne Street again. This is where we started the company 68 years ago; it’s where I grew up; and it’s where my father taught me the ins and outs of the business. It’s a tradition. This is not only a special place for me, but also for my family, employees, our neighbors and customers, and the city. I want to thank them for their support and look forward to seeing everyone at Martin’s Uptown.”

Martin Wine Cellar offers great holiday specials on liquor for your entertaining needs. They can also send gift baskets to anyone around the country. Peruse their collection here.

Congratulations Martin Wine Cellar! We are so happy you opened just in time for the holidays. Cheers! And don’t forget to grab a box of Mr. Martin’s Cookies while you’re there…

Martin Wine Cellar

3827 Baronne Street at the corner of Peniston

New Orleans, LA 70115