Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party

City Park’s 26th Annual Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party was held November 16 and am I ever  glad that I decided to go.  This was my first year attending the preview party and I’m putting it on my “things to do every year” list for sure!

The party is a  3 1/2 hour cocktail attire affair,which benefits the New Orleans Botanical Garden.  It was so worth the $100 per person tickets.

Walking through the Celebration in the Oaks on any given day is a magical experience.  The adult preview party ups the ante by having fantastic food from restaurants such as Galatoire’s,Pascal Manale’s,Ralph’s on the Park and dozens of others. In addition, there’s all sorts of adult beverages (i.e. all the liquor you can handle) to  keep you going as you walk among millions of holiday twinkling lights.

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The bands were awesome! The Mixed Nuts and The Tip Tops brought the house down,

or rather, “the trees down” since it’s an outdoor event.

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It’s the perfect date night affair…food, drinks,music and a wonderland  type atmosphere.

They even had the Antique Carousel and Train operating for those of us who are nothing but big kids at heart.

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My only regret is that, I didn’t get to take a picture of Mr. Bingle while I was there.

My dogs were howling pretty bad for me to take those boots off. They just would not walk me to where Mr. Bingle was located.

That’s alright because, I’ll be there next year….with flat shoes on.

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If you only experience the preview party once, you should go…you will not regret it.

It’s a spectacular way to let your inner child come out  and play.

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And All That Jazz

The hubs and I hit the Jazz Fest yesterday!

Thanks to a wonderful nurse I work with, I was able to get a two for one hook up.

Man, was I ever grateful for that because, at $65 a person to get in at the gate and $20 for parking, I don’t know if I would have been there.

I like my festivals free!

Thursday was a great day to be out there.

It was a locals day with plenty of school kids and folks who played hooky from work.

This weekend is going to be a madhouse…way too many people for me.

We were able to walk around and really take in the food and music at our leisure.

Won’t be able to do that  this weekend with wall-to-wall people.

We hit the fest when the gates opened at  11 a.m. and I walked right on to the first dish I wanted to try,

That darned Crawfish Monica!  Everyone raves about this dish at the fest so, there was no way I was gonna go there and not sample it.

This dish is soooooo goooood!

It’s slap yo’ momma good!

NavySeal had a Cuban Sandwich which was da bomb!

Made with pulled pork, ham, cheese and mustard. It was put on flat bread and grilled.

Mercy!

We didn’t run across any bad food dishes at all.

Some of ‘em we weren’t  able to take pics of because we were just too busy grubbing.

We did get to try the infamous Crawfish Bread though and get a pic before we devoured it!

The music out there was fabulous!

There’s about 7 or 8 different stages (maybe more I don’t remember) each with their own flavor of music,

Zydeco, Brass Band, Dixieland,Gospel,etc.,

We hit them all.

Something else you won’t be able to do this weekend….

move from stage to stage with ease.

The crowd will be 3 times worse than this over the weekend. And with Maze closing out one stage and Rockin’ Dopsie closing out another it’s gonna be really hectic.

thank goodness for jumbo trons!

Acura stage

Did I mention it was a sunny 85 degrees out there?

Make sure you have your sunscreen on before you head out there.

NavySeal turns  red as a crawfish if he doens’t use it so, I always bring it with me

just in case he forgets.

NavySeal trying to keep the sweating to a minimum.

folks getting their mist on!

The thing I love most about the festivals is watching people  have a great time.

Life is just too short to be always working and worried about bills and stuff.

Get out and ENJOY YOUR LIFE!

It doesn’t always require going on a vacation.

dancing in the economy hall tent

hula hoopin’ in the humidity

can you have TOO much fun?

Life is for the living!

I even got me a Jazz Fest flag!

jazz fest flag

I’d notice them at various houses around the city and made sure I got one when I went.

We spent about 5 hours out there and then left because, my sinuses just couldn’t take the grass, pollen and smoke anymore.

Last week, I went to the doctor for my yearly celestone shot for these horrible sinuses of mine and didn’t want a relapse so we left.

Also, we had plans to go to the midnight showing of  The Avengers.

We purchased our tickets Thursday at 4 p.m. and three of the four screens were already sold out!

We got to the theatre last night at 9:30 and folks were already lined up…wow.

By 10:30, all the seats were filled except the ones right in front of the screen…wayyy in the front.

Those poor folks who thought they were early by showing up at 11:00 p.m. were miffed cuz who wants to sit in those seats?

THE MOVIE IS FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!

 If you’re into Marvel Comics, you won’t be disappointed.

Just make sure you don’t leave when the credits starts rolling.

 There’s always something special after the first set of credits.

Navy Week was last week. I didn’t do a post on it but, I think I may backtrack and post one next week about it.

The Bayou Boogaloo Festival is in two weeks and The Food and Wine Experience is the week after.

I’ll be there…y’all know my mantra,

Get Busy Living!

A Food and Wine Experience

Well, I’m back on the blog train! My mind was derailed a minute with my dad coming home and all. Being a member of the sandwich generation, having to take care of your  kids and your parent is hard work…that’s another post for another day though.

Today, I’m throwing out a post about the Food and Wine Experience I just had at The Convention Center. The event was the entire week but, NavySeal and I only went to the grand tasting event.  It was truly grand indeed!

Good LAWD!  They had so much food and wine in that place…you really have to pace yourself because your senses go into overload.

The ambiance was awesome. Low lighting, nice music playing, tastefully decorated, the room temp was perfect which was really appreciated because, they were doing some serious cooking in that joint!

When you first arrive, they hand you a wine glass and a small tray for you to put your samples of food on. After that, it’s a free fall…sample as many dishes and wines as your little tummy can handle!

I was like a kid in a candy store!

NavySeal is a wine buff so, he was handling that angle. When I sampled wine, I only took a sip or two and tossed the rest.

Ida been drunk within the first 30 minutes of the experience if I didn’t. The experience was three hours long.

The food on the other hand was another thing!

We sampled so many dishes but, this one here  was exceptional.It’s a pasta with pesto and ravioli from Andrea’s restaurant. The line was long to get it but, it was worth the wait and the lines moved fast.

Here’s  a crawfish salad. The flavors were out of this world and it was so cool and crisp…just what we needed because, it was 95 degrees outside.

This lil trio is Seafood Gumbo;Warm Apple Tarte Tatin (whatever that means) and Bananas Foster Cheesecake;Wood -Grilled Tomahawk Steak with John Folse Blue Cheese and Mushroom.  These are some of the award-winning dishes. The gumbo was really good but, I didn’t like the steak or the desserts.

The only thing the Bananas Foster Cheesecake did was remind me that Brennan’s was in the house with their Bananas Foster!

I headed over there for a  dish and it was slap yo’ momma good!

Nope, no pic of that…I killed it before I could reach for the camera.

So many restaurants with so many dishes.

This is the one event where you want to walk in there starving!

Many of the big name restaurants like Arnaud’s, Mr.B’s Bistro,Commander’s Palace and Galatoire’s participate in this event.

The wines were great as well…I think they had over 1,000 wines there. My favorite  was Chassagne-Montrachet…didn’t toss any of THAT one out!

Now, I know why it’s called  “king of white wines”.

The crowd was huge but, they had enough room for everyone to move around freely. My only suggestion would be to have more places for folks to sit…they could have used a few more chairs in there.

Next year (yes, I’m already planning for next year), we’re going to add a few more days to our experience. I’d like catch a some seminars and attend the grand tasting event Friday as well as Saturday. Some restaurants were only there on Friday and I’ll be able to catch them as well.

There was  a Louisiana Seafood Cook-off going on as well with 10 Chefs competing for the big win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I wish I could tell you who won but, I was too busy grubbin’ to pay attention.

The event isn’t free (this one  was $90 pp) but, the money all goes to charity…it’s more than worth it.  It’s a fabulous way to kill three hours in the city.

Eating and drinking wine…my life in the Big Easy.

My favorite festival,Vieux -To -Do  is in two weeks…the trio of festivals.

The Cajun-Zydeo, La. Seafood and Tomato Fest all in one in the French Quarters.

I got my Zydeco two-step together and I’m ready to go!

Now, I just have to teach the hubby so I can have a partner out there…should be interesting.

Have a great day y’all!

 

King Cakes and Nathan

Well, twelfth night has come and gone so that means one of my favorite holidays is upon us,

 

Mardi Gras Time!!


Not so much because of the parades ( I only go out to hear the bands play.) It’s because of this right here,

 



 

King Cakes….yummy!  The only place I get mine from is Manny Randazzo’s on N. Hullen Street in Metairie.  Manny’s started selling king cakes Saturday morning at 8 a.m., I got there at 8:05.  The line was already through the store, through the parking lot and out to the street!  Did I leave and go home?  Heck naw!  I parked my car and got in line. It was cold out but, I was dressed to handle the weather and the 45 minute wait would have been just fine if it wasn’t for….NATHAN.

 

Nathan is a 7-year-old kid who was standing behind me in line with his grandparents.  The entire 45 minutes, the grandparents were trying to keep Nathan’s busy-body behind still. I think during those 45 minutes, I heard every conceivable statement that you could tell a kid.

“Nathan, don’t touch that”

“Nathan, they’re going to arrest you.”

“Nathan, get over here.”

“Nathan stop it!”

“Nathan, do you want to sit in the car with paw-paw? Well, stop then.

“NATHAN!”

What they should have told Nathan was,

“Nathan, I’mma bust yo ass if you touch one more thing!”

Speaking of busting asses, I know everyone must have seen this video by now. Old boy won’t be trying to be an internet thug anymore I bet.

 

I’ve read a lot of the comments out there and it seems, a lot of people are more worried about the uncle’s sagging pants than the fact that,  his nephew was on facebook being an internet thug talking about killing people.  I would have whopped my nephew’s ass too(and I have) for trying to be hard.  That mess will get him or someone in his family killed.  Years from now, he’ll thank his uncle for that very same ass whoppin. He doesn’t know it yet but, his uncle saved his life.   A lot of other people feel that, the uncle will get a visit from social services for displaying child abuse. Somehow, that uncle doesn’t come across to me as a man who gives a damn about social services.  He does however, give a damn about his nephew.

Way to go uncle for stepping up to the plate. If more young black males had an uncle like you, maybe this killing in our community would cease. Everyone is always crying, it takes a man to raise a man and when one steps up, you question the way he raises him.

Y’all need to go sit down somewhere with that mess and let the lion show the cub his place in the pride.

Well, that’s all I got today. I’m behind on a lot of work…gotta get ta’ stepping!


A Tale of Two Tony’s

Well, it’s the end of the month already and my favorite blog time is here….

Restaurant of the month!

NavySeal and I were out and about (again) and while heading home, we passed 2 Tony’s in Bucktown. Now, I gotta say, for me..it’s always been hard to go to  II Tony’s.

It’s not that I’d heard anything bad about them but, II Tony’s is walking distance from Deanies Seafood.

It’s hard as hell to pass up Deanies!

But, I did.

I held my head down and passed Deanies and all of that delicious seafood…

and went to  II Tony’s.

and was I ever glad I did!

We arrived before the lunch crowd. The place is small…the atmosphere, really nice.  NavySeal said that, inside of it reminded him of the scene in the Godfather when Michael killed  “The Turk” Virgil Sollozzo and  police Captain McClusky.

yeah, I can see that.

Hey, don’t be surprised that I know the characters in the Godfather off the top of my head( I know the Oracle and Andrea aren’t surprised…lol.) I’ve had a small obsession with The Godfather since  high school.  I read the book in 1978 and have seen both versions of the movie…most people don’t know they’re two versions. They tend not to show the other version which I happen to like because, it’s more detailed. It’s also my “holiday movie” to cook to.  For some reason, whenever I’m cooking for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I end up playing that movie.  I think it’s because part one and part two are so long,  that they keep me company while I’m cooking.

See, this how obsessed I am with the movie.  This pic was taken in 2006. NavySeal and I had gone to Universal Studios in Florida and they have the Genco Olive Oil Company front with Michael Corleone name on it… and I just HAD to take a picture by it.

NavySeal started with a salad and me, well…I had the seafood gumbo.

I usually don’t like my gumbo with Okra in it but, this darned gumbo was so frigging good!  I ate the whole thing and that’s something I don’t usually do because, I like to leave room in my tummy for the “big kahuna” dish.

NavySeal had Veal Parmesan as his big kahuna dish.  The veal was so tender and juicy…I wanted his dish after he let me taste it.

I like the fact that, it’s a nice serving…not too much not too little. NavySeal ain’t trying to bring home no doggie bags if ya know what I mean.

I was torn between two dishes and eventually decided on  the Lasagna. I was surprised that it looked like this. I’m used to my lasagna having more length than bulk. but, after tasting it…who the heck cared? It was delicious!

The wait staff was mediocre but, the food was great.

I had been looking at II Tony’s it seems like forever but, as I’ve said…it’s so hard to pass up Deanies and go somewhere else when you’re right there.

I’m glad I went though.

Would I go again? Probably not.

Why?

Because Deanies will trump them every.single. time.

Resturant of the Month

This is a new feature that will appear in the blog. I love to eat out in this fair city so, I may as well take the time to tell yall about where we’re dining and what’s happening there. Plus, it gives me an excuse to hit up some really great places to eat!

NavySeal was hankering for some “erysters” and since they are really in short supply these days, we went to a place where we knew they’d have some oysters and other fabulous food on the menu.

Which brings me to my restaurant of the month,

Acme Oyster House! We went to the one on Veterans Blvd but, for anyone visiting the city, there’s also one a block behind Canal Street on Iberville.

NavySeal had the oyster po-boy (excuse the fussy pic)and, I had the “swimp” p0-boy dressed(excuse the pepper and Tabasco sauce…I was ready to throw down)

The place is really casual, the service was great and as you can see, the oyster bar is up and running for all you folks who like ‘em raw.

We got there before the lunch crowd so, folks were  just arriving.

I love this place.  The only problem I had was, the price of the oyster sandwich….20 bucks!!

Can you believe that?!

$20 for an oyster po-boy…here, in New Orleans!

That’s just crazy.

It had better been great because at $20, I don’t know when he’ll be getting another oyster sandwich.LOL

$20…good googly moo.

Just another effect from the oil-spill *sigh*

Randazzo Ramblings

Lawd, I should be ashamed of this post.  There is so much going on in the world today and in the blogsphere that I really should be writing about some social, political or moral issue. But, I am from NOLA and I am a true New Orleanian (in other places people eat to live, in New Orleans we live to eat!)so, right now the only thing I can think of is….. A KING CAKE!!!  It’s getting near Mardi Gras time and the city is preparing, bleaches are up and king cakes have hit the bakeries.kingcake

I have had king cakes from just about every bakery around here and there is this one place that has the some of the best king cakes around.  They have yet to pump out any cakes that weren’t flavorful or moist.  People start lining up for these cakes as soon as the bakery opens and usually around 10 am they are sold out!  My favorite king cake place is,manny-randazzo1

Manny Randazzos King Cakes are the best!!!!!  They have all sorts of flavors but, I like the original king cake without all of those extra fillings.  They ship anywhere in the USA so, if anyone wants to try a king cake or, if anyone is from this area and is feeling a little home sick, get yourself a cake from Randazzos, you won’t be disappointed.

http://www.mannyrandazzo.com/