Sometimes, I Eat Cake For Lunch

…and other advice you probably never asked for

Tag: travel

New Orleans Highlights and Tidbits

*Café Du Monde: I kept thinking to myself what a great business model – there’s hardly anything on the menu (mostly just coffee and beignets) so everything is really fast. Even when the line was long we got to a table pretty quickly, and it was always efficient because the waiter took our order, told us the total, and then collected the money when he brought us our food.

*Cane & Table: This was the bar that I had decided I needed to go to after I saw it in Southwest Spirit magazine. It took us a while to find because there was no sign outside, and it was a classy escape from the touristy bars on the same street across from the French Market. For only 5 extra bucks, I got my mojito IN A PINEAPPLE. Money well spent. Also, the fried ribs with papaya chutney appetizer? I will never forget those.

Image

*NOLA Restaurant: This was #1 on Michelle’s To-Do list (plus it was the only of Emeril’s restaurants we could actually get a reservation to). Obviously, it was amazing (mmmm, Salmon). And it helped that EB’s incredibly generous boss told us to have fun and put $500 on the company credit card, plus taxis if necessary. Appetizers, entrees, desserts, Champagne, wine, multiple cocktails and $400 + tip later, we were very happy campers. Plus they had amazing service – I had never been to a restaurant before where the waiter gives you different colored napkins based on whether you are wearing light or dark clothing. We also really liked the waiters and manager, who were very funny and personable. Also, this meal actually moved at a normal speed – we found that every other sit-down restaurant we ate at took ages to bring our food and drinks.

Image

Image

*Verti Marte Deli and Convenience Store: Marisa and Michelle and I came here for lunch because its very positive yelp reviews. We were looking for sandwiches and didn’t realize that Verti Marte was actually just a counter located in the tiniest convenience store ever. The 20ish minutes we spent waiting for our sandwich were pretty awkward because there was literally nowhere to stand that wasn’t in one of the employee’s ways, but our $12 fried shrimp and oyster sandwich was definitely worth it.

Image

*The Carousel Bar: #2 on Michelle’s To Do List. This is a bar in one of the more upscale hotels in which patrons sit around a (verrrrrrry sloooowly) moving Carousel, while the bartenders make drinks in the middle. We finally found four seats around the Carousel and stayed FOREVER  because it was so much fun.Image

*Pat O’Brien’s: This is a famous restaurant for Hurricanes. This was a nice part of our trip because we just sat outside and caught up for two hours while day-drinking.

Image

*The Garden District: Marisa and I came here for about an hour on Sunday because our waitress at Cane and Table had told us about some good vintage shopping in this area. As Marisa and I passed the Garden District houses via our cab, the ideas that we already had in our heads about relocating here turned into definite YESSES. I liked the French Quarter already, but this cemented in my mind how much I wanted to move here. Also, two amazing vintage necklaces, a vintage skirt and $70 dollars later, I was very impressed with their vintage offerings – I also enjoyed the spontaneous conversation I had in a coffee shop with a woman who couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved my vintage blue purse, and I loved that we didn’t even know each other and she whipped out her shopping back to show me the vintage purse she had purchased down the street just then.

*Our ghost tour: I really like going on nighttime ghost tours when arriving in a city so that I get a lay of the land (we did one in London and Stephen and I did one on our first night in Victoria). I don’t believe in ghosts but they are fun to go along with, and the history is usually interesting. The notable part of this particular tour was that everywhere our guide took us, there were always 1 or 2 other ghost tour groups within eyesight (often, telling very different versions of the stories our guide was telling us). I learned a lot of New Orleans history and next time I definitely plan on taking more walking tours.

*The Many New Orleans Wedding Processions we saw during our trip: This was honestly probably the highlight of this trip for me. If you’ve never seen a New Orleans wedding procession, the have something called a “Second Line”, in which the bride and groom, accompanied by a jazz band complete with a tuba, lead their guests out of the church to the venue for the reception, while singing and dancing and waiving white handkerchiefs in the air. I got really excited by all of these because they were just so ridiculous, and also because it was something that the other tourists were obviously excited by as well – we walked by St. Louis Cathedral when it was obvious that a wedding party was exiting, and there were many, many people who were not guests waiting eagerly with cameras. I think it’s such a cool part of New Orleans culture that is both interesting and is something free for visitors! We may have crashed one of these processions.

This video is from Youtube, not something I took, but you get the idea!

*Cooking Demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking: This is not something I would ever have considered doing had EB not suggested it, but I’m so glad we did. It was a 2-hour demonstration with about 50-60 people in the room, in which our very funny chef doled out historical information while preparing Gumbo, Jambalaya, Pina Colada Bread Pudding and the famous New Orleans Pralines, all of which we got to try of course. Some of what he cooked for us was better than what we ate in the restaurants too, plus they served beer. They gave us the recipes (all of which serve 15-20), so I’ll have to try some when I get home. Also, we were sharing a table with 3 ladies who were guests at a wedding procession we crashed the day before.

 

I had the best time. I haven’t felt this way about wanting to live somewhere for a long time. And then move back every summer, obviously.

Good Day

Well, today definitely came together. Also, it was a weird situation where the kids were apparently Not Good in multiple other classes but were (almost) angels in mine. Weeeeeeird.

I’m flying to New Orleans tomorrow morning! For my friendaversary with the girls. It will be a short trip, focused mostly on food. Stephen took me to Hot & Juicy Crawfish tonight to kick off my trip 🙂 

Disneyland!

Stephen took me to Disneyland and California Adventure on Wednesday for my birthday, and we had the best time. The weather was perfect, the crowds were low, and it took us less than an hour to get there, even with the traffic from Hollywood on the 101. He had never been to California Adventure, plus there was a whole bunch of new stuff there that I had never done. And the crowds were light enough so that we really got to do everything we wanted at both parks in one day.

IMG_1139Our first stop was Soaring over California, wheeee! Right before that, we had taken everyone’s advice (the internet’s, Ryan’s, and the lady at the information desk at the park), and headed over to pick up our Fast Passes for a new ride in Cars Land right away. Cars Land opened a year and a half ago, but it’s still so popular that when we went to pick up our Fast Passes, each Fast Pass machine had an individual castmember helping out, to speed along the process. Usually when you get  Fast Pass for a ride, it will tell you to come back about an hour later (for a shorter line). We picked up our Fast Passes for Radiator Springs Racers at 10:13AM, and we were told to come back at 5:55PM! The next time we walked by the Fast Pass machines an hour later, they were all sold out.

IMG_1141

We had a lot of time before we needed to be back at Cars Land, so our first stop (after a peek inside the Grand Californian’s lobby), was the Grizzly River Rapids, which had a 5 minute wait time. You can’t really tell in this picture, but Stephen is soaked. Also, please note the size of this giant bear. 1) He looks pretty friendly, I wish all bears looked so friendly, and 2) Wouldn’t bears be less terrifying if they were all required to wear life vests and rafting headgear wherever they went??)

IMG_1142We eventually headed over to Disneyland, were we also had a lot of fun and rode all the big rides that were open (and some of the little rides too). I had ice cream for dinner (yessss) and Stephen had the biggest turkey leg we had ever seen.

IMG_1152

Eventually, it was time to head over to Cars Land. I haven’t seen the movie Cars, but Cars Land was incredibly impressive. It is fair to call a land inside a theme park beautiful? Because Cars Land definitely was. The cliffs in the background were beautiful and everything inside was perfectly retro.

IMG_1149IMG_1147 IMG_1148IMG_1159 IMG_1156The moon over Cars Land.

It was a great trip, and we ended with the final Disney Railroad trip around the park for the night, mostly because I wanted to see the dinosaurs in the Primeval World section. Excellent birthday trip!

 

 

SEATAC

Greetings from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport! This place is very pleasant — free wifi and big open spaces with big open windows where you can see actual trees.

Image

Obligatory airport we-have-a-while-until-boarding Starbucks. Guess who’s is who’s?

Image

Our first flight together. I already love being in airports anyway, but this is infinitely better.

Seattle Zoo

Today we went to the zoo in Seattle because Stephen’s sister Erin has a pass, and it was a great zoo. It’s really big with a lot of stuff, plus it was freezing and raining and not crowded, which made it a perfect zoo day. Also, there were lots of baby animals!

Image

There was also a (large) giraffe calf whom we caught a glimpse of, but she stayed mostly in the barn so I couldn’t get a picture.ImageImage

Komodo Dragon! Look how silly he looks while he sleeps. Also: baby komodo dragons!!Image

Baby leopards!!!

Image

Us in one of the aviaries.

ImageImage

Large lion cub who was *very* fixated on one of the little boys near the window. Mmmmmm.Image

Christmas Part 2

Well, not literally. But I DID find these two at Half Price Books in Redmond, WA, where Stephen’s parents live, which was pretty much like Christmas morning all over again.

Image

Squeal!!

 

Christmas in SF


Part I: Cousins at the Academy of Sciences!IMG_0891 IMG_0892 IMG_0896 IMG_0898 IMG_0918Part II: Christmas Eve and Christmas!!!

IMG_0934

IMG_0936

Traditional Mexican Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve at Elisha and Ricardo’s (not pictured: slow cooker carnitas!)

IMG_0938IMG_0940IMG_0942IMG_0946IMG_0948IMG_0992Part III: More fun!

IMG_0970IMG_1008IMG_1012IMG_1022

Too much food, too much fun. I’m in Seattle now and when Stephen picked me up from the airport, we drove directly to one of his friend’s house for more…prime rib. Not pictured from this trip: The ice cream lunch on Pier 39 and the gigantic creole dinner my last night in SF.

Denver! and the following week.

 

 

 

 

First things first: my trip to Denver last weekend! It was way to short, but great nonetheless. The last time I was there was Christmas 2010, i.e. the Christmas of the Great Toilet Clogging Incident, so it was nice to finally be back, both to see my family and to relax (a little bit), and to not partake in joint toilet unclogging activities with my aunt and grandpa. I ate a lot and drank a lot and caught up with family who I don’t see enough. Papa Don: I’m still thinking about the steak in that steak salad I ordered. I even got to speak a little French on Saturday night when my aunt and uncle threw a going away party for un francais.  Looking forward to being back again for longer next time! 

ImageImageImageJulie: “I’m normal! I’M NORMAL I’M NORMAL!!!” Matt and I had a good laugh over the fact that she was wearing cat make-up for no apparent reason as she screamed this. Hi Julie 😉

Image

 

Every since landing back in Burbank last Sunday, I have literally not sat down. It was the last week before vacation at school, which meant that there was a CRAZY amount of stuff to get done, as the kids were simultaneously getting CRAZIER AND CRAZIER. Never underestimate the ability of a group of 7th graders to gang up on you (“Oh my God, she made him cry! Ms. Merwin made him cry!” “It’s okay, she got me in trouble last week too” “Can we talk? I just don’t understand why we have to get in trouble when we never do anything wrong” ::shake heads disappointingly at me all at the same time while comforting the boy whom I apparently made cry::). Added to this was a crazy night of errands all across Los Angeles County with the fellow I am dating on Wednesday night (his errands, not mine) followed by a 5AM trip to LAX to drop this fellow off, followed by work the next day (it’s okay, the dinner he bought be made up for it, although I really should have taken advantage of him and ordered multiple hamburgers at the place where we went). Add to this a trip on Friday straight from work in Friday traffic down to Costa Mesa to see credential friends followed by the trafficky journey down south to Laguna Woods for Uncle Dick’s 80th birthday (worth it, obviously). I need a drink so badly!

Thursday = Friday

Day off tomorrow, woo!

This week has been full of good things, lots of work, and stronger relationships with my bosses. Plus some amazing work that my students did in their Socratic Seminar yesterday.

Today I had to send two kids to the office for shoving each other outside of my classroom before class. It turned into a bigger deal with more students involved, and even though I had sent him to the office as a consequence of fighting, one of them came back to class at the end of the day to thank me because I guess my sending them to the office had brought some other bullying to light. 

DENVER TOMORROW. So excited!! To my loyal readers in Denver, looking forward to seeing you!

40 Hours in SF

It’s been a crazy few weeks at work but I had a great weekend over Veterans’ Day.  To make a long story short, EB had planned to fly up to stay with Michelle and surprise Marisa, but Marisa and Michelle worked it out so that I ended up on EB’s flight to surprise her, woooo.

It was a whirlwind trip. Marisa leads segway tours near Pier 39, so we were lucky enough to take the segways out for free.

IMG_0805 IMG_0803 IMG_0811

 

We also ate a lot. Cannolis, pizza, huge expensive dinner courtesy of EB’s boss, fancy French breakfast thanks to Michelle, etc.

IMG_0790 IMG_0792 IMG_0800 IMG_0801

 

FUN!!!