Sunday, May 24, 2009

Emeril's: New Orleans

Michael, Madelyn and me in front of Emeril's

Judy, Madelyn and Me

The Banana Cream Pie was Amazing!

Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie with Banana Crust, Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Shavings

Madelyn and Ninny

Grilled Ribeye of Beef with Romano Potatoes, Local Vine Ripe Tomato-Arugula Salad, Aged Gorgonzola, Lardons and Aged Balsamico

Saffron-Chili Dusted Jumbo Gulf Shrimp with Brown Butter-Sweet Potato Grits, Skillet Beans, Benton’s Bacon, Smoked Corn and Mango Chow Chow

Andouille Crusted Texas Redfish with Grilled Vegetables, Shoestring Potatoes, Glazed Pecans and Creole Meunière Sauce

Madelyn fell asleep on the ferry back to the hotel, poor thing was stuffed and exahusted that she missed the boat ride.

Our first night in New Orleans we indulged ourselves at Emeril's New Orleans, and much to our delight it was DELICIOUS and delivered more than expected. All day long I had been telling Madelyn that we were going to go to a fancy restaurant and that she was going to wear her pretty party dress and she had to big girl tonight. In preparation for our visit to Emeril's, Maddie and I watched a few Emril episodes on the Food Network, and she quickly mastered the "BAM!" So when we got to the restaurant we had reservations for three and a high chair, the maitre'd seated us and proceed to unfold our napkins and place them in our laps. I had just situated Madelyn while the Maitre'd waited and then he also lays her napkin in her lap and pushes her highchair in. Madelyn, replied with "Thank you, I would like a Dr. Pepper and steak please, BAM!" The guy couldn't help but laugh and complimented her for being such a polite big girl. Maddie was ready for dinner . She will usually eat bits here and there, but that night was hungry, and you could not blame her after seeing the food.
For an appetizer, Madelyn and I ordered Crater Lake Blue – Rogue Creamery, Oregon(Served with Fresh Honeycomb). I was thinking, oh, she would love the sweet honey bits, I can have the blue cheese. I know that my kid has some odd food fetishes, but she ate almost the entire chunk of blue cheese and really was not interested in the honeycomb, so figure. Emeril' s is obviously known for its fresh sea food with a marvelous New Orleans flair, but they do not have a kid's menu or portion size. And since my daughter insisted that she have a steak, we shared an entree, Ribeye steak with Crawfish gravy and Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, with a side of sweet potato grits. It tasted as good as it sounds! My kid who hardly eats a few bites per meal, decide that night she would eat everything insight and managed to eat almost a 1/3 of the Ribeye, and as you can tell from the picture above it was huge. I tasted Michael's and Judy's but I really enjoyed what was left of my dinner.
Since this for us a once in a life time opportunity, why not try Emeril's signature dessert: Banana Cream Pie. It was so rich and decadent that it took a knife to cute through the banana chunks and then just melted in your mouth, simply delicious! Madelyn summed up the evening with "BAM", as she took the last bite of dessert. It was a wonderful meal and evening!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oak Alley Plantation Tour

Oak Alley Plantation

Front of the home

Side View of the Mansion

English gardens then lead out to the Kitchen, but today the garage is filled with antique cars.

My lounging gargen beauty

Back porch view

View from the second floor porch

Just one of the 28 double row Oak Trees that line the path of the home.

My little monkey climbing over the tree roots.

Pretty flowers found throughout the grounds

My little Southern Belle

River side or back yard view

River Side View

Our first afternoon in Louisiana took across Lake Pontchartrain and back through New Orleans, half way to Baton Rouge to Oak Ally Plantation in Vacherie, LA. This was a historically beautiful home and plantation. We went in March and already it was a heavy and humid day, I don't even want to imagine what life must have been like without modern conveniences like air conditioning. But I learned a lot from the home tour tour we took about the architecture of the home and other details that were add to help cool this Southern Bell home. And it was were Interview with a Vampire and the Color Purple was filmed. Madelyn actually did very well on the tour, mainly because all the tour guides wore costume wardrobes and she was very impressed with her "big dress, just like Cinderella". The house had many interesting features, such as rolling in bed, giant treble cleft fans and breathtaking wrap around porches that overlooked the now levied Mississippi River. The best part of the tour was the Mint Juleps served at the end. That was the most refreshing drink for a super humid day! We spent a good portion of our time just wondering the plantation and checking out other interesting sites, including the working potion of the sugar plantation.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Swamp Boat Tour

On the Two Hour Swamp Tour.......

A row of Full Timers boat houses

Ohhh its so cute, tiny and MOBILE!

Look at how tiny that little creature is Michael's hand

Madelyn petting the baby turtle.

Oh, I wanna touch!

Loving the view

Madelyn checking out the Crawdads

"Big Mama" responded to the "Death Splash"

The Death Splash- Jack is imitating the death splash of a fish or injuried animal.

This how spent the majority of the two hours- curious Madelyn

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Blue Heron

A Purple "something" on the marsh fishing for its lunch, but according Capt. these birds are a rare sight and hardly ever photographed.

Magnificent Yellow eared slider turtle

Whats left of a swamp house--with the search X on the door.

A young male alligator found in a residential canal

Water moccasins mating--look for both heads.

Snake up in the tree.

One of the many trees blown down from the flood waters of Katrina. Look at how the water has smoothed away the bark.

The swamp is known for the roots that grow up out of the water

"Full Timers" house boats

Look at all those teeth!

A female alligator about to eat her marshmallow.

one of the many Yellow Eared Slider turtles we saw.

Sun bathing beauty on the log.

The water line from the winter floods.

For Spring Break this year we took a trip to New Orleans and did a whirl wind tour of the
Big Easy and the surrounding area. Our first adventure was to Honey Island with Captain Jack on a two hour swamp boat tour. It was an amazing ride and full of wildlife and interesting sights. Madelyn absolutely loved the boat ride and kept asking Capt. Jack to go faster, a real speed demon. We saw LOTS of snakes --its breeding time, turtles, owls, many different species of birds and the best part we got to feed some alligators! We feed them marshmallows and hot dogs. I would have never thought they would have like marshmallows, but I guess everyone including alligators has a sweet tooth- or this case multiple sweet teethes. We were so close to all the wildlife and Madelyn had a hoot and wanted to pet the "cute alligators", well just about everything Cpt. Jack pointed out except the Crawdads. She was leaning over the boat to pet the alligators (don't worry she didn't get a finger over the railing, I am sure she looked like a good afternoon snack to the "cute alligators") but when Cpt. Jack caught a Crawdad and held it out for her to touch, Madelyn wanted nothing to with the "crab" and scampered up daddy's leg. But then when Capt. Jack caught the littlest turtle, she had a blast holding it and letting it crawl on her hand--then mom Purelled the heck out of hands.

While Michael was fascinated in taking pictures of the sunning snakes, I think we got a little too close to some of the mating snakes--way to close. But we got an experience of a life time seeing God creatures in their natural habitat. Some people love the swamp so much they live their full time. I was amazed to see "full timers" houseboats along the bayou. There were actually several kids who take a school bus boat everyday to a land bus, back and forth each day. Kudos to them, but I do not think this is the life for me. Even though its been nearly five years since Hurricane Katrina hit the area, I was amazed at how much damage was done to the natural environment and how much devastation still remains untouched along the river and bayou. There were several structures abandoned with the tale-tale X from the search and rescue operations after Katrina. Its hard to fathom how much damage was done here. While we saw some amazing sights, the tour how reminded me of how lucky we were that we were spared from the devastation that is evident every where we looked.

The swamp tour was an amazing experience for Madelyn as she still continues to talk about the swamp and the many animals she saw during her visit---Nothing beats a hands on field trip like a swamp boat tour.