Michael is 40!!

On May 2nd, Michael turned the big 4-0!  We celebrated by first opening presents and having cake with the kids.

008 (1283 x 855)

Then, we headed out to Cafe Paulista with Andy and Iris for a delicious Brazilian feast.  That place is fabulous!  http://www.cafepaulistagrille.com/


After that, we asked Michael is he wanted to have a drink at Barley’s where a birthday crew was waiting to surprise him upstairs.  He was truly shocked which was great.  We got him all dressed up for his 40th in Depends, rainbow suspenders, huge glasses, and a blinking 40 year old pin.  It was hysterical.

IMG_7913 (396 x 528)

For his big celebration, we had planned a getaway to one of our favorite cities, New Orleans.  Michael had not been back since Hurricane Katrina and was ready to see the city again.  We left on Wednesday after work after getting the kids all settled in with my dad (Thanks dad!!!).  We drove to Montgomery and spent the night there and then headed out early the next morning.  We rolled into New Orleans around 2ish after stopping for some gumbo and po boys on the way in Gulport, MS.  We stayed at the Hotel Villa Convento on Ursuline.  This is a family run hotel that I had heard great things about and I was not disappointed at all.  We had booked the cheapest room available which was supposed to be on the bottom floor with no view.  We received a free upgrade though when we arrived and were given a room on the 3rd floor with a great balcony overlooking the street.  The staff at the hotel were so helpful and sweet.  We only paid $80 a night which is nearly impossible to find in the French Quarter.  The only scary part was the elevator.  It was very old and kind of scary, but only added to the charm of the hotel really.  The location was excellent and an easy spot to walk to everything quickly.

New Orleans 054

New Orleans 036New Orleans 043

New Orleans 047

New Orleans 042

Now, on to food!!  I had done a lot of research prior to the trip and had all of our meals planned out.

The meal rundown was:

Thursday- Dinner at Acme Oyster House

Friday- Breakfast at Croissant D’Or, Lunch at Commander’s Palace, Dinner at Acme again (we were kind of obsessed with the Chargrilled Oysters)

Saturday-Breakfast at Cafe Du Monde, Lunch at Bayonas, Dinner at Adolfos

Sunday- Breakfast at Elizabeth’s, Lunch at Johnny’s Po Boys, Dinner at Muriels

Every meal was really fantastic.  Highlights were the above mentioned chargrilled oysters.  I just found found a recipe for them that we are going to have to try.  Those oysters were heavenly.  We sat at the bar both nights and talked to the oyster shuckers which was very cool.  http://www.grouprecipes.com/sr/36688/chargrilled-oysters-acme-oyster-house-style/recipe/

New Orleans 080New Orleans 081

Other highlights were the ham and cheese crossaints at Crossiant D’Or (totally light, fluffy, and delicious)

New Orleans 048

The turtle soup and bread pudding at Commander’s Palace

New Orleans 023

The duck and peanut butter puffed pastries at Bayonas

New Orleans 023

Fried Boudin Balls with Mustard Sauce at Elizabeths, and Ocean sauce at Adolfos.  The ambience at Adolfos on Frenchmen was very cool- small place upstairs with not many tables and a bohemian vibe.  The food was inexpensive and wonderful.

New Orleans 039

All of our New Orleans meals were seriously delicious overall.  I don’t think people make bad food in New Orleans!!

New Orleans 044

We also were able to see some fantastic music while we were there of course.  How could you not see great music in New Orleans??  On Thursday, we headed over to the Maple Leaf to see Johnny Vidacovich on drums.  That is a very cool place and was a fun night.  The rest of the time, we caught music in the quarter, in the streets and in the clubs.  There were lots of great street musicians out and it was great to see them back out after the storm.  Someone has actually written a book about the street performers and I bought a copy from a magician that Michael got dragged into a show with.  http://www.sidewalksaints.com/

New Orleans 019

New Orleans 024

The Maison Bourbon and Fritzels had great music and we spent some time at both.

New Orleans 031New Orleans 064

New Orleans 073

New Orleans 101

New Orleans 106

New Orleans 109

New Orleans 036

It was great to see New Orleans making all of that wonderful music and delicious food again.  Things have changed of course, but the essence of the city still seems to be there.  I can’t wait to go back again.  This was definitely a great birthday for Michael.  Happy 40th!!

New Orleans 013New Orleans 027

New Orleans 017New Orleans 002

New Orleans 014New Orleans 017

New Orleans 072

New Orleans 016

New Orleans 031

New Orleans 029

New Orleans 041

New Orleans 051

New Orleans 052

New Orleans 055


This American Life

I am very excited that beginning this week “This American Life” is offering podcasts of their shows each week for free.  They had been available only for purchase previously.  Now, each Monday you can download and listen to them only for that one week.  This is great news as the program is broadcast here on Friday nights at 7:00 and I never get to catch it anymore.  If you are not familiar with “This American Life”, you need to be.

Each week’s show centers on a theme which is covered in several acts.  It is a documentary style show which can range from hysterical to thought-provoking to tragic.  Monday’s drive to work just got better!