Sunday, February 24, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras!

I am writing this post from our basement, which for the past week I have called my "cave."  When you are spending the majority of the day down here, it certainly does feel like a cave.   Work on our kitchen is going pretty smoothly so far, and it's supposed to be done at the end of next week!  Let's hope we don't hit any snags!

2 weeks ago Kevin and I took a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  I had been to New Orleans during college, so I knew that it was crazy even when Mardi Gras wasn't going on.  I was not too excited about going during Mardi Gras, but we decided to attend for a couple of reasons:

1.  Kevin's 125 Places to Drink a Beer Before you Die List states "French Quarter During Mardi Gras" as #26.  God forbid we don't check something off of a list- ;)

2.  Check it off the old bucket list, before we become too old to walk down Bourbon Street (more on that later)

So my awesome parents came up to watch CJ and we flew down to New Orleans on Saturday.  We checked into our really nice hotel and ate our first meal at the Acme Oyster House.  The Travel Channel runs a "Chowdown Countdown" all of the time, and this is one of the two places in New Orleans on the list.  We both had oyster poboys and I also had gumbo.  The rest of the day was spent exploring the French Quarter and having some drinks.  That night we ate at Mother's Restaurant, but due to well, maybe one too many hand grenade drinks, I didn't eat much.  Kevin said it was good though. 

Sunday we had brunch reservations at Brennan's but once again those hand grenades from the night before kind of ruined the meal... very sad.  It will be the first on the list the next time we go to New Orleans.  I accompanied Kevin to #101 on his beer list- Cooter Brown's.  After watching a Syracuse basketball game at this sports bar, we decided to not try to meander around the Mardi Gras parades in a taxi and walk the 5 miles down St. Charles Ave back to the French Quarter.  The fresh air did us both good, and we got to experience how the locals celebrate Mardi Gras.  Since many of the parades travel down St. Charles Ave people just set up tents and tailgate the whole day.  They also have these ladder contraptions where kids can sit on top to be able to see and catch beads and other trinkets thrown off the floats.  By the last parade of the day, which we were able to see, you can imagine the party!  It seemed like the whole city came out!  It also is kind of crazy how nuts people (myself included) go just to catch beads and trinkets (don't worry, the parades are very family-friendly).
A cool alligator float

All of the people in the streets (to the left is the parade)
On Monday, we took a graveyard tour through the pouring rain.  I took one of these with my friends when we were down in college, and again found it very entertaining and interesting.  Afterwards, Kevin and I walked to another restaurant on the Chowdown List- Willie Mae's Scotch House.  Best.Fried.Chicken.Ever.   And might I add that I had it with mac and cheese?  Yum.  Totally worth the line to get in.  The rest of the afternoon?  French Market exploring and then Cafe Du Monde for Beignets.  Dinner was at Emeril's.  Luckily, there was a parade going right in front of the restaurant so were able to catch the end of that- as well as get up close as we were not on a main street.  Lots of beads and even a few trinkets!
St. Louis #1 Cemetary
My favorite meal
Drum dish at Emeril's

Tuesday was Mardi Gras so there were some pretty long parades that seemed to go on all day.  One of the downsides of going to New Orleans at Mardi Gras was that you had to really plan your day around these parades.  We actually were kind of stuck trying to find a place to go to breakfast because there were several streets blocked around our hotel and we had to wait awhile to cross the street.  Coincidentally, the day before the priest that married us and baptized CJ, Father Cool, texted Kevin to ask him if we would be free for lunch on Tuesday as he was coming into town for a wedding.  It was so nice to catch up with him (unfortunately at a forgettable restaurant that I don't even remember the name of, the place we wanted to go was closed due to Mardi Gras).  After that, we made sure we had a beer in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras, and then headed back to our hotel so we could grab our luggage and get to the airport!

Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras
Thoughts on the trip- still love New Orleans.  Would go back tomorrow.  I do not need to go back for Mardi Gras.  I AM happy we did go though and experience it.  It kind of reminded us of going to Spain during Holy Week.  Happy to experience all of the events and see what goes on, but would like to go at not such a crazy time.  Remember when I said that we wanted to go to Mardi Gras before we became too old?  Well, there didn't seem to be many people in their 30's frequenting Bourbon St.  There were the college kids just there to see or show boobs of course, AND there were also lots of people over the age of 50.  That surprised me.  The other thing that surprised me was all the people that brought their kids to Bourbon Street at night.  It seems like much of Mardi Gras is very family friendly, but Bourbon St. not so much.  I saw a couple pushing their double stroller while both holding hand grenade drinks.  With beads hurling above at 60 mph.  At 10 PM.  It just seemed wrong to me.  Anyways.  Overall, a great time, and it was nice to get away with just Kevin for a few days.

My recipe(s) for this week- it's kind of late, but I am providing the links to all of the recipes that I made for our Valentine's Day Dinner.  Every year I try to cook something a little fancy or out of my comfort zone for Valentine's Day- it seems like for the past few years it's been something that Gordon Ramsey is always yelling at someone about on Hell's Kitchen.  Last year I made Beef Wellington (probably won't make it again).  This year, I made scallops, risotto, asparagus, and a chocolate tart.

Sea Scallops with Mushrooms and Sherry - These came out even better than I hoped.  I need to make scallops more often! 
Risotto with Asparagus and Morel Ragout- I actually did not make the ragout part, just mixed in the peas and morels at the end.  I roasted the asparagus separately. 
Chocolate Truffle Tart- Actually pretty easy to make, and VERY yummy.

Hopefully next week I will be showing pictures of our new kitchen! 

1 comment:

  1. What a great trip, will think back fondly on it for years to come. That first peak you took of the beads on the street is a great one, we should put it up somewhere in the house.

    Also another awesome Valentine's Day dinner, I have such an awesome wife!!