Exploring: New Orleans – The French Market

Exploring New Orleans
It’s another Travel Tuesday in New Orleans people – I still have so much to write about when it comes to this amazing city! Today, it’s the French Market. If you ever find yourself dumped in New Orleans for the weekend then you cannot leave without visiting this place, if you don’t go there you’ll be seriously missing out.

Perched on the edge of the Mississippi in the French Quarter of the city is the French Market, a place to get your tourist bits and bobs (if you really need them), taste some amazing local delicacies and just soak up the atmosphere of the market. We headed down here on a Sunday morning after a stroll along the banks of the river, it was so hot and we were in desperate need of some water and some shade. Our first stop was breakfast where we tucked into some spicy alligator meat (more on that in my guide to the best places to eat in New Orleans) with eggs, Cajun potatoes and bread – definitely something different but a good start to the day!

IMG_1214
IMG_1227
As you head into the market you are hit by a variety of smells and surrounded by little food stalls, cafés and sno-ball outlets where you can buy and eat everything from alligator to crawfish, oysters to po-boys and everything else in between, if you’re after a little snack to help you on your exploring way then this is the place to be. There are praline stalls, hot sauce shops with hundreds of different varieties and places to get a cooling drink, oh, and it’s all underneath a canopy so you can escape the sunshine too – in the height of summer that’s a must!

IMG_1242
IMG_1243
IMG_1258
As you walk further into the market you come to the non-food stalls, we’re talking the stuff of dreams if you’re after every tourist gift under the sun at a much cheaper price than the tourist shops on and around Bourbon Street. There are mardi-gras masks and beads by the billion, t-shirts with New Orleans on the front, magnets, postcards, books, artwork – you name it, it was there. I will admit to picking up a mardi-gras mask for both myself and the German – they were so pretty and so cheap, you never know when you’re going to need a mask for a masquerade ball!

IMG_1245
IMG_1246
IMG_1247
Oh and we can’t forget the nearby beignets – this place is super close to Café Du Monde and if you read last week’s post on where to eat you’ll know exactly why you need to stop off there!

Language Smanguage. Volume 2.

Language Smanguage.
Speaking British English can often lead to some mis-understandings when you’re living in the States. We may speak the same language but our slightly different words and pronunciations can leave people with blank faces.Let’s face it, we’re divided by a common language.

There are some words that, despite constantly trying, I just can’t get my head around. I often stumble over them and correct myself the second after the word has fallen out of my mouth. Want to know the latest words that are causing me some problems? Here goes:

1. Pavement/Sidewalk
Back in the UK, the part of the street you walk on next to the road is called a pavement, always has been, always will be. Now though, I have to switch to it being a sidewalk and I cannot get my head around it! It’s tough when you’ve been using the same word for 30 years! This one caused me a problem just the other night.We went to an event but got there before the road was closed and people were struggling to pass each other on the pavement. I described this to my friend who arrived a little later and she looked at me with a blank face and the words ‘what’s a pavement?’ I quickly answered with ‘oh, sidewalk, I mean sidewalk!’

2. Trolley/Cart
We’ve all done it, we head to the supermarket and pick up a trolley to put our groceries in, or as they’re called in America, a cart. I actually think the American word is better in this situation, I mean, a cart seems to describe the aim of the device better than a trolley, right? But, my brain is so used to the word trolley that I can’t seem to change it. A shopping trolley will always be a shopping trolley to me!

3. Petrol/Gas
In the UK, we fill our cars up with petrol, here in the US they fill their cars up with gas. It’s the same stuff, just with a different name and a word that I struggle with. 18 months in and I’m attempting to get the hang of going to the gas station instead of the petrol station and I do often use gas instead of petrol but I still struggle and the word doesn’t come out of my mouth as easily as petrol does. I also want to put on a dodgy American accent when I say it too which definitely does not work! There’s also the fact that I’m putting petroleum into my car so surely petrol is a more logical word to use?

4. Tomato/Tomato
This is more a pronunciation thing, you know the song, right? To-may-to, to-mar-to? Well, this is definitely a difficult one for my British brain and mouth to deal with. I often order a to-mar-to and basil soup and go on to correct myself and say to-may-to straight after! Most of the time I’m met with a ‘I understood you the first time’ answer or look, which kind of makes me feel like I shouldn’t try to fit in because I’m insulting people, others go on to ask me where I’m from and give me the ‘I love your accent!’ reply.

5. Holiday/Vacation
In the UK, we go on holiday. In the US, they go on vacation. I still go on holiday and have the German correcting me, saying we’re going on vacation. It’s hard when you’ve used the same words for so long! The ‘Where are you going on holiday?’ question in the hairdressers just doesn’t cut it in America.

Exploring: New Orleans – The Food

Exploring New Orleans

Life has been so hectic lately I still haven’t managed to tell you all about our trip to New Orleans back in June for my birthday. So, for Travel Tuesday this week, I thought we’d take a trip back to the deep south to check out the food.

NoLa is famous for various different delicacies and I wanted to try all of them, in the space of 3 days. I had a list and I was going to tick them all off…and I just about did! I think there was one item I didn’t manage to try so I did pretty well, and came home a few pounds heavier! So, here’s my definitive list of what you need to try (and where!) whilst in New Orleans.

1. A Po-Boy from Killer Poboys
This place is seriously tucked away, so tucked away in fact we had to ask someone where it was after strolling up and down the street it was supposed to be on at least three times. We were told to go into the Erin Rose Bar on Conti Street, walk all the way to the back as if you’ve gone too far and you’ll find it – it was a little strange but sure enough, at the back of the Erin Rose Bar we found some Killer Poboys! A po-boy was just about at the top of my list and I wasn’t disappointed. I chose the shrimp with the Germany tucking into a meatloaf po-boy – just amazing! It was loaded with huge coriander lime shrimp, salad and special sauce, it may even have been one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten! Po-boys are everywhere in New Orleans but f you want a good po-boy when you’re in NoLa, you have to go there – it may look a little strange but it’s worth venturing into the deep dark depths of the Erin Rose Bar for!

NoLa Food 1

2. Beignets at Café Du Monde
You can’t got to New Orleans without dropping by this place and trying some beignets. They’re a kind of doughnut that is covered in powdered sugar. This place is world-famous for them, people head to Café Du Monde, order a cafe au lait and beignets and indulge in a little people watching whilst trying to avoid being covered in powdered sugar! This place is always packed and once you taste the delights they sell you’ll know why! We decided to go for the take away option:

NoLa Food 2
3. Oysters Rockefeller
This dish was invented in New Orleans so it would be pretty rude to not chow down on some oysters rockefeller whilst you’re there. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of oysters, in fact before eating these I’d only ever tried them once and they were a little too slimy for my liking but, after hearing lots of good things about this dish I thought I’d give it a try – the German was a little more wary though and opted for something much more sensible (I can’t remember what but it definitely wasn’t oysters!). So, oysters rockefeller is served on the half shell, topped with various chopped herbs, a butter sauce and breadcrumbs and then baked or broiled – that’s grilled if you’re in the UK! I have to say I was pretty surprised by the outcome, they were very tasty. I may even indulge in oysters more often:

NoLa food 8

4. Sno-balls
This is the perfect treat to cool you down when you’re in the midst of the New Orleans heat and humidity. It’s basically shaved ice-covered in cane sugar syrup. Because the ice is so thin, the syrup is absorbed into it and you can get them in every flavour imaginable, seriously. There’s the usual like strawberry, pineapple, cherry and lemon and then there’s the less traditional flavours like cake batter, peanut butter and silver fox – whatever that is! We went for a mango sno-ball and it cooled us down perfectly:

NoLa Food 4
5. Pralines
Another New Orleans staple is a praline. Again influence by the French settlers, this treat is sure to tickle your sweet taste buds. These are basically sugar, butter, cream and pecan nuts cooked together until most of the water has evaporated and it reaches a thick, creamy substance. They’re then dropped onto a wax paper sheet and left to cool – they taste amazing! No other words needed. You have to try some when you hit NoLa!

IMG_1272

6. Gator Meat
Ok, so this isn’t necessarily typical of New Orleans but alligator meat is huge here. It’s everywhere, whether it’s gator sticks, gator fillet, fried gator, you name it, they do it. The German decided he wanted to try it so we tucked into a gator breakfast at the French Market. To me, gator is a little like a mixture of chicken and pork, it’s light coloured and not too chewy, it’s actually pretty tasty! Ours was laden with the typical NoLa spices and definitely hit the spot!

NoLa food 3
7. Stein’s Deli
We actually stumbled upon this place whilst navigating our way around the Garden District and it was definitely a good find! Stein’s Deli is a Jewish and Italian deli that’s serves up some of the tastiest sandwiches ever! We didn’t really know where we were going to grab some lunch but after passing this beaut and noticing it was busy we headed in. The menu was just immense with everything from a traditional Reuben to the Southern Animal Foundation. I settled on the Rachel (I wonder how I made that decision?) which consisted of hot pastrami, swiss and sauerkraut on rye with Russian dressing, three words – oh, my, lord. It was out of this world:

NoLa Food 6
8. The Ruby Slipper Cafe
If you’re in the market for breakfast The Ruby Slipper Cafe is the place to go. We found this one through the joys of TripAdvisor and headed there to kick off my birthday celebrations. This place was inspired by the sense of homecoming felt following Hurricane Katrina, as Dorothy and her ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz said ‘there’s no place like home!’ Being my birthday I obviously started with a bloody Mary before chowing down on the chicken St. Charles – hey, I’d been stuffing my face all weekend, no use stopping now! It was delicious! The German opted for the Costa Rican with breakfast chorizo and I can assure you that was very tasty too!

NoLa Food 7
9. Hot Sauce
Louisiana is famed for its hot sauce, lets face it, with dishes like gumbo, creole and other spicy creations these people need it! They add it to almost everything to give it the kick they’re looking for and, if you’re in the market to stock up and buy some you’re in luck. In quite a few shops in New Orleans there are hot sauce bars where you can try loads of different types of the stuff, and by loads I’m not talking just 10! We bobbed into one before dinner one night and checked a few of them out. I think I managed about 3 before my mouth was on fire and I couldn’t take it anymore the German however went a few steps further and tried so many of the sauces that his eyes were watering and it looked like he was crying – typical boy would not be beaten by the hot sauce. Obviously some a milder than others and some are majorly strong, so strong in fact they actually tell you to just try one little drop – I steered very clear of those ones!

NoLa Food 5

Sadly we didn’t tuck into any gumbo or jambalaya, another New Orleans staple but it was the middle of June and so hot outside that I think chowing down on something hot and spicy may have finished me off! Another typical dish that we didn’t eat was crawfish. I was pretty sad about this because it was close to the top of my ‘must-eat’ list but, with just a couple of days in the city I think we did pretty well at tasting most of the dishes!

Food: Making our own pizzas

Making Pizzas
As you all know, the German celebrated his birthday the other week and we spent the weekend in Savannah. Lucky that we did because his birthday present was a little heavy to take on a plane.

The German’s favourite food in the whole, entire world is pizza. He could eat it every single day and not get bored. In fact, before he met me I think he really did eat it every single day and, if I go back to the UK and leave him home alone without any pre-cooked dinners in the freezer he definitely would eat pizza every single day. So, with this in mind, I bought him his very own pizza recipe book, a pizza stone and a pizza peel so that he could make his own pizzas from scratch. Turns out it was a blummin good present and he was a happy birthday boy so, last weekend, we decided to try it out.

The adventure started with the dough. Turns out this baby needs 18 hours to prove – 18 hours? I knew it would take a while but I wasn’t thinking 18 hours! Anyway, we made it the night before and waited for the yeast to do its stuff and make the little ball of dough double in size…and it did!

It was pizza time. The German had chosen a sausage and fennel pizza (fennel seems to be a favourite of his lately) so we started with a basic tomato sauce by literally squishing some tomatoes and made the ground pork into sausage meat by adding some ginger, fennel seeds, garlic and chilli flakes. This thing was looking good.

We chopped up the rest of our ingredients (well I did, chopping isn’t really the German’s forte) and we were ready to go:

Making Pizzas 2
First we needed to shape our bases. The German wanted to do the Italian thing and shape them in the air on his hands – he tried, but he needs a little more practice, so after a little bit of air shaping he continued on the counter top and managed to make some good circles! We put the toppings on and these things were ready to go…the only thing we were about to struggle with was getting them from the counter top to the oven…disasters.

Making Pizzas 3
We have a pizza peel but, once half of the pizza was on the peel the other half didn’t want to move. We ended up having to squish the pizza a little to get it on the peel and then onto the pizza stone that had been heating up in the oven but we made it and 12 minutes later our first pizza was ready – success! This thing looked good!

Making Pizzas 4
We then had another struggle to get the second pizza off the counter top and into the oven – does anybody have any tips on how to do this? It seems we really need them. We did use a lot of flour – probably too much if I’m honest – but it still didn’t work! Help is greatly appreciated. Eventually we did it but sadly, whilst the pizza was in the oven the pizza stone broke! It literally cracked into 2 pieces. We managed to patch it together and use it for the pizza but, it’s safe to say, it will be heading back to the store this week.

Next came the taste test, after one bite we realised we did bloody well! They were amazing! Very tasty indeed. The German was pleased with his efforts – I think pizza making will be happening a lot more often in the Richter house. He’s already eyed up another couple of pizzas in his book he wants to try.

Have you ever made your own pizza? What’s your favourite topping?

Life is Good. {September’s Happy Moments}

Life is Good...

So, it seems I’ve taken another unscheduled blogging vacation (holiday for you Brits back home – I’m hanging my head in shame for using that word!) after a busy couple of weeks in the Richter House! The Richter Hotel has been fully booked and with visitors galore I’ve been here, there and everywhere entertaining to the max whilst also fitting in some work! Phew!

I’m back now and celebrating what has bee a fab September by picking out some of it’s best moments that have made life so good this month. I can’t believe it’s October already – where is this year going? It will be Christmas and we’ll be jumping on that plane back to England before we know it! Once again, I’m linking up with the lovely Belinda over at Found Love, Now What so make sure you head over to her fab blog and show her a little love!

{September’s Happy Moments}

The yearly visit of Mama C!
That’s right people, Mama C flew in for her annual visit this month without Papa C (he won’t fly because he has a bad neck 😦 ) for 2 weeks of Mama C/daughter/son-in-law time in the ATL. Thankfully, she didn’t bring the rain with her this year and managed 2 weeks of sunshine, although our planned trip to the beach turned into a couple of days in Nashville because the weather was not looking too bright and sunny down in Destin! It was lovely to have her around though. She came with an empty suitcase and went back with a full to bursting one thanks to a lot of shopping, (the German wasn’t too happy with the high number of shopping bags that came through the door in my hands!), we introduced her to the best BBQ in town, the best burger in town, stuffed our faces with donuts, finally made it up Stone Mountain with her, went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Zoo Atlanta, sampled some wine in Dahlonega, celebrated Oktoberfest in Atlanta, went to a Braves game and generally had some mother/daughter time that you can’t really have over FaceTime. She’s probably crying now reading this – sorry mum!

Stone Mountain / Wine Tasting in Dahlonega / Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Stone Mountain / Wine Tasting in Dahlonega / Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Some exploring with Mama C – Nashville, TN
During Mama C’s stay we were supposed to head to Florida for a few days at the beach whilst the German worked hard and earned the money but, Mama C’s history with the weather and her love of bringing the rain over from England meant the forecast was not looking good and there is nothing worse than being at the beach when it’s raining! So, we quickly changed our plans at the last-minute and instead headed up the Nashville for a couple of nights. It’s less than a 4 hour drive from Atlanta so we hopped in the car and went to Tennessee. We indulged in some country music, checking out the Hall of Fame, sipped some beers to live music in some of the many bars, checked out the Parthenon (slightly random having something Greek in the middle of Tennessee) and strolled around the city, taking in the atmosphere and soaking it all up. I’m already planning a return with the German before the end of the year. We stopped off at Ana Ruby Falls on the way home – Mama C liked that one too!

September is Good 2

Bright lights of Nashville / Exploring the Parthenon / Gold records at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Don’t worry – more detailed Nashville blogging is in the pipeline!

Sven came to stay
Jeez, the Hotel Richter was busy this month! Just a day after a tearful goodbye to Mama C (don’t worry Minimum, it will be Christmas before we know it!) I was back at the airport to pick up our friend Sven from Germany. He’s a childhood friend of the German, they both grew up in little Mettingen and Sven thought he would stop by to say hello on his way to the west coast of America. We managed to pack a lot into the weekend including a Bundesliga Breakfast (the boys, not me), a visit to Monday Night Brewing, dinner and drinks in Roswell, a tour of Turner Field and we ate our way through a mountain of wings! I’d say that’s a weekend well spent! Sven is now living it up at the Grand Canyon before heading to Las Vegas and San Francisco – not a bad trip at all!

September is Good 3

Some corn hole action at Monday Night Brewing / In the dug out at Turner Field

We explored a little more of Atlanta
On Labor Day we checked out the Atlanta BeltLine. It’s kind of like the High Line in New York City – an old train line that’s slowly being turned into a park walkway, eventually it will stretch around the city but for now there’s just a small section open. Artwork is dotted along the pathway and it’s a popular place for cyclists so make sure you stick to your own side! We did however, forget to take into account the boiling hot sun in the middle of the day – an epic European expat fail. To say we were hot and sweaty was a massive understatement! What a beautiful picture I paint for you…! We also finally made it to the High Museum of Art after a failed attempt last year when we tried to go on a Monday only to get there and realize that’s the day it closes. Doh. We checked out the permanent exhibits and looked at the special Dream Cars exhibit (which the German loved) before hanging out in a hammock and taking a stroll around Piedmont Park.

September is Good 4

Strolling along the Atlanta BeltLine / Hanging out in a hammock at the High Museum of Art

Some of September’s small happy moments
We tucked into our first real American milkshakes, obviously with a burger! I had nutella with burnt marshmallows and the German downed a strawberry shortcake, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be having more milkshakes in the future.

The space near our front door was given a facelift with the addition of a pretty plant and a small herb garden. I wonder if I’ll be able to keep them alive…here’s hoping!

I celebrated the start of fall with a pumpkin spice coffee and a slice of peanut butter and pumpkin loaf. Remember my post about how America loves the pumpkin last year – that love has returned, full throttle!

We took a lovely evening stroll along the Chattahoochee. The weather is cooling down now, making it the perfect time to get outside! It also means the jeans have made their way out of the closet again…sad times. Until next spring shorts!

A front door facelift / Pumpkin coffee and peanut butter and pumpkin loaf / A stroll along the Chattahoochee

A front door facelift / Pumpkin coffee and peanut butter and pumpkin loaf / A stroll along the Chattahoochee

September rocked and October is looking pretty amazing too – my oldest and best friend in the whole wide world is coming to visit next week with my goddaughter and I cannot wait to see them walk through those airport doors – there will definitely be tears, from both sides!

Life Is Good. {August in Review}

Life is Good...
It’s that time of the month again where I link up with the lovely Belinda over at Found Love, Now What (go check out her fab blog…once you’ve read this post of course!) to celebrate everything good that happened in August both big and small. LIfe is so busy that we sometimes forget the little things that were just bloody awesome. August was a pretty packed month for this expat meaning I have loads of great things to tell you about! Here goes…

Life is Good. {August in Review}

The first day of August saw me waking up back in England a little jet lagged but happy to be home and excited to catch up with friends and family who I haven’t seen since the wedding back in May.

The first weekend in August I hung out with Ma Cook and did a spot of shopping, went out for dinner with her and Pa Cook and, more importantly (sorry parentals!) became a godmother to the beautiful Lily:

August is Good 1
The next few days were filled with lunches and dinners and meet ups with friends, I managed to stuff my face with plenty of British treats including steak and ale pie and fish and chips, I also indulged in a couple of curries and came back to the States a few pounds heavier!

I spent a lovely day at the beach with my new god-daughter Lily, her mum, my oldest and most special friend Clare, Clare’s mum and Ma Cook. Being the UK it wasn’t too warm but it was a perfect day for making sand castles and paddling in the sea at Bridlington:

August is good 2
Lily, Clare and I also spent some time at the farm, anyone who knows me will realise that this is a major achievement as I am not an animal person – it’s safe to say I didn’t touch any of them though despite Clare trying to encourage me to – I left that to her and Lily!

I spent a night with my brother and sister-in-law (and the parentals) in Cheltenham before heading to Worcester for christening number 2 where I spent time with my friends from university Taff and Forkie (we missed you Bam!) and became a godmother again, this time to the beautiful Bridget:

August is good 3
Then it was time for my to fly home and back to the German, who was a good un and got me some lovely flowers to welcome me home.

The first day I was back home, the German took my car key to work, meaning I was stuck in the house…great.

The second day I was back home I had to wait for the cable guy who had a window of 8am-12pm. He arrived at 12:20pm with no apology, I wasn’t impressed. By this point I was desperate to get out of the house but when I jumped into my car it wouldn’t start. Great. So, I spent the afternoon by the pool before taking Mindy (that’s my car, we all name our cars right?) for a new battery.

That weekend we headed to Indianapolis to see our friends Balti and Jasmin. We went to the Indianapolis State Fair (expect a blog post on that beast!), caught a pre-season Indianapolis Colts football game and checked out the city:

August is good 4
I had lunch with my British friend Gillian and her new baby Maia – we went to a British pub and talked about how we don’t search out British food and have adjusted to American life – we couldn’t have said it in a better place!

Then came the German’s birthday trip to Savannah – we checked out the beautiful historic city, ticked off 3 of the 4 places in America where you can drink on the streets and celebrated the German adding another year to his life. You can read more about that little trip by clicking here.

August is good 5
I attempted to head back to the gym this month…something which left me in a little bit of pain, baring in mind I haven’t properly exercised since before the wedding in May!

The German bought himself a new bike whilst I was away too meaning we can now go out on bike rides together (I get to use his old bike), this however, resulted in me being saddle sore…ouch. We have ventured out again though and I’m pleased to report the problem is getting better!

The month ended with another long weekend thanks to the Labor Day holiday where we stayed at home for a change! It was much-needed after weeks away! We chilled out, went on a bike ride, laid by the pool and made our own pizzas!

August is good 6
So there you have it – August was once again a blast for this expat. It was so good to head home and spend some time with my family and friends, become a godmother twice over (I’m one lucky lady!) and do some more exploring. Life really is good!