does Black Friday define America?

you be the judge of that…

I look at this and think to myself that the joke is on Americans, played on citizens by a sinister retail industry.

I wonder if corporations play videos like this in the boardrooms and laugh about it?

And then to top it all, there’s this website

Happy thanksgiving indeed…

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Crescent City and Hollygrove Farmers Markets

Here is the latest installment in the local farmers markets, better late than never! Both of these markets are open on Tuesdays, so I ventured uptown today to check them out and share some pictures with you.

I went to the Crescent City Farmers Market first. This market originally began in the 700 block of Magazine Street, but in recent years it has branched out to 2 new locations: Uptown on 200 Broadway Street and in Mid-City in the 3700 block of Orleans Avenue in the American Can Co. parking lot.  This market has fresh produce, plants and herbs, prepared foods, cheeses and meats.

The market is in a parking lot next to the old Uptown Square, now known as Tulane Square and across the street from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

There were home canned goods

Fresh meat, seafood and pies

A selection of plants and herbs

Hot foods, tamales and plate lunches were available

Many of the produce vendors had okra and tomatoes (the link is a recipe to cook them), corn and eggplant for sale

The nice lady from Forte Grove was selling bread – she said they will return to the market in September

There was a gentleman from Progress Milk Barn in McComb, Mississippi selling fresh dairy

Next it was on to the Hollygrove Market, which is located at 8301 Olive Street, across from Carrollton Playground. Unlike the Crescent City Market which is mobile, the Hollygrove market remains in the same building, on the grounds of the old Guillot’s Nursery which did not reopen after Katrina.

They grow some of the produce they sell on site. Their hours are Tuesdays 12 noon to 6pm and Saturdays 9am -1pm. This market has a lot of volunteers on staff, helping customers to make their selections.

There is a weekly box line that does not require a subscription – for $25 you get a box filled with seasonal produce. The community bulletin board is on the left of the picture, with information about the vendors and businesses that support the market.

Or if you are looking for only one or two items there are many choices available for selection

There are specialty items, local honey, coffee, herbs, meat from Two Run Farm and dairy, although there were no eggs this week because the chickens slow down laying eggs in the summer heat.

On the way out, a vendor was selling fresh shrimp he got from Houma – $5.00 a pound for 16-20 count shrimp. Growing up, I remember the men who drove around the neighborhoods selling fresh shrimp and crabs. Don’t see much of that anymore, but they can still be found parked at the local farmer’s markets.

So here’s the take for the day – while I was uptown I stopped at one of my favorite bakeries in town, Maple Street Patisserie and purchased a loaf of their white mountain bread. I think I’ll grill the eggplant and shrimp and have that with the bread and pesto for dinner!

And my secret for THE BEST NO FUSS CORN ON THE COB – shuck the corn, rinse it off and wrap the cob in a wet paper towel. Put the wrapped cob on a plate, microwave for 2 minutes, turn the cob, then microwave for 2 more minutes. If you do more than one cob, up the time by a minute per cob. BETTER THAN BOILING out all the nutrients! Salt and serve with butter or just eat it plain. Trust me it works, try it!

Fresh Market opening tomorrow at 9am 3338 St. Charles Avenue

The kind folks at The Fresh Market extended a “sneak peek” invite to the Femmes. Here is the report…

The Fresh Market opened in Greensboro, North Carolina approximately 30 years ago. The website offers a weekly e-mail blast you can sign up for on their in-store specials. The company tries to support local growers and suppliers and indicates this on their shelves. They stock predominately organic produce with a focus on seasonal items. There is also a recipe section on their website. They will be offering specials and chef’s tastings through this weekend so it would be a great time to check them out in person.

So let me allow the pictures to do the talking.

The entrances in the front and in the rear – there is a nice place to dine al fresco in the front

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Plenty flowers for sale, they also make gourmet gift baskets, have meals to go and a quick counter selling coffee at the front entrance

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There is a lovely produce section

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and there are nice locally themed decorative touches around the store

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The meat and seafood sections

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Marc was our tour guide

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and Chef Gwen Huffman of Foodtique NOLA was doing a cooking demonstration, steaks with a red wine and blue cheese reduction

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The good folks from Sucre’ had sweets for sampling

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Jim was passing out samples of the stores’ cheese selection

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New Orleans Ice Cream Company was also offering tastings

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as was Old New Orleans Rum

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also met one of the vendors for Drink Iconic – a local maker of protein drinks located in the New Orleans Bio center – if y’all are reading this let me clarify the website and conference at Xavier I mentioned to you, its Rising Tide NOLA

The food isles and bulk isles – they have an extensive coffee selection including their own blends

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They do their baking on site

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and they make fresh sushi daily

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Their wine and liquor selection is upstairs, and they offer a 10% off price mix and match case of wine all the time – plus there is a nice dining area on the second floor which can be used for small meetings when arranged in advanceImage

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So there you are – thanks so much to The Fresh Market for the nice goodie bag – I can’t wait to try the coffee!

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p.s. – make sure to try the pimento cheese – its the Fresh Market’s founder’s grandmother’s recipe and its divine!!! And also try the rotisserie chicken salad!!!

New Orleans City Park Annual Spring Garden Show

My latest “holy grail” has me looking for French mulberry shrubs, also known as beauty berry, specifically the Callicarpa americana var. lactea or French mulberry white cultivar. For some bizarre reason which I cannot explain, all of the shrubs in my landscape have white blooms – I didn’t intentionally start out that way, but that’s the direction its headed. Plus french mulberry attracts birds and is very easily propagated despite their relatively short lifespan (8-10 years). I’ve been calling nurseries and searching websites, but this shrub described by Dan Gill in his Louisiana Gardener’s Guide has proven elusive. So I thought perhaps I could get more information or even find a vendor selling this plant at the City Park Garden Show this morning, and brought my camera along for the ride. 

The parking lot across from the Botanical Garden has been paved!

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One of the beautiful entry gates, by Enrique Alférez

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More sculptures by Mr. Alférez

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At the entrance to the botanical garden was a table where volunteers were offering Friends of City Park memberships

To the right of the entrance were sections where vendors were selling flowers, garden supplies and garden decorations

Boudreaux’s Woodworking Shop was there – I own one of his comfy porch rockers

Bonsai!!!

A pretty shadow box of flowers

There were children’s activity tents, and a section where volunteers with the Botanical Gardens were selling plants

Bromeliads and orchids were available for sale

LSU Ag Center was holding gardening discussions – this mornings presentation was on bee keeping, and there was a table where attendees could ask gardening questions and obtain a soil sample mailing for $10.00.

I then strolled around the gardens to take in the beauty…

The Rose Garden

Century plant

The cactus greenhouse

Tropical rain forest greenhouse

The butterfly garden

Still no luck on finding the white Callicarpa, but now I have a few more leads…wish me luck on my quest!

Mirliton Fest Is Coming!

I love Mirliton Fest. It’s my favorite out of all the gazillions of fests we have because it’s still a mostly local gathering in an intimate neighborhood park. I’ve volunteered for the past two years and it’s just a blast to be around so many creative, nice people – fest organizers and fest goers alike. If you’ve never been you are truly missing out on one of New Orleans best fests for locals and for visitors who want to experience some local flava. It’s a great place to shop for the upcoming holidays while munching on Shrimp ‘n Grits and other yummy noms. Wash it all down with a cold beer and before ya  know it you’ll be shaking your tailfeathers to some of the best music in the city.  I’ve posted a few photos from the last two years of the fest and below that are the deets from the press release. We’d love to see you there!

2011 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Bywater Neighborhood Association’s Mirliton
Festival. Join us on Saturday, November 5th from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Markey Park
(corner of Piety and Royal streets). Admission is $5 and kids 10 years of age and under
are free.

The diverse and talented musical lineup includes Kermit Ruffins, Happy Talk Band,
Guitar Lightning Lee and Lil’ Freddie King, King James and the Special Men, Tuba
Skinny, The Tumbleweeds and Hurray for the Riff Raff.

This year’s festival will showcase food from some of the neighborhood’s best eateries,
including Jack Dempsey’s, The Joint, Sally’s Country Gourmet Foods, Satsuma Cafe,
Frady’s, Maurepas Foods, Café Roux, Sugar Park Tavern and Try Me Coffee as well as a
great selection of wines from Bacchanal. For those with a sweet tooth, look for gourmet
frozen treats from Meltdown. As in years past, Abita and Coca-Cola products will also be
available.

We will also have great local and regional art, a children’s activity area and some great
new merchandise including t-shirts, bumper stickers, cookbooks, and mirliton bread.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.bywatermirlitonfestival.org or follow us
on Facebook.

Fun with food and drink

I was reading some of my favorite blogs on Friday evening when I came across this post from NOLA Defender blog . Free admission to several Museums in the city? Sounds like us! We looked thru the list and chose a little-known museum located on the Riverwalk: The Southern Food & Beverage Museum , just past the food court on Level C.

The museum is full of well thought out displays and the attention to detail keeps the visitor looking at everything to catch those details.

Leah Chase is featured in the main area of the museum.


There’s a section devoted to methods of cooking food: stoves, barbecue pits……


and even a stove with a computer attached to it for multi-tasking cooks.


One of the first things that caught my eye was the Katrina Deli.


This caught my eye in the section devoted to rice: a poster from the upcoming International Rice Festival in Crowley, Louisiana .


I wonder how many people remember the little song about Mahatma and Water Maid rice?


I found the sugar section of the museum fascinating. I have passed hundreds of those huge trucks carrying sugarcane in the Raceland/Thibodaux area in the years that my daughter has attended Nicholls State, but I never realized how complex refining sugar could be.


This beautiful cake was created by Chef George Cook, pastry chef at the IP Casino in Biloxi, demonstrating food as art.


There’s a section devoted to red beans and rice.


Red beans and rice as clothing?


The Absinthe gallery takes up quite a bit of space in the museum.


This bar is from Bruning’s Restaurant, formerly of the West End.

Here are some other scenes from the museum:

I could do a whole post on the Cocktail section of the museum, there is so much in there.

There is a section where visitors can leave a message about their impression of the museum.


I found this note from a visitor who was tired of hearing “When the Saints Go Marching In” was amusing.

I highly recommend a visit to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Tickets are only $10 for adults ($8 for AAA members). To find out more about what exhibits are taking place at the Museum, check out this link.

Saturday in the Park

After a rain soaked Labor Day weekend , we were very happy to be given a picture perfect Saturday. We headed out to Lafayette Square in New Orleans to attend the 5th Annual New Orleans Seafood Festival.

We got there right when it opened so we could enjoy looking around without a large crowd. I think the park was a great location to have this small festival. It provided shade and lots of green space.


All of the food vendors were lined up on one side of the park in the shade.


Mr. B’s Gazpacheo was refreshing


Remoulade’s meat pie wasn’t really spicy but it was tasty.


We never did make it to the Luke booth. This picture was taken early and they weren’t ready to serve at that time.


Cafe Giovanni’s Shrimp and Grits where a huge disappointment. Instead of the expected rich, spicy flavor we found this dish to be too sweet (?)


The fried shrimp and bacon poboy was very, very good!


We sampled the bread pudding and it was delicious.

By this time we were extremely full and needed to move around. We decided to walk around the block from Magazine to Julia and back up St. Charles. There is so much to observe in this area of the city that we played tourist, stopping every few feet whenever something caught our eye.

I have a slew of other pictures and I plan to do a post on some of those, especially the variety of window styles, in the near future.

Back at Lafayette Square, the crowd at the Festival was growing

and it was almost time for Amanda Shaw to perform.

We first witnessed Amanda’s incredible talent 8 years ago when she was 11. At that time she was relatively unknown and her playing blew us away. She has matured since that performance and in my opinion she gets better and better. She sounded fantastic at the Seafood Festival and she got the crowd dancing.


You gotta love being in a place where a busload of tourists drive by a festival and wave at the festival goers!

After Amanda finished we followed our stomach’s advice and got in line at Drago’s char-broiled oyster booth.


They were worth the wait!!


Drago’s was going thru french bread to fast, they had more delivered by cab. LOL


Kermit Ruffins followed Amanda Shaw with his Barbecue Swingers. They played for more than 90 minutes and the crowd loved them.


Kermit’s 19 year old daughter Neshia performed and she has a very sweet voice.


You can tell who her Daddy is, can’t you?

We left about 4 and the people were still streaming into the park. It was a fantastically fun day, but it was good to get home, sunburned and full of good memories of a day in New Orleans. We are truely blessed to live here. See you next week!

Gretna farmer’s market

This is the second post in a series that promotes locals to buy local, supporting New Orleans metropolitan farmer’s market vendors and merchants. I went to the Gretna farmer’s market with a friend yesterday, had lunch and came home with some nice goodies. If you go, on the second Saturday of each month, beginning again in September, the Gretna Art Market accompanies the farmer’s market.

We drove across the Crescent City Connection to the westbank and took the Lafayette Street exit. Once you get off, you take a right on Lafayette street and drive down to 5th street. There you take a left and go to Huey P. Long Avenue. We stopped at Common Grounds Coffee for a strong cafe au lait, then proceeded to the market.

At the beginning of the outdoor market is a visitor center with a statue of baseball legend Mel Ott.

The market is covered held under the old train depot – a nice place in case a stray shower approaches then vendors have shelter from the rain.

At the entrance to the market, Schexnayder’s Acadian Foods is prominent – the business is located in Kenner, LA. and provides catering services as well as selling at both the German Coast and Gretna farmers markets. Their claim to fame is the Hurricane Sauce which can be used in many dishes. I’ve had their catered barbeque and I can attest it is some of the best to be had in the city! Their smoked chicken salad is to die for!!!

If you are looking for bromeliads, this gentleman had a lovely assortment.

Fleur de Bees, a local honey producer was selling honey, lip balm and bee pollen.

The next vendor was Sailey’s Restaurant and Catering. He described his artichokes and informed us they were available at local grocers like Dorignac’s.

The next vendor was Maria Plaisance Catering from Gretna, who gave me permission to post her phone number – 228-9557 – her jambalaya looked mouthwatering!

Next to Maria was Lori with Hungry Hounds Dog Cookies – My friend bought a few for my dog and I can testify that my pup ate every last crumb! She was also selling dried okra pods which were sweet and fresh.

There were a couple of vegetable vendors…

…and a gentleman on the end selling plants and citrus trees. I told him that I’d purchased my satsuma tree from him at the Gretna Market about 4 years ago, and how this winter will be the first that I let it set the fruit. I’d been pinching off the orange blossoms the last few seasons to allow the growth energy to go into the growth of the tree like he recommended and this winter I’ll have well over 3 dozen satsumas ripen – he was happy to hear the report back on his product!

There was some music being played…

…and next to the musicians was the lady from Portera’s Panetteria (Bakery), located in Destrehan 985-764-0291. She makes Italian cookies and takes custom cake orders too!

There was an enterprising young lady helping her mother sell delicious canned goods – the zesty pickles were awesome!

Next to her was Candle Nature, selling all soy candles – they are stocked in the local Rouses Markets.

Chef Ernie of Fame Confectionary – 367-4775 – gave me a few wonderful samples of his delicious and creamy pralines. He and his family also makes heavenly hash, sugared and spiced nuts, all beautifully boxed and ready to give as lovely gifts.

And finally, the couple from Amato’s Winery in Independence, LA. was selling an assortment of their wines.

So afterwards, we walked another block to the riverfront amphitheater to share some hot tamale balls and pulled pork meat pies…

…and to look at all the bounty we’d purchased…

…while enjoying the nice breezes off the Mississippi River.

Another farmer’s market will be profiled in the coming weeks…

Healing Center Grand Opening August 28

I wrote a bit about The Healing Center in a previous post. It sounds like a great concept but will reality match the vision? I’ve heard rumblings that some residents in the ‘hood aren’t too happy with some aspects of the center such as the apparent confusion as to the hours that Cafe Istanbul will keep and when liquor will be served. For a little inside info, read the comments on my previous post which includes a report  by Lord David of a recent neighborhood meeting in the center.

New Orleans Most Interesting Market

New Orleans artists and crafters are gearing up for the city’s “most interesting market”- Freret Market! Saturday, June 4 (tomorrow) catch your favorite NOLA crafters and artists from 12pm-5pm near the corner of Napolean and Freret.

I particularly love this market as 3 of my favorite things in life are sold there: food, art, and flea market items (which are always great for repurposing!) The day also includes live music…lots of live music…because let’s not forget- this is New Orleans! Tomorrow will be my third time participating in the Freret market as a vendor and one of the characteristics I have enjoyed is watching the market rapidly grow over such a short span of time. The momentum of the team that leads the market is incredible. Freret now boasts 80+ vendors with a waiting list! I (and my business partner in crime Jeremy) are honored to be among so many local talents. The camaraderie formed between repeat vendors is priceless.

Markets such as this are a huge reminder to everyone in our city about how important it is to shop local.

Mark your calendar to attend. Tomorrow will be the last Freret market until September. (Although we’re hitting record high temps now, July and August typically get even hotter!) And drop by our booth (SHULTZILLA) and say hi 🙂

Keep it cheeky!

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For more info on the Freret Market, visit: freretmarket.org