Sunday, April 13, 2014

House of the week: Victorian on Dumaine Street

As I am currently existing in some kind of first-time home-buyer's limbo (a.k.a. financial consultations, credit checks, home-buying courses, etc.), I've been reluctant to play out my usual "house of the week" game. Why? Because I keep finding homes in my price range that are almost exactly what I want, only to watch them slip right through my fingertips. Just like what will happen with this one...

About a block off Broad Street on Dumaine is a double-shotgun Victorian house built around the 1920's. The owner's side features three bedrooms and one bathroom and the rental side is two bedrooms and one bathroom for a total of almost 2000 square feet. It's got all the goodies I love, on both sides. We're talking fireplace mantles, floor-to-ceiling windows, transoms, sliding pocket doors and hardwood floors ... plus a cute porch and a rather large backyard. The house is almost smack-dab between the Fair Grounds Race Course (read Jazzfest) and the French Quarter (read,'s the freaking French Quarter already), the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Degas House, Pagoda Cafe, the Caribbean Club and Broadview Seafood (read "boiled crawfish").  Also, a Whole Foods recently opened up on Broad Street not seven blocks away, in attempts to kick-start the neighborhood and offer a place for affordable, healthy food. 

There are lots and lots of reasons I can come up with about why this house is so cool, but the most glaring would have to be the price. This little beauty is listed for only $199,000 and it makes me want to cry. Wave buh-bye now...say buh-bye to the pretty little house because soon it will be gone.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waking up at HiVolt

Some days, like today, I must rise at an hour where one would normally find me snoozing away merrily in bed. On these unfortunate days, I need a healthy overdose of caffeine. Not too long ago, my good friend Anne and I visited a great place for a coffee infusion, especially early in the morning.

Opened a few months ago by Benji Lee (who also owns The Saint just down the road), HiVolt Coffee is a cool new cafe situated on a funky corner at St. Mary and Sophie Wright Place. The cafe is housed in a building that once was a seafood restaurant and the cool porthole windows still remain. HiVolt has a modern, sleek and clean design on the inside, making it highly inviting and not too focused on catering to one group of coffee snobs or another.

Anne was following a paleo diet at the time and the folks at HiVolt were happy to accommodate. They used almond milk in her Chai while I ordered a delicious cappuccino (with whole milk) brewed from Counter Culture Coffee. We sat down, sipped our beverages and waited patiently for our orders to arrive.

Anne got a Chimi Beef Salad, mixed greens and tomatoes topped with slow-roasted chuck, a perfectly poached egg and lots of chimichurri sauce. I chose their simple house salad with mixed greens, avocado, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and a tasty quinoa spinach cake served on the side. Everything was so fresh and scrumptious, we gobbled the salads gleefully and moved on to a couple of sweets.

Anne chose an interesting seed bar bound by raw honey and I tried a gluten-free, Mexican Chocolate donut, simply because I didn't believe it was possible. Although the donut was rather dry, the spicy chocolate flavor was all there and I had no trouble washing it down with my coffee. Anne's seed bar turned out to be fabulous, crunchy and sweet, yet far more filling than either of us imagined.

Hivolt Coffee on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oranges and oranges...

Growing up in a Persian household, it was a given that there would always be a large bowl of fruit on the kitchen table. Since that Persian house was located in California, the bowl would be filled with oranges more often than not. If you've never seen it, I have difficulty describing the Persian love affair with fruit. They will eat fruit (especially oranges) at all time of the day or night, before dinner, after dinner, after dessert, with tea, after breakfast...always.

Needless to say, I grew up appreciating all different kinds of fruit, and all kinds of California oranges. When I moved to New Orleans, I thought I would finally be exposed to Florida oranges, and I have tasted a few, but it seems that through shipping or grocery storage or level of ripeness when picked, the oranges (other than those delightful satsumas) have been rather tasteless. I can't tell you how many times I have picked up a bag of oranges, even California oranges, at the grocery store and brought them home only to have bland (even dry!) oranges, piece after piece.

Recently, I was approached by a representative of Heritage Reserve Navel Oranges. They had just began distributing to Rouses Supermarkets in Louisiana and they wanted a blogger to review their product, so they sent me a box. Heritage Reserve has been planting orchards in California's Central Valley since 1896 and their oranges are naturally ripened and colored, using no accelerated de-greening process.

We received the box of oranges about a week ago which contained four bags of oranges, about 5 per bag. Other than one bag I gifted to a friend, John and I have been eating these oranges non-stop since they arrived and they are, admittedly, delicious. Every single one I have tasted has been juicy, fragrant, tart and sweet all at the same time. I have never gone through an entire bag of oranges and had them ALL taste good in a very long time. Kudos to you, Heritage Reserve, for producing a consistently wonderful orange.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

House of the week: Cottage on Milan Street

One of the first things you come to realize when house hunting is that everyone's got their own sense of style. Interior design, I believe, either wholly reflects the person or people living in that space, or it reflects absolutely nothing at all ... like a furniture showroom at Pier 1 Imports. Perhaps it's because I worked with an interior designer or perhaps it's because I've been decorating my (yet to be acquired) house since I was 6 years old, but I'm endlessly fascinated by how people choose to decorate their world. 

Anyhow, while I was roaming through the listings, I happened upon this house near Claiborne and Napoleon. The neighborhood is nice and the beach cottage-style house sports a sweet little front and back porch, hardwood floors, French doors, granite counter tops and a neat back yard. The price is decent, listed at $145,000, and though it isn't as old as I would like (built in the 70's), it still has a lot of character. But, even though I am quite good at looking at the bare bones of a house, appreciating the architecture and imaging the space with my own style, it was pretty hard to get past this living room set. 

Is it just me or does it seem like Fifi Mahony's blew up in there?