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a 100-year-old lady, a goat at the party, and a baby in the band

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By foodorleans · February 28, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Last weekend was a big, fun, family-filled time for us...we had a birthday party for my great-aunt Rudy, who turned 100 on February 15, in Slidell. Several relatives (and friends) drove down from Oklahoma to go to the party and hang out with us in the French Quarter. I forget how much I love the French Quarter until I'm there, and then I just want to keep going back. Without further ado, here's the 100-year-old lady:

If she looks awesome, it's because she is. She made a short speech at the party, which she closed by saying, "I don't lean on anyone. You lean on me."  I love it that she got a personalized boa and parasol. I wanted to stand up right then and start a second line, and I think it might've happened, if this gal hadn't crashed the party:

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a little progression: Felix's to Stanley

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By foodorleans · February 27, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

A few months ago, I wrote about my grandmother and her sisters taking their husbands along on progressive dinners in the French Quarter when they were all in town together, and Paul and I haven't stopped thinking about making our own progressive dinner routes ever since. It's fun, it's easy due to the high number of eateries in the Quarter, and it gives you a little something extra to do while you're down there. Because once you get to the French Quarter, you might want to have a plan. Maybe some of the time you'd like to ramble and follow your nose to the next fun thing, but sometimes you'll want to not make many decisions, and you'll want to know that a particular place is open and particularly worth it.  Yesterday, we devised a short progressive lunch for a drizzly Sunday afternoon: Felix's for oysters of any variety, then Stanley for gumbo (or a po-boy or even breakfast, but definitely the gumbo).

Felix's is our favorite French Quarter spot for raw oysters for nostalgic reasons, but also because they always taste good there. Also, Felix's is not a pretentious place; it's not trying to look cute or slick or full of Cajun artifacts. It's just a good place to eat.  I'd eat oysters there any old day.

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a tale of two eggplants: Parran's and Liuzza's by the Track

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By foodorleans · February 23, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

I have a serious love for fried eggplant. Have you ever tried it? It's  served in a lot of places around town, I think because it's a great combination of Italian-American and deep-south goodness in a land where people love their vegetables, but especially if they're fried. Parran's is a good place for lunch if you happen to find yourself in Metairie getting your car worked on, or running other errands or some sort of workday drudgery: they've got a huge selection of Italian-inspired po-boys, pastas, and all sorts of fried goodies, like eggplant and cauliflower.  Parran's eggplant is cut into flat sticks, dredged in breadcrumbs like eggplant Parmesan would be, and served up with a classic marinara. Good stuff. In fact, I'd have to say this type of fried eggplant, which is the most common type, is one of my favorite snackers to order at a restaurant.  They taste soft and sweet, and as good as they look:

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the mardi gras mambo

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By foodorleans · February 22, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Ash Wednesday is here, Mardi Gras 2012 is over, and now it's time to get prepped for Jazzfest! We managed to catch a glimpse of Bacchus 2012 before melting with exhaustion from the rain-soaked Endymion parade.  Here are a few snapshots from the long weekend of Mardi Grasing with friends.

brunch at Riccobono's

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doux the roux: chicken and andouille gumbo

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By foodorleans · February 17, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Nothing beats a good bowl of gumbo, ever. A few weeks ago, when we were traveling to Oklahoma for Christmas, I asked Paul what his favorite thing to eat in New Orleans was. I was thinking that my personal favorite was a seafood po-boy, but Paul answered without a second of hesitation, "Gumbo." It's true that our city is the best at making gumbo. There's nothing quite like it for the combination of comfort, soul-edifying flavor, and use of traditional ingredients that it offers. It's taken a long time for me to post a recipe for gumbo on this site, and it's with good reason. We've been making gumbo for years and have tried all sorts of approaches, but we've got a good one here that's sure to please. When you make gumbo, make a big pot and don't take any shortcuts. It's worth it; your New Orleans soul will thank you.

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it's mardi gras, baby!

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By foodorleans · February 15, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

It's that time again, folks! Time to head to New Orleans for a serious partyfest, or if you can't make the trip, host some kind of Mardi Gras shindig of your own. Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, February 21, so this weekend is the perfect time to celebrate.  On Mardi Gras day, lots of folks have open house brunches because the parades finish early in the day, so having some brunchy foods to eat late at night are a good idea. But all kinds of Louisiana foods are perfect for Mardi Gras. It's the last day to party before Lent! GET IT ON.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that would make a party extra bead-worthy:

Natchitoches meat pies

king cake with bacon pecan praline filling

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slurp city: ya ka mein with pho broth

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By foodorleans · February 13, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Lately, I've been craving some beefy noodles in a rich broth, something close to ya ka mein.  Don't worry that you're not up on your Cajun or Creole foods if you've never heard of it--it's neither.  Ya ka mein is a soup with these main characters: beef, soy sauce, and spaghetti noodles, topped with green onions and a hard-boiled egg.  You see it at festivals, fundraisers, and Jazz Fest, and rarely anywhere else.  Here's a little background on it, from the Gulf Aid concert in 2010:

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a few of my favorite things: new orleans and beyond

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By foodorleans · February 10, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

I've been cleaning out my iphone photo roll and came across some great shots that made me swoon, laugh, and shake my head at how good this stuff was.  This year I got to go to my first LSU game in Baton Rouge, and although I probably lost a small percentage of my hearing, I had a great time. And the jambalaya was great!  We're also enjoying some shucking-good oysters these days.  Come visit!

Creole Creamery: knock your flip-flops off good!

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alone again, naturally: simple salad with poached egg

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By foodorleans · February 8, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Obviously, ladies love their salads: just check this out.  I never look like that when I'm eating my solitary salads; usually I'm cross-legged on the bed or wherever, watching an old episode of United States of Tara or the Daily Show.  But nothing makes me happier when I know I'm on my own for lunch or dinner than to indulge in a very simple, very vinegary toss of fancy lady-greens.  A few years ago I started always pairing it with a goat cheese toast, and I still insist on that, but now I have to kick it up a notch and put an egg on it.  Poach it!  It's the best ever.

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banana-nut muffins to the rescue!

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By foodorleans · February 2, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

[Bake and freeze, for those days when life is too hard to make toast.]

When January 1 was just a glimmer on the horizon, I started thinking about making some resolutions--something I don't usually make, but I felt up to it this year. I'm turning 40, why not resolve to do something to improve my life, or better yet, some things?  I spent a few weeks toying with ideas, but I didn't want to make any resolutions that were going to set me on a sure course to fail.  If there's one thing I've learned in all these years as a human, it's that failing myself doesn't feel good.

I did not resolve to exercise three times a week, or to go on a diet, or to read 52 books this year.  I did resolve, however, to eat breakfast every day.

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