Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Magical Evening...

Don't you just love when a plan comes together...

When my husband and I have the opportunity to spend time together in cities he is working in I always take the time to make some thoughtful plans. And even though this trip would take us to NOLA, I started planning our evenings weeks ago. It is always a task that I enjoy doing but also take very seriously since his down time is precious to us.  And as many of you know, NOLA does not lack in dining options throughout the city. In doing my research for my blog and FB page, I came across a hotel in the French Quarter that my husband and I had visited over our Christmas weekend. The hotel posted a special dinner offered in their restaurant "Roux on Orleans" that intrigued me since we have a love for Louisiana crab...Louisiana Crab Lover Dinner.

The Bourbon Orleans Hotel...history from their website:

Since the beginning, food, music, dancing and gaming have been an integral part of New Orleans society, served by a multitude of restaurants, bars, ballrooms and gaming rooms. In 1817, entrepreneur John Davis hoped to make his mark on this rich social New Orleans scene. He did just that, opening what would become the famed Orleans Ballroom, where for the next 20 years, the city's love affair with dancing played out.
This early success led him build the Orleans Theater on an adjacent plot of land. Here he earned lasting recognition as he established French Opera in America and continued on to open opulent dining and gaming rooms that equaled the best in Europe.
But Davis' endeavors were soon lost as war destroyed most of the city's nightlife. By 1881, both the Orleans Theater and Ballroom had been acquired by the Sisters of the Holy Family for use as a school and convent. For the next 83 years they remained, until the need for expansion pressed them to sell the property to hotel interests. New additions would replace structures built by the nuns but the Orleans Ballroom would remain and begin a life more closely attuned to its opulent beginnings.
The Bourbon Orleans New Orleans Hotel is locally owned and committed to preserving the history and character of the Hotel for generations.

A New Orleans Haunted Hotel

Stories of the rooms and corridors of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel being haunted are about as old as the hotel itself. Prior to the hotel's existence, the site was home to the historic Orleans Ballroom and the Orleans Theater before being converted into a convent in the late 1800's. Ghosts who roam the halls and rooms of the Bourbon Orleans today, lived in all different eras of this building's history. There is the story of the Confederate Soldier or "The Man" that surround both the sixth and seventh floors. The ghost children and female apparitions found at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel are most likely from the era when the Sisters of the Holy Family operated a convent, girls' school, medical ward and orphanage. The famous Orleans Ballroom, home to the grandest social events of the nineteenth century, is also home of a lonely ghost dancer, seen dancing underneath the ballroom's crystal chandelier. The Bourbon Orleans Hotel ranks as one of New Orleans' top haunted hotels.

A beautiful and charming hotel that will take you back in time...
Check-out their website and FB page:

Roux on Orleans

From the moment my husband and I entered the restaurant located in the hotel lobby we were made to feel welcomed in a way that takes you back to the days when southern hospitality was a way of life. The hostess was warm and all smiles as she accommodated our pick of a beautiful table located by opened french doors.

It was a mild evening, with a nice breeze flowing through the restaurant.  And even though Bourbon St. is just one block over, we felt completely elegant as we watched others walk by in what seemed to be total envy.

We relaxed and enjoyed a few cocktails as we admired the menu and all it has to offer. Our young server was poised beyond her years with manners that would make any Mother very proud. However, on this night we were there for the crab lovers dinner which offers 4 courses from appetizer to dessert.

Louisiana Crab Lovers Dinner
served until April 10th

Salpicon of Jumbo Lump with Mango and Avocado
Salpicon is a term in French cuisine applied to a preparation consisting of one or more ingredients, diced or minced, and bound with a sauce.

Bursting with flavor!

Smoked Corn and Crab Chowder

The corn had the perfect amount of texture, still having a fresh crunch, filled with crab meat and just enough hint of heat to represent Louisiana.

Pan Seared Soft Shell
topped with Jumbo Lump Creole Meuniere and served with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and French Green Beans

I am at a lost for words...just looking at this picture makes my mouth water and brings back the memory of the amazing flavors in every bite! Perfectly prepared soft shell crab, generous topping of jumbo lump crab meat, a delicious buttery sweet sauce, fingerling potatoes offer just the right amount of starch to this dish and fresh french green beans with just the perfect amount of crunch with a hint of garlic.

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
Topped with a fresh Blueberry Compote

 One of our favorite desserts and by this course we could of gladly shared this generous portion. Just a perfect ending to this amazing dinner! 

I know my pictures express the thoughtful presentation of our experience, however I cannot stress enough the quality of each course and the generous portions the Chef has waiting for you!

We were honored to meet Executive Chef Guy D. Sockrider during our visit, pretty amazing that he took the time to greet us.  After meeting him for only a few minutes it all made sense how Roux on Orleans not only exudes his passion for culinary excellence but also a sincere appreciation for us lucky customers that walk through those doors...   

You'll want to join their FB page for all the upcoming events:

And Chef Sockrider offers a wonderful blog: I have added him to my Fav Blog List!

If I haven't blown you away already, the entire 4 course dinner is offered for only $38 a person...really, how is that even possible!  

In today's times we all want to spend our money wisely, the quality of this experience both in taste and service far out way the cost of the evening...and that's refreshing!




Friday, March 25, 2011


Our first stop for dinner while visiting NOLA this weekend is Irene's Cuisine. My husband and I have been waiting to try this very popular local spot, and it did not disappoint!

We were seated in the Wine Room...perfect!

My husband chose one of the specials...Osso Bucco, I chose the Mussels and a classic Caesar Salad. 

 Risotto on the side...YUM! 

I wasn't as good as you may be thinking, I did use the warm delicious french bread on the sauce...:-)

Beautiful and intimate restaurant...the staff are amazing and extremely friendly!

Check-out the fan page:

Get there early!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Your Place or Mine?

Well my hubby finally got home from a two week business trip. And since he has missed so much nice weather I wanted to enjoy his homecoming outside on the patio where he could unwind and take in the "Spring Explosion" that has taken place since he left!

So in keeping things light and keeping me out of the kitchen all night, this is what I decided on...

Sangria...I buy a really good brand and just load it up with fresh fruit.

Appetizer beloved Portuguese Sausage, sharp cheddar cheese, calamata olives, gardenia salad and Rondele's artichoke & garlic cheese spread.

I purchased snow crab clusters and they steamed them for me with cajun seasoning.

Mini Shrimp Flatbread Pizza's

What you will need:

Flour Tortilla's
olive oil
Small peeled and deveined shrimp (I had about a pd, so could of made 4 pizzas)
Cajun Seasoning
Extra thin asparagus spears (you will need 4-5 spears for each pizza)
small red onion
small jar of roasted red bell peppers
package of tomato-basil feta cheese

What to do:

Heat grill to medium high heat.
Brush each flour tortilla with olive oil on both sides.
In a bowl, drizzle shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.
On a plate, drizzle asparagus spears and thinly sliced red onion with olive oil.
On foil, grill the asparagus, onion and shrimp for only a few minutes. Put aside.
Assemble the pizza's: crumble feta cheese, thinly sliced roasted red bell pepper, shrimp, asparagus spears and top with red onion.
Place pizza's right on grill and close lid, it will only take a few minutes to brown the crust and heat.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NOLA here I come!

My husband and I are taking off to the quarter for some much needed fun time and a little work for him. As I make my way around the city, taking in the sights, sounds and of course the food I will be sure to share.

There is never enough time to do it all, so we try and pick a couple of new places to is where we are headed this trip...

Roux on Orleans
Roux on Orleans offers fine creole cuisine using the freshest seasonal ingredients native to Louisiana.

Irene's is somewhat off the regular tourist dining path, and locals would probably prefer to keep it that way -- it's hard enough getting into one of their favorite neighborhood bistros. We got an early reservation before the crowds come in...we prefer later seating but we just wanted to get in this time!

Katie's in Mid-Town
I could of put the picture of the front of the restaurant on here, but why bother when I can show you one of their signature Po-Boys, soft shell crab...:-)
A casual dining experience, with bistro seating outside and small local band playing...great place to unwind over the weekend! And did I mention a Sunday Brunch featuring "bottomless" Bloody-Marys, Mimosa's and Sangria! Featured on Food Network's DDD last night.
The Swizzle Stick Bar
The Swizzle Stick Bar is located on the lobby level of the hotel. The concept is a nod to the Brennans’ beloved aunt, Adelaide Brennan, whose joie de vivre and charming pursuit of the good life is captured in the décor and design.  Named for the gold swizzle stick that Adelaide wore around her neck, this fun watering hole is getting a lot of attention from locals and visitors alike. 
So I will be doing my chores in the next couple of days, extra time on the elliptical and packing my suitcase.

See you soon, with lots of pictures and all the fun!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

A great time of year in Louisiana...

Spring has sprung at Afton Villa Gardens!

Since today is the official first day of Spring, I wanted to share a few pics I took while at the Audubon Pilgrimage.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beautiful homes, gardens, new friends..and the dresses!!

Friday morning I met up with a group of ladies to attend the 40th Annual Audubon Pilgrimage in St. Francisville, LA.  My husband and I had already taken a trip to St. Francisville so I knew I already loved the area. However, on this trip we would have access to six plantation homes and gardens and I was so ready to actual see the inside to some of these exclusive homes.  

A little history of this event from Louisiana Office of Tourism: 

When flamboyant artist-naturalist John James Audubon arrived in the St. Francisville area in 1821, he said the rich lushness of the landscape and flourishing birdlife "all excited my admiration."  Having set for himself a staggering task of painting all the birds of this immense fledgling country, Audubon found the inspiration for more than 80 of them while residing at Oakley Plantation. Both he and wife Lucy tutored area plantation children to fund publication of his Birds of America

In celebration of Audubon's stay, the West Feliciana Historical Society's annual pilgrimage has since 1972 permitted privileged visitors an intimate glimpse of Audubon's scenic, unspoiled Happyland and it's historic homes & gardens, public and private.

We were privileged to tour:

Afton Villa Gardens
Rural Homestead
Spring Grove
White's Cottage

Please visit my FB page to view my photo album, it was a magical day!

If you are on FB and haven't joined my page, please do so! I have additional fun posts to share!  

For more information regarding this spectacular annual event, go to:


Thursday, March 17, 2011

If you're not lucky enough to be there, bring The Monteleone to you!

Photo from Hotel Monteleone

The Naughty Leprechen

 1oz Crème de Menthe
1oz Crème de Cacao
1oz Baileys Irish Cream
1oz Half & Half



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Place or Mine?

Now that I have recovered from Mardi Gras, I have a fast, easy and delicious pasta recipe to share with you!  This is probably my family's favorite dish, it is certainly my daughters...

Shrimp Pasta

What you will need:

1 pound of small peeled and deveined Louisiana shrimp
2 sticks of butter (I use I.C.B.I.B)
1 cup of seasoning blend (frozen chopped onion, bell peppers, celery)
1 tsp of Creole Seasoning
1 tsp of dried tarragon (this is a key ingredient for flavor!)
1/4 tsp of black pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup of frozen green peas (optional)
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
1 pd of pasta, I used linguine this time but angel hair works well too!
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
Salt, to taste...I hold back on salt for my family but add if you desire after you taste.
Feel free to "kick it up" if you like spicy...add hot sauce, if desired.

What to do:

Melt butter in a large saucepan, add seasoning blend, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings. Saute veggies till soft and then add the shrimp, toss around till pink. Add the frozen peas and toss for a couple of minutes (keep peas frozen till you add them).

Toss in your cooked pasta and sprinkle top with Parmesan Cheese and chopped parsley.

Pasta Tips: Salt your water, but don't do so until the water is boiling, add a splash of olive oil to the water...then transfer pasta with tongs right from the water to the saucepan. Do not drain or rinse pasta. The pasta will absorb the sauce much better! 

Make this recipe your own...

Add your favorite veggies, make it with crawfish tails or even chicken (just cut up boneless skinless chicken breast in to small chunks and brown off in butter before adding the veggies and garlic)   


If you are in the Ascension Parish area, stop by Cajun Catch Seafood, they are the best!

814 West Orice Roth Road Gonzales, LA - (225) 647-3474 



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bless Our Nest...

When I was a little girl in upstate New York, my parents always had an amazing garden in our backyard. I can remember how it grew bigger and bigger each year, going outside with my mom and picking our fresh veggies daily. There were times that we would wash some of what we picked with the garden hose and just eat them immediately. My best friend growing up also had a garden in her yard, we would pick from her garden and take fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in to our make-shift fort and eat our fresh veggies for lunch...

Here I am with my mom in our garden...

Yes, my mother put us in dresses and did our hair even to go in the garden...isn't my Mom beautiful!

My husband also shared the joy of gardening with his father growing up so the tradition continues, not the same huge garden but a little piece of happiness in our side yard. 

Some of our new plants, ready to go!

Hubby doing the heavy lifting...Black Cow for the's the only thing our parents used!     

Hubby likes to make mounds for planting. He built the garden box last year for our first garden.

Dirt ready to go...lettuce coming back up from last year!

Cucumbers, Green-Yellow-Red Bell Peppers, Creole Tomatoes, Green Onions

Handy ties for the plant sticks. 

Love my herbs...Sage, Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Cilantro and Rosemary.

Some of our harvest from last year!

So get will be so happy you did!


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