Taste New Orleans: Day 2

Catching up on some sleep was nice, but there’s so much to explore! Up and at ’em, rise and shine, wakey wakey or whatever cheese morning phrase you’d like to insert. For me, but first coffee. Jesse set an alarm so we could wake up early enough to make a run over to Cafe Du Monde. This  was by far my favorite day of the whole trip.

9:30am we were dress for the day and walking through the lobby to start exploring for the day. We passed Quang who also happened to be wearing a fedora, so I yelled across the lobby “hey, one fedora per crew.” Yep that line from Workaholics, but no one watches it, so I was the only one laughing. He was getting back from an early morning run around the town. Our day 2 adventure was just beging. As we made our way, we passed so many people dressed in white and red that just finished up Running with the Bulls. It was about a 15- 20 minute walk from our hotel, when we arrived at the famous Cafe Du Monde.

Photo Credit: Quang Tran

Whoa the line was so long! Jess estimated it was about an hour and a half to two hour wait to be seated at a table. We double checked our schedule and noticed the steamboat we were going on for lunch boards an hour earlier than we thought at 11am. It would have been a tight squeeze but then Jess remember there was a take-out line that would probably be shorter. She walked around and found it while I was waiting in line. Sure enough, there it was take-out and cash only. I scurried on over and it took about 15-20 minutes. Got an iced Café Au Lait and an order of fresh hot beignets.

We decided to cross the street to Jackson Square, sit on a park bench and enjoy the scenery, while we indulged in our beignets. Our plan was to tour St. Louis Cathedral, before we had to meet the rest of our group at the Nachetz steamboat, for our jazz cruise on the Mississippi River. I didn’t realize how messy eating powdery beignets could be on a warm windy July morning. Powder sugar everywhere! Finishing up and cleaning off, we had to go straight to the boat to board.

We definitely didn’t get the memo, to arrive extra early because people were already boarding and there was still a very long line. We took turns, one of us standing in line, while the other checked-in and picked up their ticket from the ticket office. Thank goodness it was located right in front of the boat’s loading dock. The rest of our group met us in the dinning room. We purchased lunch with our tickets, and indulged in delicious fried catfish, red beans and rice, and mashed potatoes with brown gravy. Our host, Gina, was phenomenal! She gave us plenty of good tips for the rest our trip, and helped the birthday girl celebrate.

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

After we finished eating, we explored the boat, listen to some live jazz music up top, and relaxed. We went back to the dinning room to escape the heat towards the end of the cruise. Some of us decided to head back to the hotel, to get some sun around the pool. Three of us decided to stay out exploring. One of my friends, that had been to New Orleans, suggested to check out Magazine Street. I told the other two about it, and did a quick google search and were set. Before we got off the boat, we decided to sit back and wait until majority of the people got off. After a about 20 minutes, we made our way off.

We made our way off to a bizarre sight. A train had stopped blocking everyone from leaving the dock area and crossing back into the French Quarter. People were actually climbing the stopped carts and crossing to the other side. We waited about 15-20 minutes and it finally got started moving and cleared the way.

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Next, we hopped on a bus and took about a 15 minute ride to Magazine Street. While were on the bus, a young hipster couple gave us a few recommendations. So much to see and taste! We wondered into a costume and vintage store called Funky Monkey. Goofed around trying on silly hats and picking out some funky outfits. We spotted a Buffalo Exchange, and came to the conclusion, that we’d lookup all their locations to find all the hipster city destinations.

After browsing and wonder through a few more stores and art shops we found this place called Balcony Bar. The couple from the bus recommend it. Thank goodness there was Air Conditioner! We were sun drenched and needed to cool off. We made our way upstairs to sit on the balcony, but realized there wouldn’t be air conditioner out there. So we decided to take a seat a the bar up stairs. To our surprise, they had pretty much all local brews on tap. We had them pour us up a round, and we got to talking. Before we knew it about an hour and a half of pretty deep heart-to-heart conversations passed between the three of us. Then we realized we needed to get back to the French Quarter for our Haunted Tour

A little frantic, scurrying and we found our bus back, and made it just in time for the tour to start. The rest of our group already made it there. We did the 4-in-1 Witches, Ghost, Vampires & Voodoo Walking Tour by Witches Brew Tours. I highly recommend them, and if you can get the tour guide that goes by the name Skip. He was pretty fantastic! A little different approach, very honest, real, and threw in some interesting history behind the places we visited. See if you can spot any ghostly images in the pictures I took. Some of the stories included, having dinner with a ghost, a captain haunting a balcony, Jacques Saint Germaine the vampire, Marie Laveau, and Madame LaLaurie.

By the time our tour ended, we realized we had to get back to the hotel ASAP to get ready for the Birthday dinner. Then, with a little more re-evaluating our situation, looking at a GPS, and Uber prices we realized, we could just walk to the restaurant and get there early. A few decided to run back, yeah I’m not that athletic, and stayed with the group that walked to the restaurant.

The reservations were for Cafe Amelie. Since we were about 45 minutes early, we decided to find a coffee shop near by. Well, we didn’t have to go far at all. Next door, is Petite Amelie. Coffee, Wine, beer, breakfast, brunch, and lunch. I guess quick casual gourmet meals, or as they say, “cuisine rapide.” They have the best gumbo!!! (It’s also the same gumbo from Cafe Amelie

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

We checked in for our reservation, and our table was ready. Dinner in the famous romantic courtyard. Everyone that was back at our hotel eventually arrived. Everyone order a different glass of wine and we had our own wine tasting fun. I ordered the Two Run Farms Lamb Meatloaf: cucumber tomatoe salad with tzatziki on brioche. Delicious! Great flavor and portion size. Enough to make you full but not too much that you’ll have to get a to-go box.

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Über back to our hotel to shower and change for another night out on the town. A little bit of drama with who, what, when and where we were going but cleared up and headed to Frenchmen Street. On our ghost tour, Skip, told us of a terrifying legend. The Axe Man, apparently was a serial killer, hacking whole households throughout New Orleans. He wrote a note to the city Newspaper saying that he liked jazz music. Gave a time of 12:15pm with a warning that as he was passing through the city, if he strolled passed a house hold not playing jazz music at 12:15am, he would murder them. So back to our night out on Frenchmen Street. We made sure we were listening to jazz music at 12:15AM. Had a blast hopping from bar-to-bar dancing and goofing around everywhere we went.Towards the end of the night, we decided to head to the casino, Harrahs.

We split into two Ubers, and our’s arrived first. Walked in, for my first time ever in a casino! It was vibrant, noise and fun. We headed to the middle of the casino, where there was a dance floor and Dj. The rest of our friends arrived and we continued to dance the night away. I think we got back to our hotel around 4 AM. Very long and amazing day exploring New Orleans.

This mini vacations was definitely an experience to remember. Traveling with big group that had a vast array of personalities was very interesting. I learned more about myself and the way I handle situations with different personality types. Put those communication skills to work. As I’m getting older, I still use the Golden Rule, but I learned occasionally to get things done or for your own peace of mind, you just have to be direct, honest and not worry if you move forward with or without everyone. Anyone else ever have a vacation go exactly as planned? We all know that’s a rare beauty! Stay tuned for Day 3’s bizarre turn of events that made me really sit back and think about common courtesy, being an adult, and all the crazy racism finger pointing that’s been the media’s lasted two news frenzy. Below are some more pictures from Day 2 and for more information on all the fun places we went, I posted blue links throughout the article.

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

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Taste Texas: Castroville: Haby’s Alsatian Bakery

A deliciously delightful Texas must stop, Alsatian bakery on the drive home. I’ve mention plenty of times before that I am from the city of San Antonio, but my Mom’s family’s hometown is D’Hanis, Texas. Located slightly southwest of San Antonio, a beautiful Texas country side drive down Highway 90. 

 Some thing else I may not have mention, I went to elementary school outside of the city, in the first charming small town going down 90, Castroville. St. Louis Catholic School, now we’re talkin’ real small town, schooling. When I attended, there was only about 100 kids in the entire school. So one class of about 15 to maybe 20 students for each grade level. Yep, I had the same classmates every year. Well, one of my favorite Texas bakeries, was just down the street and around the corner from my school. (Actually, everything in this town is basically down the street and around the corner.) 

    

Last week my Mom and I were driving through town and stopped by. We ended up sparking a petty good conversation with the friendly staff and customers. “The meat market down the street, Dzuiks, how do you pronounce the name?” Everyone pronounced it differently. “The ‘D’ is silent.” “No, the ‘Z’ is silent.” “I’ve always pronounced it with a ‘J’ sound.” I guess next time I’m passing through I’ll have to stop by for some deer jerky and ask the staff. 

 Haby’s Alsatian Bakery! Castroville is a French-Alsatian settled town. Founded by Henri Castro, in 1844. A lot of the original settlers from Alsace, influence is still visible today. Haby’s has an assortment of fresh baked pastries. So delicious, light, fluffy, and sweet. They also bake cakes for every occasion. Oh, the oatmeal raisin cookiesare my favorite! 

 

Rain Rain Go and Play: 7 South Austin Rainy Day Pick-Me-Ups

Rain, rain, rain. The Austin weather forecast has been flooded with rain everyday. (See what I did there?) My family, recently, came to visit and of course it was raining the whole time they were here. We didn’t let it damper our weekend. So what is there to discover in Austin on a rainy day? Well grab your umbrella or poncho and try these seven places!

1. First stop Chi’Lantro:– mhmm! Korean BQQ and Mexican infusion. Austin favorite for their mouth watering Kimchi Fries. 

2. Hula Hut:– it’s nice and pretty during the summer months to sit out in the sun with friends and enjoy some refreshing beverages, but it’s also just as relaxing on a rainy day. A little therapeutic, indulging in some chips and queso, sipping on a piña coladas, while listening and watching the rain fall on the lake.  

 3. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds:– wall-to-wall of costumes, vintage clothing, and ascessories. So much fun looking around! You’ll probably leave with something you didn’t know you want but don’t need.

  

4. Uncommon Objects:-whew sensory overload! Wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling of antiques furnishings and just like it called Uncommon Objects.    



 

5. Gordough’s Public House:-This one was my family’s favorite! Donuts for buns!!!

  
  
  
6. Allen’s Boots:– With all the food in this list, you have to have some nice comfortable cowboy boots to walk it off. Don’t forget, just because we are in Austin (it’s a little weird), we’re still in Texas. They have such a gorgeous selection.

  
  
 
7. Lick Honest Ice Cream:– My favorite ice cream shop in Austin and San Antonio. Simply delicious! All local, Central Texas, ingredients. This time, I got Texas Sheet Cake, Goat Cheese Thyme & Honey, and Pecans & Cream. My sister had the Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint. My mom had the Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt