Posts Tagged ‘new orleans’

halloween in new orleans

October 25th, 2011

Halloween is serious business down in New Orleans.  Whether a costume or a front porch, creativity and attention to detail really counts. These photos are from last October’s Halloween walk from the St Charles Streetcar to brunch at Uptown restaurant, Patois.

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Halloween is serious business down in New Orleans.  Whether a costume or a front porch, creativity and attention to detail really counts. These photos are from last October’s Halloween walk from the St Charles Streetcar to brunch at Uptown restaurant, Patois.

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at home with leetha & lance

September 8th, 2011

Today is a big day in our household. In case you aren’t a football fan, the NFL worked through the lockout and the first game of the season is tonight. Green Bay Packers are hosting the New Orleans Saints. I know this because from September – January our weekend often revolves around the watching of [...]

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Today is a big day in our household. In case you aren’t a football fan, the NFL worked through the lockout and the first game of the season is tonight. Green Bay Packers are hosting the New Orleans Saints. I know this because from September – January our weekend often revolves around the watching of football. I cannot make any joint plans on Sundays. My husband is a Giants fan, but seems like he’s tracking everything… the 1:00, 4:00, 8:00 games, plus Monday Night Football. Needless to say, when February rolls around, I consider our Super Bowl party one giant celebration to kick off my half of the year.

In honor of the evening’s proceedings, I’ve been saving this football-related a post. It features photos taken last season, on Halloween/game day for the Steeler/Saints. Before we even booked our trip to New Orleans, I vetoed going anywhere near the Superdome. Through a invitation of my friend Lisa, D and I still managed to crash a wonderfully civilized tailgate party run by Saints season ticket holders and Louisiana residents, Leetha and Lance.

First off, I would like to thank both Leetha and Lance for welcoming 2 Connecticut Yankees into their beautiful New Orleans home, for keeping the champagne glasses always filled and giving us the grand tour of their art-filled apartment. And thank you Lisa for bringing us to see yet another side of New Orleans.

I am in love with this drawing above the master bed. It’s done in graphite pencil and I believe the multiple panels are simply tacked to the wall with pushpins. It reminds me of something you’d find ‘in process’ on a studio wall.

Leetha and Lance are avid art collectors. Every wall of their New Orleans apartment is filled and there is a story behind each piece. I wish I had taken notes, but after a huge brunch at Patois and some general cocktailing in the French Quarter, you’ll see I didn’t even manage to meter most of these photos correctly.

Anyone counting all the fleur de lys in this post?

With a view like this, I would have been happy to stay here and watch Saints on tv, but eventually everyone piled into the elevator.  While the rest of the party walked to the game, we went to dinner and watched from the bar at Brennan’s.


In the end, I will admit defeat. We might as well have gone to the Superdome. Our servers paid far more attention to the TV than they did to us! It felt like the city came to a halt to root for the Saints. In case you were wondering: yes, the Saints won that night. The next morning, we departed New Orleans with a lot of disappointed Pittsburgh fans.

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may remember I had a great time eating my way through my first tailgate at a Seattle Seahawks game opening weekend of the 2008 – 2009 season. I am now 2 for 2 on exceptional NFL tailgating!

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only in new orleans

March 8th, 2011

In honor of Mardi Gras, I thought it was the perfect day to share this photo that never made its way into any other posts about our Halloween trip to New Orleans. As I search through my files, I still can’t believe how few photos I took during our three days in the City.  I [...]

 

In honor of Mardi Gras, I thought it was the perfect day to share this photo that never made its way into any other posts about our Halloween trip to New Orleans. As I search through my files, I still can’t believe how few photos I took during our three days in the City.  I try not to walk and shoot (this has been the source of 2 sprained ankles), but I know I did just that.

I love the way this street vignette is permanently frozen in time. At first I thought he was staring at me, but now I feel he is staring right through me.

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fly-by in new orleans

February 18th, 2011

Do you remember the fantastic swifts I saw in Portland a few years ago? I was surprised to come upon a similar scene in New Orleans. I’m not sure if these are birds or bats or who knows what?? But they swooped dramatically while we waited for the Halloween parade to inch through the French [...]

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Do you remember the fantastic swifts I saw in Portland a few years ago? I was surprised to come upon a similar scene in New Orleans. I’m not sure if these are birds or bats or who knows what?? But they swooped dramatically while we waited for the Halloween parade to inch through the French Quarter. As it was Mischief Night, I found their appearance all the more eerie.

Mischeif Night fly by in New Orleans 2010

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behind the bar: cocktails in new orleans

February 16th, 2011

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I prefer cocktails to wine. That means when we travel, we seek out the best mixologists in town. Before our trip, GQ posted the article, The 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America. No 16, Arnaud’s French 75 was our first stop in New Orleans. I was in for [...]

 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I prefer cocktails to wine. That means when we travel, we seek out the best mixologists in town. Before our trip, GQ posted the article, The 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America. No 16, Arnaud’s French 75 was our first stop in New Orleans. I was in for a surprise when I crossed the threshold. Set in the heart of the French Quarter, this bar was an oasis from the Halloween/Steelers chaos out on the street. There is an refined, old school feel to the decor and the white jacketed bartenders. The photo below illustrates a fundamental dichotomy inside the Quarter: wingtips & slacks or flip-flops and pajama pants?

There was no question, I had to order one of my favorites: a French 75. Except there was another surprise in store. I always assumed the French 75 was made with gin, but in colder weather, the bartenders at Arnaud’s make the switch to cognac.

On Saturday night before dinner at Le Foret, we watched the Halloween parade and met Lisa for cocktails at Iris. The presentation was beautiful and the offerings on the menu quite creative.

Below is Bar Uncommon located inside the Renaissance Pere Marchette in the Central Business District.  Here, we found the master mixologist himself. New Orleans native Chris McMillian (center) will chat you up, while preparing his signature mint julep.


We also made a late night stop at loa in the International House (Central Business District), where I put a bartender to work whipping up my gin fizz. Sorry, no photos… it was too dark. Sadly, we never made it to the classic Sazerac Bar inside the Roosevelt Hotel and Cure, the Uptown cocktail bar that looks a like a little slice of NYC in New Orleans.

We were only in town for 3 nights so, so I’m sure we missed many other wonderful spots. Do you have any suggestions for our next trip? I’m sure we’ll return, I love a city filled with great food and cocktails!

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nola: magazine street & st charles ave

February 6th, 2011

After spending our first night in New Orleans in the French Quarter, we returned our rental car at the airport and took a cab over to Magazine Street. Our Saturday was spent largely on foot, covering over 4 miles as we headed back toward the hotel. With my soft spot for stationery, our first stop [...]

 

After spending our first night in New Orleans in the French Quarter, we returned our rental car at the airport and took a cab over to Magazine Street. Our Saturday was spent largely on foot, covering over 4 miles as we headed back toward the hotel.

With my soft spot for stationery, our first stop was Scriptura. In an age of electronic communication, paper goods can seem like such a old fashioned luxury! For those of you on Twitter, you can follow me here and enjoy this pad of paper tweets from the shop.

Nearby, we found Hazelnut, a home furnishings shop I discovered inside Food + Wine Magazine.

Mad Men fans take note:
Hazelnut is owned by the Bryan Batt (art director, Sal Romano). A true son of New Orleans, I was amazed to see him in the shop, meticulously dressed and looking every bit a star of the screen! We hung back while he wrapped one of our purchases, a glass skull & crossbone decanter that we gingerly hand-carried on the flight back to Connecticut. We also got the tiger, stitched in Tibet (below).

I wanted to check out the clever designs of Dirty Coast Press and on our way, we passed this beautiful owl (and visiting conservation group) outside Whole Foods.

Boo Dat: Game day and Halloween are about to converge.

One of my biggest regrets for this trip? Our lunch on Magazine. Casamento’scame highly recommended by numerous friends and we walked right by it… The shopfront AND the ridiculously long line to dine inside. I know, a line is usually a good sign that the food is worth the wait. Except hunger managed to override my compulsive planning. We settled on a divey little spot a few doors down, refueling with gumbo, muffaletta and Abita beer (+ brown paper bag).

After lunch we kept walking and walking on Magazine. Past endless shops filled with beautiful home furnishings, restaurants & bars and locals out-and-about for brunch or on the hunt for a last minute Halloween costume. In the end, we walked all the way to the Hilton, rewarding ourselves with Drago’s famous charbroiled oysters. We never intended to walk that far (a cab would have been welcome), but I did enjoy experiencing the different neighborhoods on foot.

Besides Magazine Street, we were also advised to check out the beautiful homes on St. Charles Ave.

Bound for Sunday brunch at Patois, we boarded the St. Charles streetcar (more about that meal here).

I was impressed with the City’s enthusiasm for Halloween. Home decorations were so much more unique and creatively displayed than I’ve ever seen up North. I have more photos, but I’ll save those for next October.

Not be forgotten: the city’s beloved football team, The Saints.

On the way back from brunch, Lisa stopped to show us a spot she once called home.
After viewing so many stately homes Uptown and in the Garden District, I couldn’t help wishing for a glimpse inside.

I’ll never get used walking the streets with a drink in my hand, but in my next post we’ll cover some of our discoveries from the New Orleans cocktail scene.

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new orleans first look

February 2nd, 2011

It’s been a bit daunting to talk about my first visit to New Orleans. Full of character, grit, beautiful sights and great food, this city was much more complex than I had imagined while watching episodes of Treme and thumbing through guidebooks. I also didn’t take nearly as many photos as I expected. I’m going [...]

 

It’s been a bit daunting to talk about my first visit to New Orleans. Full of character, grit, beautiful sights and great food, this city was much more complex than I had imagined while watching episodes of Treme and thumbing through guidebooks. I also didn’t take nearly as many photos as I expected. I’m going to start with a warm-up post of my very first look at the city. We stayed on Canal, on the edge of the French Quarter and our walk to and from Restaurant Stella! gave me a small taste of things to come. Keep in mind, we arrived in town at the start of a BIG party weekend. There air was absolutely electric! Saturday night was dedicated to Halloween and Sunday to the home game for the Saints.

We never did try the Gumbo Shop. For one thing I got passionate, but opposing reviews. Besides that, this place was jammed inside/line outside every time we walked by!  Speaking of gumbo, we recently attempted a version here in Connecticut. It was far more work than I expected, but a dark roux rewards your time at the stove with some amazing flavor.

Super Bowl weekend is nearly upon us, so I had to include this shot from Bourbon Street.  D told me that Steelers Nation is always ready to travel. You wouldn’t believe how many Pittsburgh fans were in town for Sunday’s football game. They had all manner of black and gold and I doubt those outfits are only used for Halloween weekend. We didn’t attend the game (a point agreed upon BEFORE booking our trip), but we did sneak in a tailgate party. More about that later.

It’s New Orleans, so of course you find music on street corners everywhere.

And finally back at our hotel, a well-heeled crowd was enjoying Jeremy Davenport and his band. Exhausted, we still  jammed our way into the lounge just to hear a little music before hitting the hay.

There were quite a few times that weekend when I found Bourbon Street completely overwhelming. I preferred the quieter spots. Don’t worry, this was just the first night. We got out of the Quarter! In my next post, you can join in on our 4 mile walk along Magazine Street.

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patois in new orleans

December 29th, 2010

Now that holidays are behind us I’ll admit there has been a lot of blog post procrastination going on. In the hopes of finally wrapping up our Gulf Coast vacation from back in OCTOBER… I am kicking off the New Orleans portion of our trip with a restaurant post. There’s a tremendous amount of good food in New Orleans and [...]

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Now that holidays are behind us I’ll admit there has been a lot of blog post procrastination going on. In the hopes of finally wrapping up our Gulf Coast vacation from back in OCTOBER… I am kicking off the New Orleans portion of our trip with a restaurant post.

There’s a tremendous amount of good food in New Orleans and staying in a hotel on the edge of the French Quarter, it was pretty easy to get lazy and talk myself out of going to Uptown for brunch.  Luckily, an old friend was in town and was committed to shaping my first taste of this city. Lisa settled in New Orleans for a medical residency and though she now lives in Atlanta is still a regular visitor and dedicated Saints fan!  After dinners at Le Foret and Stella (both meals top of my list for 2010), Lisa convinced us that Patois was not to be missed. Shaking off Halloween Eve celebrations in a city that knows how to party, we climbed aboard the St. Charles streetcar and rumbled out on a sunny Sunday morning.
 

Patois is a little gem nestled in a residential neighborhood. Its presence is so unexpected, I thought we were were on the wrong block.  We usually never order this much for a late morning meal, but hey, we were on vacation! What an unforgettable dining experience. I’m so grateful that we found our way to Patois AND that there was enough natural light to take some photographs for you!

Local Yellow Squash, Vidalia Onion & Basil Soup with a Parmesan Crouton

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Oranges, Shaved Fennel, Hollygrove Arugula, Toasted Walnuts & a Citrus Vinaigrette

Mussels and Fries in a Smoky Tomato Broth with Saffron Aioli

Smoked Brisket Hash with Brussels Sprouts and Two Eggs Over Easy
Bloody Mary with pickled okra and green beans
On a side note: I’ve been converted to bloodies with lots of veggies. There is even a jar of smoked picked okra in our fridge right now. And no, it’s not slimy. It’s crunchy! C’mon over to our house for a bloody mary and cast your vote.

Shrimp and Anson Mills Grits with Onions, Poblano Peppers &  Sherry Vinegar Garlic Butter

Egg, Crispy Pork Belly & Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese & Crystal Hot Sauce Aioli on Brioche.
Who ordered this stunning heart attack on a plate? Dr Lisa!

If you’re headed to New Orleans, click on over to Open Table and score a reservation at Patois. One of the true highlights of the trip was escaping the craziness of the Quarter and trading it in for a relaxed neighborhood spot with great food. There was James Carville having a leisurely meal over near the bar. The table next to ours? That’s right where superstar chefs Tom Colicchio, Eric Ripert, Wylie Dufresne and David Chang dined in their Treme cameo.  I wish I could roll out of bed every Sunday and walk to a great restaurant like Patois. I can’t wait to return. Next time it will be for dinner.

www.patoisnola.com