Tag Archives: new orleans

around here: some last photos of winter

The first day of spring is just around the corner. I’m sitting outside at a local coffee shop and the sun is shining and I’m not wearing a sweater (or jacket).

There’s this excited energy in the air and it seems like all of Brooklyn is celebrating. Everyone is super chatty and friendly. There’s a 90’s music Pandora station on the radio and lots of laughing and singing along.

I’ve taken a few photos over the past few weeks that I couldn’t really fit into a full post. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my camera lately and have spent lots of cold winter days editing photos that just sit in my Flickr account. Here are a few leftover from my New Orleans trip.

I absolutely love this Mardi Gras themed house. I’m pretty sure they decorate like this year-round.

A pretty fire house.

Amazing street art.

And handsome men.

A few photos we snapped while we were drinking hand grenades…

This one really captured the essence of the place.

A few weeks ago, I hosted a craft night and we made felt balls! I dyed the wool and everything. It was a success.

I took this photo from outside my window because I thought it would be the last snow we’d get this winter. Sadly, it seems like I was wrong. We’re expecting more snow later this week.

I guess that’s ok, because when it’s cold outside this little man is more cuddly.

He has the cutest darn paws. Look at those spots and the tufts of hair between his toes. I just can’t…<3

I also had a birthday part last weekend and it was completely love. I have some pretty great people in my life. I made my own birthday cake and it was a hit. I absolutely loved the color.

So I took like a million pictures.

For the cake: Martha Stewart’s Yellow Butter Cake Recipe, Sprinkle’s Buttercream Frosting Recipe, and this tutorial for how to perfectly frost a messy cake.

New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon Recap

I completed my second half-marathon! This time was a bit slower than my first one, but I felt better about this one overall. I was in good spirits the whole time, despite a rocky start that morning. So much of running is mental.

We traveled down to New Orleans for this race and rented a house for the weekend. I had two days in a row where I had to wake up before 5 a.m. (including race day), so I was mostly exhausted and worried about how that would affect my run. Since our rental house was about 4 miles from the start line, we scheduled to have a cab pick us up at 5:45 that morning. When it didn’t show up, we panicked and called every cab company around, they were all booked. Luckily, a good Samaritan saved the day and packed all six of us in his small car and drove us to the start line. We had just a few minutes to spare. There wasn’t any time for group photos, so I had someone take a picture of me while I was waiting to cross the start line.

Here we go!

There were more than 10,000 people running the half-marathon, so I actually had about a half an hour to spare. My corral was toward the back, meaning I’m slow and I was one of the last groups to cross the start line. You can see in this picture all of the people ahead of me in my corral. The starting line was about 1/4 mile ahead of this.

New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon

After waiting for the other corrals to cross, I could finally see the starting line and was ready to go!

Rock n Roll Start Line

It was a beautiful run down the historic streets of New Orleans. I loved seeing the Southern trees and houses with wrap-around porches. I miss the Southern aesthetic so much sometimes. The race itself was really wet. It was very humid (I don’t miss that about the South) and, at times, rainy. The roads were a little slick at some points too.

I was excited for the bands that the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series is famous for, but they were a bit of a let down. There weren’t a lot of them and there weren’t even people standing around watching them, which is what I hoped for. I guess it’s hard to find a race where people cheer you on the entire way, but there were parts of the race where we didn’t have any spectators. At those points, you really have to rely on your internal motivation to get you through the run.

Finishing was, of course, the best part. My friends were waiting for me and Ryan was there.

Finishers! I’m so glad that Ryan and I did the race together.

Post-Race Selfie

After we finished, we cheered on the marathoners while I enjoyed my post-race free beer.

Free Beer

I run for free beer, of course.

new orleans day 4: last day

On our final day we headed over to the insectarium. Where we looked at bugs for two hours.

And where Ryan ate bugs, because he’s gross.

Actually, because I made him, so I could blog about it.

But he was being tricky and wouldn’t pose. So all of the pictures came out blurry, like this one.

So I could only give you pictures of the food.

The insectarium has a live butterfly room, which is terrifying. They fly around and can land on you without a moment’s notice. I didn’t take pictures. I was too busy running for cover. The woman working was sure to remind me that butterflies are completely harmless to humans. Tell that to the heart attack I almost had.

Also, butterflies like to eat eggplant. There were slices of eggplant on serving dishes and the butterflies piled high on top of them.

We had to check out of the hotel, but we stopped by the Garden District before we left. We just went for lunch, but I really regret not spending a whole day there. We chowed down at Cafe Abyssinia, an Ethiopian restaurant.

Yeah, it was delicious. You eat it with your hands. Tallahassee doesn’t have Ethiopian food, so whenever I leave town I always seek it out.

Do yourself a favor, and if you’ve never had Ethiopian food, go out and try it. There’s nothing to be afraid of. And if your town doesn’t have any, just try something different. Swear off the chain restaurants (Chili’s, Pizza Huts, Subways) and American Grill-style food and try your local Indian, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian, Asian, whatever, as long as it’s ethnic and you’ve never tried it before.

Boring people eat boring food.

new orleans day 3: abita brewery

The beau and I woke up bright and early and were at Cafe du Monde around 7 a.m. There was almost always a line at Cafe du Monde, which is famous for its beignets.

They’re French-style doughnuts covered in a mound of powdered sugar.

I had mine with another menu favorite – cafe au lait.

After breakfast we headed about 45 miles out of New Orleans to the town of Abita, home of one of our favorite southern brews.

The town of Abita is smaller than my hometown, really, like no Wal-Mart. Yet it is home to the Abita Brewery and Tasting Room.

We took a tour, which lasted about an hour.

The first 45 minutes of the tour is all you can drink Abita on tap. Seriously. Open bar. Just walk up and help yourself.

Watch a little video on the brewing process, then take your drinks and walk into the brewery to take a look around.

It’s a little boring, because, well, brewing beer isn’t that exciting. It’s a lot of waiting and fermenting, but the tour guide gives you lots of interesting tidbits as he sips his own beer. Every employee we saw was drinking. They all seemed really happy.

Then you go back to the tasting room, buy some merchandise, top off your drink and hang out on the patio. Abita has a Save our Shores Beer, which benefits the gulf coast cleanup effort. Part of the video we watched also discusses Abita’s green initiative, which is pretty impressive.

We then headed over to the Abita Brew Pub. The building was their home when they were a micro-brewery. Since then they’ve had to move to a bigger building.

I finally snagged me an elusive Abita Strawberry. It’s seasonal and hard to find in Florida.

The boyfriend had a mixed beer drink called The Barney. It was Abita Andy Gator and Abita Purple Haze. A fine dessert beer.

Then we ate. Brew pub food is so great.

The best spinach artichoke dip.

a  ruben.

and portabello sandwich.

new orleans day 2

New Orleans Day 2: aka The Foodies Eat and Drink Themselves Silly

We worked up quite an appetite after exhausting ourselves the first day in NOLA. We woke up and did some shopping. Then we embarked on our food adventure. Every website we referenced planning this trip mentioned the great food and told us to come prepared to eat. We ate so much this trip, I sort of got sick of food, which has never happened before.

Early in the day we headed over to Central Grocery for their World Famous Muffulettas.

(Those dead hanging fish were $80!)

The grocery has become super touristy, I couldn’t imagine being a local and shopping there. However, it is pretty much stocked with all sorts of Cajun spices.

The sandwich originated here more than a hundred years ago. Now you can find them anywhere in New Orleans. There is almost always a line, so we headed there around 10:30 a.m.

Ryan got a half order.

Look at that face. The face of hope, joy, and world peace…or possibly just the face of hunger. He always has this look when he’s around good food.

Muffulettas are famous for their olive salad mixture and Sicilian meats.

This particular Muffuletta was non-vegetarian, so we headed over to the Chartres House for my lunch. I had the option to get an eggplant muffuletta, but I’ve had muffuletta before, so I picked this instead.

Vegetarian po’boy. Holy cow. I’ve never had a po’boy before, but who knew tomato sauce and pickles would taste so good together. Ryan also ordered some local beers where were pretty good, but we never found out which brewery they were from and it’s not on their menu.

Here’s the view from the Chartres House. We were able to sit on the balcony and watch the street below.

We headed over to Bourbon Street, which was surreal. It’s hard to picture a street composed entirely of bars until you walk on it. I had one of their famous Hand Grenades.

This is a small. They’re usually served in this giant plastic grenade shaped cup. My rule of thumb for liquor is “don’t drink anything that glows.” This was a fun exception. They won’t tell you what’s in the hand grenade, but it was certainly some type of melon liqueur, which is my favorite type. You can get a hand grenade in only five locations in the world, all on Bourbon St. We got this at the Funky Pirate Bar. Ryan had some Abita beers, which you can find anywhere on draft in NOLA.

We went back to the hotel for a late afternoon nap and woke up to venture out to the Gordon Biersch Brewery & Brew Pub. We were able to sit at the bar, which has a view of the brewing room.

I had one of their brewed root beers, but it was so sweet I couldn’t drink it.  They had a vegetarian menu, but it was new and the cooks were completely unfamiliar with it. They messed up my order twice. I did get a free meal from it though. Ryan had steak.

On our ventures we stumbled across the Louisiana Loom Works. Unfortunately, it was closed. I wanted to go back, but it never worked out. I did, however, want to feature it on my blog. They make beautiful rag rugs on their giant looms. You could see them from the street. They were all so beautiful. But what really caught my attention was cats, lots of them, all over the store.  You can also see the rugs and kitties in their photo gallery.

new orleans day 1

For a birthday / anniversary present, that darling boy of mine took me to New Orleans. Yesterday, we explored the French Quarter. Here are some snapshots.

We found this parade of cuties in a junk shop.

We stumbled on one of Bevlolo Gas & Electric Lights famous stores. I felt awkward taking pictures of their lights inside, but you should check out their website for their gallery. I did manage to take a serene shot of their courtyard, which features one of their works.

Then on to the French Market where we picked up this yum at the Organic Banana.

It’s called the dirty banana.

It was heaven. But they didn’t tell you it was topped off with black pepper – a very strange combination. I couldn’t get used to the drinking in public bit. Everywhere people were carrying beers and over-sized neon cups and every bar I ordered asked if I wanted my drink  “to go.” Also, I paid $11.50 for a mixed drink last night (not including tip), which has topped the most I’ve ever spent on a drink. In my defense, the menu didn’t have a price.

Other stops included the aquarium, Decatur & Royal street, fantastic African food, and the old U.S. Mint.

Also, New Orleans is filled with tacky and tasteless shirts, or in this case, an apron.

Hello inappropriate.

We’re stopping by Canal St. and Bourbon St. today. Let me know if you have any suggestions for places to go.