March 2022
Hello friends,

I’m hoping 2022 is off to a great start for all of you. In this newsletter, I’ll share my favorite restaurant experience from last year, bring you up to speed on a new adventure and pay tribute to a dear friend and mentor. 

I’d like to remind you that each week the homepage of my website features different recipe and music videos which I hope you find entertaining and inspiring. I have noticed the most popular videos on my Savor the Flavors YouTube Channel are for unique ways of preparing vegetables. Because I have spring fever and this recipe reminds me of spring, I’ll share my recipe for Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots Alfredo.

Love you all,

Miller & Lux
Like many of you, I find myself scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a couple times a day to see what’s new. Last fall, I kept seeing posts by my favorite Food Network chef, Tyler Florence announcing that he was opening a new restaurant in San Francisco called Miller & Lux. The pictures of the menu were irresistible to the extent that I mentioned to my husband that we should be sure to go next time we were in San Francisco.

Just a few days later Lee informed me that he was able to secure a reservation and we were flying to San Francisco for dinner. It was an unforgettable evening. The ambiance is somewhat retro – featuring half-circle booths for seating, warm soft lighting, and a lot of wood. It is upscale fine dining, yet not pretentious. The playlist, curated by Tyler himself, featured jazz and traditional pop standards at just the right volume. There was a QR code on the menu to add the Spotify playlist to your favorites. You know I did! I enjoy listening to the playlist and reminiscing about that special night. 

The menu features items that are prepared tableside. We chose the Cesar Salad (you have not had Cesar Salad until you have had this one) and Dover Sole. Tyler himself prepared these dishes, just for the two of us, at our table. He was fun and personable as he shared his expertise and chatted about his inspiration for the restaurant and the menu. San Francisco has many amazing restaurants, but this one is a must! I can’t wait to go back!

Cotton Patch Boutique

In my last newsletter I mentioned that I was helping my sister Pam as she was launching her on-line Cotton Patch Boutique. She has been working hard and we have continued to do her Facebook live shows together. One of her goals was to do well enough in her first year to be able to go to the wholesale markets in Las Vegas this spring. She did it! I’m so proud of her and it’s fun to see her business grow and client base expand. Pam invited me to go with her to market and shop for summer and fall 2022 fashions. It was a whirlwind 3 days of power shopping! We left excited about all we’d seen and some of the new items have already arrived. We even went live on Facebook while we were there - with both of us on camera at the same time. I thought I'd share this screenshot of us hamming it up. Pam even got me my very own official name tag!

In Memory of Beverly Ross

I met Beverly Ross one summer afternoon in the mid-90s. She was looking for someone to sing a demo and had been given my name. We hit it off over the phone and talked and laughed for quite a while. Bev was like that. She was a great conversationalist and genuinely curious about and interested in the people she met.

We decided we should try writing together so I went to her apartment. I am terribly allergic to cats and Bev had a huge cat. I sat there for hours visiting as my eyes watered and my lips swelled, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave.

That day I learned about some of her biggest copyrights. She wrote Lollipop (Lollipop Lollipop oh lolli lolli – you know the one) while still a teenager. She talked about the value of a copyright – not just writing songs that chart well, but ones that will be licensed for usages for years to come. I remember when she called one afternoon and shouted, “Ringtones, Brittany, ringtones!” She had gotten her BMI royalty statement and Lollipop had made a sizeable amount of money as a ringtone. She also wrote Candy Man for Roy Orbison (later recorded by Mickey Gilley and Charlie McClain), Judy’s Turn to Cry for Lesley Gore, Remember Then for the Earls and later Sha Na Na, as well as having had Elvis Presley cuts and may other hits.

Over the years, I’ve written with many different songwriters and many who have been very successful. It’s very difficult to teach someone how to write a song. There’s more to it than arming yourself with a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary. It is always an honor to sit in a room with someone who has honed the craft witnessing how they turn a phrase to make it fit the melody, convey what needs to be said and then rhyme without sounding pedestrian. Quite often there is a lot of time spent in silence while the wheels are spinning until someone finally conjures up the magic words. There are a few people that I have had the good fortune to write with that seemingly allow you to get into their head – not to see what they are thinking, but to see how their brain is working. It’s hard to put into words what that is like. Bev was one of those people. I was repeatedly amazed by her. She had an incredible vocabulary which was always entertaining. She and I wrote several songs, none of which have been a "hit" yet, but what she taught me about writing made me a much better writer for every other co-writer I worked with.

Bev was never one to rest on her accomplishments. To the very end she worked tirelessly to be the best writer she could be. She spent years pursing musical theater and writing the music for a show called City of Light. It was a thrill and an education to hear the various incarnations of the distinct melodies and brilliant lyrics she composed. In a musical, the songs must serve to move the story along in lieu of dialogue. Yet, she still wanted the songs to be liftable – meaning they could stand on their own outside of the show. It was awakening and sometimes heartbreaking to see how a masterpiece could be discarded because the librettist had decided to take the story in another direction. More than once we would laugh as we imagined what we were going to wear for opening night. Bev didn’t live to see the show play on Broadway, but I sincerely hope somehow someday it will.

Bev was born in Brooklyn, grew up in New Jersey, and in 2013 penned a tell-all book about life in the famed Brill Building entitled I Was the First Woman Phil Spector Killed. She was tough, outspoken and a shameless self-promoter; traits which were no doubt required for and acquired during her early rock-n-roll success. She moved to Nashville in the late 80’s and it seemed sometimes “Nashville” didn’t quite know how to take her. For me, she was an indelible mentor and above all a friend. She had a habit that still makes me smile. If she called and you didn’t answer, she would immediately call again and possibly a third time. If I wasn’t able to take the call, I didn’t even have to look at the caller ID to know Bev was trying to reach me. I will miss that.