I don’t know about you, but for me there has always been something terribly exciting about waking up in a city that isn’t yours, knowing that you are going to have an adventure. Travel is such a huge passion of mine. I love gorgeous things, I’m female after all, but there is nothing I’d rather spend money on than a fabulous experience. Clothes hang in a closet only to be forgotten, and designer accessories are fun but they don’t rock my world. Travel is different. It is something you get to keep forever. It becomes part of you. It makes you more worldly, more interesting, and just plain more. It is kind of like an investment in yourself. 

I don’t know why, maybe it was the travel, maybe the heat, all the walking I did the previous day, or all the eating, but the next day I was positively useless. Tired was an understatement. Still, we managed to visit Cafe du Monde for an obligatory breakfast of beignets, and for brunch we went to Commander’s Palace, a New Orleans institution. It was #1 on Crazy Kat’s list. Set in the Garden District, amongst all the real estate porn, it kind of sticks out.

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It was a fun excuse to dress up and eat tons of food. But wow, we really did eat a lot! I should say “I” ate a lot. CK knows when to stop, I keep going until I am completely barfy (what is wrong with me?!). Brunch was a three course affair, and the courses were not exactly petite. We both started off with Louisiana crawfish boil beignets . For my main, I had a very decadent concoction: braised duck and blueberry pancakes. On top was a poached egg and foie gras hollandaise. Crazy right?

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By the time we finished, it must have been around 1 o’clock. It was raining very hard (we encountered 4 afternoon monsoons during our 5 days). The streets flooded. We got back to our gorgeous little apartment and spent the rest of the day there, talking. It was lovely. I had some things I had planned, but I was completely out of commission for the day.  We didn’t eat again that day.

On day three, all of my energy had returned. It was then that I had my favorite meal of the trip at an absolutely charming restaurant called Coquette.

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Everything there was perfection, even the bread and butter. Good bread and soft salty butter is a hard thing to beat in my book. When it’s done right, there is nothing better. It was done right. I could have eaten plate after plate of just this, and l would have left happy.

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The servings were not big, but the execution was superb. I adored these carrots I had as my starter. Funny, I had two super excellent carrot dishes in NOLA. I must try recreating some carotty goodness at home. Did you know carrots are good for your sacral chakra? That’s where all the feminine energy is– yeah, I just thought I’d stick that in there. I am obviously a total weirdo. I blame the fact that I have temporarily given up on men, and I now have too much time on my hands. Anyway, I doubt I have ever seen a more beautiful presentation of carrots than this…

 

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For my main I had scrambled eggs with duck confit, summer squash, and spring onion. I haven’t had eggs that delicious since I’d gone to Paris. They were so soft and buttery.

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The dessert was slightly odd. I never really get these “deconstructed” affairs, so I was a little caught off guard by what was listed on the menu as cookies and cream, but it was most certainly tasty. So I can’t really complain.

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After that we walked around Magazine Street. It is lined with cute little  houses that have been converted into shops and restaurants. What impressed me was that the shops were all unique. It is not filled with chain stores, like where I live. They are all independent businesses. There are loads of vintage and handmade goodies, and I would think a lot of it is stuff you wouldn’t find anywhere else. CK suggested we go to a store called Century Girl, which sold vintage clothes and accessories. By far, it was my favorite of the shops along Magazine Street. It is a bit of girly paradise, privately owned by a very sweet girl and her teeny weeny dog called Zelda (whom the customers seem to adore and take plenty of pictures of). OMG, I saw soooooo many things I wanted. I saw the most beautiful embroidered shawl from the 1920’s, but it was $500. There was a completely fabulous rhinestone necklace that I was ready to buy– but then I realized, I had no place suitable to wear such a monstrosity to without looking a little crazy. So I settled on a very beautiful ring. It was an early birthday present to myself. I just fell in love with it. It was kind of a splurge, but hey, a girl has to treat herself once in a while. Apparently it belonged to a singer who lived in the area. I love that the gold isn’t really shiny. The stone changes from purple to a bright pink, depending on how it catches the light. I’m going to wear it whenever I need a bit of pick me up.

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Shortly after my purchase, it was time to go on our walking tour of the Garden District.  I saw Sandra Bullock’s house (which she loaned out to Leonardo DeCaprio when he was filming Django Unchained–I loved that movie). I also saw Trent Renzor’s house, from the group Nine Inch Nails, now owned by John Goodman. There was so much eye candy, that I have to admit, I became a little bit desensitized. Well, except for this one:

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This was Anne Rice’s house when she wrote The Witching Hour, one of my favorite books when I was in high school. It was also the setting for much of the story. That was pretty special for me, as Anne Rice was my initial reason for wanting to visit NOLA in the first place.  I wonder if that was the tree where the spirit Lasher carved out his name. By the way, also on that tour, we saw Lestat’s family tomb (well, the one that was filmed for the movie Interview with a Vampire — but that movie mega sucked, so please don’t watch it. Read the book).

And can you believe, it was time to eat again? Oh yes, it’s always time for food.

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We had dinner at a place called Domenica. That whole baked cauliflower is something that the restaurant is really known for. It comes with a delicious whipped feta. CK and I had a bit of cauliflower overload though. I had the chicken (pictured), and she had pasta. For desert it was more stuff of the fried dough variety. Domenica was nice, but I wouldn’t say it was exceptional. You are spoiled for choice in New Orleans. Here where I live, this meal would have been considered amazing. In NOLA it was just “nice.” I am still waiting for my Nobel Peace Prize. The one I earned by ingesting all those calories so that I can give you guys the real dirt on what to eat and what to save your fat pants for. Anyway, email me. I will tell you where you can send donations. I’ll probably use it to book myself into a fat farm.

Well, if you haven’t gained weight from reading this post, there is one more to come. Until then, I have an interview today. I reaaaaaaly need to get a job already. I hope I fit in my suit. I’ll be wearing my new ring for good luck.

I have to say, the best part about going to New Orleans was meeting Crazy Kat. I suppose I should have been a little cautious. I was meeting someone I never met in a city I’ve never been to, and I was not worried in the slightest. My instincts were totally right. I have a feeling we are going to be lifelong friends. We got on so well. She is exactly like what she appears to be online. I love her for her honesty, her bravery, and her very open and kind heart. Her husband is the luckiest man alive. It’s weird, but I really think CK and I look like sisters even though our backgrounds couldn’t be more different. Its been a couple days now since I last saw her, and I miss her already, but I have a feeling we are going to have a lot more excellent adventures together.

CK was an excellent partner on the “Fuck the Diet Tour.” CK is a total foodie, like me, but she doesn’t have the auxillary stomach space that I have (that’s okay, nobody does LOL). Did you know cows have four stomachs? They do! Let’s just say that my middle name should probably be Elsie. I am now going to run through all the amazing things I ate in New Orleans. I would hazard a guess that NOLA is probably one of the best cities for eating in America.

While I absolutely adored the beignets at Cafe du Monde, CK and I fell completely in love with the donuts at District Donuts on Magazine Street. They were the best sweets we ate on our trip (and you will see, we tried a lot). I have had some great donuts in my life, but these were undoubtedly the best. They were incredibly light with a flavor and texture that was exactly like brioche. The Donut Plant in NYC has nothing on these guys. Every day the flavors change. I would love waking up and checking them out on Instagram to see what was on the menu. All in all, we tried four varieties and a couple of sliders. Each one was excellent but my favorite was undoubtedly the strawberry basil one. I really wanted to try the pineapple upside down cake donut, but it was not available during our trip (oh well, we will just have to go back, no CK?).

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I think this strawberry basil donut is the best one I ever ate.

As I mentioned in the previous post, those beignets were my first bite of NOLA. CK had not yet arrived. She would be coming later in the evening, so I pretty much had the day to myself.  It was a beautiful day, and I decided to take a walk up Esplanade Avenue and visit the New Orleans Museum of Art (aka NOMA). It was very warm, and the sun was out. One thing that really took me by surprise about NOLA is how the residential streets are perfumed with flowers. There are giant old trees with the most fragrant blooms (so unlike Fort Lauderdale where it smells of pee and homelessness). And the architecture? Simply gorgeous. It made me long to have a front porch where I could sit on a rocking chair and sip ice tea all day.

After walking around for about an hour, I stopped in at one of the places I read about: 1000 Figs. I love Middle Eastern food, and this place got really good reviews. I tried the falafel sandwich, and it was very special. It wasn’t terribly big, but it was surely the best. Absolutely phenomenal. Better than Taim in NYC and L’As du Fallafel in Paris. They falafels themselves were spiced so expertly, and there was a great bright freshness to it that prevented the them from feeling heavy. There were some great sauces and a liberal use of mint. It is out of the way, but if you love falafel, this is worth a trek.

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And just to prove to you that things happened besides eating on this trip, here are some of my favorite pieces of art from NOMA. I call this my “Ladies of NOMA” series. OMG, I am so preposterous LOL, I love me.

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Odalisque by Charles Lenoir
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Far Away Thoughts by John William Godward
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Portrait of a Young Woman by Mogdiliani

After that I walked around the sculpture garden and City Park, which was right behind the museum. There was tons of great stuff. It was definitely worth the visit. I was hoping to get my fat ass on the antique carousel in the park, but it was closed. As an aside, that’s a weird thing about New Orleans. Things that you would expect to be open are not always open (even when there is no holiday). One restaurant in particular was closed on Saturday, Sundays, and Mondays for no real reason. It’s just how they roll over there. So my advice is, if you are planning on visiting, if there is something you really want to see, call ahead to double check opening hours.

Anyway here are some pictures I took in City Park and the sculpture garden:

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I’m not sure what this flower is, but I saw it a lot in New Orleans.
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Love sculpture by Robert Indiana, just like the one I saw in NYC, only smaller.
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Gratuitous picture of cute fluffy ducks in City Park

At this point my feet were throbbing. I had done a lot of walking. I took a street car (which are really cute little trolleys) back to the Central Business District where we were staying. OMG you guys, our little flat was the most gorgeous thing! CK does things in style! That’s when I went to Willa Jean for cookies. I saw pictures of these lovelies somewhere and I had to try them. They are things of beauty. Unfortunately I don’t think anything will ever live up to the awesomeness that is Levain.

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Warm salted chocolate chip cookies, a smidge of cookie dough, and some highly delicious vanilla infused milk.

Right next door is The Company Burger, who everyone says is the best burger in New Orleans — even Anthony Bourdain is a fan. Naturally I had to see for myself. My verdict: this burger is very nice indeed, nice and juicy with a flame grilled flavor. I certainly wouldn’t kick this lovely out of bed, but honestly, I’ve tasted better. Definitely try it if you are in the area though. It’s really good.

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All this, and I hadn’t even had dinner yet. I still had reservations for somewhere nice with CK later that evening. But you see, according to my twisted logic, I did good because I didn’t have fries LOL.

At this point I decided I had better get back to our place and wait for CK. It wasn’t long till we would finally get to meet. She had a really long journey. She was everything I expected, so incredibly lovely and easy to get along with. Although I might have had like two seconds where I felt the slightest bit of worry, she immediately put me at ease.

We had reservations at Peche. It’s buzzy and a little loud, but friendly and fun with great service. We had a delicious whole fish, which is kind of their specialty, some yummy potatoes, and a beet salad with pistachios. My favorite thing was the fried bread though. I never had anything like it. They look like munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, but they taste kind of like the pretzels you get at the mall but with more butter. I loved those. If you visit Peche, and I recommend that you do, get some! Oh, and there was a cheeky slice of key lime pie too.

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We had a lovely evening. Of course, CK had no idea that I had been eating all day. Poor woman, she didn’t know what she was in for…

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Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to go to New Orleans. There were two reasons. One: I wanted to see where Lestat (one of my favorite ever fictional characters) roamed the streets. And two: I wanted to eat beignets at the Cafe Du Monde. I got to do both.

Aside from burgers, I also happen to be an aficionado of all things consisting of fried dough. To make a long story short, we could call my five days in New Orleans the “Fuck the Diet Tour.” I was a rock star!

The beignets were pretty freaking awesome. Sometimes things get hyped up so much that by the time you get to try them, it’s going to be a let down. This was not the case here though.

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OMG, are you feeling this or what?

I made sure that the beignets at Cafe du Monde were my first bite of New Orleans. I tried them with cafe au lait, as is the tradition. I was not disappointed.

I love the way these are served. The square pieces of dough are fried, mounded on top of little white dishes, and then liberally dusted with powdered sugar. While they are still super hot and fresh, they are rushed to the table by harassed and slightly cranky looking Asian women (go figure!) LOL.

One by one the doughnuts would disappear down my throat hole  and into my ever expending belly (which is now tender to the touch believe it or not — I kid you not, I eat like a very scary fat lady). I do wonder if I freaked out my fellow diners. The fluffy sweet squares of deliciousness didn’t have a chance.

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At this point, I rolled up a one dollar bill and started snorting.

I was floating on a sugar high and coated in a fine dusting of sugar,  kind of a like a very sweet tasting geisha. It’s kind of a wonder that some sexy man didn’t start licking me.

“Woo hoo,” I thought to myself. “I am in New Orleans. Let the games begin!”

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Despite it all, I am okay.

It’s now been a week into my Birthday Challenge. It’s been okay, I only had one really horrible day. I was focusing too hard on the loss of Birdy, the loveliest man to cross my path in two years, and I made myself terribly sad. I have no regrets though. I did the right thing. He just wasn’t that into me. Other than that, avoiding men hasn’t been as difficult as I expected. I noticed I am having much less less severe ups and downs. That’s a good thing for now. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely and have the urge to call someone. The fact that nobody has bothered with me though, is quite telling. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my own head. I’ve been a bit more creative, and I’m eating better too. That’s not going to last though. Friday I will be on my way to New Orleans. The second my porcine hoof hits the pavement, I will be eating for two: me and my inner bitch. Believe me when I tell you that that woman is hungry!

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When you see me going to town on those delicious beignets, do not assume those mounds of powder to be sugar. My daddy says I’m sweet enough already… Note to self: Investigate which is cheaper–crack or therapy.

I’m feeling kind of awful about not finding a job yet. It’s been three months now. My unemployment is going to run out soon. Although I’m not in any real financial danger, I’m scared. Not having a job makes me feel very unsettled. I know freaking out totally isn’t going to speed up the process. It will just create wrinkles and my Botox has run its course, so I got to watch it. I am doing my best to take it in stride and have faith that everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to. Still, it is always looming in the back of my mind.

If my horror-scope is true, things are going to stay stagnant in my life until the end of next month. Around the time of my birthday, I can expect movement. Do you believe in horoscopes/astrology? I used to think they were a bunch of crap, but I’m not so sure anymore. On YouTube, I was told that this is a time for endings (even though they may be painful) so that new things could begin. Yeah… too much time on my hands.

Seriously, I am falling in love with YouTube. There is so much good stuff on there. I’ve been learning loads of unnecessary (but fun) things. I try to listen to stuff that’s uplifting and motivational. I want to immerse myself in good thoughts, otherwise it is my natural tendency to go the other way. I want to create new and positive habits, and developing a positive mindset is crucial for me.

Okay so none of what I wrote today is terribly momentous or relevant. I just wanted to “talk.” You guys are terribly lovely for humoring me. I adore you.

p.s. Stay tuned to my Instagram so you can see all my New Orleans photos!

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As you read this, I am in New York City, hopefully having an awesome time hunting Space Invaders in the freezing cold while eating my weights worth of Levain cookies and Murray’s Bagels. A girl needs to insulate herself with a smidge of blubber when she is exploring the frozen tundra after all. There are museums to visit, department stores to browse, and cakes to eat (yep, cakes with an “s”). This requires plenty of fuel dontcha know. Horrific posts of gluttony are soon to follow, I’m sure. For the next few days, I want to ignore the fact that I am unemployed. I will do my upmost not to let it ruin my time here. I prefer to think about that later. I’ve got plenty of time for that.

I do actually have some news, so here goes….

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. While I do love limited edition pink and red boxes of shockingly overpriced chocolates, not to mention flowers, I kind of hate this holiday. I don’t need some glaringly obviously reminder that I am alone. But… I’m not so alone this year. I’ve actually met someone, and I am kind of excited about it. Part of me is really freaked about by even writing about him. Part of me thinks that as soon as I put it in black and white, he is going to be gone in a puff of deliciously scented smoke, but I am ready to air my dirty laundry. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him my boyfriend, I think it would be more accurate to say that we are “seeing each other.” While nobody is perfect, he is pretty freaking close.

I shall state my case:

  • He wears Bond No 9’s Sandalwood … it is dead sexy.
  • He is very handsome. He has the most awesome smile, and I love his dark hair and dark eyes.
  • He is smart – I will never fall for a stupid man. What’s the point of beautiful eyes if there is nothing worthwhile in between them? I have to be able to have an intelligent conversation with a person.
  • He is successful in what he does, but unlike a lot of men, he doesn’t define himself by his profession. I love that. Most doctors define themselves by their title, and they tend to have huge egos. He doesn’t.
  • He is very passionate about certain political issues. He has something of a man crush on Bernie Sanders actually LOL. What I think is great is he doesn’t just talk a lot of s*it, he actually is very politically involved and has even taken part in protests where he risked being arrested for speaking out about his beliefs.
  • We share the same birthday, and his first name is the same as my dad’s name. I don’t know why exactly, but that is significant to me… almost as if someone is trying to give me a sign.
  • What I like best about him is that he has never made me feel as anything less than special. Let’s face facts, I am a 4o year old woman who is living with her mother (text book “old maid” material). I don’t have a car. As of Thursday, we can add the fact that I’m unemployed now too.  Though I think I have some wonderful qualities, sadly, I don’t think any man describe me as a catch. Never once, however, did he ever make me feel  shitty or embarrassed about my situation. He has only treated me with kindness and respect … and that my dears, is priceless.

For the sake of this blog, I shall call him Birdy. Why? Because of he reminds me of this poem.

How much does he like me? Honestly I don’t know. He likes me I’m sure, but I have the feeling that I probably have stronger feelings for him than he has for me. I have pre written this post, and I honestly don’t know if he will even be around when this entry gets published. Why? Because I’m afraid I’m a bit of a train wreck. I don’t have the best track record when it comes to men, and I no longer have the confidence in myself to believe that he will stick around (or why he is there in first place). All I can tell you is that since I’ve been living in America, nobody man has come close to this one. He is something rare and wonderful. I kind of know that I am not the only woman who has thought the same of him. What makes me any better than them? Is it possible that some kind of late Christmas miracle is going to happen where he will be able to see the real me that lives behind all this tarnish? What makes me think I have a snowball’s chance in hell? Hope.

Happy Valentine’s day dollies. I love you.

 

One thing I love about being a big city, despite how I may sometimes feel,  is being reminded that I'm not alone.  Every single person has a story, and one day, I will find the the one who carries the pages that I am missing.
One thing I love about being a big city, despite how I may sometimes feel, is being reminded that I’m not alone. Every single person has a story, and one day, I will find the the one who carries the pages that I am missing.

With the drudgery of work, and the stress of my divorce (yes, I’m divorced but the legal stuff is far from over), its so easy too loose myself. I don’t want to forget who I am. Because I mainly write about my feelings associated with my divorce, and my struggle to feel human again, you might not know certain things about me. Vital things… the things that make me who I am. So let me start by saying that behind my mild-mannered exterior, I am a hugely passionate person. I am a dreamer, an idealist, I am a lover of art in all of its forms. Food is my passion, and New York City is my boyfriend. Why New York City? It’s the one place in all of the US where I feel my beloved musses live in their highest concentration.  It is the ultimate urban jungle, it is the place where I was born, and it is the place that I feel most alive.

Before I became a divorcee, before I got kicked out of my beloved home, I was a person. A person with hopes, dreams, and passions. Where has she gone? Somehow she got lost under a tremendous weight of pain and loss (and work *shudder*)… but she is still there, and I’m going to do anything I can to find her. My goal, amdist this next portion of my life, is to rediscover myself. Once I do, I plan to recreate myself from the ground up to create a version of me that was even more fabulous than before. I’m not, after all the same person. I’ve been through nothing short of a war, and I’ve come home changed. There is no reason, however, that I have to come back as less. No, I haven’t lost anything that lives inside of me, I’ve gained things actually: a worldliness,  a greater ability to empathize with kindness, a certain protective detatchment, and a tiny fighting spirt that I have only just rediscovered like an old but very welcomed friend. Right now that tiny spirt is an ember, but I hope to fan it into an eternal flame… it could happen LOL, why not? There is no place where I feel I will be able to do that with greater successes than in NYC. And no, I’m not moving, I’ve just booked my next holiday. I plan to go during the first week of July. I’m going to see the fireworks… and maybe become one in the process. Booking this holiday is really the first special thing I’ve really done for myself since I moved to this country. It is my 40th birthday present to myself. I plan for this to be the first of many holidays that I take.  Now that I’m in America again, there are a couple of trips I’ve been thinking about. I want to go to New Orleans, explore parts of Miami, go to the Smythosnian and see the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC… but NYC will always be be my man–the one I always go back to. I plan to make that pilgrimage once a year. I don’t think I’ll be taking any European holidays anytime in the near future, and oh, how I will miss Paris! But I refuse to lay down and die… not just yet…