Monday, March 30, 2015

House of the week: Shotgun on North Rampart St.

Have you ever experienced love at first sight? I have, and I can't stop thinking about it. Yes, I am head-over-heels in love with an object. More specifically, I am in love with a house. This IS my house. This is what I picture when I dream about the perfect little abode for John and I. I see myself here...I must have it!

I want it now!

Like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the old one with Gene Wilder mind you, not that demented Johnny Depp version), I want a house, a house on N. Rampart Street. There'd be roomfuls of laughter, bows in my hair and all kinds of bean feasts if I could slap the cash down for this ultimate little haven.

Located in Bywater, this absolute jewel is a two bedroom, one bath shotgun with high ceilings, gorgeous hard wood floors, transoms, exposed brick fireplaces, barge board wainscoting, bead board ceiling, mammoth built-in bookshelves, distressed-wood kitchen, a claw foot tub ... can you hear me panting? As if that isn't enough to drive me into a frenzy, one of the finest features is a cute little, "shack on da swamp" guesthouse in the back where I would set up my office and write till my fingers fell off.

My house (a girl can dream!) is also in a great neighborhood within walking distance of Vaughan's Lounge, The Joint, Jack Dempsey's, Meltdown Pops and Bacchanal. Sadly, at $295,000, I could never afford this piece of heaven on earth, but it won't stop me from dreaming about it.

Of course, if some super-rich soul out there wants to buy it for me out of the kindness of their heart, I certainly wouldn't be opposed!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Captivating Coquette

If you didn't already know, Coquette is easily one of the best restaurants in New Orleans ... and in a city where incredible restaurants are a dime a dozen, that's saying a whole hell of a lot. Like Patois and Boucherie, I try to visit Coquette as often as I can, but the last meal I had was over four months ago with one of my best friends, Lorin Gaudin.

In case you haven't noticed, I am playing some serious catch-up. I've dined at more restaurants than I can write about (or have time to write about) and it's well past time to get these places all in the hopper. I'm working on it! And yes, I have written about Coquette before, but can a place this stupendous ever get old?

On Lorin's advice, we started with an appetizer called Buffalo Apples where crisp, green apples were sectioned and deep fried in a tempura batter and then drizzled with hot sauce, blue cheese, celery and walnuts. I've probably said this before, but I am not a big fan of Buffalo Wings, but I could eat those apples all day long ... and then some.

We also shared a bowl of rich, Smoked Pork Gumbo with mustard greens that was garnished with a soft-boiled egg and crispy, fried pig's ear. Although not traditional, Coquette's trumped up version had me swooning and to be perfectly honest, one bowl was simply not big enough for the two of us.

For our entrees, we both opted for sandwiches. Lorin chose the Pastrami with apples and braised slaw on house rye served with French fries. I got Ham Sandwich with huckleberry, cheddar and heirloom tomato.  We shared both sandwiches and both were just fantastic what with house-made pastrami and tasso, how could they possibly be otherwise? I also couldn't stop stealing French fries from Lorin's plate. Thankfully, she didn't seem to mind.

Finally, for dessert (oh yes!), we shared a plate of gingerbread donuts with pumpkin ice cream, house made of course. Is there anything this restaurant can't do? I'll most assuredly be back soon ...

Coquette on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2015

House of the week: Double on Jeanette Street

In case you didn't notice from other posts, I really love my neighborhood. Although my current digs leave something to be desired (washer & dryer, lack of mold, light etc.), the 'hood in which it resides makes it worthwhile. So, in that vein, I've been searching the Riverbend for a home that would delight me and be in my price range.

Okay, so this double on Jeanette Street is twice as much as I can pay (pathetic, I know), but I can't help thinking what it could be if I got my grubby little hands on it. The realtor describes it as a "new-classical revival" but I just think it's beautiful. With almost 2000 square feet, I'm assuming each unit is one or two bedrooms per side, both replete with gorgeous wainscoting, 13 foot ceilings, stained glass windows, sliding pocket doors, fireplace mantles, original hardwood floors, transoms and what appears to be barge board ceilings.

The house is located only a few blocks from where I now sit, typing away furiously because there is no way in hell I'd be able to purchase it. Not only is it listed at $275,000, but the house still needs a good bit of work. I hope that someone who can afford it will snap up this gem and love it as much as I would.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New experience at Namese

Since it sometimes feels as if I've tasted virtually everything, it's always a wonderful surprise when I get the opportunity to sample something new. That's exactly what happened when Lorin and I enjoyed a lunch at Namese a few months back.

Located on the corner of Tulane and South Carrollton Avenue, Namese was once a convenience store that sold Chinese food to-go. What with the surge of interest in Vietnamese cuisine and the changes that are slowly-but-surely happening in this previously unloved corridor, the owners sensed it was kismet to get back to their roots and open a full-service restaurant.

Though it was cold the day we visited, I could totally see returning in the springtime (and I have!) to lounge on their spacious and comfortably-furnished patio out front. But on this particular occasion, Lorin and I sat inside. After placing our order, we munched on complimentary prawn crackers and talked about all things food-related while we waited.

First to arrive was an appetizer we ordered to share, a dish of shrimp and avocado spring rolls with a rich, dark peanut sauce for dipping. Needless to say, the rolls were fresh, flavorful and gobbled up in no time at all. Shortly thereafter, our entrees arrived and I couldn't help oohing and aahing ... at least a little.

Lorin ordered their Shakin' Steak that was marinated, pan-seared and served with jasmine rice and pickled vegetables. Me? I was in the mood for pho, so I chose the filet mignon. Now, I'm pretty sure I've ordered filet mignon pho at almost every Vietnamese restaurant in the city, but not once has it ever been served up like it was at Namese.

Instead of just a bowl of soup, Namese took it one step further bringing out the pho (with noodles and veggies, of course) with a separate plate of raw, thinly sliced beef. Essentially, I was cooking each piece of meat in the piping hot broth right before stuffing it into my face. It was fantastic! Especially with their spicy, sate chili sauce that I added to each bite. Although it might not seem like much, this added dimension to the meal made all the difference. I just love trying new things ... especially when it's food!

Namese on Urbanspoon