Jumped the Pond to Habanero's

After our trip to Canada, my mom had been itching to see all of our pictures and get the lowdown on our surprise adventure. And that's when the head cold of all head colds bestowed its shit on me.

Thank GOD for Mucinex. Not an ad, but I will never play around with anything else when feeling that sinus pressure come on. Hallelujah.

Now, to the reason you are here.

So mom wanted to hear all about the trip, and after feeling significantly better from this head cold, we made the trip to the Northshore from New Orleans to good ol' Mandeville.

If you know anyone from New Orleans, or the south really, then you know when you're telling a good story, you also want some good food. So off we went to Covington and to this new (to me) Mexican restaurant that my parents said was pretty good. Fresh food, clean spot, good service. I just wanted those rice and beans. Habanero's here we come.

Not only was the food memorable, so was the ambiance. So colorful and vibrant. The bar mural was beautiful and a perfect spot to watch your sports games. You should be aware happy hour is EVERY DAMN DAY, starting at 2pm.

Although I was under the weather, I couldn't pass up a cocktail. Someone, somewhere told me tequila is a probiotic. So ya know, had to get a margarita. I opted for the ginger margarita and was not disappointed. Even got a snapshot of the recipe to make at home.

As for our meals, I had three of the lamb tacos, which were tasty, but could not stop looking at my mom's plate. Unfortunately no photo to show you, but will use my words. Sitting on a bed of caramelized onions were two cheese enchiladas smothered in more cheese along with a fire-grilled chicken breast cooked to perfection. Like, it had the perfect little grill marks and everything. Mouth watering, yet?

Also recommend their chicken tortilla soup. No frills. Just the most amazingly flavored broth.

On their menu, it noted they would soon be opening up a spot in Madisonville, and I cannot help but wonder (and kind of pray) that they find their way to Magazine street in the future. I can totally see this vibe on the strip, serving up fresh foods and yummy cocktails.

Here's to hoping!

Oh, Canada...You Sure Did Surprise Me

Lake Louise

For months, Colby's parents told us we were going on a trip...but to where we did not know. Pack warm, layered clothes and a swimsuit. That was it. Oh, and hiking boots!

After an enormous amount of speculation...like, if you know me, exhaustive amount of research and Google searches looking for all the possibilities...we were told our destination a mere six hours before our flight. Jasper, Canada. Never heard of it. Geography minor from an accredited university and still no idea where in Canada we would be going.

Upon a proper search, I was shown images of hiking trails, mountains, glaciers, mountains, a castle, crystal blue lakes, oh and did I mention mountains?

So with a six-hour notice of location, we were off.

Obligatory passport photo

Oh, Canada
First stop, Calgary. The thoughtfulness of this place was something to awe at. Canada's Home on the Range, impeccably clean and with little spots of parks and gardens strewn throughout this major city.

Just a small portion of the gardens throughout Calgary

Downtown with the Needle
And then there was Monster Jam. I would have never thought how many times I would sit there, jaw open, in complete shock with what I just saw. But it happened. Now I must decide between the ever-present Grave Digger or Calgary's own Northern Nightmare. Still can't decide.

Following Canada's western front, we headed to the Banff Springs Hotel...or as I like to call it, a castle. While here, we enjoy the most amazing spa day with a mineral pool, and finish the evening at their steakhouse, 1888, tomahawk-style.

Colby walking around the Banff Springs Hotel like he owns the place

Next stop, Lake Louise. Spectacular. Really don't know how else to describe this spot because words truly could not add up to the level of peace felt here. Expansive, still, quiet, open. Just awesome. Once we knew it was time to move on, we headed to Jasper.

Lake Louise

Hey Colby

While here, the boys played golf while the girls walked the grounds. Everywhere, and I cannot stress this enough, everywhere you look is beautiful. It's some Ansel Adams shit 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Another blue lake...you're welcome

Next in Jasper, we took a gondola ride up the Jasper SkyTram. According to my mother-in-law, this is the highest gondola ride in Canada...and seeing how high we went...I totally believe her. Also, I would be lying if I told you when she told me we were going on a gondola, I didn't think it was going to be a fancy canoe. Yeah. I did that.

We're cute

Selfies in the sky

After dinner at one of Jasper's local breweries, and speaking with our waitress, Rheeanne, we decided to make a pit stop at Peyto Lake on our way back to Banff. So glad we did. Lake  Louise was beautiful, but Peyto Lake was angelic. The water was unbelievably blue. Glacier water. Something I never knew I needed to see until then. Just gorgeous.

Peyto Lake

Once we were back in Banff, it was time to do some shopping in their picturesque town. Super quaint with so many shops. Two shops that blew my mind was the sweet shoppe and a gemstone store. The sweet shoppe was something straight out of Willy Wonka and the gemstone store allowed us to add to our fluorite skull collection.

"If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it"

The snozzberries taste like snozzberries

To continue our relaxation, we took full advantage of the heated pools/springs at our condo. The view was something you would expect Robert Frost to be taking in while writing his poems.

Is this real life?
As the day came to a close, so was our trip. In seven days and six nights, we managed to see parts of Canada I never really knew existed. Some days were go, go, go and others were more slow-paced, but the entire trip was an experience I am beyond appreciative to have been given to myself and my husband. So much gratitude. And we cant wait to go back.

Home again, home again
Jiggity, jig
Although I think next time, we may be bringing some extra carry-ons.

Extra carry-on one and two

Summer Daze in the CBD

Anyone, anywhere will tell you it's hot this Summer. In New Orleans, it's kind of a given...but these past two or so months have been treacherous, even for the most seasoned of us.

And what's a girl to do when she's sweating as soon as she leaves her house, looking like she just jumped into a pool....wishing she had one? You just make your own dreams come true.

Laying in the shade while Colby sweats in the sun.

When it feels like it's impossible to beat the heat, one option to forget/ignore/day drink it away is to hit a local hotel and take advantage of their local "day passes."
Colby and I always hit up Ace Hotel on Carondelet. The spot is quaint and cooky. Great drinks with a full bar on the rooftop, along with a kitchen for all your eats to keep you full while sipping on cocktails. There are spots to lay for every need if you want to soak in the sun or hide away in the shade...it's there.

We went a few weeks ago and made a whole day of it. Got some Vitamin D, drank this AHMAZING hibiscus cocktail on repeat, and got to mingle and chat with a couple in town from France.
Of course, after the hibiscus that kept on giving, we needed some of that soak-the-alcohol-up food, so we took a walk to one of our favorite spots in the CBD: Johnny Sanchez.

If memory serves me right, we went on a weekday so were able to enjoy their lunch special. My favorite go-to when on any menu: the Cuban sandwich.
It should be noted for those, like me, looking for a good deal and good meal, their lunch specials also come with a side of rice and beans. So worth it. Thank me later.

The pickles HAVE to be made in house. Awesome!!!

Great thing about both of these spots, is they are easily within walking distance of one another. So, if you're looking to get out the house and spend a day having a "stay-cation," this is an easy choice.
And if you just cannot bring yourself to go for a walk once you get to the hotel, Ace has their own in-house restaurant, Josephine Estelle. Amazing brunch, and last time we ate there we sat across from Sam Smith. Just saying...

Not Sam Smith...but I like to think he is just as famous in the Taperts' home.

Oldie, but a real good goodie: Hana Sushi

At any given moment, there are several restaurants opening and closing throughout the city. While that doesn't prove which spots are worth the trip and which ones you could skip, it's important to note the restaurants that stand the test of time.

If you aren't aware...it's hot as hell outside. Although we have been inclined to hibernate almost every weekend this Summer, we did manage to venture out this weekend to hit an oldie but a goodie: Hana Sushi right off Dublin Street.

Like...so hot didn't even think to get a photo of the sign outside. Sorry not sorry.

I remember going here for the first time around 2005 with a friend of mine, Lindsay. This was her favorite sushi spot while attending UNO and for good reason. It's reminiscent of a hole-in-the-wall: no frills, great service, and amazing food. After Katrina, going away to college, and trying my hand at D.C., I will say I haven't been back since then, until today.

My husband, Colby, and I play Final Fantasy online and apparently he made friends with another local and they mentioned how we needed to try this place out. As soon as he brought it up, I knew exactly what and where he was talking about. So we took a ride.

Fourteen years later, literally and thankfully not much has changed. Same decor I remember and same amazing prices. As sushi has grew in popularity, so have the prices when dining out. At Hana, the prices are reasonable and the fish is fresh. Also to be noted, my avocado in my sushi roll was ripe to perfection. It's really the little things, and when I get a piece of avocado that's not ripe enough...it kind of sucks. Pro tip for other sushi spots: wait to use the avocado until it's really READY...just do it.

We enjoyed the Crawfish Roll, Caterpillar Roll, and Philly Roll.
Of course, it wouldn't be a true New Orleans meal without a little alcohol...or a true Japanese dining experience without some sake. We are not really schooled on the different kinds of sake, but I definitely prefer cold over hot. One that we tend to purchase on the regular is Black and Gold. I mean...duh...how can we not?

Should be noted, even the bottles of sake are priced amazingly.

All in all, for a hot ass day in New Orleans, it was so worth the drive down St. Charles to Hana Sushi. So glad Colby reminded me of this spot and cannot wait to go back.

Let's see if I can get Colby to use this as his profile photo...

Levee Baking Co.: A bakery shop that rises to the occasion

The news around town is about a local bakery serving up absolutely delicious sweets and savory treats.

My friend, Triskell, has been raving about them since they moved to their new location on Magazine Street, next to Rum House (entrance on Ninth Street). So of course, when she asked for a Sunday coffee and baked goods date...how could I resist?

Although Levee is new to the Magazine Street area, Levee has been baking for the public since 2017, where the owner started selling on Dryades Street. What essentially looks to be self taught, Christina Balzebre, quite literally works magic into every bite. Who hasn't had breads or baked goods from just about everywhere? But have you ever had a peach and blueberry galette with the sugar edges cooked so perfectly that they add a Utopian amount of crunch to the edges? I hadn't...until today.

Photo by Triskell

Along with my cold brew coffee, I, of course, could not leave without grabbing some more treats to take home. I'm already dreaming about my dinner tonight where I will make sure to work in their rosemary and tomato focaccia. I have NEVER tasted focaccia fresher than this. And then there are the sweets! I had to stop myself after the blondie and this coffee cake bread pudding concoction that tastes like heaven.

Clockwise: Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia, Coffee Cake Bread Pudding, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Scone? (I can't
remember the full name of this one, but it was fucking amazing for anyone who loves garlic), Rye Flour Chocolate Chip  Blondie

Other than Mondays and Tuesdays, Levee is open Wednesday - Saturday, 9 am - 3 pm, and
Sunday, 10 am - 3 pm. Take a trip over to the Channel and try them out. It's perfect for a quick run in and run out if you need, but the spot is also great to meet up for some coffee talk with friends or for those days of self-care and mindfulness. Make sure you bring your stretchy pants and a good book. I know I will next time!

Summer Sips at Commander's Palace

Summer months in New Orleans brings a lull in the service industry, so one thing we try to do is support the industry as much as we can during this slow period.

Plus, there are some hella deals for awesome food and drinks during this time too. So it's really like a win-win.

We're heading in! Wish us, and my wedges on cobblestone, luck!

Enter Commander's Palace. Famous New Orleans restaurant in the heart of the Garden District offering passed hors d'oeuvres. Plus 42 different wines to try in an hour and a half. It's basically as New Orleans wet dream.

Sips of Summer hosted at Commander's is an awesome way to beat the heat, try A LOT of wine, and order the bottles you want to take home. For June, we enjoyed a variety of "rosé sippers and Summer BBQ reds." Seven tables featuring six different bottles...it was like going to a conference, walking around to each "booth," and you being totally okay being coaxed to the table. I mean, let's be real: ain't nobody had to coax me or anyone else to these tables...if anything, I probably needed to be told to "move along!" 

Following the tasting, we were able to purchase any wines we tried courtesy of Swirl Wine Bar & Market. It should be noted here that we were given a card with all the wines for each numbered table...so as you tried, you could easily mark your favs. Now, we didn't make it for all 42...I had to keep some resemblance of not being a lush, but we did order six of our favorites. Super surprised we didn't order more...like so many to choose from!

The next two months will bring two more tastings. Tickets are required, but are on $49 plus service fees. Forty-two different bottles to try, small bites, mingling and selfies...you see where I'm going with this? Totally worth it. 

Colby enjoying this mid-week distraction.

If you're wanting to hit up the other events this Summer, (and say hey to me...cause you know I'll be there) head over to Commander's Palace's Facebook page and look at their events. The link to buy tickets is posted there. 

Wednesday, July 17: Island Hopping with Glass in Hand

Wednesday, August 14: Touring the Mediterranean Coast

This photo cracks me up...this was after lots of wine in under two hours.


I'll go ahead and say it right now, this spot is the best thing to come out of Tchoup in a long time.

With so many options for Mexican cuisine in New Orleans, you can agree or disagree when it comes in fresh margaritas and traditional Mexican tacos...but this is it.

When I lived in Washington D.C. back in 2011, a friend of mine would bring me to someone's literal home in Falls Church where they cooked up some of the most amazing tacos I have ever had. This family transformed their living room into a seating area for grub while they cooked the most amazing meats outside. 

In the 6 years since I have been back, I have been unlucky in finding a taco spot that is reminiscent of the tacos I enjoyed in Falls Church, Virginia. Until now.

Although I have not spoken to the owners personally, I can tell from social media it is a young family of three with a little one on the way. Every photo they post on social media shows their gratitude in their smiles alone...but the tacos are without a doubt where it's at. Fresh meats, homemade tortillas, margaritas on tap.

And don't even get me started on their avocado salsa. I literally don't even know what they call it exactly, but it is the best goddamn thing I have tasted since Port of Call's Neptune Monsoon!

I know Summer is basically here, and it is hot as Hades, but do yourself a solid and head to Barracuda's on Tchoup to cool down with fresh margaritas on tap and the most amazing, traditional tacos I have been able to find in NOLA. You're welcome.

Spring is here...and I need to get on it

I know Jazz Fest is here when my bosses hand me a long weekend two weekends in a row. One day is awesome to catch up on laundry, dishes, and vacuuming...but two days, and I'm stir crazy.

Enter in gardening and Spring cleaning!

Urban Roots Garden Center at 2375 Tchoupitoulas St.

Headed over to our local nursery, Urban Roots on Tchoup, to pick up some colorful begonias and finally get to meet their adorable pot-belly pigs!

Tried so hard to get a cute photo with these piglets and only managed to get ass shots LOL

After saying hello to BLT and Porkchop (yes, I named them), I went to work on finding some easy to manage and colorful flowers for our hanging baskets. I didn't get his name, but received great suggestions from the guy working there. They know their stuff and didn't make me feel overwhelmed with the huge selection they have.

Of course I had to pick up a random because the color on this plant is just STUNNING!

Headed home with my loot of essentials, along with a little bit of lagniappe, and got to work. Not 15 minutes later and the front of the house has so much color. Just a little bit of coral and white to add a little pop against our blue doors. I just can't wait until the begonias really start to grow and fill in the box planter. 

Not bad for a noob gardener!
Of course while I'm admiring my little garden, I can't help but stare at my disgusting front doors. Since we have moved into our home, I have stared and then ignored the dirt on our doors. I honestly was more prepared to repaint them then to just clean them. But since I was already kind of dirty with potting soil and jamming to Leon Bridges on GooglePlay...I figured why not?
Grabbed a bucket with some hot water and dish liquid...and got to work. 

These photos don't really do justice in showing the grime, but am so glad I decided to take the time to wash the doors down and get them to sparkle a little.
So now here I am, feeling accomplished, sweating and a little stinky...and can't wait to see what my husband, Colby, is going to cook for dinner...cause this mama's pooped!

Miel Brewery: You'll find me at the Hatch

After 595 days, I needed a refresher and Miel Brewery and Taproom didn't disappoint.

The newest addition of micro-brewery in the Irish Channel, at 405 Sixth Street, Miel definitely knows how to treat a lady.

Game of Thrones trivia to prepare for the Season 8 premiere and Hatch & Harvest serving up some fresh-ass dishes featuring yummy hatch chiles. I mean, what else do I really need?

I will say, I am the worst at trivia, so extremely grateful for my friend, Triskell, coming to hang and kickass at trivia. I was truly there for the beer and food...and the recap. And Ringo was there for the dog biscuits.

Miel Brewery & Taproom - Bird of Paradise 10 oz

Miel Brewery released a new brew on April 5 called Bird of Paradise, and with 10.5%ABV, it definitely delivers a punch. I will say I am not particular to hops, but this brew was thirst quenching and dangerous. I get full very easily on beer, but Miel's Bird of Paradise was something I felt like I could drink all day...or at least until I pass out. So fucking good.

Without a kitchen, Miel has an ever changing food selection ranging from Asian-
fusion to Colombian cuisine. For trivia night, Hatch & Harvest was in the house serving up bomb-ass chicken, chili, and cheese eggs rolls and a fire-roasted pork and green chile cup. The flavor was beyond and so fresh. My photo of my chile cup is a joke, but it was so good I literally forgot to take a photo while it was all pretty.

Hatch & Harvest menu from April 10, 2019

Fire-Roasted Pork Green Chile Cup goodness...ahhh cilantro!

With all the new breweries popping up in and around the Irish Channel, Miel is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Fresh as the three blocks I have to walk to get to it, and working alongside pop-up small businesses cooking up some flavor-popping goodness. I'll take it.

It's Quiet Uptown...Hamilton comes to The Saenger

One of the things I love about New Orleans so much is The Saenger Theatre.

Prior to Katrina, it was the spot to see your occasional play/musical or to see a favorite musician who wanted a more intimate evening with their fans. With the coming of Katrina, I thought we might lose that. Now, so say that now sounds ridiculous, but when Katrina hit, there was so much talk of not just residents leaving, but whole businesses picking up and going somewhere else. I mean, if they had to start over...why not start over somewhere not in a bowl, below sea level?

But we are resilient. We surprised ourselves with our resiliency as residents who chose to stay and with business who saw this as their home too. The support we gave each other from businesses to residents and vice versa, is what IS New Orleans.

Following Katrina, it took The Saenger eight years to open again. Eight years. And I am so glad for the investment and reopening. The Saenger is a staple of my city, much like the Orpheum Theater or the Joy Theater.

Now, with its reopening coming up on six years and the line up for this season's Broadway in New Orleans coming closer to an end, to say I was excited for one show in particular is an understatement. We have never been one to get season tickets and would purchase individual tickets based on what shows we wanted to see. However, this season was different. This season was "Hamilton."

All the hulabaloo we have heard for roughly four years. The outrageous cost people were selling their tickets and the outrageous amount people were willing to spend. And The Saenger had "Hamilton" as part of the 2018-2019 season? I mean...it wasn't even a question.

Of course, the cost was the logical draw. Knowing we would get awesome seats at a fair price and still have all these other amazing shows to go to throughout the season, but it was the music, and the diversity, and the spirit that ultimately drew me in. And I was not disappointed.

There are times people give something so much hype that once you see it or hear it, its a total letdown. It happens all the time. But when I tell you "Hamilton" went above and beyond my already high expectations...you have to know I truly mean it.
I have thought about seeing this play for three years. I have listened to the soundtrack on repeat for two years. I have sat with this date in my calendar for a year. And IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! (Please clap your hands together after every word, henny!)

The music...oh the music. Head bopping, feeling the beat. The lyrics are poetry and knowing that a man who some would say was just a substitute teacher dreamt these words and put it all together...I mean, it just shows you exactly why and how he created something so many of us fell in love with. We are him. Think big, and dream bigger.

The cast was strong. They were boisterous and proud. You felt it in the air. To be a part of not just a telling of history, but also being a part of a shift in the Broadway Musical world. A part of the shift in openly discussing diversity and showing that we still have so much further to go...without being angry or ashamed to acknowledge it, but taking the steps to go further, to include and accept. Acceptance has long been a part of Broadway culture, but this telling of history in this form truly sought to bring EVERYONE together.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote something that took place in the late 1700s, and yet as I sat there, 2019, watching this story unfold seamlessly...it all looked so familiar.

Jumped the Pond to Habanero's

After our trip to Canada, my mom had been itching to see all of our pictures and get the lowdown on our surprise adventure. And that's w...