Monthly Archives: January 2010

Getting Crafty

It’s officially time to start thinking about a Mardi Gras costume. Personally, I like some mix of homemade and acquired in my ensembles. Let’s return to the scene of the crime (too much Krewe du Vieux fun) on Frenchmen Street, and get ourselves bedecked. From 12-5 the NOLA Designer Costume Bazaar will be open for business in the Blue Nile nightclub space.

So, hopefully you’ve found that item you’re going to build your costume around. Now, let’s get crafty! There are great deals to be found at the Hancock Fabrics in Gretna. Don’t forget notions. I just wanted to say that word, notions.

If, in the midst of all this craftiness, you find that your mind is calmer than it’s been in years, and you realize that you could save oodles on therapy if you just zenned out while making stuff, then why don’t you join the Needle Junkies? They are a group of knitters who meet from 7pm-9pm on Sundays at Three-Ring Circus, Big Top Gallery.



Filed under crafts, mardi gras, shopping


In these trying economic times, certain luxuries are the first to go–Italian dessert liquers, for example. Luckily, the folks over at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, SoFAB, are having a “Frugal Pantry Series,” and today it’s learn to make your own limoncello. I’m not sure if this class is even legal, but, hey, if Danny DeVito can do it, why can’t you? $10, 2-4.

Now that you are armed with your homemade hooch, you’re almost ready for Krewe du Vieux. First though, you need to lay a proper foundation for tonight’s revelry. Head down to Frenchmen Street, and stop in at Frenchmen Deli and order a shrimp po boy. It’s really cheap, like $5 for a decent-size sandwich–and good! Eat half now, and save half for later.

Okay, we’re ready. Now, a lot of people will stay on Frenchmen to watch the parade. But, I recommend heading down to Mimi’s in the Marigny, at around 6:30, and staking out a spot around there. This year’s Krewe du Vieux theme is “Fire it Up.” Apparently they had a fire at their headquarters this year. I am curious to see what else they do with their theme. Remember “Stimulus Package?” They were way ahead of everyone else on figuring out how much fun could be had with those words. I kind of wish the ipad had come out a little earlier…

Now, there are some tough choices to be made. I am going to go with the Jonathan Richman (Modern Lovers!) early show over at One-Eyed Jack’s, 8pm, $12, instead of  Exene Cervenka (X!) at House of Blues, 8pm, $13.50. Wow. That make anyone feel old? That the proto-punk/punk rockers are now playing the equivalent of rock n’ roll matinees?

Of course, you could scrap all that and just go see the MONSTER JAM, MONSTER TRUCK SHOW at the SUPERDOME!!!

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Filed under bars, lunch, mardi gras, museums, music, poboys

Cruising North Rampart

So, this date night might be a little bit of a hard sell to your husband. He’s not a homophobe, not in the least. That’s one of the things you love about him. Heck, he gladly watched Project Runway (isn’t this season good?!) with you last night. But, well, there is A LOT of camp in your near future.

But first, a fabulous dinner at Meauxbar Bistro, a stylish, little French-inspired spot right on North Rampart Street. Start by sharing the Salade Lyonnaise [Frisee, Bacon Lardons, Soft Poached Egg, Warm Bacon Vinaigrette ($12.50), and then, because you can’t resist the weirdest thing on the menu, Pan-Fried Frog Legs Provencal with Saffron Fennel Slaw and Tomato Confit ($19), while you know your date is going to have the Steak Frites with Sauce Au Poivre with Fries and Tarragon Butter ($30) because he’s a man, dammit. Of course the meal is not complete without a bottle of 2003 Chateau Duplessy Cabernet ($38).

After dinner, head across the street to the Mahalia Jackson Theatre, where the all-male dance company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, sends up classical ballet. Tickets are $20 and up. Repeat after me, “C’mon honey, it’s going to be awesome!”

After all the frou frou that was the show, you’re ready for some kind of frou frou cocktail. Luckily you are right by Bar Tonique, North Rampart’s own little mixology bar. How about “The Faucheux” [Corazon Reposado Tequila, St. Germain Elderflower, Lemon and Basil ($8)], and a “Fringe Quarter Martini” [Death’s Door Gin, Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Blanc, Mint, Lemon Peel ($8)]? Why, these drinks are as pretty as those tutus we were just watching.

It’s gotten to be ’round about midnight, which is when The Midnight Revue–a weekly drag jazz cabaret–gets underway just down the street, at Starlight by the Park. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Starlight 2009, Rikki Red:

And, it is just about 12:30 am when you promise your husband that next Friday, for date night, you are going Falcon hunting.

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Filed under bars, cabaret, dance, dining, french

Les Moules et le Bayou

In my world, Mardi Gras really starts with Krewe du Vieux, which is two short days away. So, in the meantime, I think I’m going to save it up; and by “it” I mean my tolerance for noise and proximity to other humans. The weather has been lovely for the last few days, and I think today calls for some communion with nature. Jean Lafitte National Park Barataria Preserve, on the Westbank, is especially beautiful in Spring, when the wild irises are in bloom; but I enjoy trips out there year round. The walking trails through the swamp are a nice place to calm the mind, and, personally, I need that this time of year. I just love that our nearest National Park is named for a pirate.

After your mind and soul are sufficiently calmed, it’s time for an early dinner. You are over here on the Westbank already, and lucky for you there is a Belgian bistro tucked into an unlikely corner in Gretna. Clementine’s does traditional Belgian Cuisine, with a couple of local concessions–note the Redfish there on the menu. Start with a cup of Onion Soup ($7), and some oysters topped with leeks and brie and broiled in the shell ($9). I think I’ll skip the savory crepes that are next on the menu, and have a dessert crepe later. Then for entrees, one must be a pot of mussels, how about “Moules Provencale” [fresh tomato, garlic, onion, with Belgian fries ($23)]. Also hearty for a winter evening is the “Carbonnades Flamandes” [Flemish beef stew made with Belgian Trappist beer, with Belgian fries ($18)]. Speaking of Belgian Trappist Ale, instead of wine, let’s pair our dinner with beer. A Westmalle Dubbel would be a hearty accompaniment to the stew, while a lighter Duvel would pair beautifully with mussels. And for dessert, Crêpe aux Pommes [Flemish Crêpe with caramelized apples ($8)].

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Filed under belgian, dining, great outdoors

Film Buffery

Prytania Theatre‘s classic movie matinee series continues today with a screening of A Star is Born, 12pm. Witness Judy Garland in all her Judy-ness, clawing up the ladder of success, as James Mason drunkenly stumbles down it.

It’s got some of the classic Judy showstoppers that birthed a thousand drag shows. Like this one:

Then go home and put the 1976 version with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in your Netflix queue. I have always thought that this is exactly what my parents looked like when they met, which was about the same year this movie was made.

Then, fortuitously, Peter Bogdanovich, the director of such classic American films as The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, happens to be at Newcomb College at Tulane University tonight to talk about this book:  Who The Devil Made It: Conversations With Legendary Film Directors, one of whom is George Cukor, who happens to be the director of the 1954 version of A Star is Born. Fancy that?

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Filed under literary events, movies

Who You Calling a Drunken Shrimp?

After last week’s expedition to go grocery shopping downtown, we’ve decided to make the time today to go to the Crescent City Farmer’s Market. The folks who used to run Gabrielle are cooking today, specifically: vegetarian chili with jalapeno cornbread, angry shrimp with rice, pulled BBQ pork sandwiches, and honey pecan pie bars. I’m not sure what “angry shrimp” are, maybe like the next stage after drunken shrimp? But, my curiosity is peaked. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a pulled pork sandwich.

That “drunken shrimp” comment got me thinking. I thought I knew what that means, but it turns I don’t. Apparently, it is an Asian dish that consists of stunning live shrimp by submerging them in liquor, and then eating them semi-alive. Although, I would totally eat that on a dare; I don’t really feel like preparing that tonight. (BTW, I’m pretty sure those shrimp would be both drunk and angry when they went out.) Another search for drunken shrimp produced this recipe from the Food Network show Down Home with the Neely’s. Do you ever watch that show? It’s totally cornball, like most Food Network programming, but I love this couple. They’re  pukey in love, with this gorgeous kitchen (I know it’s a set, but I like the illusion), and they just do home cooking, goof around, and nuzzle each other. I totally want to be The Neely’s.

After your delicious dinner, head over to The Bridge Lounge, where on Tuesday nights at 8, it is trivia night. This is not the R.C. Bridge Lounge of yore, with G.G. Allin rolling around in broken glass, oh no, this place is straight-up swanky now. There is a $5 entrance fee for the quiz, a small price to pay to know that for the rest of the evening you will be in the company of fellow nerds who will not be repelled by your mastery of minutiae. Oh, and they have great wine.

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Filed under bars, dining, groceries, lunch, recipes


Let’s go out to Metairie today, shall we? It doesn’t really matter where we go today, everyone is going to be in a great mood. Good lord, the Super Bowl is right in the middle of Mardi Gras. This is one of those years we’ll never forget, huh? Well, now that the game is over, we can start focusing on Mardi Gras. How about we pick up a King Cake?

Out at Dorginac’s they make a good one. And, beyond that, they are a great grocery store–gourmet foods, inexpensive wine and great deals.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about Austrian food. And, since we’re at Dorignac’s we can pick up everything we need to make Zwiebelrostbraten–beef steak with fried onions in a Cognac sauce.

While we’re out here, we might as well catch a movie. Since New Orleans proper doesn’t have a mega-plex, there are a lot of movies one has to go to the suburbs to see. So, I’m trying to work in some segue here about last night’s fairy tale victory, and the New Orleans-set fairy tale that is The Princess and the Frog, but they all sound obnoxious. So, I’ll just stop trying. If you haven’t seen it (and if you are older than seven and not female, I understand why you haven’t), you really should. It is Disney’s first return to hand drawn animation in a long time, which is pretty cool in and of itself. Also, it takes place in a lovingly rendered 1930’s New Orleans and outlying areas. Of course, any time there is a “princess” movie there is a lot of talk about whether the character is a good role model for girls. And, this being the first African-American princess, of course there has been much shouting about race. Bbut these important issues aside, see it for the beautiful animated rendering of the French Quarter, the swamp, St. Louis Cathedral, St. Charles Avenue, cemeteries, etc. Really, it’s all lovely.

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Filed under groceries, movies, recipes