Thursday, February 28, 2013

A couple of things...

1. Boy and I have taken to going to breakfast together about once a week, walking through the Bywater, instead of taking our bikes. It's a great opportunity to closely observe the neighborhood and inspect things that are just a blur in passing on a bicycle. It's amazing how many boarded up properties and empty lots there are hidden among the spruced up shot-guns and camel-backs. We like to dream out loud about the possibilities and histories of the spaces...sigh

2. Back at the studio, Boy had an old spirograph laying out. I got a little creative:

I could draw some of those on top of old found images, throw that shit up on Etsy and call myself an artist. BOOM!

3. The new issue of Lucky Peach is out! I'll share any interesting tid-bits will y'all as soon as I crack it open. I'm excited to read the piece by Michael Pollan and something called "Cooking For Zombies".

4. Speaking of Zombies, have you heard of The Walking Dead Escape? I like a good zombie as much as the next person, but have yet to watch any episodes (someone let me watch their cable!). Pssst; I have it under good information that The Walking Dead Escape will be coming to New Orleans sometime in the near future...weee! Zombies for everybody!

5. After almost two and a half years of living in one of the best places to eat oysters, I FINALLY ate at Casamento's. I've always heard it was the best place to get oysters, and I may have to agree with that statement. Look for a future blog post about my love affair with raw oysters (heaven).


Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Alfresco Lunch in the French Quarter

What a gorgeous day! Since I was off of work early afternoon and my man friend (I'm gonna call him 'Boy') didn't have work till late afternoon, we decided to meet up for lunch somewhere in between the two of us.

While trying to figure out what to eat, we lamented the lack of deli counters in New Orleans. Boy is from Cleveland and myself from New York, and although we both love a good po-boy, sometimes you want a cheap pastrami on rye or chicken bacon bomber (holla 'atcha East Islip, NY). True, there is  Stein's Deli; I previously lived a oyster shell's throw away from Stein's. Their sandwiches are good, but I think a bit overpriced, and Boy says, "Too small". (But please do visit Stein's to peruse their vast selections of beer and bearded, tattooed men serving meat).

I ended up leaving the details to boy, and agreed to just meet him at the Joan of Arc statue in the French Quarter. I am usually hesitant to spend any amount of time in the area, since I immediately feel agro amongst the over-weight, khaki and sneaker clad tourists. BUT, I also like being surprised for lunch by a gentleman, so I went with it.

Boy came through! He stopped and picked up 'sammitches' from JIMS in the Bywater! We found a bench by a fountain and dug in.

JIMS was good! We had the Club with a side of coleslaw and another sandwich with mushrooms and goat cheese with a side of french fries. I would have liked more fries (since I inhaled them in 5 secs), but everything else was great (especially the super thick bread and tons of meat on the Club). Looking at the prices now online, I see it's not much different then Stein's, so I'll just break even saying it's a good sandwich option downtown. 

Boy also won big points for his drink selection. He stopped somewhere else along the way for beverages, but asked that his secret spot to remain unnamed, after I announced he needed to get used to our life being blogged about ("can't some things remain sacred?!"). The Chrysanthemum Tea Drink was good, but oh my lord 21 grams of sugar?! Also, I love these types of coffee drinks in cans. No, not energy drinks and those things from Starbucks. I like the weird, what in the world I've never heard of this brand in my life ones. 

Perhaps it was the beautiful weather. Perhaps it was the fact that we hadn't seen each other in two or more days. Perhaps it was the fact that I "cleansed" yesterday and was ecstatic to shove anything in my mouth. But Boy and I were practically giddy, cuddling up in our own private oasis in the midst of mid-westerners pointing at their go-cups and exclaiming loudly, "Barb, Barb, take a picture why don't cha?!"

To keep the party going, I announced the need for ice cream. I pulled out my Yelp (Yelp is the one app I find myself using constantly since moving to New Orleans. It's just great. Get it) and saw that there was an ice cream shop right around the corner on Dumaine Street! Images of skipping in the sunshine holding an ice cream cone danced through my mind. We didn't find ice cream cones, but what we did find was pretty damn unexpected and awesome. 

Meltdown serves house made ice pops, or "frozen confection(s) on a stick". We struck up conversation with the owner with the typical assumption that since we'd never heard of them, they must be new. "How long have you been here?". Deadpan answer, "Five years". Whoops. Owner Michelle Weaver warmly acknowledged that yes, most locals are surprised when they find the shop, most of her business coming from tourists. Well, Michelle, get ready for more locals, cause I'm telling er' body bout your pops. 

The salted caramel cream pop was so good. We also tried the strawberry basil for good measure, both disappearing quickly. While I did the little dance at the door of 'are we leaving, oh, not yet, eh yes?' while Boy and Michelle talked about different shop locations (I'm all about pops in the Bywater by the way, wink wink). I felt like a child doing the potty dance so I did the one thing I know best and ordered another pop. Oh my lord, vietnamese coffee flavor, you are so good to me. We left with promises to come back for the chocolate sea salt with olive oil (I died a little on the inside when she said she was sold out). It was no ice cream cone, but I am not complaining. 

So, where's your favorite spot to picnic? 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

'Let's see what I can make for dinner with the contents of my fridge' No. 1

I have this talent, NAY, a skill, in which I can make something decent to eat out of whatever is laying around in the Frigidaire. I'd like to think I inherited this skill from my father, the microwave king.

So, if you're like me, and I hope you are (wink), the last thing you want to do when you get home from a long day of work is make dinner. And if you are like me, you really shouldn't go out to eat AGAIN, and you live alone, and cooking for yourself just sucks. So you end up eating crackers and hummus and fancy chocolate bars from Whole Foods. You go, girl.

Come on, you're not in college anymore (gaa)! Let's get creative.

I hate wasting food and will let things go as far as possible, so this is also a great opportunity to throw some things out that are turning into science experiments. My rule of thumb is if my cats won't eat it, I shouldn't either.

Alright, so I had some eggs and some bread..hmm..french toast! Yes! But that's boring so let's see what else is in here...oh pesto! Now we're getting fancy.              

I had some dried rosemary and sage from my garden so I crumbled a bunch of that in there as well. For four pieces of bread, I used 3 eggs. Use a fork to scramble that mother up good, and add from milk for good measure (if you don't have milk you can use water!). Make sure you yell at your cats 5 billion times to get off the freaking counter. 

I put two slices of bread in there at a time, slapped em around a bit to get them good and soggy and let them sit while I went to the stove. If you are like me, then you have a tiny tiny stove in which the largest burner doesn't work so your pans all get burnt in the middle. 

I turned the heat onto medium (which doesn't matter cause everything will burn) and grabbed some coconut 'rl. That's what we call 'oil' down hurr; 'rl. Yeah, you gotta hear it to get it....ANYway, I like to use coconut 'rl over extra virgin because it is less greasy in the long run. Get yo pan nice and hot and throw your toast in. While those two are cooking, get your other two a-soakin'. 

It should only take a couple minutes on each side to brown the toast. Close your eyes as the warm smells of rosemary and sage hug you, and imagine you're making something a lot fancier then French Toast. Then open your eyes quick cause something is burning oh my god. 

I was pretty happy with the savory flavor the herbs added to the toast, but it was missing something. If you're  like me, you don't have any maple syrup in your fridge. But you do have creole tomato garlic pepper jelly! They sell this stuff at the Crescent City Farmers Market. She has TONS of different flavors and the multiple ones I've tried have been fan-tas-tic. 

If you're like me, your apartment is tiny, so turn around and sit on your couch/dining room table and enjoy your fake dinner. Don't forget to tell your cats to get their heads out of the dirty dishes so help you god I'm gonna kill you. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

I don't drink alcohol, so I coffee shop hop

What a nasty, rainy day it is. While I debate on wither I shall brave the rain on my bike to attend a yoga class or not, let me talk about coffee and pastries!

I love coffee shops. Not only do I love coffee (specifically espresso), but I love the event of sitting at the coffee shop, the act. It's very romantic and European in my mind. You stare at people. Pretend your doing important work. Writing your novel, etc. Before I got sober, I wasn't able to drink caffeine past 5 pm without fear of staying awake all night. For some reason now, I can drink all the caffeine I want, all day! Yeah for me! Here is a list of some of my favorite spots in the city:

Hey! Cafe
The guys who run Hey! Cafe are super dorky and cute. They put out comic books and also run a music label. Lots of sockets to plug in your laptop. I usually stick with espresso drinks. When they have the quiche, it is banging (I eat it straight up cold) and they often have Vegan and Gluten-Free pastry options. I also buy my espresso beans from them. It's a good place to check out their posting wall of things to do in town.

Avenue Cafe
The Avenue Cafe on St. Charles is right around the corner from my house, so I am partial. It seems like it would be a bit too commercial-y for my taste, but for some reason I love this place (and it is actually Independently owned!...I think they need some work on their logo...). They have great pastries (some of which they get from a vegan and gluten-free baker) and their egg sandwiches are awesome, so is their service. I could sit on my laptop in there for a while.

You get a free teacake when you check-in on Yelp. Nuff' said.

Reservoir Cafe 
This place is fairly new, opened by the couple who had the thrift store previously in the same space. They've done a great job. Their breakfast tacos are really good and really cheap! A great place to sit outside and watch Magazine St.

Mojo Coffee House
Oh, Mojo. What a great place to sit outside with a larger group of people. Their Iced Chai Latte is the best I've had in the city. Open late, and usually crowded with people on laptops. I just *wish* their Baristas were a bit almost seems they are told to act bored and/or annoyed. Except for that one older dude. He's great.

Cafe Envie
Cafe Envie has banging cookies! Their sandwiches and stuff are a bit pricey but it's a little oasis of calm in the crazy quarter. They are open late and at the bottom of Decatur St.

I feel like I'm in LA (or what I assume LA would be since I've never been there) when I'm in Merchant. I get their iced cappuccino because, what?! You can't ice a cappuccino, silly! I had a panini last time I was there, which was sub par. I wish I had another sandwich to eat after I was done. But they also carry fancy sodas, and that's a big plus in my book. Merchant is tucked away in the CBD on Common St. Go there to feel new-age as fuck.

The Orange Couch
Right over Elysian Fields on Royal St., this place again is a bit too fru-fru for my taste, but they do Vietnamese Iced Coffees and were open during the Krewe de Vieux parade, so, good for you Orange Couch!

Looking for some pastries with my coffee...

La Boulangerie
Oh, the excuses that can be made to have to go to Boulangerie. Over the summer they renovated and now have a full coffee menu! Yes! More reasons to sit there stuffing deliciousness in your mouth. My favorite pastries are the chocolate almond croissant, brioche suisse, and ham and cheese croissant. Their blue cheese bread is amazing as well. Side note: La Boulangerie is where I get my first king cake of the carnival season; almond paste filled French King cake with precious little porcelain statuettes hidden inside.

French king cake from La Boulangerie

Macaroons. That's all I can say. I dare you to have just one

Croissant d'Or
It's like the Boulangerie of the French Quarter! I recently discovered this place at the bottom of the quarter on Ursulines Ave. The place is pretty big with a dreamy looking courtyard. They have good chocolate espresso and yes, great croissants. I'm excited to try their more decadent looking pastries.

Almond croissant and espresso from Croissant d'Or

Honorable mention....French Truck Coffee! French Truck is delicious! They roast their own coffee, then deliver it to you! We use their cold brew in the coffee smoothie at The Green Fork (where I work, whoop whoop!) and they also serve it at the new Church Alley, which I have yet to frequent, but looks pretty awesome.

Using a toddy to make French Truck Cold Brew

Hmm...perhaps I'll trade my yoga mat for a croissant today...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Don't Label Me, Bro!

Alright, now that we've got a trial blerg post out of the way, I feel as if I should make my intentions made.

It's February 24, 2013 and I am 25 years old. That means when I was a wee lass, the interwebs were becoming attainable in the common household. In other words, I grew up with it. I sat for countless hours on AOL Instant Messenger, beefing up my Myspace profile will all sorts of .:*:. and relationship quotes that so totally described how I felt about love and life (poor, sad little 13 year old). I illegally downloaded songs from Napster and was part of one of the first generations on Facebook.

When I attended college, I pertook in different sorts of media classes (in between excessive partying and tom-foolery); public relations, journalism, social media, advertising. Being at a small liberal arts college in the mountains of a hippie village, I was also trying to "find" myself through environmental appreciation, art, music,  (drugs) and a general and sincere push towards interests of "the good old days", a time without the technologies so readily available and present in our lives of today. I LOVE gardening. I LOVE cooking, and reading, and hiking, and vinyl records and old shit. But how would I inform myself, expand on my knowledge of my keen and unique interests? The internet.

Such is the conundrum I find myself constantly rolling around in my head. I want to live in a world where people are appreciated (and what more, can make a living) for their unique talents and physical contributions to this world. The Butcher. The Baker. Fuck, even the Candlemaker. But gosh darnit, isn't that what the internet allows? A source where a person can find, inform, and even purchase and partake. Why do I have such a hard time with this?! The internet has allowed for the connection of arts all around the world, for a showcase of people talents, thoughts, ideas. Collaborations abound! It's so wonderful!

Why do I have such a hard time with the fact that a person can make a living with the help of technology, even though I've been using said technologies for years (and am discussing it on MY BLOG)!? I am such the hypocrite that at the same time of having the thought process in my head of "why would anyone think that someone else wants to hear about what they ate for breakfast that day.." I'm thinking, "HEY! I'm gonna post about that awesome Breakfast I had!" Go ahead, call me a hipster while I criticize that hipster over there.

I'm not sure if it's jealousy or laziness...jealousy perhaps in that I haven't found my specialty yet. And for that I again blame the internets (aha!) Let me expand: Back in "the days", a person would figure out their career, how? I think perhaps by realizing their natural born talents (hopefully), or follow in their families footsteps. The information needed to learn their craft was passed on by word of mouth or written on a page. Sure, that meant a lot of time that Billy turned out to be a cobbler when all he really wanted to do was dance.

The influx of information on any given subject so readily available at our finger tips allows for renaissance men and women. It's the difference between being really good at one thing, or being okay (knowing a lot) about a lot of things. Some people find out with they are really good at early on and roll with it. Great! Some people take a bit more time and fall into something they can live with it. Me? Well, I guess you can call me a renaissance crazy person.

Stick with me, I think a point will eventually be made. Now, from what I can remember from the recesses of my brain bank, a good blog (or life) has a focus. It has a theme. You don't become a lawyer and then attend fashion week in NYC. It has a voice and a focus. Sure, there may be different sub titles of different posts; "Read, Need, Greed", "My Weekly Knitting Project", what have you. And I think here is my point: I don't have a focus. On this blog, or in my life really. It's a free for all. Yes, I know what I like and don't like (God help me I hope I do at this stage). But do I feel all over the place sometimes (most of the time)? Yes.

So I give in. I'm not gonna fight it anymore, my past or my future. Will it be pretty? Maybe. Will it be concise and orderly? No way. I guess what I am hoping to get out of this is some insight. Don't get me wrong, I'm super happy with life. I'm almost 6 months sober (best thing to happen to me), have a great income maker, great relationship, healthy lifestyle. I guess I'm just striving for my "thing". I want a thing!

If anything this will be a compilation of links, pictures, songs articles, etc. in one place so I wont be spamming my Facebook with it all. Don't worry though, I'll post a link to blog post on my Facebook page. 

Productivity for Lazy People

Because we didn't make it out of the warehouse for Mod Dance Party Saturday evening, I was determined to make the most of my day off today. Forgoing bicycles for feets, we strolled through the neighborhood in the lovely it's-almost-kinda-Spring-in-February weather and walked right past our normal breakfast spot, Satsuma cafe, to check out the menu at Booty's. I think Booty's is relatively new to the Bywater.

Let me tell you about Booty's; Simple and airy decor. Stumptown coffee done very well. Cheeky items written in script chalk style on the walls. A cocktail made with "unicorn syrup".  Art installation in the unisex (transgender, queer..uhh..the picture was half "man" half "girl", yeah?) bathrooms, which wow, you just need to check them out. I announced to no one that I felt like I was in Portland a number of times before my breakfast partner reminded me that I've never been to Portland (doh!). The menu format was interesting, including old ticket stubs and maps from Spain or France or wherever behind the food items on the old school clip board. I ordered a tamarind soda (since I don't drink alcohol I must and will order every interesting non-alcoholic beverage I encounter) and admired the interesting light bulbs hanging naked from the ceiling.

I choose the poached eggs with pork belly and hollandaise sauce on a corn fritter type vessel. My partner choose the Belgium waffles with fruit and a side of scrambled eggs, and we shared the Belgium fresh fry cone basket thing. Every thing was above par; Waffles melted in my mouth. Scrambled eggs looked like real scrambled eggs and not that weird yellow rubbery stuff you get some places. The hollandaise sauce was light! The only complaint was that my corn fitter thing was too hard, and not in the stale, cooked too long way. I believe it was intentionally crisp, but I think the dish could have used a fluffy egg yolk soaking mechanism.Over all, I will be quick to try out their lunch and dinner menu. It was the perfect balance between simplicity and pretentiousness that I love.

Around the corner we scored some yard sale items; a sweet camera that is in the process of getting cleaned to test for workability, a mirrored gentleman's shaving caddy, and a printed sheet set that would be on sale at Urban Outfitters for like 30 smackeroo's or more (all that plus a bunch of things for my sweetheart for 20 bucks!). I know what you're thinking, "Ew, who buys used bedding?" I DO. Girl, I'm sure you've passed out multiple Saturday nights on nastier. I've gotten awesome textiles from thrift stores, yard sales, what have you. Unless there are unignorable (yes, I often make up words; it's fun and creative) stains that bring up horrifying images, throw those puppies in the washer, bada-bing bada-boom.

I stopped at a couple of places (Bon Castor, Peaches Records) searching for Lucky Peach magazine on my way uptown. If you are a food enthusiast, enjoy off-color magazines, and appreciate attractive heavy stock paper, check out Lucky Peach asap. Their newest quarterly issue should be arriving at the Garden District Book Shop any day now (which is where I finally found back editions).

Some other tidbits_____

_____Have you tired out the Vine app yet? Find me on it...I can't decide yet if it's cool or completely obnoxious.
_____I found the two point army hat I am wearing in my 'About Me' photo today at the junk shop. The name tag on the inside says "Clifford". Awesome.
_____This is my first "blog post". I've got some other ideas for posts; views on coffee shops, yoga studios, recipes, movies, books, life, and New Orleans etc. I hope you'll enjoy this relationship as much as me, *wink* I'll apologize now for not making sense, being too self deprecating, contradictory, or dull.