Monday, June 23, 2008

New Orleans

Wow, it's going to take me a week to recover from a three day vacation...

We returned last night from a long weekend in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. While New Orleans is famous for Bourbon Street and consuming dangerous quantities of alcohol, I enjoy it for the history and the food. Creole and Cajun cooking is something everyone should experience. The flavors are so rich and so interesting that it wakes up your whole mouth. Creoles are generally known as a people of mixed French, African, Spanish, and Native American ancestry. Other people define Creoles as those who originally colonized the New Orleans area. But regardless of how you define them, their cuisine is fantastic!
Cajuns are the descendants of exiles from the French colony of ACADIA (present-day Nova Scotia and adjacent areas) who left their homeland in 1755 and found refuge in southern Louisiana a decade later. Their cuisine tends to be a bit spicier and less sophisticated than the Creole recipes. But delicious nonetheless.

One of our meals this weekend was at The Pelican Club on Exchange. That had to be one of the best meals I have had in years! We started off with bakes oysters on the half shell, with apple-smoked bacon, roasted red peppers, Parmesan and garlic herb butter. Parrish then had the Blackened Drum with grilled shrimp, and Kelly and I both had the Filet Mignon with lump crab meat and a Bearnaise sauce, served with truffle mashed potatoes and green beans and asparagus. All this was accompanied by a bottle of champagne. It was an amazing meal! If you ever find yourself in New Orleans, please make reservations at the Pelican Club.

A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. For those that may not know, Beignets were also brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are served in orders of three. And they are GOOD!

While we weren't eating, we visited the Aquarium of the Americas, St. Louis Cathedral (where we saw a wedding party emerge Friday night to celebrate in the streets), Jackson Square, the French Market, a Haunted History tour, numerous shops, and walked. And walked and walked.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, New Orleans is hot. Not just your average "it's June, so it's warm" kind of hot. I am talking life-sucking heat and humidity hot. People down there move slow, and drink a lot. Because it's too dang hot to do much else. I told Kelly that if I even suggest going to New Orleans in the summer again to slap the sense back into me. The heat index on Friday was 108! By 9 AM, it's was well into the 90's. And still in the upper 80's at 10 PM. Next time, I'm going in February!



Kristi said...

LOVE the one of the manta ray...and the last one! TOO cool!!

Mandy said...

WOW Barbie...these are awesome. I love your processing...especially love the last one. So cool.

Amy said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos. Those first two look like postcards. All picture-perfect! :)

Bobbi said...

These are amazing Barbie! That last one rocks my face off.