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Friday, Saturday, Sunday

March 2, 2010

Mahony's Cochon de Lait Po-Boy

Friday mid-morning I got on my bike and rode to Mahony’s Po-Boy Shop. I checked out their menu online before I went so I could have the entire ride to contemplate my order. Fried green tomatoes and a cochon de lait with creole slaw and pickles po-boy. (The first time I heard “cochon de lait” I responded with “cochon de what?” several times until it was spelled out for me.) Fried green tomatoes’ corn breading was a bit bland, but the remoulade sauce was so interesting. I tried to dissect it’s ingredients (maybe some hard boiled egg whites?), but then decided to just enjoy. It was sunny out, I sat outside, and the girl who took my order called me by name several times during my meal, checking on me. Great experience.

Flan Gone

Flan Gone from Lola's

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a Spanish tapas place that will satisfy my urge for La Bodega in Kansas City. Located in Bayou St. John, Lola’s was still packed when we sat around 9 p.m. Friday night. We began with sangria, antipasto, grilled shrimp (spicy and great), calamari, ceviche and tomato basil salad. Then came the XL family style seafood paella. And more sangria. We finished the eve with a shared flan. As you can tell by the single photo that was taken, my concentration was on consuming the food rather than recording it. Overall the food was delightful, but the wait on the owner’s porch in the rain was not. The sangria was as good as I’ve had, and I noticed on the menu that it’s also BYOB for a small $5 corkage fee.

Saturday morning I spent a couple hours on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It’s really beautiful in Mandeville, a sleepy town right on the lake front. I’ve spent a bit of time at Fountainbleu State Park before as well. You can hike right out into the marshes on a boardwalk. Worth the 24 mile drive across the causeway for the peacefulness found under huge live oaks, moss dripping down overhead.

Saturday afternoon I found myself at Louisiana Music Factory. Go here for free music every Saturday afternoon on their small stage with $2 Abitas at the bar down the street. It’s a great record store, reminds me kindly of High Fidelity, the sort of place you never want to see close. It’s a must-see in New Orleans.

Panorama Jazz Band

Panorama Jazz Band (photo from their site)

Next I headed to The Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street. No cover and the last Strawberry Abita, and The Panorama Jazz Band was fantastic. They filled the tiny stage, and even danced and played in the crowd a bit. They were having a blast. Great energy. I will seek this band out again. Female sax player, and she’s awesome– something I’ve only seen as a sit-in for 1 song with Rebirth Brass Band.

John Boutte

John Boutte (courtesy of

From there I walked across the street to d.b.a. to watch John Boutte. By this point our group had grown from two to several. People were sitting on the ground right in front of the stage and by the end of the show, so was I. He was mesmerizing. I’d rather see him in a quieter venue though, as the other side of d.b.a. was still a raging bar. At d.b.a, I also discovered a little gem called NOLA Blonde from the NOLA Brewing Company. I’ve been missing my Boulevard Beer from Kansas City and am glad to support another local brewing company.

And from there I headed uptown to The Maple Leaf to hear Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes with a few people in tow. Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes was different from anything I’ve heard here. They rock. Seriously. Rock. Over the top of screaming electric guitar lay double saxophones and a trumpet. It was a huge sound in the small space. I wouldn’t have gone to this without prompting from friends, and I’m glad I saw it.

We of course ended the night at Camellia Grill in the wee hours of the morning. It’s hard to pack in four bands in one day AND dinner. Of course I had a cheeseburger. This place is the greasy spoon mecca of the south. If you love a good diner, and like to saddle up to the bar, this place is for you. Just listening to the waiters holler out your order is worth the trip.

Palmer Park

Palmer Park Arts Market

Sunday I switched gears entirely, riding my bike up to Palmer Park Arts Market (normally on Saturdays) to stroll around and look at art and people, but mostly to try Woody’s Fish Tacos again. I’d been dreaming of those tacos since the first time I tried them. This time it was 65 degrees outside, a far cry from last month’s 38 degrees when I was in shorts from moving. I walked around a bit looking at art prior to tacoing. Two artists worth mentioning: Tony Nozero and Comusina Celan. Nozero’s dotted paintings really drew my attention. I’m a sucker for repetition, especially circles. Celan’s work is intricate and etherial, patchworked together like a quilt on canvas.

Fish Tacos

Woody's Fish Tacos

So here they are, covered in sriracha, just as good as I remembered. Messy, hot, grilled right in front of you from giant filets of freshly caught fish. The menu also said they just added pork tacos, which I will try next month. The guy grilling the meat was wearing a tie-dyed jacked with a sequined fleur-de-lis on the back and a bandana around his crazy, curly hair. At $3.50 a piece, I’m sure they make a well-deserved fortune. A man stopped me as I was walking to the center circle to sit, just to tell me how great the tacos are. Dude, I  know.

And last but not least, Sunday night was topped off with a special treat, a surprise ticket to the sold out Theresa Andersson show at Le Petit Theatre. It was a small, seated concert, a DVD recording with cameras everywhere. What a fantastic show! Take a minute and check out this music video recorded in her kitchen. Theresa Andersson is a one-woman band, recording herself singing or playing short bars of music on the drums, violin, guitar, dulcimer, xylophone, etc., then looping the bars together, all by playing foot pedals. It’s an aerobic feat of musical genius.

We had great seats in the 3rd row, our first attempt at sitting a total failure. Theresa was being joined by Alan Toussaint who was saving seats for his daughter, we found out the hard way. When you sit in reserved seats next to Alan Toussaint, and he politely asks you if you are his daughter, you SAY YES. Otherwise you have to find new seats.

Such a treat to meet Theresa Andersson after the show. I’m not generally a celebrity follower, although I did sort of stalk Patricia Field at a lingerie show in New York a few years ago. A couple weeks ago I ate breakfast next to Ryan Reynolds at Surrey’s and thought nothing of it. But this kind of talent is impossible to ignore, so pardon me as I’m just a little giddy.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Hannah permalink
    March 4, 2010 2:24 pm

    Still jealous of your life.

  2. March 10, 2010 3:31 pm

    Welcome to New Orleans from the Arts Council! So glad you enjoyed the Arts Market of New Orleans at Palmer Park. Thanks for the great write-up!


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