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Israeli Cuisine: It’s Real and It’s Spectacular

1 Apr

I have a dumb habit of the second that I bite into a pupusa saying, “I am getting in touch with my brown side.” My dad is no longer alive but he was a Salvadorean revolutionary and refugee and I feel very disconnected with that side of me. Sure I can so-so speak spanish, but it is the second that I bite into the food that I get in touch with that culture.

Being Jewish is quite different. That I get and I know. I can’t speak Hebrew, but I have my own special relationship with that side of me. Obviously I am a food-centric person, but there is no specific food where I say, “I am getting in touch with my Jewish side.” Pastrami, brisket, and a kosher pickle do it for me, but that feels New York. My Jewish grandma was an amazing cook and we spent a great deal of time in her kitchen, but that cuisine was very worldly. I fondly remember her stuffed cabbage rolls (my favorite “Jewish” food), but we just as often made chinese food, dumplings, curries, spaghetti and BBQ together. I know that a lot of the Jewish culture and holidays take place over meals and yet when I went on a Culinary Trip to Israel in February, I really had no idea what that meant. Sure, I know middle eastern food, but nothing that was “Israeli” specific.

It turns out that much like being Jewish, which has no clear and cut definition: a religion, a race, an ethnicity, a culture; Israeli food is also all over the map. It sounds so cliche but it is an absolute melting pot, not just with the bordering countries, but with the entire word.

Right outside the shuk in Jerusalem, we visited one of the first neighborhoods that was built out of the city walls and there was this great legend that we heard. These neighborhoods often had a central stove outside and each family would have their own special meals cooking and when the sons would fetch the pots sometimes they’d mix them up. The Ashkenazis would get the Iraqis’ food and think it was too spicy and vice versa and the Iraqis would think their food was too bland. Then over time the families would request that their sons would grab the wrong pot on purpose. Thus, the cuisines do meld together and there is room at the table for each place the wandering Jews wandered to make its way back into Israeli cuisine.

During my visit I did hear a great talk by Janna Gur, the Queen of Israeli Cuisine, and learned that some things are strictly Israeli. For instances, Israelis are the only people in the world that eat salad for breakfast, they invented the cherry tomato, and date syrup called “silan” is more popular than honey and sugar.

However, the real joy about Israeli cuisine is that everything comes together: schnitzel in a pita is the epitome of that. Another example I saw was at Shuk HaNamal (The Port Market), where the slow food movement is very much embraced. We got a demonstration from a chef that showed how an Israeli would make a panzanella salad: a variety of the freshest tomatoes, za’atar thrown on and strained yogurt.

I have never been to Yemen but this Yemenite flatbread that was all of over the country was a personal favorite. This four cheese and mushroom dish I got in the Kabbalah town of Tzfat was delicious.

In Tel Aviv, I dined with friends at a very cool Georgian restaurant called Nanuchka. There was a picture near the stairwell of a man with his very large member showing, after much questioning, I learned that all of its glory belonged to the DJ at the restaurant/louge. However, nothing compared to the warm chickpeas in the hummus at Abu Hassan in Jaffa. The picture of the DJ didn’t ruin all other men for me, but one bite of this warm hummus ruined me forever with the refrigerated packaged stuff.

Another great thing I put in my mouth was a Persian Jewish dish called Gondi, which reminded me of matzo ball soup mating my all time favorite, meatballs. As soon as I took a spoonful of this ball and broth, I grabbed my ipad to tweet this very import message: Gondi > Gandhi.

During my ten days in Israel the highlight was picking carrots in, of all places a tomato farm in the desert, Shvil Hasalat. Later that same busy day, my carrot relationship became even deeper as I found myself cutting pounds and pounds of carrots with the dullest of knives at Nahal Brigade for a vegetable soup my group and I cooked up for more than 350 soldiers.

While at the farm, I heard that carrots were initially from Afghanistan and that they were white. When they were imported to Holland, orange was an important color to the country so they only grew orange carrots and that’s how they became known as orange. I have no idea if that story is true but I like the metaphor for Israeli cuisine and I love that I got to pull out some O.G. carrots from soil in the Middle East. Jews have spent generations living all over the world, taking in cuisine influences and now they get to bring it all together in their own country, which is beautifully delicious!

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Sony WX-9: A Camera Love Story for Foodies

30 Apr

There are certain times when I can categorically say that my life does not suck. Building a career based around my love of food and words is pretty good, even if at times my waistline and wallet disagree, but then every once in awhile you get these invites that truly and eternally make it worth it. Last month, I got an invite from Sony Electronics to take part in a foodie event with bloggers from all over the country. Towards the end of March, I flew to San Diego and met up with some of my favorite food writers that I consider close friends and then people that I have just admired from my Twitter feed or Google Reader. The Minty, pretty much my favorite person from my LA food blogging days, Yay Fiona from FoodSpotting and the Punk Domestic boys also came down from SF and made me very happy. The first night I was introduced to the rest of the group, which included some big name bloggers like  No Recipes and Mouth of the Border. I can’t explain enough how good it feels when you are surrounded by your kind of people. People that love making up hashtags for events on Twitter, adding venues for Foursquare, taking pictures of every bite before it hits their fork, and giving a proper intro that includes a Twitter handle. I’ll happily admit it, food bloggers and twEATers are my people. The next day, during breakfast, we were introduced to our new lover – Sony Cyber-shot WX-9. It was ours and we were going to take it for our test drive at our mecca: a farmers’ market. The camera is very impressive, a ton of easy settings for food, pets, soft skin, and fireworks, there is also 3D functions, photo layerings, and an easy panorama mode. All of the pictures from here on out were taken with my new cyber-shot, as genius as the camera is, I couldn’t figure out how to photograph the camera with the camera. Here were some of my first photos taken, a quick lesson and my silly mind just pointed and shot. As far as I am concerned, this camera allowed me to shoot like a professional.

We then took our cameras to the beach of Ocean Beach for an amazing lunch thrown together by Chef Chris Ivens-Brown who let’s just put it this way, has enough power to make a fish extinct.  He is the VP of Culinary Development  and Executive Chef at Compass Group, the leader in foodservice management including for the Sony corporation, there are only a handful of corporations whose food he does not touch. In the words of Spiderman, god, and everyone else with a conscience, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” He preached sustainability, local, and organic with such vigor that I had to make sure that I wasn’t still in San Francisco. It was actually refreshing as was his strawberry lemonade, the ocean view, and the buffet lunch spread that just didn’t quit.

After this feast I napped, watched Oprah, and got ready for dinner. I couldn’t help but laugh at the Sony Execs who looked like they were in so much pain on the shuttle from lunch. They were so not used to eating such large lunches and then having to prepare for dinner in only a few hours. Leave it up to the professionals; this is what I call Tuesday. Dinner was where it was at and my crew was ready. We arrived at the breathtaking Sony Headquarters, went up to the top floor dining room and were lead into the kitchen where Chef Chris was leading the team. He gave us some appetizers and gave us a behind the scenes on how to make a potato basket that we later saw in one of our 9 courses to be had.

Being lead in to the dining room is where the Chef, Sony, and the trip sparkled. Interesting and inspired food, more than one pairing with Nickel & Nickel wine, and a chance for mixed tables and mingling with new people from the group.

Everything from the carrot and cilantro Soup to the surprise beta swimming in the bowl beneath my lobster salad and up until the steaming pineapple potpourri was breathtaking and mouth watering.

For the final course we moved on to petit fours and Veuve on the patio with the fire pits and got to begin our goodbyes after a magical couple of days. All of us food bloggers discussed how pleased we were that Sony “got it,” we go to so many food type events with shitty food and people/companies who don’t care. Rocco DiSpirito may have a perfect penis but sending him to a food event with frozen dinners in hand, just won’t cut it. You know what I am sayin? This was delightful and yes I left with a nice and easy to use camera, but more importantly I left with some fun memories, new foodie friends, and much more. My camera did showcase my memories and meals perfectly and, really, what else can a food blogger ask for?

Here I am with my SF crew and my Minty.

Here is what the others had to say and shoot:

The Minty on the farmer’s market, lunch, and dinner.

Travel + Wine

Chickpease Please

Foodspotting

Wayfaring Wanderer with the most insanely beautiful photos and posts on the event

Amy Blogs Chow’s posts

Sukhjit’s video teaser

The Flickr photo pool

Get Your Ass to Oakland for: Homeroom

23 Feb

A series urging SFoodie readers to get their butts out of the Mission. For a couple hours anyway.

Take a good look ― you *will* be tested on this material.

Mac is officially in session: The Bay Area’s first-ever macaroni-and-cheese restaurant unlocked its doors in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood last week, and started dinner service last night.

Trailer Mac, $8.50, with sliced weenies and crumbled potato chips.

Homeroom features a giant blackboard chalked with a map of California that locates breweries, wineries, and creameries, and there are images of tiny paper airplanes carved into the wooden tables ― it’s like being in a classroom all over again. Except this is a school with 10 different kinds of mac and cheese on the menu, plus suggested beer and wine pairings. Vegan and veggie options, too.

SFoodie began with the Trailer Mac ($8.50), with cheddar cheese and Prather Ranch weenie slices, and crushed potato chips on top. We also sampled the Mexican Mac ($8.50) with Star Meats chorizo, chipotles, Jack, and cilantro, served up with a lime wedge. The heat was perfect, and there was this delicious little lime and taco flavoring that recalled our favorite pimple-inducing junk food: a Taco Bell burrito. That, or Chili Cheese Fritos. If only our teenage taste buds had been this sophisticated, and our fake IDs were good enough so we could have enjoyed the cold beers Homeroom offers. Underage? There’s house-made root beer, and optional scoops of Three Twins ice cream.

We recommend ending with the house-made Oreo topped with sea salt ($1.50). It’s good enough to make you smile, but be careful: Smile too fast after chewing and your date will, like, totally see chocolate crumbs in your teeth. Just like in real high school, we would die!

Homeroom: 400 40th St. (at Shafter), Oakland, 510- 597-0400. Open Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and 5-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and 5-10 p.m. No reservations. BART stop: MacArthur. Walking distance: Four blocks east along 40th Street.

Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post

I Left My Footprint in San Francisco

7 Apr

I grew up in Santa Cruz, so whenever I mention “The City” it has always been San Francisco that I have had in mind. I spent a bit of time there during the last few years of high school but I have now lived in LA for 6 years and since then I have had limited visits. Especially because when I head up north my mom wants me all to herself. I have had small excursions and I was a guest at the Tasty Awards last winter, but I have yet to really spend some quality time in the city that I always assumed I would end up living in. This weekend was different, one of my best friends who is more of a sister, named d’Auria, had just moved there from New Orleans and the whole time felt like us going home in some weird way. I picked her up on Saturday and she told me that another friend from Santa Cruz was in the city to see Wicked and asked if I wanted to hang out with him. I knew his name right away and was pleased that he knew who I was, even though I was a grade older and only knew him because he had dated an acquaintance during my senior year of high school. He was right across from the Ferry Building, we picked him up and I asked d’Auria to get on her phone and find me a sandwich. We drove around until she found a place on her Yelp App. She navigated me and we ended up only a block away from where we started. The sandwich place she found was closed and with our princess parking we went by foot and returned to the Ferry Building. Here is my bestie, d’Auria, in front of the building that houses a ton of culinary treasures.

The place was bustling and it contained some of my favorite things. I loved the oysters because of the aphrodisiac element and the mushrooms for their richness while still containing zero calories. I took a picture of Cowgirl Creamery because I know how much Josie loves their cheeses. I, on the other hand, love my cheeses like I love my men…hard and hol(e)y. We were in the mood to be served so we just browsed and returned to the car. I said something to d’Auria about how all of the LA food bloggers go nuts over Tartine. She told me that she goes there several times a week and loves just getting a baguette and jam. d’Auria is a French girl that is a foodie in her own right and she led me straight there. It was in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. It was the exact kind of neighborhood I dream about living in. There is a park in the center with an enormous woman statue made of recycled parts and is surrounded by boutiques, candy shops, and people picnicking and serenading one another. We walked to the bakery and it was quiet and empty. I thought that surely this couldn’t be THE Tartine that gives people food boners. Correct I was, it was not. Apparently we were at Tartine Cafe Francais instead of Tartine Bakery. I didn’t mind. I was starving, this place had a French owner, and my French bestie vouched for it and the prices were so reasonable. I am always happy when I see a sandwich less than $7. I had the salami and swiss with cornichons. I told d’Auria about how when I was in Cannes I brought a jar of cornichons  back with me in my luggage and what a tragedy it would have been if  the jar were to break. d’Auria proved why I love her so much by saying, “Then you would really smell Jewish.”

My sandwich was quite good and reminded me of something I ate in France. Simple, small, and fresh ingredients. Apparently this place has been here longer than the other Tartine and it clearly doesn’t have the same clout. It is a friendly neighborhood bakery and one that I wish was in my own neighborhood. The pastries were all hand crafted and everything was yummy and inexpensive. I left with an apricot hamatashan. I liked the fruit filling but strangely enough it was d’Auria who isn’t Jewish that explained to me this significance of this little cookie. We had a nice stroll through the park and then I said I needed a drink because I was parched. I said either a Diet Coke, a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, or a cider. I ended up with the latter, a pomegranate cider brewed by Two Rivers, at  the 21st Amendment Brewery. It was a perfect neighborhood brewery, there were two bars inside, the food looked delicious, and along with serving local brews they also brewed their own beers.

d’Auria and I were left by our friend and we headed to her new office to change for dinner. Her new office is this very cool warehouse space in the SOMA district. She is working with her other Jewish BFF (actually all of her besties are Jews) on a very exciting new project that I can’t wait to tell you all about. We grew up in the same town, went to the same HS, and have the same confident/bossy demeanor that can be a lot to handle. We talked about business, dating, partnerships and everything else under the sun. We ate nuts, drank Stella, and it felt like the guys (er, girls) getting back together. It was fantastic. At around 9:30, I said I was hungry for dinner and we agreed on a Thai restaurant by the office. The place was called Manora, which made us both think of Hanukkah, and it was kismet.  We ordered the fresh mint rolls, a chicken curry (after we told the duck curry we were planning on getting was very spicy), and some pad thai. The fare we ordered was standard but the food was all very good. d’Auria got full early on but I could have been grazing for hours. I was having a fantastic day in a fantastic city and I couldn’t help but notice that the packed restaurant contained 90% men. This was far better numbers than we have in LA.

I told d’Auria when we were driving into The City that I had the feeling that I sometimes get when I go on a first date, which is a repetition in my head of “Don’t fall in love. Don’t fall in love. Don’t fall in love.” However, San Francisco won me over…hard. I had the perfect day, great conversation, good food and drink, princess parking throughout the city, and good weather. I think I left a bit of my heart in San Francisco but the rest of my footprint has yet to be made. I am quite certain that the other foot will drop in the future and I’ll return to this beautiful city that has always felt like part of my destiny.

Costa Rica: Comida Rica

7 Apr

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I just came back from Costa Rica where I took a much needed vacation with my mom and 8 year old brother. For 4 nights and 3 days this was my view. The day before I left Josie and I indulged in My Taco (it is just too easy to make puns with the name of that establishment). I had the camarones rancheros and Josie had the chilaquiles and I was so excited about the vacation I was about to embark on. Josie is a regular at My Taco, in Highland Park, and reminded me that it is owned by the sous-chef of Palate Food + Wine. It was awesome and I can’t wait to go back for the barbacoa (lamb), that Jonathan Gold put as one of his top 10 meals in LA.

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I left the following day for San Jose, Costa Rica and met my mom and brother in Pheonix where we both had to change planes. My brother, Cody, had apparently just met a Lama on the plane but by the time I saw him he screamed, “Hi, my big boobed princess sister. What?!? Mom told me to call you that”. It was around that time that I knew I was going to really miss Josie on this trip as she would fit in just perfectly with my family.

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We were staying at Tabacon Resort which was like 3 hours from the airport near Volcano Arenal. It was a windy trek and my brother ended up getting sick. We got to the hotel late and our awesome driver, Norman, ended up having to carry him in asleep. It was a beautiful place and we ordered too much room service the second we got there. The next day we had a great breakfast and my mom and I both had the tipico breakfast which consisted of two poached eggs with tomato sauce, rice and beans, tortillas, plantains, and a pancake. I, an avid lover of fruit, was introduced to my new favorite fruit passionfruit after Carlos Guapo helped me figure out how to eat it. I also introduced Cody to his new favorite drink the Pina Colada (minus the rum for him) at the pool bar. We were at the 16 mineral pools at the Spa daily and Cody and my mom even got spa treatments. For dinner we dined at Los Tucanes in the hotel and I had the shrimp cannelloni, my mom had the seafood risotto, and Cody had them make their first Hawaiian pizza ever. Thankfully, they have a ton of pineapple on hand.

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The next day we headed for a zip line across the rainforest with Sky Trek. I had no idea what to expect we had hard hats and gear and the workers all began to call my mom “suegra” which means mother-in-law. I laughed all throughout the instructions and two practice zip lines so I was shocked when I was suddenly 500 ft in the air and swinging for a half a mile. It was exhilarating and there were 8 different zip lines. I was ready for the awesome Indonesian Buffet that I had at the Spa restaurant after the adventure.

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The following day we headed on a relaxing float safari. We saw monkeys in the trees above us, Jesus Christ lizards (I am told because they walk on water), cool birds and a ton of other interesting animals. Cody and I were both sad we didn’t see any crocodiles as promised, but apparently the water was too low. After our raft tour we met one of my mom’s friends and her family, who were also staying at our hotel, for dinner. We decided to leave the expensive resort restaurants and have something more authentic. I was waiting for this for my entire trip. All the locals and workers we spoke to were all from Fortuna and they all proclaimed that La Choza was the best restaurant and that is exactly where I wanted to eat. We took a taxi 10 minutes into town and had dinner in one of their many open aired restaurants. I had the chicken soup and camarones con arroz. It was easily my best meal of the trip. Cody had a pina colada and banana split that both come inside a pineapple and nachos. It was so good.

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This morning I had to sadly depart all the fun in order to make it back for my finance midterm tomorrow. I had the buffet this morning and a bellini that left me slightly dizzy (not smart before a very windy road). I also came face to face again with a pizote. It is this racoon like creature that was outside our hotel room door the first morning. I screamed and refused to leave the room until it was gone. It was comforting to see it again this morning by the pancake station when Cody demanded creme anglaise on his pancakes (he is such a foodie in the making…plus he has what I lack…and every foodie has..a love of bacon). I had to say bye to my family and be driven to the airport again by our favorite driver Norman.

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It was a great trip and unfortunately tonight I had to order a Domino’s pizza in North Carolina because everything else is closed. I miss my family. I miss the food. I miss that great country. I miss Tabacon where it seems every night we got a surprise ranging from fruit baskets to flowers to slippers to wine and dessert. Pura Vida, indeed!

New Orleans: Trip to the Big Easy

7 Mar

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The reasons for my trip, in no particular order:

  • Seeing this lovely lady, my hometown bff, d’Auria or Miss D if you’re nasty
  • Seeing a beautiful city and the south for the first time
  • Eating some delicious food
  • Getting some one on one time with the boyfriend before he leaves again to Europe
  • Utilizing the small week break in my intensive MBA program
  • To get my haircut, buy jewelery, and see a NOLA fortune teller

Day 1 – Friday, February 27, 2009

I participated a lot less than I would have liked in the driving process. I was getting over a cold, coughing incessantly, exhausted from my finals, and really no help to anyone. Thankfully, I have a boyfriend that is a machine and drove straight through. I drove for 5 hours of the 33 hour drive. The strangest thing we discovered is that Tuscon wants no one to come and visit. Every exit off the 10 leading to Downtown was closed, which was more than bad because I was starving; and no one wants a Hungry Carina. I had my Blackberry out and was searching the Tuscon Yelp for the “Best Pizza” and found Zachary’s Pizza. Again the problem was that there was nowhere to exit for about 12 miles of Downtown Tuscon. My navigation lady, who was named Areola on the trip, didn’t know about this and was getting pissy that we weren’t exiting. I, too, was pissy (ha, I originally wrote pizza) and when we were finally able to get off the freeway, miles away from our destination, I stupidly made my boyfriend get back on going the other direction thinking then we could exit correctly. Nope, closed on that side too. Another 12 miles past downtown in rush hour with road construction and no way out. When Areola finally realized we were not getting back on the freeway she brought us to Zachary’s where we learned why all of the forks were bent. Super deep dish pizza and no clean knives was the culprit. It was delicious and almost worth the fact that when we were finished and got back in the car my Sirius XM radio (third roadtrip godsend after my boyfriend and a Prius with amazing MPG ) just stopped working. I fell asleep on the road to country on regular terrestrial radio and commented that, ” I always thought I hated country it is really good when trying to sleep because it is story time”

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Day 2: Saturday, February 28, 2009

We arrived in New Orleans at around 9 pm local time and d’Auria, who lives in a huge house with 4 other sorority girls, was sleeping and relaxing with her mom who was visiting. The machine, aka the boyfriend, wanted no part in that. Since he was the main driver and antsy to go out I obliged and we hit Magazine Street immediately. We were shocked by the amounts of beads scattered among the city leftover from Mardi Gras and the fact that many bars either close whenever they feel like it or many are open 24 hours and never stop serving. The first night we hit up the Balcony Bar and the Bulldog, where we kicked some ass at Trivia and beat out all other teams that doubled us in size.

Day 3: Sunday, March 1, 2009

Went to Mother’s for gumbo and jambalaya in the afternoon, d’Auaria took us on a driving tour of the city, at night the boyfriend and I explored the French Quarter and heard some great music at the Old Opera House, not as good karaoke at Cat’s Meow, later the boyfriend discovered his favorite local bar Miss Mae’s where he could get a mixed drink and a beer for $3.50 and they never close. After playing pool and drinking too much I request to be taken home around 4 in the AM. The boyfriend took me back, tucked me in, and then went back to his new love Miss Mae’s until 6 in the AM.

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Day 4: Monday, March 2, 2009

Ate an amazing burger and baked potato at Port of Call, went to the Cure which just opened for amazing cocktails and a great pickled red onion and orange salad, was introduced to my new favorite thing sweet tea infused vodka (double) with ice and water at the Boot, and back to Miss Mae’s. After a night out we were hungry and when coming back d’Auria and I decided to make sweet potato fries but fell asleep half way through. The boyfriend finished making them and brought them to us in bed. He said d’Auria’s favorite line of the night, “You guys aren’t even facing each other”. We slept back to back something I would never allow the boyfriend to do. Actually, ironically in the morning d’Auria was helping with the UG logo *notice the new blog banner* and I had come up with the catch line “We don’t Spoon, we Spork! UncouthGourmands.com”

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Day 5: Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I got my hair cut at Urban Angeles from d’Auria’s favorite, and my new favorite, hair stylist Tara. Bought a beautiful oyster and pearl necklace (no, not that kind of pearl necklace) at Mignon Faget. Got some great candy and gummys (my favorite) at Lucky You! Candy Store where the women said to me, “I love looking at purchases like this, because I know you are going to love everything!” That made me so happy because I always consider myself a candy aficionado and pride myself on my palate. I got some gourmet grapefruit gummy slices, watermelon gummy bears, and little champagne drops in the same shape as those raspberry candies. We went to Squeal Bar-B-Q for dinner which was probably my best meal of the trip. I had corn and cheese grits, baked beans, pulled pork and brisket. d’Auria had collard greens with bacon (her favorite), baked beans and ribs. The bf had crab and andouille stuffed fried mushrooms. Later in the night we went home to rest from our food devouring and then the boyfriend and I went back out to drink more and play pool. I knew I had to go home after I knocked over the pool stick for the 5th time. So again I was taken home around 4 am and tucked in and then the boyfriend hit up Miss Mae’s. He had quite the adventure and I don’t think we saw him again until the early evening the next day.

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Day 6: Wednesday March 4, 2009

d’Auria and I made gluten free cranberry, walnut, and banana muffins, drove to Metarie, Louisiana to get my Sirius XM radio fixed, and got Vietnamese food for lunch. We got back and thankfully found my boyfriend, who had only arrived minutes earlier, and then watched terrible reality TV for a while. Then d’Auria and I headed out to find me a fortune teller while the bf got some much needed rest. We walked past the row of them and then I said, “I want someone that speaks to me.” One lady said, “I am speaking to you”. There was then only one thing to say: fair enough. It wasn’t a great reading as someone that used to take tarot lessons for a while and talks to an astrologer regularly I consider myself an expert, like I am with gummy candy. Anyway, I crossed the last thing off my list. My mom called that night and since she knew d’Auria and the bf she offered to buy us all dinner if we stayed under $100. That is a budget I could work with so we headed to Delachaise for a bottle of wine and dinner. d’Auria had the steak and fries, the bf had the barbeque bruchetta, and I had tomato soup and a grilled cheese with pear butter.

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It was a perfect last meal ($93 without tip), although I learned I am not suppose to toast on that or something ending. After that we headed to Pat O’ Brien’s Bar for hurricanes and dueling pianos. It was great entertainment and my favorite was the guy that played pennies on a platter in a silk vest. d’Auria then took us St Joe’s Bar which is famous for the Blueberry Mojitos for our last drink on our trip. I was cranky, maybe because I knew I was leaving, so I had a Hoegaarden instead but it was a good night and a great trip. We left the next morning and this time I managed to drive even less. I was too busy thinking of my new love New Orleans and missing my friend. New Orleans has such a pulse and is filled with what Uncouth Gourmands value most: good food, good people and a sense of community; above all else N’Awlins is a great neighborhood.

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