It’s … it’s … an ice cream po-boy?

When it comes to ice cream sandwiches, nothing is finer (in this Bay Area girl’s most humble opinion) than an It’s It. These rather notorious cookie and ice cream sandwiches have been around since 1928 and, regrettably, I tend to judge all other similar confections by their standard.

Now admittedly, It’s-It has gone somewhat downhill since I was a kid. The ice cream isn’t as creamy and the cookies seemed to have shrunk, but I will never forget being a sweaty, hungry 10 year-old girl who was treated to pizza and It’s-Its after a continuous stream of disappointing soft ball games. (*Our coach was flaky and cut out on the team right before our big game, taking all of the candy money we earned with her, but that’s another story). Smooth, dense chocolate ice cream sandwiched by two, chewy oatmeal cookies and dipped in dark chocolate … I can almost taste it.

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Tuning out

I want to be her again. Blissfully unaware, biding my time, plotting my escape to a place that finally understood and accepted me, exactly as I was. This moment was only one year before I made the move. This moment was three years before the levees broke.

My heart is wrenched recalling this moment because it took too damn long to find my home. My heart is wrenched recalling this moment because it was pulled from my grasp after only two short years of euphoria.

My heart is wrenched because this place, while it still somewhat resembles the paradise I lost, is rapidly becoming the place I ran away from … and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Should I run again? Or should I stay and find whatever solace I can among the remnants? Where would I run to?

 

Breaking my fast at Biscuits & Buns on Banks

*Warning – Today I will be venturing into the realm of “too much information.” If you can’t hang with a bit of over sharing, I suggest you ramble on.

In a vain attempt to make a long story short, I suffer from recurrent UTI (a.k.a. urinary tract infection). Over the past several years, it’s gotten so bad that I have developed allergies to all of the typical antibiotics that “cure” UTI. That’s right, I break out into hives (or worse) when ingesting Cipro, Macrodantin, Bactrim (or any of the sulfa drugs), Doxycycline etc. I’ve tried many different remedies or forms of prevention, everything from non-sweetened cranberry juice and herbal extracts to D-Mannose, which, for those of you wondering, doesn’t work.
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Swooning at Shaya

While I realize that everyone and their brother’s mother are waxing poetic about Shaya, I just can’t help jumping on the bandwagon. After all, Alon Shaya was awarded the 2015 James Beard for Best Chef: South and he is the undeniably creative force behind one of Downtown New Orleans’ most popular restaurants Domenica. So I’m getting on the praise train, not only for the above reasons, but also because Shaya is next in line on my (pitifully delayed) blogging schedule and because the restaurant is, without a doubt, fabulous.  Continue reading

House of the week: Greek Revival on Philip St.

It seems I will continue to torment myself by searching through long listings of elegant New Orleans-style homes until either I win the lottery, write a best-selling novel or some philanthropic soul becomes empathetic to my misery and gifts me my dream house. What? It could happen!

During my latest tour of self-imposed dolor, I discovered this little beauty on Phillip Street. Naturally, all of the features you know I adore were present and accounted for including the ubiquitous hardwood floors and high ceilings, transoms, ceiling medallions, floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding pocket doors, exposed brick fireplaces and a freaking guest house out back past the courtyard.
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Craving CIBO

Although during hot, summer days like today I tend to hide in the air-conditioned comfort of my apartment, I can’t help but hanker for something to eat that unfortunately, does not reside in my fridge. Since well past the lunch hour, I’ve been craving a good deli sandwich and the closest option in my neck of the woods is the Carrollton neighborhood newcomer dubbed CIBO.

This quaint, Italian-style deli opened up not too long ago in a space that has seen a long train of fairly unsuccessful ventures. For a long time, this little house-turned-restaurant on Carrollton Avenue was the home of Maurice French Pastries, but after they moved out, nothing has really stuck, until now (I hope).

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Melting for Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar

Several months ago, my friend Lorin and I met for lunch at Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar. Located in Mid-City, Brown Butter opened up inside a strip mall early this year and seems to have made quite an impression in the six months following.

The restaurant was already jumping when we arrived, even though it was a bit late in the lunch hour. After saying hello to several people (including food writer Todd Price whom I finally met in person) we sat down and placed our order. Continue reading

House of the week: Historic home on Atlantic Ave.

If I had lots of extra cash and experience restoring homes, I would love to buy this house on Atlantic Avenue in Algiers and bring it back to its former glory. Not only is it on a lot twice as large as the properties that surround it, it has all the classic details that cause me to swoon.

Just check out that huge front porch, floor-to-ceiling windows, original hardwood floors, the unique architectural accents around the windows and doors, wainscoting, fireplace … I wish there were more pictures. The shot I have here was taken from the Google Maps Street View and offers a bit more than the pictures alone. Fortunately, someone has already put a bid on this house that’s listed for a mere $150,000. I sure hope they don’t ruin it.

Sticking to the pie at Pizza Domenica

Several months back, my singular dining companion Anne and I hit up Pizza Domenica for the first time. I’d been to Domenica quite a few times and I was curious if the Uptown pizza outpost held up the same commitment and quality as the CBD original, only because in my general experience, sequels tend to disappoint.

Anne and I arrived post-lunch rush so only about a quarter of the tables were filled. We ordered at the counter, as you’re supposed to, and sat down to await our bounty. We began with a few appetizers, the first being beef meatballs atop creamy polenta in an arrabbiata (garlic, tomatoes and chili peppers) sauce. As excited I was to sink my teeth in, the flavor of the meatball itself was somewhat bland, but I did enjoy the polenta and the spicy arrabbiata sauce.

The next two apps came together, a tuna crudo with avocado and Mandarin oranges and a shaved Brussels sprouts salad with toasted almonds, golden raisins and Creole mustard vinaigrette. The crudo was somewhat lackluster in presentation and the Mandarins, while an interesting addition, tended to make the whole dish too sweet for my taste. On the other hand, the salad was delicious and we scarfed it up, my only dismay happening in the second-to-last bite that oddly contained a piece of clear plastic. Strange, no?

Because the meal seemed a disappointment so far, especially when compared to the excellence at Domenica, I felt ready to give up before the main course. Before I could make up my mind to tell Anne I was pretty much done, our pizza arrived. Anne and I agreed on the Smoked Pork pie with mozzarella, red onion, Anaheim chiles and salsa verde. Thankfully, the pizza was absolutely divine and well-worth waiting for! The crust was thin and crisp and we had no difficulty gobbling the whole pie even after all the appetizers. All in all, I’m hoping I just went on a bad day, but the pizza was certainly worth a return trip.

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5 New Orleans Homes I’d Buy If I Were Filthy Rich

Wallowing in my poverty-stricken misery, I thought a listicle of homes I could never-ever attain would serve as appropriate torture for committing a few oh-so deadly sins; specifically lust, greed and envy. Though I cannot fathom how it would feel to be filthy, stinking rich, I sure know what I would do with all that excess…

1. Victorian on Esplanade Avenue

Over 4,000 square feet of magnificent hardwood floors, elaborate moulding, transoms, floor-to-ceiling windows, wrought-iron balconies, high ceilings and much more. This quaint beauty also comes with a guest cottage replete with a full kitchen and it’s right on the corner of Esplanade and Royal on the edge of the French Quarter and shaded by gorgeous oak trees. It’d be a drop in the bucket to a billionaire like me listed at $2,375,000.

2. Sidehall on Dauphine

Located in the Marigny Triangle, this 1890’s Victorian Sidehall is stunning with hardwood floors and heavy wooden mouldings, double parlor, built-in bookcases, wood-beamed ceiling, impeccable architectural details both inside and out, and, to top it all off, an in-ground swimming pool out back. Compared to the first house, this one is being sold for chump change at a mere $1,250,000
3. Greek Revival Mansion on Esplanade

This particular property really makes me drool with incredible architectural details like high, curved ceilings, sliding pocket doors, double parlor, wainscoting, bead board ceilings, wrought-iron balconies, transoms, floor-to-ceiling windows, claw foot tubs, and I believe there’s also a guest room next to the garage in back. This house is on the Esplanade Ridge just on the other side of I-10 which drops the price down a smidgen to a piddly $1,097,000.

4. Queen Anne on Josephine 

This one kind of blows my mind considering it’s questionable location in Central City, but what do I care? I’m loaded, right? I can hire 24-hour security if I’m that paranoid. Located approximately two blocks from St. Charles Avenue, this awesome house has a huge front porch, high ceilings, hardwood floors, a truly incredible wooden staircase, rich wood-paneled wainscoting and trim, tall windows and doorways with transoms, several fireplaces, French doors, bead board ceilings and a magnificent renovated attic. With almost 5,000 square feet of living space, this house is steal at $899,000.
5. Creole Townhouse on Burgundy
Saving one of the best for last, this three story, historical head-turner offers it all… plus a little lagniappe. The transoms are more elaborate and artistic, all of the rooms seem to be decked out with chandeliers and towering ceilings, French doors abound from room to room and letting out onto the balconies — this place is a freaking dream. Built in the early 1800s, this home offers all of the historic detail I crave while allowing elements that are modern, yet elegant. Located in the French Quarter, this divine diva would only set me back a paltry $2,950,000 and it would be worth every penny.
*Just in case you were wondering, the answer is yes. If I was a mega-billionaire, it’s likely I would buy ALL of these houses, not just one. Otherwise, what’s the point of being filthy rich?

**Please also note that these homes are all on the market right now. If had my choice of ANY house in New Orleans, this list would be quite different!