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The New Orleans School of Cooking

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We went to New Orleans in August because Mike had a convention to attend (not because we are gluttons for punishment!). While Mike was away I had to keep myself busy so I decided to take a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Every morning they hold a 3 hour session where you watch local dishes be prepared and then eat them. Our cook for the day was Miss Barbara a native of Louisiana. The menu was a cajun feast: chicken & andouille sausage gumbo, chicken & smoked sausage jambalaya, pina colada bread pudding with a whiskey sauce and pralines. Along with the lesson you learn about the differences in cajun and creole cooking styles and cultures.

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They may not be the most beautiful or colorful dishes but they sure tasted good. I left with a packet of recipes to try at home, a full stomach and a cold Abita beer. What a wonderful find.

Tip: make a reservation in advance and bring a coupon. You’ll find one in the visitors guide.

Website: http://www.neworleansschoolofcooking.com/

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New Orleans Vacation Wrap-up

Mike and I just returned from our trip to the big easy. We had a blast eating our way around NOLA. When people said it’s hot in August I figured I could handle it since I went to school in Arizona but this was a heat that I had never experienced. I could only make it one block before the sweat began drippin’ everywhere. Since we new it was going to be steamy we planned to keep our adventures casual and fun. Here was our itinerary:

Day 1 (Sat): Dinner at Mother’s, walk down Bourbon Street

Day 2 (Sun): Brunch at Dante’s Kitchen, Ride the St. Charles Streetcar, French Quarter Culinary history tour and tasting

Day 3 (Mon): Air-boat Swamp tour, Dinner at NOLA, walk around French Quarter

Day 4 (Tue): Breakfast at Cafe du Monde, Lunch at Cochon Butcher, Cupcakes at the Kupcake Factory, Vampire tour

Day 5 (Wed): Cooking class, Check out farmers market, dinner at Luke, Music on Frenchmen St.

Day 6 (Thur): Muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery

*I will write a separate post for each of the restaurant reviews over the next few days.

Non-Foodie Highlights:

SWAMP TOUR – We went on an air-boat tour of the Louisiana swamps. It was fast and furious. This is not a nature tour, this is a high speed excursion through the swamps on a search for alligators… and there were plenty! Check it out:


Website: www.airboatadventuresllc.com

MUSIC – Walking back to our hotel on Monday we ran into a 7 piece brass band on the corner of Canal & Bourbon St. in front of the Foot Locker. They were fantastic and they played for a couple hours for tips. What made it even more entertaining is that people would just start dancing in the street. It was hilarious to see some battle as if they were on “So you think you can dance”. This location seems to be where many groups come to play because we saw a 10 piece band on Wednesday night but they were not as good. Here is a sample of the boys from Monday:

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Start of Vamp tour - St Louis Cathedral (check out that full moon)

VAMPIRE TOUR – Interesting tour about the history of vampires in New Orleans. We also saw some of the sites from the movie “Interview with the Vampire”. I gatta be honest it kinda creeped me out. Tip: wear your bug repellent. We didn’t and we have many bites all over (weird… no other night did we even see mosquito’s…)

Website: www.hauntedhistorytours.com

PEOPLE – everyone from the tour guides, to the taxi drivers to the hotel staff were really friendly. Very polite folks.

Low-light:

BOURBON ST – We had no idea that Bourbon Street was just a string of bars blaring cheesy karaoke type music, strip clubs, daiquiri/pizza joints and more strip clubs. It’s Vegas to the 10th power. Don’t expect cool jazz clubs cause you won’t find them here – go to Frenchmen St!

We did everything we wanted to do except eat a peanut butter bacon burger at Yo-mama’s bar. We just couldn’t get ourselves to do it. Maybe next time.

Tip: if you’re going make sure you have a tourist guide mailed to your home before you go. You can get one here. This was the first city I’ve been to that didn’t have millions of “things to do” kiosks and flyers/brochures all over the airport. The place was a ghost town.

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