New Orleans Casts Her Spell Once Again


Since we will move to Massachusetts soon, we began talking about the things we still wanted to do in the South before we leave. We’ve visited Amarillo, Dallas/Fort Worth, Natchez, Eureka Springs and even been to Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas. But one place we haven’t been is New Orleans. This weekend, that changes. Read more of this post

Jathan and Heather Discover The History And Romance Of Natchez, Mississippi [VIDEO]

Jathan and Heather visit Natchez

Jathan and Heather enjoy lunch at the Pig Out Inn in historic Natchez. (Photo by Jathan Fink/Jadeworks Entertainment)

We finally made it to the historic town of Natchez, Mississippi, a town we’ve wanted to visit for years. Greg Iles, one of our favorite writers and author of books like The Quiet Game and Blood Memory, lives here and during this trip many of the places he has written about came to vivid life. Read more of this post

Chuy’s Mexican Food Blasts Traditional Tex-Mex Restaurants Out of the Water

Jathan and Heather love Chuy's Mexican Restaurant

Jathan and Heather fell in love with the hospitality and food at Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant (Photo © Esperanza Hurley/Jadeworks Entertainment)

While traveling cross-country for any reason, even moving, we’re always looking for new dining establishments to try. Sure, Bowling Green isn’t that far from Cincinnati, but when your moving truck only moves at 35 mph through the hills of Kentucky, it is easy to get hungry in a hurry. Besides, by the time we got there, we’d been on the road a while. Read more of this post

September Song

Cincinnati fireworks

A Labor Day weekend tradition, the Cincinnati Bell/WEBN fireworks display by Rozzi's Famous Fireworks during the P&G Riverfest marks the end of the summer season.

September 2011

Dear Friends,

September always feels like a time of new beginnings for us. Even though autumn doesn’t officially begin until the 23rd, the Labor Day weekend is like the last blowout party of summer. Perhaps that feeling overwhelms me because I first arrived in Cincinnati in 1999, just in time to join a crowd of nearly half-million people for a day of family entertainment at the P&G Riverfest and the truly awesome Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks display. That also happened to be the weekend I forged some of my strongest friendships with people in the area.

But even as children, the first weekend in September was a time to take a last-minute vacation, go camping at our favorite state park (like Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky), or simply grill out at home with friends. Regardless of the activity, this always seems like a moment of transition, a time to get together with our favorite people and wrap up yet another summer of fun in the sun. This is when we send the kiddos back to school, brace ourselves for another year of hard work, get geared up for fall festivals, and reflect on how this summer changed us.

Last month, I wrote about a good friend who died, Nelda Paschal, and I later posted a recipe in memory of my great-aunt, Editha Hayes Spencer. When writing those dedications, I thought that even though these women are now gone, the impact they had on those who knew them was transformative. Both women were the epitome of grace, and when they smiled at someone, it was as if they sent out rays of positive energy and love that enveloped the recipient. Memories of people like them, people who truly impacted our lives for the better, make times of change, months like September, seem like the perfect time to focus on what is truly important: reassessment and fortification of our authentic selves, and the ultimate redirection of our life’s path.

Recently I read a quote by Maya Angelou that really resonated with me. She said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The more I’ve thought about those words, I realized that what she said is true. There are many instances in my life where the particulars of a situation are foggy, but the emotion surrounding it still burns within me, whether someone made me feel special, loved, inspired, or motivated. But I also remember those times when someone made me feel embarrassed, frightened, appalled, guilty, or angry.

Angelou essentially raised a question that makes each of us accountable for how we treat others. We all need to ask ourselves, ‘How do I make others feel when they are with me?’ Am I hospitable, empathetic and compassionate? Or do I criticize when I should praise? When I’m unsure how to best handle a situation, do I err on the side of kindness? Of course, none of us are immune from saying things we shouldn’t from time to time. But for the most part, is love the basis of my modus operandi? These are questions we all have to answer sooner or later. Doing so now, will help us improve our lives, ease stress, find contentment, and truly feel loved.

For as long as there have been writers, filmmakers, musicians and other artists, creative people have also focused on what brings true happiness. One of my favorite songs delivers a message I’m sure Angelou would approve of. Originally featured on Broadway in Do Re Mi in 1960, “Make Someone Happy” was composed by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. I first heard Jimmy Durante sing this song on the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack in 1993. Most recently, Barbra Streisand recorded it on her Love is the Answer (2009) and One Night Only albums (2010). You can watch Streisand’s performance of this tune at New York’s Village Vanguard below. I’m willing to bet that the lyrics will haunt you too.

There are countless ways to make others happy though, and they usually boil down to putting others ahead of self or doing something special for someone else. At work, we can give the best customer service possible and make everyone’s day a little better. In our personal lives, we can give a gift or make ourselves available to others by freeing up our calendar. For Heather and I, our favorite way to make others happy is by demonstrating hospitality, cooking for friends and loved ones and dishing up something a little extra special when we do. If you want to try making something memorable for your favorite people, try one of August’s many featured recipes, including our Banana Crunch Muffins for breakfast-on-the-go or Mexican favorites like Chicken Enchiladas Salsa Verde, Toasted Flautas, and Jalapeno Creamed Corn.

Want something a little more traditional? Make our healthy Ya-Ya Chicken, dished up with Spinach Béchamel and Pasta Rouge. In the mood for Italian? Our Rotini with Sugo Fresco Giardino is light and goes great with Neapolitan Green Beans. Complete your world tour with Asian-inspired dishes like Kung Pao Chicken with Peanuts, Chinese Celery Cilantro Salad, and Cold Sesame Ginger Noodles.

Need a little comfort food? Jathan’s Split Pea Soup and Skillet Cornbread are awesome at lunch or dinner. And if you want something yummy to drink, pour our Hawaiian Breeze or Blueberry Mojito. They both go down smoothly and seem to make even the harshest day a little easier. Finish off your meal with sweet treats like Banana Cake or our gloriously pink Strawberry Dream Cake.

Not in the mood to cook? Visit our favorite new restaurant, French-inspired It’s Just Crepes, a revolutionary dining venue in Cincinnati with three locations that pack both savory and sweet goodness into a paper-thin crepe. So good!

Whatever you’re doing this Labor Day, have a marvelous holiday weekend, be safe and remember that September isn’t just the end of summer, but the beginning of what can be the best year of your life!


Jathan & Heather

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

If It’s Good, Wrap It In A Crepe

Heather eats a crepe

Your hunger is destined to be satisfied by huge crepes that take two hands to hold! Heather chows down on her favorite Italian Crepe filled with pepperoni, ham, peppers, onions and Mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Last month, a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati taught us the importance of taking a stand for justice and of being the change we want to see in the world. But after five hours of touring the Smithsonian-affiliated museum, we were ravenous and in dire need of sustenance. That’s when we discovered a culinary treasure.

We’ve never been to France. Sure, foodies that we are, we’ve wanted to go to the place Colette made famous in her stories about the luminous Gigi, where we could dance under the Eiffel Tower, lose ourselves in the Louvre Museum, eat our weight in cheese, then wash it down with champagne. But it just hasn’t happened yet. The closest either of us has ever come is to stroll along the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter where Creoles dish up hot beignets and po-boys stuffed with shrimp and crawfish.

When we left the Freedom Center one hot July afternoon with aching feet, blurred vision and our emotions on overload, both of us just wanted to sit down somewhere cool and eat something filling and delicious. We crossed over I-71, made our way up Vine Street, and voila, we discovered a bit of French culinary magic at It’s Just Crepes. From the moment we walked into the small store-front café, our senses were overcome by scents both sweet and savory. The aromas were so overpowering, the way our stomachs rumbled in appreciation you would have thought we were giving a pre-movie demonstration of THX® surround sound technology. So we studied the menu and realized that this joint offered much more than just the meager crepes selection presented at IHOP.

Now just in case some of you may not fully understand what a crepe is, we’ll tell you. It is basically a very skinny pancake made from a thin batter poured over a hot griddle or round hot plate. While crepes originated in France and are served by street vendors and at fine restaurants all over gay Paris, they are like tortillas in that almost every culture has their own version of them now.

It's Just Crepes

It’s Just Crepes offers a wide array of delicious crepes to satisfy every appetite, including sweet flavors like “Paradise” and “In Your Dreams” as well as savory selections like “Santa Fe” and “Florentine.”

Okay, so glorified stuffed pancakes might not sound very filling, but let me tell you that you could not be more wrong. Stuffed with everything from sweet treats to mouth-watering savory ingredients, they are quite a versatile meal. Admittedly, when Heather first suggested we try this little gem of a restaurant, I thought I would have to stop and grab a Big Mac on the way home to satisfy my hunger. That was definitely not the case!

It’s Just Crepes dishes up every sort of crepe imaginable, and even adds some new Americanized twists to this French classic. Heather chose the Italian crepe stuffed with Mozzarella cheese, sliced pepperoni, ham, banana peppers, sautéed onions, green peppers and pizza sauce. Because of my chronic spice addiction, I went straight for the Southwestern crepe filled with pepper jack cheese, diced chicken, sautéed onions and red peppers, and drizzled with a chipotle mayonnaise. Both were out-of-this-world delish! In fact, they were so good we both wore huge, satisfied smiles for the rest of the afternoon and gave the chef our compliments with a promise to return. And we’ve lived up to that promise… twice!

So now we have a new motto in our household: “If it’s good, wrap it in a crepe.” We think if you try It’s Just Crepes for yourself, you’ll soon be thanking us for the recommendation and may even find yourself quoting our new motto in your house. So what are you waiting for? Get your crepe on!

If you go: It’s Just Crepes now have three locations to satisfy your cravings. Find out more about their menu and get directions to all three restaurants by visiting their Website at Be sure to tell them Jathan & Heather sent you!

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.