I want to wake up in the city that doesn't sleep

Friday, May 21, 2010

So far this week, I've woken up there three times, and all three times have been thorougly lovely.  This post will be part one of what I'm assuming will be a total of 3.  Here's a recap of the week so far:

Tuesday started out as a beast of a day...  woke up to my alarm on my cell going off, but couldn't actually get it to turn off.  Turns out my annoying touch-screen phone decided to stop responding to touches.  I immediately panicked because I needed to take a cab from my house to the train station and wasn't sure how that was going to happen without a phone.  Luckily RedTop Cab has a feature on their website where you can book online.  My train was scheduled to leave at 10:25 so I booked the cab for 9:45 (hooray for not having to worry about going through security or checking bags!!).  9:45 arrived... then 9:50... I started panicking a little.  I couldn't call to check on the cab since my silly phone was out of service, so I honestly had no idea what to do.  I thought about leaving the house and driving to any place that might have a pay phone I could use, but that would mean risking missing the cab if it came while I was gone.  At 9:55, I decided to recruit help via gchat.  Thank goodness Champagne and Sprinkles was able to call the cab company for me to see what was up!!  Turns out that RedTop managed to cancel the cab for some reason (there was confusion about me going to Union Station, although I have no idea why that is confusing).  They sent someone out ASAP, and while I did not make my original train, I was able to get on the next one that left at 11:02.  That did require me to pay an extra $30 (boooooo), but hey- $30 is cheap in the long run.  After all that, I have to say that I'm officially a fan of train travel!  The seats are roomier and you have WAY more leg room (something I occasionally struggle with, particularly if I'm in heels, although I was not on Tuesday).  The rocking of the train is GREAT if you want to nap, and believe me, I was a napping fool because it was so gross and dreary and rainy outside.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been a blanket or pillow, but hey- no complaints from me!

Once I got to Penn Station, things got a little chaotic.  I'd mapped out the nearest Sprint store to Penn and knew I needed to book it over there so that I could deal with my phone right away.  Thank goodness I remembered to bring an umbrella because wow- it was POURING.  I was dressed down for my life for any regular day (jeans, long-sleeve white shirt, brown cowl neck sweatshirt, and... gasp... running shoes), but add in rain and the fact that I was hauling around my suitcase, laptop bag, and a Vera Bradley duffle bag from 1999 (the pattern was French Provincial Blue, in case you're wondering), and I was totally what I can only classify myself as Midwestern Chic.  Not a good look.  I don't mind using my old VB stuff for personal travel in the car, but I don't want to be seen publicly in a major city with it, particularly if it's outside an airport or train station.  Honestly, now that I've done all this, I now think it might be best to just relegate it to the car for future use.  Oh well.  It still works; it's just very dated now.  But let it be known that it is just not a good idea to try and go through retail stores with a carry-on-sized suitcase, a duffle bag, a laptop bag, and large purse.  It's really difficult to maneuver.  Plus, you look like an idiot and annoy EVERYONE because you take up enough space for 3 normal-sized people.  Add in that it's raining and you might as well be on a suicide mission. (In case you're curious, the awesome Sprint guy who helped me figure out in about 15 minute that my phone couldn't be saved and gave me a new phone.  Same model as the old one, but a different color and it works infinitely better.  Oh and Champagne and Sprinkles, I checked out that Lotus phone... horrendously tacky in person.  It has a pattern on it.)

In case you're wondering, it was also INCREDIBLY windy.  So windy, in fact, that my umbrella now looks like this:

If you look closely, you can see that the neck (is that what it's called?) is bent.  It can't be folded down to the normal stow-away purse size anymore.  But luckily the rain has ceased and it's been sunny for the last 2 days, so no problems there.

Tuesday was L's birthday and he requested dinner at one of Bobby Flay's restaurants.  He'd been to Mesa Grill in Vegas, so Bar Americain it was for us.  In a word, DELICIOUS.  Great ambiance and fabulous wait service as well.  If you ever go, I highly recommend requesting David F. as your server.  Loved him!  I forgot to take pics of any of our food (onion soup, granny apple salad, hanger steak, and rib eye) until dessert, but here's a pic of dessert after we'd already both eaten a bite:

To die for.  Wedneday was spent working out and then heading off to the Met to see the American Woman exhibit, which showcased the clothing of American women from the late 1800s through the 1940s.  Stunning clothes.  Some of the ones from the 1890s looked like they'd been made yesterday.  No idea how they are still in such fabulous condition.  After that I explored several other galleries and walked through the Upper East Side to get a cupcake from Crumbs.  It's been 48 hours and I'm still working on consuming it, both because of the sheer size of it (you can't tell in the pic but it's really, really big) and the richness of it.  Here's a pic of it before I'd taken a bite:

The flavor is Baba Booey and I picked it because apparently it's the staff favorite.  Basically it's chocolate cake with peanut butter and chocolate icings on top, peanut butter chips as the sprinkles, and there's little bit of peanut butter-flavored cream cheese in the center.  Definitely rich, which is why I'm still working my way through it.  You really don't need more than like one bite at a time.  Also, something mean (depending on your outlook) about Crumbs is that they give you the calorie count of each cupcake flavor next to the name and price on the menu AND in the display case.  If you're in there getting a cupcake, you're probably aware that it's not going to help you in your quest to lose weight and firm up.  But no worries; just more reassurance that it's okay to make it last several days instead of gobbling it up all at once.

Thursday was spent in Short Hills, NJ visiting my aunt.  Go ahead and forget the images you may have of dirty Newark, I-95's not-so-scenic images, or any episode of Jersey Shore.  Short Hills/Milburn are totally normal and gorgeous.  That's why NJ is the garden state.  Anyway, it was a fun day just relaxing and hanging out.  Also, if you make friends with the guys who take your tickets on the train, they might just come back around and give you this:
Yes, I charmed my way into getting the ticket puncher (I'm sure they have an official title but I have no idea what it is) to make me a smiley face out of one.  Try not to be jealous.  Also, he scared the $HIT out of me by asking me where I was going (Penn Station) and then telling me that the train I was on didn't go there (he was kidding).  Dinner was at a fun little place in Brooklyn called Apartment 138.  Freaking LOVED our waiter.  Missed his name, though. 

And finally, a recap of today, thus far: accidental late wake up, followed by a nice work out (the hotel gym is AWESOME), then some catching up on emails, and lunch with L at some hole-in-the-wall pizza place that doesn't require a review.  Now we're heading out to spend the afternoon and happy hour with an old friend of mine.  If any of you happen to be in Louisiana, specifically Mandeville, Baton Rouge, or Shreveport, hit up his family's restaurants called Bistro Byronz. 

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note, while getting dressed this morning I watched a rerun of Bevery Hills: 90210.  It was one of the very first episodes and Donna's parents went out of town, so she decided to have a party and in 1991, a high school party with the parents out of town meant cocktail attire.  Obvi.  Didn't all high school parties??  (Wait, not so much in Dallas in the late '90s.) Lots of black panty hose, up 'dos, and sheer black sleeves were involved.  And while the clothes apparently weren't a red flag for something going on for the Walsh parents, Brenda NEVER would've gotten caught if Cyndi hadn't smelled alcohol on her breath as Brenda kissed her goodnight when she got home.  Such gripping screenplay!

The Sweetest Thing

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is there anything more relaxing and therapeutic than cooking a good meal?  Sometimes I wonder that.  We've had two weekends in a row that involved cooking delicious meals, and since we are having the best weather ever, we're incorporating our lovely grill into as many meals as possible.  This weekend we opted to stay in and cook all weekend since L is living out of a hotel and pretty much only eating at restaurants while he's in NYC, so Saturday night I decided to do a twist on regular backyard barbecue with special burgers, grilled corn on the cob, and garlic fries.  Yum.  I always love it when I make a meal that tastes so good that it takes me by surprise, and this was one of them.  I'll have to share the recipe for garlic fries sometime because they are so good. 

Last weekend we had the FBIs over for dinner one night and served them rib eyes (courtesy of L on the grill), sauteed fresh green beans, mandarin orange salad, and chocolate chunk bread pudding.  The pressure was on to have a really good meal for them, as they have had us over for dinner several times (including Thanksgiving) and Mr. FBI is an amazing cook/chef.  Luckily, everything went well and dessert in particular was a hit.  I have to say, there's something about individual-sized desserts that just makes you feel special.  Of course, I only have pics of the dessert, which I'll post below. 

Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 3/4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed Hawaiian sweet bread (about 2-3 rolls)
2/3 cup reduced-fat milk (I used 1% but you could probably use whatever kind you have)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon Creme de Cacao
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 ounce milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°.  Cube Hawaiian bread.

Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove bread from oven; decrease oven temperature to 325°.

Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Add bread, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Divide half of bread mixture evenly between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with half of chocolate. Divide remaining bread mixture between ramekins; top with remaining chocolate.

Place ramekins in an 8-inch square baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until set. Serve each pudding warm with 1 tablespoon whipped topping.  Of course I forgot to take pictures of the final product, but I put whipped cream on top of each serving with a 2-3 raspberries next to the dollop of whipped cream. 

This recipe makes 2 servings and can easily be doubled as needed.

I'll take you to the candy shop

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The whole episode that I'm about to write about is the result of me trying to brush my teeth on Sunday night.  I noticed it was time to change the head on my toothbrush so I pulled my old head off, threw it in the trash, went to get a fresh head out and for the life of me, I couldn't find them anywhere.  What to do, what to do....  I won't lie- the thought didn't cross my mind to pull the head out of the trash, but even if it had been the only thing in the trash with a fresh liner, it's still gross.  Cue up the "finger as a toothbrush" and the mental note that new heads were a MUST on Monday and that Target would be the place to pick them up.  I'd already pre-approved a purchase of lights for the backyard with L, so I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  (No, I don't have or need to pre-approve purchases with him, but in 6 1/2 months of marriage, I've learned that sometimes it's easier to get him onboard beforehand than explaining the seemingly random purchase afterwards if I know he's going to ask why I bought whatever the item is.)

Honestly I should never be allowed to go to Target by myself when L is out of town.  His absence is what prompted me to go get my first professional pedicure since my wedding (shudder) and then run to Target to get 4 specific items.  I left the house at 6:30 and I didn't get home to 9:30.  I fell down the Target rabbit hole HARD last night.  In Austin, I used to just walk over in an effort to prevent myself from unnecessarily spending hundreds of dollars on random stuff.  Knowing I'd have to carry everything home helped curb the impulse purchases.  Last night I had the knowledge that my trunk and back seat were very, very empty and waiting to be filled up.

All in all, I spent just under 2 hours in Target. Because OBVIOUSLY it takes that long to get toothbrush heads, a card, a picture hanging kit, and lights for the backyard. Of course I didn't stop at those items, though. I also ended up getting 2 shirts (because if you saw my closet, you'd immediately tell me that what I definitely need is more random tops, so I already know one is going to go back, preferably before L comes home), a pair of flip flops that I wanted last year but could never find in my size, a pair of flat sandals, straws, Haribo gummy bears, and I forgot about the toothbrush heads until I was already on the way home.  Thrilling.  (Rest assured that I did stop to some pick up at CVS on the way home.)  This was totally one of those trips where you walk in, look at the buggies and think, "I don't need one- I'm only going in for 4 things and one of them is a card - I can just carry it all," and then like 45 minutes later you're loaded down and just as you're ready to stagger back up to the front of the store to get one, you realize you're already there because you completed your first lap around the outer aisle of the store so you just grab a cart and start making a second lap around the store to see what you missed the first time.  Then on that second lap, you go through the inner aisles and suddenly find yourself in the clothing section and go. to. town.  And even though you know you don't really need  the tops and shoes you're casually adding to your cart, you're thinking, "It's okay- each thing is just $12.99!"  And then you finally roll up to the check-out counter and suddenly your total bill is $110.93.  But then you think, "A-HA!!  I DON'T HAVE TO JUSTIFY THIS TO HUSBAND BECAUSE I HAVE 2 GIFT CARDS!" and you wipe the sweat off your brow because it only ends up costing you $36 out of pocket.  Uh huh.  Just what I need to do on the eve of my last full day of work: blow $110.93 on stuff I don't need and can definitely live without.  Note: if I'd only bought what I'd originally intended, the bill would have been under $30, assuming I had still forgotten the toothbrush heads. 

Oh and at the end of my second lap, I saw this:

First of all, that turquoise bra is TINY.  I don't remember my training bras being that small.  I was a late bloomer so there wasn't much of a point to me wearing my first bras so I'm sure they were the same size; I just don't remember them being that little (also it looks way tinier in person but I was in a hurry because it seemed creepy to be taking pictures of tiny bras and I didn't want to get caught and questioned).  Second, I'm glad that at least now girls have the option of fun bras that look like more like the real deal.  Mine were just boring white or skin-toned and in hindsight, they just looked very "my first bra: early 90s edition."  That's not the most fun time in a kid's life, so at least now there are options to make the changes more fun.

On an unrelated note, I've been painting my toenails myself since I moved here, in part to save money but mostly because no one's been seeing my feet because it's been too chilly to wear any kind of open-toed shoes.  I finally went last night and my feet look MUCH better.  The salon was nice, too, although I must say this was the first time I've had a massage chair that not only massages your back, but also your butt and thighs as well.  I either loved it or hated it but I'm still not sure which.  I will say that I learned the lesson that those chairs are not meant to be sat in while writing letters.  Not my best handwriting*.  Aside from that, everything was great.  My one complaint is that my manicurist was a mumbler and I had absolutely no idea what she said to me the entire time.  Asking her to clarify just meant she'd say it even more quietly.  Not okay.

*Yes, I went old-school and wrote a letter to a friend.  Try it sometime.  It's way more fun to get a letter than an email.

Strawberry Wine

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's all take a moment to appreciate the greatness that is Abita Strawberry Harvest.

Now let's all take a moment to appreciate that last Thursday (the same night as the wine drinking debacle*), I accidentally scored my second case of it within a 3 week time period (prior to going out for drinks).  You might be wondering, "How does one accidentally purchase a case of beer?"  Well, in this instance, after L and I got back from our New Orleans trip, I found myself craving more Strawberry Harvest but according to Abita's website, there weren't any stores within 20 miles of my house that carry Strawberry Harvest.  Being the gambling woman I am, I tootled on over to my favorite wine/beer store ever (Total Wine, if any of you are in the DC area, and for those in Texas, it's very similar to Spec's, just without the liquor section) because I already knew they carried Abita and inquired as to whether or not they had any or were able to acquire it for me.  The awesome guy helping me looked and said they were out of stock but that he'd be happy to order some for me, although there was a risk that they might not get it because it's a seasonal beer and the season was due to end on May 7.  I rolled the dice and gave him my info.  I wasn't home for more than 30 minutes before I got a call saying they'd found a case in stock and that I could come get it any time.  L picked it up for me the next day and that was that- I've been relishing Strawberry Harvest in the three weeks since.  Fast forward to Thursday... I got a mysterious call from Total Wine letting me know my case had arrived and was waiting to be picked up.  This was delightful news, as we have already polished off several of our bottles from the first case.  I immediately drove straight from Georgetown (where I was dropping off the signs from the JL 5K the weekend before, and on an unrelated note, I overheard a woman saying, "Oh that is so cool!  I LOVE bat wings!"  I stopped to see what else she would say, but that was it.  Pretty sure I heard that out of context, but all I could think of was that scene in Waiting) to Total Wine and picked up my case.

That's our new case.  And I may or may not have hidden it in the furnace closet.  Out of sight, out of mind.

And now, in honor of tonight being the night before my last day of work at my loathesome job, I shall now go indulge in one of my beloved Abita Strawberries.  BOTTOMS UP!

*I am not an alcoholic, despite what my wineover post may lead you to believe.


Monday, May 10, 2010

I love weekends that start with finding a new, fun place for dinner and drinks, then L unexpectedly being able to come home, then move into a lazy, gorgeous Saturday, and that end with exciting news about a dear friend getting engaged.  There's nothing better than taking it easy and getting to relax on pretty days in the spring.

Yes, Friday started with a killer wineover, but around 4:00 I decided I'd had enough.  After showering, doing make up and hair, putting on a sundress, and ordering a pizza (grease was a must), I was feeling enough like my normal self (albeit dehydrated) to make it to my JL Transfer happy hour at lovely venue called Local 16.  I opted to stick to water (and drank LOTS of it) but was glad to be there.  The bar was great- they have an awesome rooftop terrace and the weather was AMAZING.  I can't wait to take L and out of town friends!  Such a fun area.

And speaking of L, he got to come home this weekend.  Originally he was scheduled to stay in NYC and work over the weekend, but to my delight, at the last minute they decided to give him a weekend pass back to DC and I picked him up from the train station around 11.  Saturday was a repeat of Friday's gorgeous weather with a very heavy dose of wind thrown in.  We slept in a little and then decided to head out to the National Cathedral's Flower Mart.  Apparently this is an annual event, and I thought it was going to be all flower vendors.  It was actually much more like an open-air bazaar (for you Austinites, it's similar to the Pecan Street Festival) with a lot of vendors selling all kinds of things, performers, and foot carts/stands.  I have no idea how they didn't all blow away because it at the top of that hill, it was freakin' windy!  We didn't buy too much- just a print to hang in our house and some soup mix, but we did see something that I am ABSOLUTELY buying for L if we make it to the Kentucky Derby or Gold Cup next year.

Yes, those are needlepoint-covered flasks (and wallets, but let's focus on the former for the moment).  I didn't realize til right now that it's hard to tell that they are needlepoint, but take my word for it.  Does it get any than that?  I think not, especially if you opt to have one custom-made with initials instead of just going the alma mater route.  If you're wondering where to order these fun flasks, go here.  Smathers & Branson will satiate all of your needlepoint desires.

Finally, congratulations to SRG over at Gluten Girl in Austin on getting engaged!  So exciting!!  Can't wait to share in your excitement in the coming months as you plan your wedding.  Woo hoo!!  I think every weekend should end with such great news.  :)

Red, Red Wine

Friday, May 7, 2010

Or more accurately, white, white wine.  One of L's besties has been in town all week for a trial, so I met him and his coworkers last night for drinks at POV.  It seemed like a good idea.  See an old friend... have some drinks... I mean who would care if I stayed out late?  Husband is in another state and I work from home in a job that I'll only have for 3 more days.  What could go wrong?

Yeah, three very full glasses of white wine and I felt like vom this morning.  Apparently this 29 year old REALLY ISN'T 23 anymore.  Definitely was on the bathroom floor around noon, but after a round of unswallowing, I feel miraculously better.  I don't care to have any alcohol again any time soon, though, which is unfortunate, as I have an end-of-year JL happy hour to attend tonight.  I'll be making it a safe and sober, water-all-the-way night.

Post-script update: I just remembered that someone was smoking pot at P.O.V.  Um, seriously???  Not only is that illegal to do in general, but D.C. is federal property.  P.O.V. is also literally a block away from the White House.  All I can say is that person has balls.

Run This Town

Subtitle: How long does it take 3 girls to put 15 signs in the ground at a 5K?

Answer: definitely an hour and a half.  Because it's not as easy as it sounds when the sun hasn't risen and you're running on 4 hours of sleep. 

We had a gorgeous weekend here last weekend, which was great because I started it at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning setting up for the Bright Beginnings 5K.  My placement for Junior League was planning and working the race, so I have officially finished for the semester.  My job specifically entailed taking about 15 signs and placing them around the course path... sounds easy, right?  I was put on a team with two friends of mine and we were given a hammer, a staple gun (to affix the signs to the stakes), and a map of the course (which was essentially a giant triangle) and we took off in my car to place them.  We encountered many problems right away... we had a regular driving hammer when a sledge hammer or mallet would have been more useful, our hand-drawn map was most definitely not to scale and unbeknownst to us it did NOT include all of the buildings in the park, and we hadn't been through the entire course so we didn't have a good idea how much of the course was left since the map wasn't exactly accurate, and when it's that early in the morning, you don't exactly think to use the odometer in the car.  We also didn't know that there would be cones set up already with mile markers.  So needless to say, we guesstimated where mile marker 2 was supposed to go (we were WAY off- apparently we have no idea how to judge distances) and based everything else off of it.  We ended up putting 9 of the signs on the leg we started on- so they were all incredibly close together- and spread the remaining 6 out over the other two legs.  Ultimately we ended up doing it all twice- we pulled about half of the first 9 signs we stuck in the ground and filled in gaps on the other 2 sides, and we moved the mile markers to the right spots.  Gotta love it!  The two girls that I was teamed up with weren't exactly great with hammers, so I ended up doing most of that while they held the stakes and stapled the signs to them.  I started wishing I'd brought my work gloves with me, but luckily someone ever-so-thoughtfully left a pair on the road for us to use:

Just kidding.  I don't even want to know why there were used latex gloves randomly on the side of the road in a park at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  Sick. 

Anyway, the race was a success.  Here's a shot of the last group of runners to leave the starting line:

Pretty morning, right?  The park was great.  It's on an island right by the district and you can see the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial from various parts of it.  Very pretty to see the sun rise over all that.  The rest of my Saturday including buying a gardenia bush and planting it in the backyard.  I was going to post a pic but my camera is dead so it is currently recharging.  Perhaps another time.  I have no idea how long we'll be in this house, but rest assured that if we don't kill this bush, it'll be moving with us!  I love how fragrant gardenias are.  Fingers crossed that this one lives!

Oh, and if you're interested in learning about Bright Beginnings, go here.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is a boring post, but I feel the need to share.  L and I were driving in the car a couple of days ago and Lady Gaga's newest sing, Alejandro, came on the radio.  Because we both enjoy a good Lady Gaga song (he and my brother-in-law each may or may not be working on perfecting their own versions of Bad Romance for future karaoke outtings), we eagerly listened to LG's new contribution.  If you haven't heard it, here it is:

Take special note of the song around 1:12.  We both immediately thought, "Wow, that sounds a LOT like Ace of Base, circa 1993, specifically Don't Turn Around."

Can't remember what that song sounds like?  Here you go:

And if you're wondering what they would be like if you combined them, apparently you're not the only one. 

King of New Orleans

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

L and I went to New Orleans recently both to attend the wedding of a long-time friend of mine and also to have a weekend getaway/ celebrate being married approximately 6 months.  Yes, we cheesily celebrated 6 months of being married.  It's just a good excuse to take a trip, and the trip was much-needed by me.  I credit it with fully pulling me out of my funk slump; I came back feeling more like myself than I have in a really, really long time.  Such a nice feeling! 

The weekend was fantastic.  We left early on a Saturday morning and came back late on a Monday.  I highly recommend doing this- flights are so much easier to book and the trip as a whole was less expensive and WAY less crowded (key to me).  We packed as many meals in as possible and worked it off by walking everywhere (double points for me since I was in heels for a many hours on Saturday and Sunday nights).  My feet definitely came home worse for the wear, complete with blisters on the balls of my feet and on my toes (just a tip: don't take heels you've only worn at your rehearsal dinner and another brand new, even taller pair unless you want to feel like amputating your own feet at the end of the trip).  Lovely!  Also, just in general, flip flops and open-toed shoes are not the best idea in NO, but I hate wearing running shoes with normal clothes.  Such a touristy look. 

The wedding was amazing- the bride looked beautiful, the groom was so handsome, and it was so fun to see that group of friends and catch up.  L's favorite part was the Second Line- complete with brass band, police escort, and personalized napkins to wave- that ended the wedding.  It took us through the Quarter and back to the hotel where the whole wedding took place, whereupon the whole crowd started chanting, "Who dat say they gonna beat them Saints?"  Perfection.  Oddly enough, this is not the first wedding I've been to with this same group of friends that has resulted in chanting.  Weird. 

Anyway, we had some GREAT food while we were there, namely at Mother's (lunch one day) and Emeril's Delmonico (dinner on Sunday night as our faux-6-month anniversary). 

Of course there were trips to Cafe Du Monde in there as well. 

We actually didn't eat nearly as many places as we'd originally intended due to a certain someone overindulging at the wedding (in all fairness, the bride at this wedding spent the morning after my wedding hugging the toilet, so she challenged me and L to do the same at hers.  L obliged).  If you ever have the opportunity to eat at Delmonico, DO IT.   Best gumbo I have ever eaten in my entire life.  While I would strongly suggest going and ordering as many bowls of gumbo as you can fit in your stomach, the entire meal was fantastic and just as good.  The gumbo stands out, though, because it's just SO GOOD.  Also it's hard to find gumbo at all here, let alone good gumbo.  Now I'll stop saying gumbo.  It's not in the quarter, but it's definitely on a trolley line so you can hop on and off directly in front of the restaurant.  We also had drinks at a variety of places, but my two favorites were the bar at Loew's Hotel and Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone (their rooftop pool and bar was also very fun). 

We ended the trip by doing a little gambling at Harrah's on Monday, and I'm proud to say that L's semi-drunken Craps lesson during the big blizzard in February paid off!  I was totally a winner, and thus, the whole table won quite a few times due to my lucky dice rolling.  Woo hoo!  We pooled our winnings and we now own a new Blu-Ray dvd player, complete with wireless internet so that we can stream Netflix and Pandora.  Very fun to have a new toy.

All in all, a fantastic weekend.  Can't wait to go back again sometime soon!
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