Category Archives: Food

Mardi Gras in New Orleans – Part 3

I ended being the first one up Monday morning, and it didn’t look like anyone else had intentions of getting up anytime soon so I figured I might as well get up and go see some sights. It was kind of nice waking up and going out on my own to explore around town. Even though it was around 10 or 11 in the morning there were already crowds of people in the streets watching parades on Canal Street and collecting beads on Bourbon Street.

I made my way down Bourbon Street which was still crowded during the day but not nearly as bad as it was durning the night.

The first place I wanted to check out was called Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop which is supposedly the oldest continually running bar in the United States and was once owned by the pirate Jean Lafitte.

I stopped by the bar but didn’t go inside since it was still early and I had other things I wanted to see. I got off Bourbon Street and started walking through the surrounding neighborhood which was quite nice.

I liked walking around checking out the architecture and getting away from the crowds. I made my way towards the Tremé area and eventually found myself in Louis Armstrong Park.

I didn’t intentionally mean to visit the park but it was a nice area with not that many people around so I hung around there for a little bit.

I finally made my way over to Saint Louis Cemetery Number One which I really wanted to check out since it’s like the oldest cemetery in New Orleans.

The cemetery had a few tour groups wandering the grounds; I tried to stay away from the tour groups and just show myself around. It felt more eerie walking around through the maze of above-ground tombs by myself anyway.

While in the cemetery I was able to visit the supposed tomb of Voodoo Queen,  Marie Laveau which had all types of offerings set around it and the three ‘X’s marked all over it.

I think the three ‘X’s were supposed to symbolize wishes her spirit had granted to people but I’m pretty sure now it’s just a touristy thing to do.

 I left the cemetery after spending an ample amount of time there and eventually met up with my friend Arun who was now out and about. Once we met up we decided to cruise over to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop where I had passed by earlier, and this time I actually got a beer.

We met some friendly folks there and chatted, but we started getting hungry for lunch so we headed out. I had looked up a place called 13 which was on Frenchman Street that was supposed to have some vegetarian offerings for us, however when we got there we were informed that they had changed their menu during Mardi Gras to make it easier for their kitchen to get orders out. Luckily for us we saw a Mediterranean place across the street called Mona’s Cafe which wasn’t too busy and also had some pretty excellent food. After we finished eating the rest of our friends had met up with us on Frenchman Street but I was about ready for a nap so I headed back to the hotel for a while. While I was attempting to nap I kept hearing what I thought to be a horrible drummer in the streets below but it turned out to be fireworks that were happening over the Mississippi. I got a pretty awesome view of the show from our hotel window.

After my unsuccessful nap attempt I returned to Frenchman Street to meet up with my friends. They had occupied a spot at a bar called DBA which had a pretty good beer selection and also had live music which people were going nuts over.

We hung out at DBA for a while meeting interesting characters, talking, and drinking before we finally decided to call it a night. I definitely enjoyed hanging out on Frenchman Street that day, it was kind of a different atmosphere than Bourbon Street but still positively festive, as Mardi Gras should be.

From Pisa to Milan and on to Paris

Friday morning we left Pisa for Milan but decided to first stop in the town of La Spezia along the way. We grabbed some food at a grocery store where I also happened to find a Danish beer the size of my head. I had to get it of course.

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We walked down to the harbor area and sat by the ocean where we had a small picnic with our food.

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It wasn’t long before we had to catch the train that would take us to Milan where we were to take a sleeper train to Paris. We got to Milan far before we needed to catch our night train so we decided to check our bags at the train station and explore Milan a bit. Milan’s a big city and I was a little worried it was going to be as unpleasant as Naples, but it wasn’t. The streets were a lot nicer and clean. We even found a large park with ponds and fountains that was really nice. We walked around the city some more and finally stopped at a small cafe where we could grab some coffee and sit for a bit.

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The cafe ended up closing while we were there so we had to move on. We decided we’d just go back to the train station and get our bags out of storage and just wait for our train. Once aboard we got settled into our top bunks and I grabbed a couple beers from the train bar which was conveniently located next to our cabin. As I drank my beers in my bunk I over heard some Americans talking about how they were going to a Jimmy Buffet concert in Paris, I thought that was kinda funny. The train ride itself was alright minus the woman in our cabin who smelled like shit and decided it was a good idea to wake up at 7am and keep opening and closing the cabin door every two minutes, even though we weren’t supposed to get to Paris until 9am. Fuck you bitch, I’m glad the bunk ladder hit you in the head when you were getting your luggage out.

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Once into Paris we caught the metro down to our hotel in the Montparnasse area. We arrived at our hotel early and for the first time on our trip we where not able to get an early check-in. Lame. We were able to leave our bags in their luggage storage and then went to grab some breakfast.

After breakfast we were off to check out the Paris Catacombs which were nearby. There was a pretty good sized line to enter the catacombs when we got there and I’d say we spent a good hour waiting to get in. Once inside you descend about 130 steps down into an underground tunnel which was used for mining stone. You follow the underground tunnels for a while and eventually enter a passageway that is lined on both sides with stacks of human skeletal remains, which is a little shocking to see a first. The tunnel of bones goes on for a while until you finally make your accent back up to the surface.

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After we finished our tour of the Catacombs we bolted over to the train station so we could get a sleeper car reservations for Sunday night. Unfortunately for us the train was booked up. We had to get back to Madrid by Tuesday somehow and the only other way to do it was to take trains all day on Monday, which didn’t sound fun but we had to do it. We booked our trains for Monday and headed back to our hotel to check in and ask if we could book a second night since our Sunday night train plans fell through. Luckily, a second night at the hotel was not a problem.

That night we found a vegan restaurant to eat at called Tien Huang which we were pretty stoked about since we hadn’t eaten at a proper vegetarian restaurant since Prague. The food was superb. After dinner we hitched the Metro up to the Montmartre area to check out a bar called Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus I had Googled earlier that day. We thought we might be getting there too early since it was only 8pm but when we walked up the place was already jammin’ with a live band and people already poured out front in the street drinking. I was surprised. We decided to walk and grab some coffee and come back later to see if the crowd would thin out a bit. We got coffee at a Starbucks which was directly across the street from the Moulin Rouge where we got a table outside and people watched. After our caffeine fix we headed back to Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus to see how it was. When we got back the crowd was a little smaller and there was a DJ playing 7″ rock ‘n’ roll records. I went inside and ordered a whiskey and coke but only got a whiskey with ice, oh well. The DJ spinning that night was supposedly the oldest rock DJ in Paris and he looked it, but he was not messing around. He had an arsenal of props he used to try and stir up the crowd: moroccos, a whistle, and a dinner bell which he ran around with and banged with a spoon. But his antics didn’t stop there, oh no, at some points after he threw on a record he’d then immediately light off a large firecracker in the bar. Let me also say he looked like a bad fat Elvis impersonator. Pretty entertaining but it started to cook like an oven in that joint so I finished my whiskey and we made our way out.

Arizona Part 2: David Allan Coe in Cave Creek

Saturday Ryan and I woke up and got breakfast/lunch at this place called Pita Jungle in Chandler.  The menu had an awesome variety of food but I ended up getting this spinach quesadilla thing.  The service and the food were both pretty great; I’d go again.

Later in the day we eventually headed up to Cave Creek where we were gonna see David Allan Coe preform at a bar/restaurant called Harold’s Corral. When we first got into town it was still early so we decided to hit up this place called Frontier Town. It had this little bar in the back called “The Pour House” where I thought it would be cool to kill some time. When I walked in I saw the bar tender making a margarita and thought that sounded good so I ordered one.  It was probably one of the worst margaritas I’ve ever had and was like $8.  Oh well.

Mike made friends with the piano man at least.

We were going to head over to the Horny Toad Saloon next but decided to just go drink some beers in the parking lot to save some dough.

When we got to Harold’s the place already seemed like it was bumpin’.  We got inside and ordered some drinks and then found a sweet spot on the porch outside. We got helped right away and ordered more drinks and a pizza.  The pizza was surprisingly really good, not the sub-par bar food I was expecting.

The band opening that night was some douchey band called Young Country. They played a bunch of lame cover songs and looked like a bunch of dorks. Is that guy Orange? Totally not what I was expecting as an opener for David Allan Coe. That’s cool though, it gave me more time to go back to the car and kick back another beer.

Once Suck Country was done playing I squeezed inside to secure a good spot to see David. The other dudes were still out on the porch but they came in after a while.  It seemed like forever until DAC and his band finally came out.  It looked like the poor old dude needed some help getting up to the stage but the crowd was going nuts none the less.

I must say I was a little starstruck to see him live on stage.  David Allan Coe is an outlaw country legend and is up there with Waylon, Willie, Hank Jr., ect. as far as I’m concerned. I believe he wrote some of the best real country songs of all time; some of which he played that night.

Some of the notable songs I remember him playing that night were:  The Ride, You Never Even Called Me by My Name, If that Ain’t Country (Part 2), and Leave Ole Willie Alone. He also did a cool sample of a bunch of songs he’d written that other famous artists had covered.

For being 72 I thought he put on a pretty damn good show, he even had two shots of whiskey on stage (that I was able to count anyway).  By the end of the night I was feeling my own fair share of whiskey after taking many pulls off my flask that I had snuck in; I mean, c’mon, it was a DAC concert after all!

When the show was over we walked outside only to find someone had a little too much fun and had to be taken away in an ambulance.  At first I was worried that maybe it was David, but luckily it wasn’t.

I must say the show and the trip up to Cave Creek was some good times.  I’d definitely love to go back!

2-22 Nacho Party

The time of year where we celebrate nachos in all of their glory.

Over the years this tradition has developed into almost a contest of sorts to see who can cook up the most creative nachos.  Past examples of creative nachos have been:  ice cream nachos, Mediterranean nachos, pizza nachos, breackfast nachos, nacho shakes (I regret!), ect.