Sunday, May 25, 2014

Salsa Cooking Club at Shade Winery

The cooking club ladies gathered at Shade Winery this month. The theme was salsa! Sadly, I had to skip this one, because when I returned home from conference in New Orleans I had just four days to pull together a 15-minute presentation for a job interview I had the following week. I'm glad I decided to sacrifice the deliciousness because I got the job!

Valerie took pictures of the gathering so I could include it on my site. Thanks, Valerie! I will let the photos speak for themselves, since I wasn't there and don't know the details.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Conference in New Orleans

NBIA's conference was in New Orleans this year! As usual, Charlie tried to protest so that I wouldn't leave.

He makes it pretty tough!

When we arrived, Cheryl, Judy, Jim and Damianne went for lunch at Mena's. Look, I went there for breakfast with Bob and Charlie in 2008!

Mmm, refreshing strawberry Abita.

We shared a delicious muffaletta.

Judy and Cheryl! Poor Cheryl had to be on crutches for the entire conference.

She was a major trooper and crutched pretty far the first night, to go to the Marigny neighborhood for dinner and a show.

We had dinner and a cocktail at Marigny Brasserie. This is the Southern Bella: Buffalo Trace Bourbon with Angoustora Bitters & our Housemade Cherry Cola-8.

Marigny Brasserie Southern Bella

Cheryl, Judy and I shared a bunch of food. Buttermilk fried chicken!

Marigny Brasserie buttermilk fried chicken

Strawberry walnut salad!

Barbecue shrimp and grits!

After dinner, we went to Snug Harbor. My longtime family friend Spencer Bohren was playing a show that night, and I got to visit with him and his wife Marilyn!!! They live in New Orleans, and this is my fourth time there and the FIRST time that we've actually had the timing work out to see each other! It was such a treat!

He played a great show, too!

And then his son Andre joined him on piano for a song! So I got to see Andre TOO! It was too much fun!

The next morning, we went back to Mena's, this time for breakfast.

Specifically because we wanted to try a Poinsetta! It's a mimosa with cranberry juice instead of orange juice. Cheers!

Mmm, greek omelette. YUM! Pretty similar to my 2008 breakfast!

For the rest of the day, we were busy stuffing conference bags and sorting through our conference materials. For lunch we ordered the cutest little BABY muffalettas from the hotel restaurant. Look how cute!

For dinner we went to Olivier's Creole Restaurant. They started us out with hot cornbread drizzled with honey. Damianne, Hattie and the deliciousness.

This wine was yum.

For dinner, I had the crab ravioli. Crabmeat-stuffed pasta, battered and fried, with a shrimp, crawfish, tasso and parmesan cream sauce.

Group photo!

On Friday we were setting up all day again, and had lunch at the hotel. I got the chopped salad, and it was AMAZING.


Friday was a long day, so we decided to stay in and order pizzas that night. Judy had heard a recommendation for Domenica Pizza, which ended up being the JACKPOT.

Oh, hi!

Hello there.


Tom ordered these jotters to stuff in the conference bags. He was expecting full-sized notebooks, and was horrified when these tiny little jotters arrived. Needless to say, we teased him about it the whole week.

We even put together a movie!

Cheryl let me decorate her crutches.

Our security guards were really nice and fun! They sang us a song!!

Saturday we worked all day, and then went to Pier 424 for dinner.

Trombonist with bunny ears!

Pier 424.

Group photo!


I had the grilled drum topped with blue crab meat.

Karis joined us this year!

One of my favorite things about conference is all the hotel rolls we get to eat.

On Sunday we went to Court of Two Sisters for dinner.

The jotter came with us!

It's so pretty with all the sparkly lights!


Cheryl, Judy and Kim.

Yum! Bag of bread!

Group photo!

I had fish topped with crab again. Can't get enough seafood!

We shared a slice of this butterscotch cake. Mmm.

Randy and his ladies!

We had dinner at Arnaud's Jazz Bistro.

Their bread looked like a little bread BABY!!

Mmm, delicious bread baby.

Cheryl and I shared alligator sausage and it was SO GOOD.

This pale ale was delicious too.

We also had crab cakes!

And asparagus!

The jazz quartet sang "You Are My Sunshine" with us!! These people ARE my sunshine!

After dinner, we stopped by the Turnstone party at Beach on Bourbon. I've definitely been to this fountain on many trips to New Orleans! Megan and I were there in 2008! And I'd been there before with Summer!

Shot girl! We learned last time were in New Orleans to always say "no" to the shots because they are NEVER free and in fact they are like lots and lots of dollars. Even though they try and trick you into thinking they are a gift.

Cheryl wasn't going to let that boot stop her from dancing!

Yeah, Tom!

The Strodes!

For our last night, we went to Doris. Pat and her sister Judy met us in New Orleans and joined us for dinner!! Pat told me about this restaurant over a year ago, and I feel like every time I get my hair cut we end up talking about it! I can't believe I actually got to GO THERE and order THE BEET. This was like a dream come true!

I had tuna tartare as an appetizer and it was amazing. AMAZING!!!!

Ginger emulsion, tobiko, salicornia, radish, avocado, soy pearls, wasabi.

And the beet! It is called "Beetroot Supreme." It has cheese and walnut filling, crème fraîche glaze, and is served on a bed of mascarpone-nuts cream. They bring the stuffed beet to your table whole and slice into it! Hot steamy deliciousness flows out! This was absolutely incredible and everything I had hoped for and MORE!

Pat, me and Judy!

Cheers to another successful conference and another fun trip to New Orleans!