The people of Mardi Gras, Part 1!

The floats of Mardi Gras, Part 2

The floats of Mardi Gras, Part 1

The marching bands of Mardi Gras!!

Spoiler alert! 

When you work in the restaurant world you A) work a lot. B) sleep a lot. C) do not eat a lot.

This leaves little time for exploring/eating your way through a new city, taking pictures of said city and/or blogging about said city for all interested parties back home.

So I apologize, said parties, for the lack of recent Nola documentation. With the exception of strong, black coffee and tasting food on the line at work, I have not had much room for anything other than the aforementioned A, B and C. 

I have managed to do some abbreviated exploring close to home on my days off! Highlights include:

Cochon and Cochon Butcher. More on that later…a certain housemate of mine promised to divulge the culinary dreamery of those two. 

Rue de la Course coffee shop. I ventured over into the Carrolton neighborhood and sat at this delightful spot for four hours catching up on phone calls and sipping black coffee. They had a great sandwich and dessert menu too, as well as free wifi. Sitting outside in the sunshine with a cup o’ joe in January doesn’t get any better.

Wanderluck

Lots of wandering and bike riding happening down here! We have returned to the Garden District the past four days to look at apartments, toodle around and buy bikes! We both bought our primary mode of transport from “the Bike Guys” as I call them. Jim and John buy antique bikes from Kansas City, fix up in the backyard of their beautiful Nola home and sell them ‘to mostly cute girls’. I found them on Craigslist and they are truly a godsend to someone who knows next to nothing about bike quality. Not only did they advise me on the bike that fit me best, they also let me take it for a test run, adjusted the seat and gears for me and advised me on what kind of lock to buy. John also told me to get a hold of him if I got a flat in the next week…he would come and fix it for me! 

I am loving my red 1980’s 10-speed FreeSpirit. It was originally sold through Sear’s Roebuck, and you can see their inscription on the bottom of the bike. I bought a sexy helmet, U lock, headlight and breaklights for it and have been cruising everywhere. It is so much better than waiting for the bus or calling a cab. The route from the Bayou down to the Garden District is flat and the areas I pass through are relatively non-shady. The ride takes about 30-40 minutes and it is so nice to get up in the morning and go for a nice bike ride, not to mention the effect all that pedaling will have on my thighs. Drivers here are very considerate of cyclists, which has made the adjustment period less worrisome!

T bought an orange 5-speed vintage Pubcrawler from the same guys (pictures to come soon). A VERY sexy bike and a nice addition to our adventuring. We are fitting in with the locals!

A typical street view and sidewalk down in the Garden District…this is why we ride in the street!

I had my interview at Luke and was offered a trail, which went incredibly well. I worked with the pastry chef for part of the day and then worked on the line with the garde manger. Garde manger is responsible for plating the salads, cold appetizers and in this case, desserts. A few items I plated: fried oyster salad with bacon and avocado, crab maisson towers, basque cake with satsuma marmalade, vanilla bean creme brulee, and a trio of lemon, vanilla bean and chocolate pot de creme. Luke’s menu focuses a lot on Alsatian cuisine, so we also did a lot of pate with many housemade pickled items (cucumbers, fennel, carrots, etc). The kitchen is open, meaning patrons that are dining can see what is happening on the line, which was an exciting experience, as was working in such close proximity with the other stations. Luke serves 600-700 meals a day, plus outside catering events and providing all room service meals for the adjoining hotel, so they are very busy. The people I worked with came from a wide array of backgrounds; some chefs that went to culinary school, others career changers, and some even novices like me. All in all, it was a fast-paced and eye opening experience. And they offered me a job! Yahoo!

(A few sights I see on my ride from Luke to the Garden District: The St. Charles Avenue traffic circle and Lafayette Square park)

T had his first meeting with the Executive Chef at Commanders, which went really well. It seems as if they are bird’s of a feather. He got a walk through of the kitchen and was introduced to a few members of the staff. Things are lookin’ up!

A few notes on the foodstuffz:

-Had my first shrimp and grits!

-Ate my first plate of jambalaya and first praline at Cafe Beignet down on Bourbon Street…outside, while a cajun band played old Louis Armstrong tunes. 

-T ate the first mouffeleta of the trip!

-Abita beer is amazing and should be drunk with every meal, as we have been doing so studiously!

-Nola bagels are pretty good…not as good as NYC ones, but they will curb that early morning bagel craving…we found a place called Artz Bagelz down by Magazine Street that has Cajun veggie cream cheese. Mmmmmm….

Bluebird.

"This pair of wings rusted from too many years by my side.

They carry me, swear to be, sturdy and strong,

But see, turning them on still means goodbye.

And so here we go bluebird,

Gather your strength and rise up.

Oh, let him go bluebird.

Ready to fly, you and I,

Here we go”.

—Sara Bareilles

Sounds like:

“My Man”

Looks like:

Klimt

Feels like:

Wood

Steel

Flesh

Barefoot in the Kitchen: Learn to do by making two.

barefootinkitchen:

Sometimes you just gotta bake.

Sometimes you crave something a little out of the ordinary.

Sometimes that means going outside of your comfort zone.

New recipes. Savory recipes. Considerably less sugar than you are used to baking with.

These things happen. Some people do it…

Barefoot in the Kitchen: A tearful goodbye...

barefootinkitchen:

Is there anything better than summer?

I am not talking a sweltering, concrete-jungle kind of summer where you sweat in the shower, on the subway, basically anywhere.

I am talking summer on the lake, with friends, a little summer ale and seasonal baked goods.

Summer 2010…