Eating: Our Anniversary Meal at Herbsaint

There is one class in college that I remember not wanting to take…Folklore. I am not even sure why I scheduled it. Of course, this means it became my favorite class. While I was a history major, I overlooked the power of traditions in our lives. The crawfish boils, the hope chests, the drinking competitions at softball tournaments — the things that make up who we are as a people and as a community. Being a single guy for so long, I never paid much to creating my own traditions. However, now I am married. It is time to create our own traditions. One tradition I hope we started is having our anniversary dinner at Herbsaint.

Our anniversary fell on Memorial Day so we actually had our dinner the day after. We are early eaters (thanks to our jobs which has us eating lunch at the wonderful time of 10:30) so we arrived around six. As soon as we finished ordering, the kitchen sent goat cheese on a toast as a little gift for our special day. A perfect one bite to begin a perfect meal.

Enjoying a Pilsner at Herbsaint

Enjoying a Pilsner at Herbsaint

For our small plates, Cristina ordered the gnocchi while I went with the spaghetti with the fried poached egg. Cristina’s gnocchi was fantastic, yet I think my spaghetti was even better. The yolk from the egg mixed perfectly with the cream sauce to create a new super sauce that should come with its own theme song. It took every bit of reserve in me not to lick the plate clean.

For my main course, I went with the roasted chicken mainly because I wanted to see how a chicken dish could be great. Lesson learned. Juicy and flavorful, each bite left me wanting more. The crawfish sauce and the mashed potatoes were the perfect accompaniments to the chicken. On paper, this dish could have been at many restaurants all over the price range. In execution, very few places could have pulled off such a magnificent dish.

Like most men, I take pride in how I cook my steaks. In fact, most restaurants’ steaks disappoint her. Not Herbsaint. Cristina judges all other steaks by the ribeye at Herbsaint. My ego is not hurt. I changed the way I cooked steaks after reading this.

For dessert, Herbsaint provided me with a chance to prove my vegetable maxim: that if you can order a vegetable in a sorbet form you must. Tonight’s flavor was cucumber. Cool and slightly tart, this was an amazing way to end a meal until Cristina gave me a bite of her warm chocolate pudding cake with salted caramel, cashew ice cream, and cocoa nib caramel corn. Yes, it is a good as its name says. No, it is better. It is so good poets should write verse about it.

Walking out of the restaurant, I realized how lucky I am. I found a beautiful woman who is willing to put up with me. We have settled down near one of the greatest cities in the world. An area where we can make our own traditions. Herbsaint might just be where we create one of our most special ones.

Our Anniversary Meal at Herbsaint

Our Anniversary Meal at Herbsaint

 

NOLA-ing: Proud to Call It Home

Originally written right after Hurricane Isaac.

Anything you love will come with a price. That price can be an actual cost, time, or having to deal with major weather conditions such as hurricanes. I love living in south Louisiana, but hurricanes are the cross we have to bear. Every region has some type of weather disaster that can happen and hurricanes are ours.

For Hurricane Isaac, Cristina and I decided to stay home. Most of our family lives near I-10 which means we could potentially evacuate to where a storm might go. If the storm was projected to have been a strong two or three we would have gone north. But, we decided to stay at home with the kitties.

We survived the storm unscathed. Entergy restored power in our area rather quickly, thankfully.

By Sunday, we wanted to get out of the house. Unfortunately, Cristina was not feeling well. So my sister and I headed to New Orleans.

Now, if you are reading this outside of the area, you might wonder why go to New Orleans right after a storm. Well, for one the Aquarium of the Americas was open. Secondly, most business closed for a couple of days, which means a couple of days of no income.

We arrived at the Quarter hungry. We walked a few blocks before it hit me that I really wanted seafood. We walked to Iberville and passed the people waiting at Acme Oyster House and walked into Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar.

We did not get a perfect meal since they didn’t have any fresh oysters. We did get a decent meal though. I ordered half an oyster po-boy and a cup of gumbo while my sister went with half a shrimp po-boy with a cup of red beans. Service was quick and attentive. The food came out quickly. The po-boy was ok, but the gumbo was just what I needed…some comfort food. Full of shrimp and oysters, the gumbo looked and tasted more like a bayou gumbo than a city gumbo (there is a difference). My sister was equally impressed with her red beans.

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The Aquarium provided its usually great show. The opening walking tank was full of playful rays that were delighting children and provided parents with photo ops. The penguins ranged from the weirdo who stared at the wall to the one that seemed to scream “HEY KIDS LOOK AT ME!”. Parents kept apologizing for their kids being excited. Seems like a silly thing to be apologizing for since it reminds us old people how cool a place like this. We arrived at the Gulf of Mexico tank just in time for feeding. Kids screamed at the top of their voices about how cool it was to watch a stingray and a turtle eat a fish.

Even thought the parents were embarassed, the kids were doing exactly what a kid  at the aquarium should do.  And that quickly, you forgot you just went to through a hurricane.  I was seeing the aquarium, our aquarium, through their eyes.

That is just one of the many reasons why we love living here.

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PS: Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Cristina and I have decided to go back to school which eats up a lot of our time. We plan on keeping this blog going even if it means longer times between posts.  Maybe it will become an irregular regular thing.