Summertime makes us cast about for a little something special at the dinner table or maybe a cool treat to chill us down when the temps soar. (Apparently, we need good food to fortify us as we debate whether it’s the heat or the humidity that’s melting us down.) These summer happenings on the coast are guaranteed to take your mind off the thermostat:
Bastille Day in New Orleans
The elegant Windsor Court Hotel is celebrating French independence with a special prix fixe Bastille Day Dinner on Thursday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m. In the hotel’s Grill Room, enjoy a champagne reception, followed by six French courses, all paired with wines from Bordeaux, Fleurie, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and Alsace. $125 + tax and 22% service charge.
300 Gravier Street; 504/522-1992; grillroomneworleans.com
Also, this marks the fifth year of NOLA’s Bastille Day Fête, which will be held July 15 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the New Orleans Museum of Art (noma.org). Music by Lost Bayou Ramblers, Gisele Bonfaire, and Bon Bon Vivant. Activities outside the museum are free; activities inside are free to museum members and $5 for non-members. bastilledaynola.com
Museum: 1 Collins Diboll Cir.; 504.658.4100; noma.org
Scalloping Package at the Plantation on Crystal River
Scallop season runs June 25-September 24, and you can book a special package starting at $335 for an unguided tour or $615 for a guided trip at this resort, located between Tampa and Gainesville. (Price based on midweek stays for two guests.) Packages include two nights' stay and scalloping equipment, plus daily breakfast. A chef will prepare your fresh day's catch for lunch or dinner. BONUS: Here, you can legally swim with manatees in the wild—so check out the Manatee Package.
9301 W Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL; 800/632-6262; plantationcrystalriver.com
Ice Cream & “Co-Cola”
Happy hour brings ice cream at The Brice in Savannah. Through September 6, you can get an old-fashioned Coke Float, making Tuesday-only appearances during the hotel's daily wine hour from 5pm to 6 pm. The vanilla scoops come from local Leopold's ice cream shop, and the 145-room hotel has a history with Coke: The Brice is celebrating its second anniversary in a historic 1860s building that evolved from a livery stable to a cotton warehouse, foundry/machine shop, wholesale grocer, and finally, in 1902, Coca-Cola's first franchise bottling plant.
Midweek rates from $199; weekend rates from $221; 601 E. Bay St.; 912/238-1200; bricehotel.com
New Restaurant on the Gulf
Mississippi native chef David Dickensauge recently opened Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro in downtown Gulfport. He has sparked a restaurant surge on the Gulf, with several new eateries set to open this year. His American-fare-with-Cajun-flare features fresh Gulf seafood, along with beef from a local ranch, and other fresh, local ingredients. Among the James Beard Award-winning chefs with whom Dickensauge has worked are Jamie Shannon at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans; Chris Hastings at Birmingham’s Hot and Hot Fish Club; and Frank Stitt at Highland’s Bar and Grill and Bottega Café, also in Birmingham. Dickensauge also did stints at Galatoire's and Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, as well as restaurants in Miami, Chicago, New York, and Montgomery, Alabama.
1307 27th Ave., Gulfport; 228/206-6310; corksandcleaver.com