Friday, March 15, 2013

La Belle Nouvelle Orleans

Well, hello, all! Alas, my inability to actually remember to blog came and bit me has been two months since I last blogged for all of my (probably nonexistent) lovelies. I would like to say that this stems from a very good reason like I was working or I was actually devoting my time to law school or something along those lines. That would, however, be a...lie (insert dramatic music here).

My absence is mostly a result of my extreme absentmindedness and complete inability to remember stuff. You know, little things like I have a blog. When one has guinea pigs, one should not buy rabbit food instead. If you leave food in the fridge for longer than a certain period of time, it will be doing creepy, crazy, potentially toxic things. Little things like that just slip my mind pretty regularly. Oh and also where keys are. I don't know what crazy voodoo happens each day, but my keys just vanish with the regularity of Dane Cook dropping the f-bomb in his stand up routine.

My realisation that I am a truly atrocious blogger steams from my sister-from-another-mother's starting of her own blog (and here I put in a plug for her blog- read's funny and she loves fennec foxes- She started it yesterday and already has two posts. In two days. Hell, it took me two months to get two posts. See, terrible blogger. But when I do blog, it's like reading Jane Austin and Dracula and all of the greats just smushed into one. PS- I know that is an untruth, but just let me have it.

So I was trying to figure out what to blog on for this post and am having difficulty coming up with stuff. I super baked for the people I bribed to witness for mock trial, but that was two weeks ago and, terrible blogger/foodie that I am, I did not take photos. I have the recipes but that seems less interesting than giving you beautiful photographs of White Russian Cupcakes with Kahlua and Vodka Buttercream, and Reese's Brownies, and Cookies and Cream Brownies...the next time I bake, I shall take photos of every beautiful moment of the baking process I swear. And while I did create two Chocolate Pudding Pies last night (for Heath and his father), the process to create one of those super-chocolate-y bad boys is way too easy to merit the attention of an entire blog post.

So what this is actually going to turn into is a travel blog post. Mostly because I have been on a super-binge of all things New Orleans and so, until Heath and I can visit (ps- his parents are going for four days in April and I am super jealous), I live vicariously through photos on the internet and descriptions of food.

One of my dreams has been to stay in the French Quarter. Yes, I know that it's tourist-y and loud and full of people, people, everywhere, but it's le Vieux Carré. The old square. How can you pass up something like that? Rhetorical question because the answer to that can't ever.

There are three things that I desperately want to do while in New Orleans. The first is, you guessed it, the French Market. One of my favourite things while I was living in Rome and France were the open air markets. They're just some of the coolest things around because you never know what you might find. It's not like with a mall where you know exactly which stores you're going to get and, with some room for error, exactly what that store might sell. At open air markets, it's anybody's guess. You might know exactly who the next vendor might be but their product will always be new and spunky and different. It's like a Renaissance Faire that's been time-warped to modern industry.

The French Market has been in operation since 1791 (I'm not so great at the maths, but that's more than two centuries, and how awesome is that?). It's open seven days a week, from essentially nine to six every day. It's a combination farmers market, retail sellers, flea market, and dining car. There're candy factories (anybody else hoping they're not manned by little people called oompa-loompas who have a hankering for some cacao beans and like to remove naughty children from their candy shoppe?), art exhibits of New Orleans based artists, home accessories, and apparel of every sort. And that's just the retail side of things. You'll also find delicious food, from beignets and coffee at the Café du Monde to gumbo and étouffée at World's Famous N'Awlins Cafe and Spice Emporium, the oldest spice emporium in the French Market (which segues quite nicely into the second thing that I want to do in New Orleans).

The next thing that I desperately want to experience in New Orleans is the food. The mind-boggling, super tasty food that seems to leave everyone who wants to try it wanting more. Although I am what some might call (indeed, have called, if I'm being entirely honest here) allergic to onions and garlic, tomatoes, oranges, and other citric acid-heavy food, it would be amazing to experience the food of New Orleans. The place that stands out most to me and I've want to try for the majority of my natural life is Café du Monde. Growing up, beignets always had a special place in my heart. I don't know if it was because 'beignet' sounds far more elegant than 'donut,' because they were a family tradition, or because they're just so likeable (it is impossible to eat a piece of fried dough smothered in powdered sugar without laughing because you have managed to make your entirely black outfit a work of white art). I remember eating these in Paris and trying to remain calm and dignified as powdered sugar flaked off onto my carefully chose outfit. I failed. Miserably. And pairing beignets with coffee or hot cocoa with whipped cream is one of the most delicious experiences that you will ever have. It's just breathtaking how amazing they are. Once you go beignet, you never go back? Wait, that's not right... Although for those of you who aren't able to 
get away to NOLA immediately for some delicious 
beignets and café au lait (read: Heath and myself), they do have Café du Monde products at World Market. They do require work and, unfortunately, do not come with a chef to make them for you and a waiter to serve them to you, but they are delicious and work well to tide you over until you can make the trek to New Orleans. Then, for all of you foodies out there, there is Emeril's NOLA restaurant in the French Quarter or the New Orleans restaurant in the Warehouse District. What most sucks me in on both menus is the crème brulée trio and the vanilla bean crème brulée, respectively. Sounds super delicious. Then, for those of you who actually want a full meal and can't exist solely on dessert, there is Jacques Imo's. Yes, it's a wee bit expensive, but, from what I've read, it's a brilliant, tasty treat with great ambiance. Just looking at the menu, you'll see foods that are at once foreign and intriguing. Such is the shrimp and alligator cheesecake. There are also Cajun/Creole classics, such as shrimp creole, shrimp étouffée, the Cajun bouillabaisse, the crabmeat stuffed shrimp, amonst delicious others, all of which look like they would make your mouth and stomach very happy.

We have finally reached the third, and final, of my "desperately hope to see" destinations of New Orleans. And this is the purported tomb of Marie Laveau. Also known as the Voodoo Queen. I know, I know. It's a tourist trap, may not even be her tomb. But still. This is something that I've also wanted to see since I was young and wrote a report on Marie Laveau. I still have the primary biography that I used somewhere around here. Basically, Marie Laveau was a strong independent woman who just happened to, y'know, be a voodoo priestess. One of her daughters (of the same name) would hold elaborate public voodoo rituals, although many believe that, of the two, Mommy Laveau was the more powerful. Because it would probably be boring (for you) if I gave all of you my geeky rendition of Marie Laveau's life, I refer you to A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau by Carolyn Morrow Long ( or The Mysterious Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau (, which, I swear to you, when I read it was a real book. Her alleged mausoleum (a few naysayers have claimed it's not actually hers) is located in St. Louis Cemetery, #1. Visitors go to see it and sometimes request the Voodoo Queen's good wishes and blessings by writing on it. I don't want her good wishes and blessings; mostly, I just want to accomplish a long seated geek dream of mine by being able to see it.

And now, after much ado, many pictures, my top three "wants to see" in Nola, and much pining for the chance to see la belle Nouvelle Orleans with Heath, I feel it would only be humane to finally be quiet. Harley Quinn, saying bonne journée et bonne chance!

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