Mr B's Bistro

Posted by ginger On Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lunch at Mr. B's Bistro (another Brennan's restaurant, though this ) in the Quarter...

Mr. B's Bistro, New Orleans

The most well-received dish here is the barbecue shrimp, but I was really only hungry enough for an appetizer -- in this case, the duck springrolls ('two house-made springrolls filled with duck confit, shiitake mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese; served with sweet ginger-garlic dipping sauce') which weren't quite as good as I wanted to be.  The description sounded amazing but altogether it tasted of nothing in particular.  Well, the Bloody Mary kept things going, at least.  And I couldn't help myself from having some bread, especially after it was presented in that super-cute bag...

Mr. B's Bistro, New Orleans

Mack's Nut Shop, Grady AL

Posted by ginger On Monday, February 23, 2015

Fish Camp

Posted by ginger On Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I got mildly lost last month.  Well, as lost as you can get with a Garmin and a phone loaded with Google Maps, Waze, and the rest. Turns out, we weren't paying attention along the coast and took one exit too early. A half-mile off I-10 there was a shopping center that full of chain restaurants and shops that was so cookie-cutter, I couldn't help but mention out loud that we could be anywhere in the country and have no idea where we really were because everything there was national and there were no independent businesses.

It makes sense that if you have a concept that works, you go off and keep that going as long and far as you can (see: Target) but those places have no soul.

That's why we drive so far out of the way to go to places like Ezell's Fish Camp in Lavaca, Alabama.  Granted, Ezell's has tried to make their own restaurant work in other locations but when you see the original, you realize how it can never truly be replicated.  Because it's that kind of perfect.

Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

To get there, you drive on a little road through a cotton field, and...true to fish camp...they're right on a river.  The Tombigbee.

Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

They have the best coleslaw in the world (better with a couple of Lance crackers crunched in). It takes just like my MawMaw's.

Fried pickles to start, then frog legs:
Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

and what else? Catfish:
Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Two big fans:
Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Two boys, three boars on the wall:
Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

What kind of fish camp could it be without an autographed Senator's picture? Hi Mary and Mary Abigail! Thought y'all would be tickled to see this pic!

Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Out on the porch, rocking chairs and this board where hunters post some brag pics:
Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Smarties And Squirrel Nut Zippers

Posted by ginger On Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Old-fashioned candy in big barrels were available at one of the shops in Dollywood, and the colors were striking in the sunlight streaming through the windows.

Strawberri Cream

Peanut Butter Bar

Banana Split

Smarties

Lemon-head

Candy Peanuts

Chick-O-Stick

Black Cow

Necco Wafers

Slo Poke

Cow Tales

Squirrel Nut Zippers

Tootsie Fruit Rolls

Caramels

Bit-O-Honey

Dollywood, And...Its Chapel

Posted by ginger On Monday, February 16, 2015

Asking the boys what one of their favorite things we did all last year was, they would certainly put Dollywood in the top five (probably somewhere between going to art camp, and living (because we never want to get out) in the lazy river at the Gaylord Texan).

We've put off amusement parks so that they would both be tall enough to ride almost everything, since not being able to ride things can be a drag.  Shug is seven, but already tall enough to ride *every single thing* at DW, and Shugie can ride most.  Shug's favorite is the 'Wild Eagle' which takes riders upside down three times (I think three times, I actually have to keep my eyes closed most of the ride!):

Wild Eagle - New in 2012 from Dollywood on Vimeo.

This is us after getting off the ride -- messed up hair but pretty happy!
Dollywood

At first, Av and I had no intention of getting a yearly pass, but when we saw that -- and I think it's probably this way at similar-size amusement parks -- an annual pass is actually less expensive than two separate day visits, we went ahead.  And we got our money's worth, as we took five or so visits last year.  We didn't even go during the summer, when we knew it would be crazy crowded, and on each of our visits we almost never heard a complaint about a wait time.  Going in the winter is pretty anyway, because the park has its lights up.

Dollywood


And wow, what to say about the park? I grew up going to Six Flags in Atlanta and occasionally (school trip) Opryland before it closed.  Dollywood seems to be supremely clean.  It's themed to music and Appalachia, almost equal parts admiration and poking fun at itself.  It's very 'family'.  I'm not much for amusement park food, but they have a snack called cinnamon bread...simply bread, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon...and it is one of the best/unhealthiest things ever.

And one thing that I'm thinking almost no other amusement parks have: a chapel on the grounds.  Here, it's the Robert F. Thomas Chapel, named after the doctor that delivered Dolly Parton.

Dollywood

It's open, and they conduct services here too:
Dollywood

All the artwork is quilted:
Dollywood

Dollywood


Lunch At Commander's

Posted by ginger On Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Favorite lunch anywhere? Commander's.  And although Friday lunch at Galatoire's is a thing (although not such a thing that I have my own waiter, or hire a line sitter), I'd still rather drive into the Garden District where I have a reservation and can look forward to, among other things, $.25 martinis.  Once, I told our server that Av and I can always be counted on to spend a whopping $1.50 in alcohol at lunch (they have a three martini/person limit, and I'm good with that), which made us all laugh.  It's all fabulous.

We are big fans of chef Tom Robey there especially (and he used to be at Veranda in B'ham) and think so much of Tory McPhail, who is a James Beard winner too.  We always make friends with people at tables closeby and just have a good time in general.

Some days we are among the first to be seated so we can have a leisurely lunch and pick the boys up with plenty of time to spare, without having to stress about traffic.  The dining rooms fill up quickly, but this is what it looks like beforehand:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA
.
The menu is always changing, but these are the dishes we enjoyed on this visit:

The amuse, such a terrific surprise always from the kitchen:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

turtle soup:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

bisque:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

Shrimp and grits:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

another surprise from the kitchen:

Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

blueberry shortcake:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

Creole cream cheese cheesecake:
Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA

Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Saint Mary's, Looking Straight Up

Posted by ginger On Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The best treat in visiting the Old Ursuline Convent Museum was entering Saint Mary's Catholic Church there, built in 1845.  Just beautiful:

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA
Saint Lucy! I'm Jewish and can't readily identify too many of the Saints, but Saint Lucy I will never forget, as this was one of the favorite items at the St. Joseph's Day altar at St. Cletus in Gretna (loooove visiting St. Joseph Day altars!!):

St. Cletus Catholic Church St. Joseph's Day Altar, Gretna Louisiana

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

another name for a tzedakah box:
Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

So taken with the ceiling treatment:
Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA

Looking straight up:
Saint Mary's Catholic Church, New Orleans LA