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Archive for April, 2011

 

Whenever I travel I always intend on chronicling my trip to share with you (and just for my own records too). But it kind of ends up being a little half assed, or I don’t end up doing it at all. So I thought I’d try this format to see how it works. Instead of a day by day account of places I visit, I’m going try sharing the things I saw and places I ate. We’ll see how it goes. If you want to know more about something I mention, please let me know.

A month ago, Taylor had a work conference in New Orleans and I was lucky enough to be able to tag along. Of course there is plenty to see and eat there. We were only in town 3 nights and I think we managed to see and do a lot.

Things to See

Plantation homes. About 45 minutes from New Orleans there are a whole bunch of plantation homes. We opted not to take a tour bus but you can find tours. We wish we had more time to see more than just two of these beautiful pieces of history on our trip but the two we did make it to were totally worth it. Including the drive out and back, it probably took us 6 hours to see two homes. That just leaves more for next time.

Laura.  Laura was our favorite. The tour was very thorough and the guide did a good job of bringing you back in time through his story telling. It wasn’t cheesy as some tours can potentially be. We got to go inside the whole house and in every room and got to walk the grounds. 

They took us inside one of the slave cabins, which was very humbling, to say the least.

Oak Alley. Oak Alley was the other home we visited, naturally named for it’s 300+ year old oak trees. The tour wasn’t as good as Laura and we couldn’t go inside most of the rooms. They allowed you to peek into the roped off areas. Most of the attraction I think is to the grounds, and naturally most spectacularly, the oaks. We ate a delicious lunch in the restaurant on the property and they serve mint juleps on the patio.

Jackson Square. There is so much in Jackson Square, and you could probably wander for a couple hours. The St. Louis Cathedral is beautiful (and open to visitors). There are street artists, carriage rides, and plenty of photo ops.  

Wandering. New Orleans is very good for just wandering around. You’re likely to find something new each time you head out. A car isn’t needed if you want to just stay near the French Quarter and almost anything you’d want to see is less than 10-15 minutes walking.

Things to Eat

We always eat a lot on trips and New Orleans makes it easy to only eat things you can’t eat at home.

Deanie’s Seafood (841 Iberville). I had the Bucktown Boil Pizza, a delicious combination of shrimp, crawfish, and crab topped with mozzarella. Potatoes boiled in crab boil were served as a complimentary appetizer.

Mena’s Palace (200 Chartres Street). Hole in the wall breakfast place. Reasonable prices compared to a lot of other places.

Market Cafe (1000 Decatur). Decent caesar salad for lunch, but way over priced. Huge patio and live music if you want to sit outside.

Margaritaville (1104 Decatur). Stopped in for drinks only, margaritas of course. Reasonably priced drinks, good atmosphere for sitting and chatting with friends while taking a break from walking around.

MRB - Mississippi River Bottom Bar (525 St. Philip). Their bloody marys were recommended by a friend, and they did not disappoint.

Crescent City Brewhouse (527 Decatur). Very good food and delicious beer. I had the crabmeat augratin and a 5 beer sampler. Everything was reasonably priced, but we did run the bill up pretty quickly with appetizers, drinks and dessert. It was worth it though.

Cafe Beignet (334 Royal). We knew the line at the original beignet place (Cafe DuMonde) would be long by the time we got around to eating breakfast, so we tried this place. I had a cheese omelet and a cafe mocha. The beignets were also delicious.

Mr. B’s Bistro (201 Royal). This was an incredible dinner. The place is beautiful and the service is impeccable. We started out with garlic truffle fries that I wish I could make at home. I had the filet mignon for my meal. I also tasted a bit of the bbq shrimp which was so delicious. (They have the shrimp recipe on their website). I’d recommend you save up your money and eat here if you want to eat at one fancy place. Everything was delicious.

Cafe Amelie (912 Royal). This place is also very highly recommended. The  courtyard is so beautiful and very peaceful. I ate the nut bread with goat cheese and fig preserves for an appetizer and the BLT. I just wish I could have tried more things from the menu.

Cafe Du Monde (1039 Decatur). World famous for beignets (sort of like a donut, but more delicious) and cafe au lait. Get them to go if the place is too busy to get a table.

Pat O’Brien’s. We went for the piano bar and hurricanes after dinner. Very fun for groups.

And an honorable mention shout out goes to the Marriott New Orleans (555 Canal Street) lobby bar/restaurant.  Their banana’s foster cheesecake and white chocolate bread pudding were both amazing.

 

Normally I hate bread pudding, with all its gooey, raisiny-ness. But this one raised the standards.

 There’s so much more we wanted to see, and eat, but in 3 days we managed to do a fair amount of damage!

Do you have New Orleans recommendations for the next time we make it over there?

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The birthday month

I turned 30 a few days ago. Thursday, April 7th to be exact.

Normally my birthday passes pretty quickly. Calls and texts from family and friends. Some kind of get together with my parents and siblings. Something with the husband and his family.

Sometimes, I buy myself something cool.

This year it was a new bag from the Coach outlet.

But this year has also already been a little different.

A trip to New Orleans at the end of March kind of kicked things off. Although, admittedly it wasn’t even in April. I have pictures, but still need to take a few minutes to organize them for you.

Then, last weekend, I had a visit from my sister and my best friend. It was a whirlwind trip (less than 24 hours) that included cooking our own PF Chang’s Spicy chicken at home, gelato and a fabulous Sunday brunch complete with bottomless mimosas. It made me so happy they were able to come over.

Tuesday, I had lunch with a work friend, and afterward we got our passport photos taken while we’re out, since we’re going to Italy together this summer. (She’s renewing. I’m finally getting my name changed.)

Then Wednesday night, Taylor and I are met up for dinner with friends who are visiting from Italy. (Yep, the ones I’m visiting this summer.)

Thursday my staff took me out to lunch at my favorite lunch spot, Katharine & Company. And Thursday night, Taylor and I went out to Saltgrass for steak. Afterward we met up with our Italian friends for a post dinner margarita.

Tonight, we met up with Taylor’s parents for dinner at Carrabba’s.

It really was a great birthday week.

But I feel like I’m done eating for a while, so when I go to the store tomorrow I’ll probably be getting a lot of vegetables and salad stuff.

And I’ve still got to celebrate with my parents, in a couple weeks since they were out of town this weekend.

But really, I’m so lucky to have great friends and wonderful family to celebrate this milestone with. And to celebrate future milestones with.

Me at work on the last day of my 20s.

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