Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Journey Home: Staycation Day One

Today is the first day of my week off before I start work next Monday.  I thought it'd be fun to share with you how we spend these next few days enjoying New Orleans...

Errands, Errands, Errands
Our day started by running around scratching items off of our to-do list.  We got so much accomplished is just a few short hours.  We brought clothes to the dry cleaners, picked up Mark's car from the shop, got Mark a toll tag, visited his new office to sign some documents, and had a very lovely lunch.

Pho Tau Bay
While on the Westbank, Mark and I decided to stop in at one of the very best Vietnamese restaurants in New Orleans.  I had never been and was so excited to try something new.  

We started with the Goi Cuing Bo Xao - lemongrass beef spring rolls in rice paper with vermicelli, pickled carrots, herbs, lettuce, with a homemade nuoc mam sauce.  These were delicious!!!  The dipping sauce was the perfect combination of sweet and sour!!

I wish I had written down the name of my entree, but I forgot to.  It was slices of ground pork that had been seasoned and sauteed (they referred to them as meatballs, but they were not round) over steamed vermicelli patties.  They were topped with fried shallots, green onions, and chopped peanuts and served with lettuce, carrots, and basil.  It was such a different dish and one I truly enjoyed!!!  
The menu at Pho Tau Bay was so extensive that I cannot wait to go back!!

Audubon Park
While we are staying at my parent's house, Beignet is spending some time at Camp Bow Wow.  So we are picking her up each day to take her on special adventures.  Today we decided to take her for a walk in Audubon Park.  She LOVED it!!!  Here she is with Mark on a park bench happy as a clam. 

Audubon Park is one of my very favorite things about New Orleans.  As we walked around the park, I was reminded of those perfect college days when my roommates and I used to go walking there.  If you went after morning classes you beat the morning rush of runners who had to cram in a jog before work.  And if you went before school got out, you missed the mommies strolling with their little ones.  A walk around 2:00 allowed you to have the park almost completely to yourself.  You could experience every nuance of it's beauty.  The Egrets, the moss covered trees, the bubbling fountains, the flowers in bloom.  Beauty is everywhere there.  Today around two, Mark and I got to see it in it's best light.  And Beignet got to see it too.  What a perfect afternoon!

Red Beans and Rice on Mondays 

On Mondays in New Orleans, there is one thing you can always be certain of - there will be red beans and rice.  It is served in every school cafeteria, hospital, restaurant, and family residence.  Traditionally, Monday was wash day, and since it took all day to do the wash, red beans would spend their day simmering away on the back burner seasoned with the ham bone from Sunday's supper.  

Tonight for the first time in years, Mark and I had red beans and rice on a Monday.  My dad spent all day yesterday making them just for us.  They were perfect!


  1. Oh, you are making me miss nola so much! I miss my favorite restaurants!

  2. Welcome home, Jen!! I hope when we return from Tokyo it's to my hometown of New Orleans as well. Enjoy all that the city has to offer as y'all settle in. Congrats!!

  3. I LOVE Pho Tau Bay! I always order the shrimp spring rolls and the VG6. Sometimes I'll order their tasty banh mi.

  4. L-O-V-E Beignet in Audubon Park! That puppy has the life! :) Miss you bundles and bundles.

  5. The lemongrass spring rolls look wonderful! I'll have to hunt down a place here til I find some!

  6. What a perfect New Orleans day!!!!

  7. I love Vietnamese food. Very good.
    Miss red beans and rice too. I need to seriously make some. While living in the sorority house at LSU they would have them every Monday with a side of cornbread :) heaven indeed.

  8. Sounds like you're living it up :-)

    The Hubs & I enjoy red beans & rice on the occasional Monday, maybe once a month {when I was growing up we had them EVERY Monday night}. I actually make them in my crock pot & they turn out *amazing* - seriously... a ham hock, the trinity a little of this & that & they cook all day. We come home to our house filled with yummy aromas :-) I usually grill up some smoked sausage & make cornbread muffins as our "sides;" heaven :-)

  9. HA! Someone else who is a lover of Vietnamese! Girl- there are SO MANY good little places all over the East Bank too! If you ever want to meet up and grab something at one of them- I can tell you which ones are open on Sundays, open late, etc.

    With fall/winter coming, you'll have to try the Pho Tai. OMG it is so good!

    and Red Beans- you know, I used to make them from scratch and all... and then I tasted blue runners and started using their recipe instead.

    I love some red beans! :)

    and my favorite place to shoot portraits is audubon... it's so serene there. We have two weddings there in October to go to!

  10. What a lovely day! It sounds like you are taking in ALL of New Orleans that you have been missing for the past few years. Enjoy, darlin'!

  11. YUM!! Sounds like a perfect start to your Staycation! Can't wait to see what tomorrow (today) brings!

  12. i'm so happy for you!! it must be wonderful to be home.



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