Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tattoos & House Guests

We've all heard those creepy stories about people meeting internet people face-to-face and then someone gets murdered/kidnapped/inappropriately groped. But apparently, people you meet on Xbox LIVE are totally legit, because none of the above happened when we finally met our buddies Headless Rage and Zombee Queen (aka Ty & Ashley). They came to town to visit their zombie killing comrades (Dustin and I, or Sitesemt and TheHausewife) and soak up some Nawlins culture. And also sling some ink. Ty, who is a professional artist and tattooist in Florida, worked at an incredibly convenient parlor and over the course of the week several friends and co-workers got some fresh ink, including me. It's my first tattoo and I was happy that a friend of mine was able to do it for me.

But this wasn't just a working holiday. We also got to play tour guide for them, and Ty's mom, and show off our Nola knowledge. Probably out favorite thing to do when people come to town is feed 'em. The food here is unparalleled no matter where you're from, so we like to show it off, and take a little bit of credit. Among the deliciousness we demonstrated was the Oak Street Cafe. We stopped in for lunch one day where we all came away stuffed and happy. I had the fabulous Mediterranean omelet while Dustin had the Grilled Godmother. I can't recall what all everyone else had, but I know what they didn't have: complaints. We took them to Masperos and had highly satisfactory burgers and po-boys. We paid too much for overly sweet daquaris when we went to the French Quarter to show them around, and for the guys to buy skull bracelets at Rev Zombie's. Succulent BBQ was had at VooDoo BBQ and the best turkey burger and rings ever were consumed at GB's Patio Bar & Grill (the only place that let's late-nighters like us bring kiddoes until 11pm). We even had 5am mini tacos at the Avenue Pub once. Honestly, after eating out almost every meal for an entire week, I can't remember all of them. A couple of times I did cook for the crowd. I even made brain shaped meatloaf and jello one night. It was a hit, even if the fruity brains looked so real none of the kids would really eat it.

We also had no shortage of liquid refreshment. The only night we really went out on the town we had our good friend Jon be our guide. He took us to one of my husband's favorite spots (one I'd never been to), The Dungeon. I liked it. From the quiet patio area where we discussed horror and sci-fi literature and film, to the dominatrix mannequins in the cage, to the bathroom hidden by a bookshelf, and in spite of the enormous rat that scuttled by us as we drank our Sex With An Alligator shots, it was a hit. Other than a few drinks to accompany meals and the grand search that took place in order to find Strongbow that ended at Whole Foods (which I found a few days ago, more reasonably priced, at Rouses), most drinks were either gin & tonic or Abita here at the house.

The activity of tourists second only to eating and drinking is picture taking. They were able to do plenty, in the French Quarter and also in the cemeteries, where we searched for good lighting and Marie Laveau (whose grave they found the next day all by themselves). They really are impressive.

I always love having guests and enjoying the city from a tourist's point of view. It keeps the perspective fresh. You do things you don't usually think to do in order to show your friends a good time, and often discover something new that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. I can't wait for them to visit again and we can continue our gastronomical adventures.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

Whew! It's been a while hasn't it? I sort of took a month off, what with out of town guests, birthdays and trips to Texas, I hadn't a spare moment to collect my thoughts, much less write them down with the humor and wit you good people have come to expect from my little ol' blog.

I'm also participating in a creative boot camp to jump start the artistic motor within. It's a pretty cool deal, so check it out if you're into writing, painting, photography, needlepoint, whatever, and need a little kick in artsy pants.

I've got some fun stuff to post, just as soon as I get a chance to breath. In the meantime, feel free to write me with suggestions, comments, free gifts, snide remarks, whatever ya like. I always love me some feedback!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Green Lantern of Jealousy

I am seriously starting to get jealous: Today Dustin is on set for the filming of The Green Lantern (he was also there one day last week). The City has an ambulance there everyday in case anyone needs medical attention. You know how stars can be prone to anxiety, conniptions and not having their whims catered to. Due to a confidentiality agreement, he can't spill all the interesting and and mundane details, but he did mention when I spoke to him earlier (in husshed tones, since he was sitting near the director) that Ryan Reynolds was within arms reach. I told him to tell Ryan hello for me, and possibly give him my number.

I'll let ya know if he calls.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pedicures of the Undead

Saturday was a big day. Not only did Shelby, Patricia and I go get pedicures ($25- $2 less than an adult pedicure- to wash and paint a preschooler's feet??? We probably won't be back to Star Nails.), Dustin finally got to take his grandfather to the WWII museum. They said it was amazing, especially the 4D movie, directed by Tom Hanks. I can't wait to see it for myself.

After all the polish was applied and rationing relived, Dustin and I got all pretty and went to the Barely Rotten Girls calendar release party at The Bar in Kenner. We had a blast! I love a good, dark, dingy bar. If that bar serves cheap PBR, I feel like I'm home. The heavy metal wasn't really my cup of Pabst, but it wasn't bad. And it was nice to meet the BRGs in person. There was a screening of the short film they filmed at the Mortuary, but I couldn't really see it over the crowd. Coming from Mass Casualty, I have no doubt it was deliciously macabre. We were able to get our calendar and limited edition poster, and have a great time.

When the film was over and people started to trickle out, a few of us decided to head down to the Quarter in honor of one of our friend's 21st birthday. We had a slice at our old pizza place, Vieux Carre pizza and then went to Pat O's for drinks. They were ridiculously packed. It seems that this weekend was a big one for reunions and weddings (and a few prom kids trying out their fake ID's), and everyone wanted a hurricane. After hanging out for a while, it was suggested we go to the Gold Mine. I'd never been, so it was nice to take a walk to a new place.

There were concert posters all over, most from before my time, black lights and Boomerang playing on all the flat screens. The music selection was good, and we spent the night dancing our butts and watching the Jetsons. To see everyone loosen up and have fun was a real treat.

We stayed out longer than we'd planned- we were going to try to go home on time to catch Saturday Night Live. But that's what DVR is for, so I didn't miss out on the Betty White goodness. A little delayed SNL gratification was worth our night on the town.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Invasion of the In-Laws

Yesterday my mother-in-law and her father, whom we all affectionately know as Dee, made the trip from Port Arthur, Texas to visit us. Having spent most of the day in the car, they wanted to rest up a bit before we squired them around town. Patricia has been to see us three times since we've moved, but it was Dee's first time to be in New Orleans in over 30 years. Although he's from Bunkie (holy crap, this place has a website!?), he's only been to NOLA twice, the first time in the late 40's. And of course, we had to hear the tale recounted of that horrible trip to the sinful city, where he went to visit a relative at Charity Hospital and had his car broken into. The bandit broke the window and made off with a suit jacket and a basket of fruit. Thankfully, he didn't think to look in the glove box, where Dustin's grandmother's wedding ring happened to be.

Once the visitors were rested, we loaded up the MIL's PT Cruiser and road from Audubon Park, down St. Charles, took Decatur to Esplanade and back up to Rampart. Dustin also drove us by the house where he got sot at while responding to a call, and a place that he gets hot wings from while on duty. Finally we drove back across the highway and went to VooDoo BBQ where Dustin and I left the others in the car to make our to-go order.

We've never had any problem with VooDoo, and their food is delicious. But last night, we waited almost an hour for our food, as people who came in well after we did were eating and leaving. When we finally said something, they discovered that the wrong name had been put on our ticket (not really understanding that one, as we were given a number for our table). I don't know what that had to do with the fact that our food hadn't been boxed yet. The man offered us a free brownie, so we accepted (seriously, do we look like the kind of people who refuse free brownies?). The girl came out and yelled the wrong name, which we knew from our talk with the other waiter, before acting like she was going to take our food back to the kitchen. Se spoke up, got our grub and finally headed back to the car full of starving people. My pulled pork was delicious as always, as was Dustin's brisket and chicken. They got Patricia's side wrong, but she said she didn't mind as the Gris Gris Greens turned out to be quite tasty. And they didn't give us our brownie. So, since we were all set for brownies, Dustin took his mom to Winn Dixie to get dessert. He came back with a giant cookie decorated for someone's graduation (I asked him Who's graduating? and he said "I don't know, but I'm gonna eat their cookie!") and some New Orleans brand ice cream. The have such delicious flavors! We've had the Bananas Foster before, which tasted just like the real thing, and this time we had the Coffee & Chicory and Vanilla, both of which were rich and yummy.

I think our dessert was a fitting end to a nice day about town. I love being able to share the city we love with the people we love. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

An Impromptu Before-The-Prices-Go-Up Cookout

If you've been near a TV in the last week or so, you've probably heard about the massive oil catastrophe. It's such a horrific thing to happen, but to happen when the oysters I would be eating next year are just babies in their comfy little oyster beds- sacrilege! As well as the devastating damage it's doing to our coast, our natural hurricane barrier and our wildlife, it is seriously gong to cramp our seafood style.

So since we're bracing for the impact this disaster is going have on the prices of shrimp, crab, oysters and fish, we decided to take advantage of the shellfish we knew was uncontaminated. We'd heard tell of long lines winding from the seafood counter, but Laura said she had no trouble picking up the oysters for our little feast. We grilled some fish he had stored in her freezer, and grilled it with just a little salt, pepper and fresh lemon. The oysters we ate raw on crackers with a dash of Crystal. I'd never eaten pre-shucked oysters from the sore raw, but there were no ill effects, and they sure were tasty.

The next day, Dustin and I thawed the local shrimp I had in the freezer and fried it up with the rest of the oysters (oh Laura, by the way, we ate the rest of your oysters) and had po-boys with my home made tarter sauce.

The full extent of the damage done by BP's idiocy won't fully be felt until next year, when all those poor baby oysters and shrimp haven't had a chance to grow up into the delicious mouthfuls we know and love. Thanks a lot, BP, you've ruined my next two Summers. Shame on you!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Comic Con!

Saturday Shelby and I headed back to Kenner to go to something I've been looking forward to for a while: Nola Comic Con! It's not that I'm a huge comic fan, which I'm not, or that I have an urge to dress like a super hero, because I don't, but I was interested in finally meeting Dustin's friend from work, Jon. We'd never met face-to-face, but we play Xbox Live together all the time. It was nice to finally meet him and put a face to the excellent zombie killing skills. This cool cat doesn't just practice paramedicine and behead the digital walking dead, he also runs Mass Casualty Comics, along with a fellow medic, Sean, and is in charge of the Barely Rotten Girls, a pin-up-esque zombified modeling group. They'd just put out their first calender and were promoting it with a booth at comic con. I met two of the girls (very nice) and got to have a look at the calender (very cool). Shelby and I walked around for a while, me pretending I knew anything about the characters or books I was perusing. We talked to the people who run Bloodletting, an online vampire RPG that sounds pretty cool. They gave Shelby some "freaky" teeth, and said with them in she looked like on of the characters, The Little Girl. They asked to take her picture, which I obliged, and plan on photoshopping it for use on the site. She's quite excited about it. Jon is also thinking about doing a shoot, for the BRG coffee table book that will be out next year, involving her, but not as a bloody zombie, just as a precious little girl smiling at one. Once we left, she had to call everyone we know and tell them how she was going to be a "little girl zombie vampire on a book and a website!" and that she was going to be the first Barely Rotten Little Girl, all of which took some clarifying once I got the phone away from her.

After the convention, we went to Golden Corral there in Kenner, which was nothing short of disappointing. I miss the magnificent, Vegas-style Golden Corral we had in Beaumont. We also went by Aquatic Specialties. Again. I had to return the bedeviling little sea urchin we bought. He was cute, but he kept going around and knocking everything over and/or irritating it. They were cool though and gave me store credit, so we bought a little yellow watchman goby for Dustin.

Because Sunday was pretty much a repeat of the day before, I'm adding the summary here as well. Kenner, Comic Con, Barely Rotten Girl booth. Actually, we went to Burger King before we left town, because I love me some BK fries and a Jr. Whopper. Mmmm. Once we arrived at the Ponchartrain Center, Jon got us in all official-like, and we hung out with him at the booth. Shelby and some little boys whose parents had booths set up a make-shift playdate behind us and played Power Rangers. It was adorable. When one's dad walk off to talk to someone, he stood up and yelled "But who's gonna watch me!" I told him I would and gave him a piece of candy, which in retrospect, sounds really stranger danger-ish. When the comvntion started winding down, we really didn't have anything to do, so Jon handed Shelby a few calenders and told her he'd give her a $5 for every one she sold. She got off to a slow start, being so shy, she was just walking up to people, tugging on their shirt and thrusting a calendar at them. But she eventually got the pitch down and sold one to an illustrator who couldn't resist such a cute salesperson. Jan handed over the dough and took her to a booth that sold children's comics. She chose a Scooby Doo one, and was told it was $7. She said "Well, I only have five," and once again, such a darling face couldn't be turned down. Uncle Jon was very impressed with her hustling (oh, and by the way, he morphed into 'Uncle Jon' before the end of the weekend due to the kind attention he paid Shelby, as well as the five bucks and his bag of candy). Shelby got the sales bug and was ready to make another Lincoln, but there were no takers amongst the few straggling patrons, so she settled for handing out flyers for the calendar release party two weeks from now. When it was time to shut down, it was time for us to split, so we Uncle Jon headed out front where he caught her a few of the million dragonflies that were out that day.

Once back in the Crescent City, we ran by Rouses store to pick up a few things and headed home. Hanging out at a comic booth surrounded by awesome people is tiring.