Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NOLA - Day 2

We woke up early, had breakfast by 8am, but lazed around for a bit and did not leave the hotel until 10am this morning. We walked down to the corner of Canal and Carondelet to catch the street car, which is kind of like the San Francisco cable car ($1.25). It was a beautiful and sunny day as the street car hummed along St. Charles street and we got to see a many gorgeous Victorian homes in the Garden District. We hopped off at the Audubon Park (pictured) and had a nice picnic of crackers & cheese and apples. We walked along the edge of the park, which, incidentally, is also a golf course, and ended up at the zoo. We didn't have any plans to visit the zoo today, but it being such a wonderfully warm day, I couldn't resist the pink flamingos. I enjoyed the zoo, and I have to say that it was much better than the aquarium, even though there were twice as many kids running amok. 

After spending (and walking for) 3 hours at the zoo, we headed back downtown. I had been thinking about the beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde all day so I wanted to go. Because we'd been walking all day, Tom wanted to go back to the hotel and relax but...we ended up eating at fried donuts. =) I wanted us to eat mufflettas at Central Grocery Co., but who wudda thought they closed at 5pm?!? So we ended up eating at Cafe Maspero, which is another restaurant on my list to try. We shared a cup of their jumbalaya and a huge muffletta sandwich. The portions are so big that I couldn't even finish my half. We got back to our hotel by 6:30pm to rest our poor feet and I think we are here to stay.

NOLA - Day 1

Our first full sight-seeing day in New Orleans started off with a complimentary breakfast at our hotel. I've had better breakfast, but it was free! Our first stop was the Aquarium of Americas, which opened at 10am and by 11am, I was done looking at penguins and jellies next to snotty kids. So, we had lunch at Ruth's Chris in the Harris Hotel thanks to the gift certificate we got for our wedding. I had wanted to go to the Hermann-Grima House, but when I called to make sure that they were still open, they weren't. So we visited the 1850 House at Jackson Square instead. Tom is not as impressed at old things as I am, but I thought it was kind of neat, if not creepy. Next we browsed through the French Market and the Flea Market while I looked for fresh produce among stalls of cheap tourist wares. 

In the afternoon, we (finally) got to enjoy some beignets and cafe au laits at Cafe du Monde. I enjoyed every single bite. We stopped by this pricey grocery store to pick up some fruit on our way back to the hotel for a nap. After a short rest, we headed out to Mother's, where the line is long, but worth the wait. This place is famous for their po' boy sandwiches and it was yummy! I'd definitely go back again. We ended the night with 1.5 Hagen Daaz ice-cream bars each and by watching Boston Legal.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I am no Lynne Rossetto Kasper, but I love food. I love talking about food, thinking about food, shopping for food, cooking food, and more importantly, I love eating food. Because I spend a great deal of time thinking about what to eat and where to eat, in order to be my friend, you must enjoy talking about food with me - incessantly.

Some people obsess about food by reading. Others like to experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques. Some people like to try new restaurants while others like to collect fancy kitchen tools. My specialty is knowing where to find exactly what you're looking for. Wanna know where you can get an excellent PB&J on toasted sourdough bread? Ask me! Or where you can get a delicious Reuben sandwich that melts in your mouth? Look no further! Or how about a crab louie salad? Not a problem! Or how about a nice, hefty, juicy burgers with the best fries? I know where to go! As your neighborhood foodie, I relish in the fact that I know just where to go to satisfy your tastebuds.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Tribute to Tom

I like to toot my own horn from time to time because as the domestic diva of our household, I do all of our weekly grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and bill-paying. But I would like to take this opportunity to give a "shout out" to my hubby, who definitely pulls his own weight around here too.

Tom is in charge of managing all of our computers and basically any appliance with a plug or that is battery-operated. And in our world of technological gadgets a-plenty, this is no small feat. Tom makes sure that our 3 computers are up and running with the latest and greatest software updates, AND he also makes sure that our computers are backed-up regularly to prevent a major crisis. Tom also maintains all of our 3 vehicles, and I have a feeling that if we had a garage, he would do more. Around the house, Tom also does the traditional manly tasks of changing the lightbulb, moving heavy furniture, and taking out the garbage.

But what I live for and what I truly appreciate about Tom is his sweet and romantic side. For example, on our first wedding anniversary, he made me a handstamped card that read, "One Year" on the outside, and on the inside, he wrote, "Many more to come! Happy First, Natasha! We are making our family one step at a time. Love, Thomas." 

Now, how can you not love a man who writes those words?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kitchen Kaos

It seems like we've had a series of kitchen disasters lately. A couple of Fridays ago, our kitchen and dining room lights went out all of a sudden while I was vacuuming the living room. Several of our outlets in the living room also quit working, which included our wireless internet as well. This happened on a Friday morning, of course, and I was unable to get our property maintenance person to return my phone calls.

They finally sent someone out on Monday morning and though the maintenance guy was very sweet and a Jack-of-All-Trades, he couldn't fix our lighting issue, even though we had already moved several pieces of furniture. The property management company contracted for a professional electrician to come out on Wednesday, and according to Tom, he fixed it in about 5 minutes without moving any furniture. According to this guy, the problem was a loose wire and would have been entirely avoided if the builders hadn't done such a shoddy job in constructing the place. But the point is -- I had to cook, and we had to eat, in the dark this entire time!

Our second disaster happened last night. When we came home, we discovered that our refridgerator decided to retire and everything in our fridge and freezer was "sweating." This came at an especially bad time since we had a TON of Thanksgiving leftovers, and plus I needed to bake cupcakes and a quiche for a potluck I was attending the next day. Luckily, we were able to store 2/3 of our food at a neighbor's, kept some in a cooler chest, and threw the rest away. The property management came and determined that we needed a new fridge (surprise!). He says that he can't give us a working fridge until tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath.