Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deference to the divine: First Emanuel Baptist Church

This church on Carondelet Street is so incredibly cool looking, I have been in awe of it ever since I moved here. I absolutely love the stepped columns leading up to the main tower. As I was standing there, attempting to take a photo with the least amount of electricity and telephone wires in the shot, an older gentleman came walking by and commented in passing. "That church has been there for as long as I can remember!" Although I thought it might be empty and no longer used, the stranger assured me the church still had services every Sunday.

I did some light research on the building and could find nothing discussing the architecture or age. If anyone knows anymore information, I'd love to hear about it! They do however, have a Facebook page and a website!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My first mission as Food Godmother: Café Adelaide

Since most of my family lives over 2000 miles away in California, I decided last year to begin my own Thanksgiving tradition. Instead of making a ton of food, a large portion of which would become leftovers that I wouldn't be able to eat because of my diet, I chose to dine out.

Last year, John and I enjoyed our Thanksgiving at Muriel's Jackson Square and had a fabulous dinner on top of a beautiful day spent in an unusually quiet French Quarter. This year, we invited another couple and their darling daughter to join us for dinner at Café Adelaide. This is my 62nd cheat and I am down 76 pounds, having lost one of the pounds I gained last week.

John and I appeared for our 4 p.m. reservations to find Dani, Saeed and Posie patiently awaiting our arrival in the lobby of the Loews New Orleans Hotel, which is where Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar are housed. We were escorted to our table in their comfortable dining room whose decor (intentionally) echoed the elegance of the 1950's.

Not long after we placed our order, we were pleasantly surprised by a delightful amuse-bouche, a Creole Tomato Bread Pudding with a tiny dollop of herbed butter. It was a tasty insight into the unique dishes created by Chef Chris Lusk, a kitchen magician who braves unusual flavor/texture combinations that I was anxious to experience.

Before long, our appetizers arrived accompanied by warm, fresh French bread. Though it might seem difficult, all five of us managed to share two very different dishes; Hudson Valley Foie Gras Grillades & Grits and Blue Crab Pound Cake. The "pound cake" turned out to be a dense, sweet cornbread draped in a Port-Salut cheese "icing" with truffled crab claws on top. It was delectable and rich with the flavor of crab. My only complaint would be the quantity...I wanted more!

Posie, our 11-month-old dining companion was delighted by the foie gras and considering my general dislike of liver, so was I! The meat simply melted in my mouth and meshed well with the creamy grits doused in a port wine sauce. That little girl is eating far better than I was at her age. Posie's mother Dani informed me that it was my responsibility to see that Posie learned how to eat well.  Mission accepted!

We wouldn't let our servers take the plates away till they were completely cleaned, much to their amusement. In the interim, John and I decided to order a couple of cocktails, both of which were created by one of Swizzle Stick's most talented bartenders, Shawn Phipps. What's Thanksgiving without a little libation after all? I chose a "Santeria" with Stoli Vanil Vodka, Nocello (walnut liqueur), Licor 43 (a Spanish citrus liqueur), allspice and a cinnamon-sugared rim. It smelled like Christmas and tasted even better. John's "Cary Grant" was definitely more of a man's drink featuring Knob Creek bourbon, vanilla, cognac and orange bitters.

We had just begun sipping when our entrées arrived, served all at once by three different servers. I love this kind of extra-special care when dining, to me it's one of many signs the restaurant really does have your best interests at heart and good service (along with fabulous cuisine) is a top priority.

Posie and her dad Saeed stayed traditional with a plate of Herb Roasted Ashley Farms Turkey served with shrimp & mirliton dressing, P&J oyster dressing, rye whiskey-Steen's syrup sweet potatoes and giblet gravy. Posie offered me a taste of her turkey and it was juicy and delicious, just like she said it was...well, not in so many words, but I knew what she meant.

Dani's Creole Cream Cheese Gnudis were fluffy and cheesy with wild mushrooms and a light, grilled tomato consommé, a delightful dish even though I had expected her to order something a bit heavier. John's Pecan Smoked Redfish-Soybean Cassoulet was "off the hook" with a house-made andouille encased shrimp that he was reluctant to share, but strangely enough, I thought the white beans stole the show.

Although I was intending to get off my duck "kick", I simply couldn't resist the Muscovy Duck & Pumpkin Waffles. Thick slices of moist duck breast rested atop two savory pumpkin waffles and a sunny-side up egg sat quivering on top until I broke it with my fork and let the heady yolk cover everything. It was a fantastic dish in both flavor and creativity and I couldn't help but inhale it...most vigorously.

We finished off our meal with two lovely desserts, a "Hot Chocolate" Pound Cake and Praline Pot de Creme. Both were wonderful, but for the first time ever I preferred the thick, creamy custard over the dense, rich chocolate. Hey, it had to happen sooner or later! Posie just happened to agreed wholeheartedly...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No malware here!

Unfortunately, because I had links to NewOrleans.com on my website, Google now lists this site as possibly being infected by Malware.  Just so everyone is clear, I have removed these links from my site and there is no danger of your computer being infected by my website. It's all good!

So...there are no viruses here, no spyware, nothing that can hurt your computer. You may be subject to terrible writing and intense hunger pains, but if you've visited sucktheheads before, it will come as no surprise. Also, I love the representation of a computer virus in this picture below, so I decided to include it in this blog. He's kinda cute, huh?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marvelous marinades: GoodFood's Chile Lime Marinade

Because I am trying to eat more healthfully and cut out extraneous fats, it is always a challenge trying to come up with new and interesting flavors for the same old chicken breasts. Not too long ago, I was on one of my very rare shopping adventures at Whole Foods on Magazine when I discovered GoodFood marinades. I chose the Chile Lime Marinade at random and added it to the my cart.

Half-used because I couldn't wait!

I never would have guessed in a million years that one impulse purchase would be so damned good! If you've never tried this particular brand, know that it has the "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval and is only one gram of fat per serving...only one!

The resulting chicken dish I created with the marinade made me feel like I was cheating it tasted so good. Robust flavors like onions, roasted garlic, lime and (of course) chiles burst into your mouth. Now, I make this chicken almost every week.

Just in case you were wondering, you can get it now at Rouses, too!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Capdeville: A street by any other name...

Hidden in the shadow of the monumental John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals building (a really cool blog in itself) lies one of New Orleans' many elusive alleyways, Capdeville Street. Working within mere blocks of this street for two years didn't manage to bring it to my attention and it wasn't until the restaurant, Capdeville opened there, that I even knew it existed.

Not feeling very deserved of my 61st cheat (I gained two pounds), I moped about quite a bit, seeking something that wouldn't be too expensive. Capdeville, a self-claimed "American interpretation of a British social house" piqued my interest and stayed within my budget.

Arriving at the end of the lunch rush, John and I were seated very quickly and offered drinks and menus. Sucking our sodas from large, Guinness pint glasses, we made our selections while admiring the black & white photography adorning the walls, a glowing jukebox pumping out Black Sabbath and a chalk-scrawled quote on the wall by John Bonham, "Nowadays, you can't be loud enough."

Stomachs grumbling, we watched other diners receive their large white plates with envy until one of our own came out, a huge order of thin cut fries covered in crumbled Chorizo and shredded Manchengo cheese. The sausage was spicy and the fries were still hot and crisp, but I would have loved some more cheese. Manchego is so creamy and delicious, too much is never enough!

Just as we finished fork-fighting over the remaining French fries, our entrees arrived. John had a delicious Black & Bleu Burger with thick-cut bacon, creamy bleu cheese and Worcestershire mayonnaise. Cooked perfectly to order, the burger was so juicy and flavorful, John was reluctant to share.

I had selected the Duck Confit Club featuring duck cracklings dressed with a roasted garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato on toasted white bread. The condiments saved this sandwich that would have otherwise been too dry.

As usual, I couldn't leave without dessert and opted for their "Cobbler du Jour" which turned out to be apple. More specifically, a Honeycrisp Apple tart with brown-butter crumble. God forbid I ever turn my nose up at extra fat, but the piping hot tart tasted too buttery and the sweet flavor of the apple was almost completely lost. Maybe I'm more prone to the flavor of a sour Granny Smith for baking.

I'm glad to know Capdeville Street exists, thanks to the eponymous restaurant. I'll be keeping my eye out for other hidden delights down mysterious alleyways in New Orleans from now on.

*I can't read that last sentence without giggling...does that make me immature?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Silly sculpture in Lafayette Square

John and I were strolling through Lafayette Square today and noticed that scattered among the other historical, more formal pieces in the park, lingered sculpture that didn't seem to belong.

For example, did this artist watch the movie Donnie Darko too many times or what?

I mean with the "bunny" and these "flowers" below, I know exactly where I'm hanging out the next time someone slips me some magic mushroom tea...

But I'll probably avoid the "eye benches."

That would be like asking for a bad trip...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tapas-style New Orleans cuisine...in Portland?

When my good friend Miriam began noticing my food blogs, she sent me an email titled "You probably won't like this but..."

I guess Miriam believed I wouldn't appreciate the existence of a Cajun/Creole tapas restaurant living smack in the middle of Portland, Oregon. Yep, Tapalaya is the name of this fairly new eatery that features small plates of everything we like to eat big; jambalaya, red beans & rice, BBQ shrimp, fried catfish, po-boys and even mac & cheese.

Owner Seth Matasar, the mind behind this madness, had moved from Chicago to New Orleans to attend Tulane University when he was 17-years-old. He lived, loved and worked here for over ten years, most notable was his five-year stint at Commander's Palace. Although he left New Orleans, he still carried his love for the city in his heart and stomach.

Tapalaya has now been open for two years and is still going strong. If you are ever in the Portland area, check it out and let me know how it is! I can have nothing but love for folks trying to spread the fabulous cuisine of our area to other parts of the world.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Food coma induced by Po-Boy Festival on Oak Street

If you weren't at the New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival yesterday, you were sorely missed because it sure seemed like the rest of the city was there! From the start at 11 a.m. to the finish at 7:30 p.m., folks were lined up at every available food booth on the entire length of Oak Street, that is when they weren't dancing or devouring their latest purchase.

I had already decided to gorge myself silly at the Po-Boy Festival this week to celebrate my 60th cheat. I am now down 77 pounds.

My friends and I began our day dancing to Clockwork Elvis while we scoped out the booths nearby, considering our choices carefully. John, not willing to wait, bought his first...a Spanish Style Pork Loin and Gouda po-boy from Barcelona Tapas Cafe which proved to be as delicious as it sounds. I'm still surprised I managed to get a bite in before John hastily scarfed the rest.

After that one taste, the race had begun. I quickly got a Sloppy Roast Beef Po-Boy from Gattuso's and after one bite, immediately knew why they had won last year's competition. The gravy was thick, savory and practically the only thing holding the tender meat together. It seems there's a contender for my favorite roast beef spot now.

I stood in line for a Hot Sausage po-boy from Vaucresson as I inhaled the Sloppy Roast Beef, ordering just as I threw away the wrappings. Rarely disappointed by their sausage, I took a large bite and relished the popping sensation as my teeth broke the casing. Spicy, greasy and wonderful, the sausage was only lacking a bit of heat as it wasn't nearly as hot as I had hoped.

We shambled along a bit slower, enjoying our food until we came to more booths.  Dante's Kitchen was serving a Confit pork Cuban po-boy with black pepper bourbon mustard that sounded awesome, but the line stretched back an entire block! I heard that they sold out before the fest ended because everyone knows how awesome the cuisine at Dante's can be. It was one experience I unfortunately missed...oh well, maybe next year.

As we inched our way further down Oak Street, we discovered a bottleneck of festival-goers smashed up next to Blue Frog Chocolates who were serving, among other heavenly items, a bag full of Chocolate Dipped Zapp's Cajun Crawtator potato chips. I stood in line yet again, determined not to miss out on this decadent treat.

While doling out some of the Chocolate-dipped chips to my friends, I noticed Frenchy's original painting for the Po-Boy Fest poster displayed in front of his gallery. Like all of his work, it was a riot of movement and color, effectively capturing the eager crowds eating their way down Oak Street. There was a box full of festival posters for sale and although I desperately wanted one, $60 was just a little too rich for my blood and I had to force myself to move on.

Although the flavor of spicy chocolate still lingered on my tongue, but I couldn't resist buying a Double Chocolate Whiskey Caramel Brownie from a stand that was also selling Bacon-Fried Hot Dogs. I ate the brownie later that evening and it was easily one of the best I'd enjoyed in a long time. Who were those vendors? I may never know...

John and I were pretty full by this time, but when we saw Ninja serving sashimi po-boys, I simply couldn't resist. Anne and I jumped into a line that seemed endless, but moved astonishingly fast and before we knew it, Anne was cradling a Deep Fried Soft-Shell Crab po-boy while I had already taken a bite of my Salmon Sashimi po-boy featuring sliced cucumber and wasabi mayonnaise. Both were fantastic!

Completely sated and a bit drowsy, we wandered back to my apartment in a zombie-like daze after eating and waiting in line non-stop for more than half a day. My friends eventually went home and John left for work. When the house was quiet (aside from the muffled noises from the fest still going on outside) I collapsed on my bed and finally succumbing to a richly deserved food coma, passed out for several hours.

Only 364 more days till next year's fest!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crescent City Samaritan

Politeness and hospitality are common characteristics I've encountered since my life in the South began, but it seems I find very few Samaritans who go out of their way to help the average Joe (or Josephine) on the street. The story I heard yesterday from one of my close friends completely changed all that and I simply had to share.

A couple of weeks ago, Dani and her 11-month-old daughter Posie were sitting at a bus stop on Magazine Street waiting to return home, which is located off Jackson Avenue. They had just left their regularly scheduled Tuesday play date on Calhoun Street and looking forward to making a stop at Pinkberry for their weekly treat of frozen yogurt when an older Asian woman pulls up to the curb and offers them a ride.

A bit shocked, Dani told the nice woman that she was planning on stopping a couple of times and that she really didn't mind taking the bus. Not to be deterred, the woman persisted in her offer.

Not only did the extremely kind woman insist on giving them a lift, she actually stopped at Pinkberry, waited for her to purchase some frozen yogurt and then took them the rest of the way home!

Now this might seem a minor event to some, but this story brought tears to my eyes. Who does this kind of thing anymore? We all know how difficult it is to trust strangers in this day and age, but this woman didn't even hesitate to hold out her hand. Could things be looking up?

Now just because I haven't heard stories like these in a long time, doesn't mean they haven't happened. Have you met a good Samaritan or have you been a good Samaritan? I'd love to hear about it...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's not a house this time!

I've posted a few images of abandoned homes and I thought I might change it up a bit. So here's something a little different:

Yep...it's a blighted car!

Okay, so that's not so different. But don't you just love the way the vines are growing around the tires? On the rear window there's a finger-drawn note in the dirt offering to tow the vehicle for free. I wonder why the owner hasn't taken them up on the offer...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting stuffed at McGuire's

When you deny yourself fatty goodness for an entire week, it's easy to slip into fantasies involving butter, mayonnaise, cheese, bacon, creamy salad dressing and more. Did I forget to mention butter? Anyhow, all of those wonderfully tasty items begin to haunt your waking hours until you finally get the opportunity, like a fabulous cheat meal, to let your hair down and pig out.

That's exactly how I felt when I visited McGuire's only a few days ago. It was my 59th cheat and I am down 76 pounds.

Anne, John and I arrived late in the lunch hour (and hungry) to the Warehouse District sports bar on the corner of Magazine and St. Joseph Streets. Thankfully, McGuire's has their own parking lot and we pulled into an available space with no fuss and at no cost to us.

The cool fall temperatures and bright sunshine enticed us outside to lounge at a picnic table set in the tavern's back patio. Like any good bar menu, all of the greasy food groups were present and accounted for and it wasn't long before we placed our order and tried to talk joyfully over our rumbling stomachs.

Soon after, our appetizer arrived and even though we were all starving, we had to take a moment to consider what we had picked. For fun (and out of sheer curiosity), we had elected to try the Boudin Egg Rolls which were served with a sweet plum sauce. Initially, I liked the crispy wraps filled with "Cajun" boudin sausage, but when I dipped it into the sauce, it just didn't work for me. Anne created a solution by adding some Crystal to the plum sauce and that extra kick went a long way to make the strange dish come together.

I was more excited for my main dish which was a mixed seafood platter with fried shrimp and catfish. Requesting a hefty helping of tartar sauce on the side, my cravings were finally sated as I dug into the crispy fried seafood featuring a tasty cornmeal batter and a nice-sized helping of French fries.

The platter at McGuire's comes with your choice of jambalaya, potato salad or red beans & rice. I had opted for the jambalaya, but I will never do so again. To me, jambalaya should be so sticky and moist that you can shape it into a mold and it should also be rich and heady with spices. McGuire's version tasted like the rice had been cooked in some kind of crab boil till it was light and fluffy...and the minimal amount of sausage seemed like an after-thought.

Anne and John ordered McGuire's "Big Cajun" and "Big Bayou" burgers which were a 1/2 pound of ground beef stuffed with cheddar and jack cheese, battered and deep fried. The "Big Cajun" was also stuffed with hot sausage and topped with their Cajun sauce, whereas the "Big Bayou" included bacon and was topped with BBQ sauce.  Both burgers were served on a toasted Kaiser roll with a large helping of curly fries on the side. Neither Anne nor John were able to finish more than half of their mammoth burgers, but they both enjoyed them immensely.

Anne (a woman after my own heart) was still in the mood for some dessert and since McGuire's didn't offer anything made in house, we decided to hop in the car and cruise up St. Charles Avenue for some tasty cupcakes at Pralines by Jean.  We took our selections back to my apartment to enjoy with some coffee I had purchased from Cafe Du Monde. With a hot cuppa joe in hand, we sampled each other's cupcakes: Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Vanilla & Chocolate and Pralines & Creole Cream Cheese.  All were delicious and moist, a sugary sweet ending to a supremely greasy cheat.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Orleans wedding

A couple of days ago, I had the honor of being invited to my first ever wedding since moving here more than seven years ago. The young couple had been planning and saving for this occasion and after two years, the fateful evening had finally arrived.

Now, what struck me most about this wedding and what I want to share with you is how "New Orleans-like" this special event actually was.

For starters, the ceremony and reception took place in the heart of City Park's Botanical Gardens. It was a gorgeous setting (albeit cold evening) and the happy couple exchanged vows underneath grand oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

After the vows were made and their first kiss as husband and wife had been witnessed by one and all, the guests filed into the many-windowed pavilion and the party began.

Not only were there liberal amounts of alcohol being poured with the notorious heavy-hands of New Orleans' bartenders, there was a ton of local cuisine laid out on several tables around the hall and passed around by servers bearing large silver trays.

There were boiled shrimp, deep fried shrimp, deep fried bacon-wrapped oysters, bite-sized hunks of fried catfish, mini-crab cakes and more! At no other wedding I have ever attended (and believe me, there have been quite a few) were there so many delicious fried goodies to be had. I was stuffed before I could even visit one of the food-laden tables!

A local cover band playing a string of well-known 80's tunes kept the revelers entertained and even started a second-line led by the new couple that encircled the hall several times before petering out. And, to my great surprise, the band led the crowd in a "Who Dat" chant with plays from the 2010 Superbowl appearing large as life on huge video screens behind the drummer. The people went wild, jumping up and down and yelling praises to our beloved Saints whose great accomplishment will never be forgotten. Only in New Orleans would this kind of behavior seem normal, even at a wedding reception.

As John and I were walking out of the hall at the end of the night, I noticed a huge table filled with Hubig's Pies that had been personally stamped to celebrate the union of the newlyweds. How much more New Orleans can you get? It's an experience I will never forget.

Congratulations Jimmy & Lauren and may you live happily ever after!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To all the po-boys I've loved before...

Seeing as the Po-Boy Preservation Festival is almost upon us, I thought now would be a good time to remember all of the po-boys I've enjoyed since beginning my weekly cheats. Below I have prepared a sort of "photo-journey" capturing the po-boys from my past.

By the way, you will definitely see me at the festival Sunday, November 14th on Oak Street, one of the coolest festivals in my 'hood!


This first picture from July 20, 2009 is of an Ultimate Roast Beef Po-Boy from Joe Sepies on Jefferson Highway.

This was obviously before I acquired my bad-ass camera, but know that this is one of my absolute favorites.  If you have not enjoyed one of these babies yet, you are severely missing out.

This next bastion of deliciousness is a foot long Oyster Po-Boy with Havarti Cheese and Bacon from Ye Olde College Inn on Carrollton Avenue. I wrote this review in October of last year.

I believe it took me two days to finish this excellent sandwich...talk about an extended cheat.

Although this next one was awfully expensive, it was nonetheless delicious! Sink your teeth into this Fried Shrimp Po-Boy from The Famous Gumbo Pot.

Obviously, I had my awesome camera by this point.

Among the many fine dishes we had at Boucherie, I will never forget this mouth-watering 12-Hour Roast Beef Po-Boy dressed with Horseradish cream and pickled red onions.

Gosh, this picture still makes me drool.

Here's a shot of the two tasty po-boys John and I enjoyed from Frankie & Johnny's...let 'em have it!

Fried shrimp and catfish side by side...oh what a wonderful sight!

Last, but most certainly not least, is this fabulous, 11 inch Fried Catfish Po-Boy (for only $8!) at Hobnobber Cafe.

By no means are these all of the po-boys I've ever enjoyed, but they certainly are some of the best! I can't wait to try out some more at the festival next weekend...hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Deference to the divine: Zion Lutheran Church

If there is one thing I'm not, it's religious. My dad is a non-practicing Muslim and I'm pretty sure my mom is Christian, but neither of them every took us to church or even mosque, as the case may be.  I never went to church on Sundays, I've never been baptized and I've never sung a hymn. Once when I was very small, I attended some kind of church group with my grandmother in Utah.  All I can remember is watching as they passed around wafers and wine that I couldn't have. I didn't understand why at the time...

Although religion continues to astound and confuse me, I have found that there are some aspects that have developed from all faiths that I can appreciate; their art, music and architecture.

Architecture in New Orleans is already historically unique and generally gorgeous, but I've never taken the time to notice all of the beautiful churches in town (there are a lot) and I think it's about time that changed.

This is the Zion Lutheran Church located at 1924 St. Charles Avenue. Admittedly, it's not one often seen in pictures or known by those outside New Orleans, but I still think it's beautiful.

I love this church because it reminds me of what you might find in a small town, where it's the largest structure for miles and miles around. I searched for a history of the building and discovered that it's been in its present location since 1871!  With simple, yet lovely stain glass windows and marvelous architectural detailing both inside and out, this divine beauty deserves our attention. Can I get a Hallelujah?

Monday, November 1, 2010

A late-night tradition: The Trolley Stop

In the wee hours of the morning one Saturday long ago, my friend Casey and I had been partying all night and in desperate need of some vittles. Not really knowing yet what might be available at 2:30 am in New Orleans, I put my growling stomach in Casey's capable hands and she took me to the Trolley Stop.

I will never forget how nervous I was walking into the streetcar-like cafe on St. Charles Avenue that night. Casey still giggles at my reaction to this day. You see, living in California, I had become used to being the minority on many different occasions in both the Asian and Latino communities. Now, I knew darn well that the population of New Orleans was more than 60% African American, but I had yet to fully realize it.

That night when we stepped into the ultra-busy Trolley Stop, it slowly dawned on me that Casey and I were the only white people there. I whispered anxiously to Casey, "Are you sure we're allowed to be here?" and she only laughed.

As it turns out, we had an awesome server, a delicious late-night or early morning meal (however you want to look at it) and began a tradition.  From that point forward, the Trolley Stop was frequently my eatery of choice after a hard night of drinking.

A few days ago, Casey and I visited the Trolley Stop again for my 58th cheat. I am down 75 pounds.

Before the flooding in 2005, the Trolley Stop used to be open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, but now they are only open 24 hours for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Since we arrived around lunch time, it didn't matter in the slightest, but I was a little sad to note that had changed.

Although I was tempted to order my usual breakfast item (the French Special), I thought it would be fun to "relive" my very first order at the Trolley Stop, a Banana Split Belgian Waffle, while Casey opted for Pigs in a Blanket. Keep in mind, in no way are you are limited to breakfast items at this cafe. The menu is overwhelming, listing almost anything you would think to find in any diner across the country, plus a nice selection of New Orleans-centric items like po-boys and gumbo.

It wasn't long after I received a steaming hot mug of coffee that my dish arrived. Piled high with sliced bananas, strawberries, pineapple filling and a hidden cache of Bavarian custard, the waffle was as indulgent and delicious as I remembered.

Casey's Pigs in a Blanket featured three links of sausage rolled in three pancakes fresh off the griddle and sprinkled with powdered sugar. With a generous dousing of syrup, Casey's simple breakfast suited her tastes (and mine) just fine.

What's even finer is that after spending a ton of cash on drinking all night, don't expect to break the bank at the Trolley Stop. Our breakfast was only $15 combined and neither of us could clean our plates.