Monday, January 10, 2022

The Red Robe

We are Auburn people. We do not do houndstooth. We do not do red, in any shade...crimson (especially crimson) maroon, scarlet, burgundy, ruby or tomato. I have many Alabama friends and I love them, but I do not like their football team. They know this and accept it. In all honesty, they don't like my team either. Occasionally one of them will declare, quite magnanimously, "I pull for Auburn, except during the Iron Bowl." Yeah, it's easy to be bighearted when your team is in the National Championship Game...Every. Single. Year.  When JD was trying to decide where he wanted to go to college, he visited Mississippi State. He asked his dad if he would wear Mississippi State maroon if that's the college he chose. Scott didn't elaborate. He just said, "Nope." Apparently Rob, an Auburn graduate himself, does not understand this concept. I'm not sure where it came from, but at some point a red, terry cloth robe showed up in our house, perhaps left by an Alabama friend trying to mess with our minds. Anyway, Rob found it and adopted it. Like a pet. And now the darn thing shows up at the oddest times. The first time I realized we had a problem was in January a few years ago. Rob was packing to go back to Auburn. He came downstairs wearing THE ROBE and some navy house shoes his grandmother had given him for Christmas. He was loading his truck, his filthy truck, and while I thought it strange he hadn't dressed to go back to school before he began packing up, it did not occur to me that he wouldn't change clothes before he left. He didn't. I asked, "Why?"  He said, "I'm comfortable." I asked, "What if you get stopped?" He said, "I won't." And off he went, to the land of orange and blue in a red robe. Now it must be told, he did actually have on clothes under THE ROBE, but, still, he had on a red robe and house shoes. And his truck was still filthy. 

I shared this with my friends on Facebook. The memory pops up every year and the legend of THE ROBE grows. Sort of like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, only it's the Brotherhood of the Red Robe. Rob's friend, JP, said THE ROBE traveled with them to the beach once. He thought he had a picture of Rob wearing THE ROBE on the beach feeding seagulls. Sure enough, he did. I couldn't believe it. There's Rob, in the red robe, standing on a beach chair feeding the birds. 

Rob is now in Arizona. Red is much more acceptable out there, at least for us. People can just assume he is a Sun Devil. And THE ROBE is still proving its use. The boys were invited to a Halloween party this past October. JD went as the baby toting, Alan Garner, from The Hangover. Rob, having been in Austin for a month and not having time to pull together a costume, pulled out THE ROBE, the slippers and a pipe and went as Hugh Hefner. Now I think, we are stuck with THE ROBE forever. It will be handed down to future generations as a priceless artifact. Stories will be told about THE ROBE and they will be embellished. It will grow in relevance and will, I expect, be endowed with great powers, a totem, if you will. In the meantime, I wonder what will be the next great adventure for Rob's red robe. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Main Street Matters

Y'all know I love to travel. I like to visit places that are unique. I like to eat in one of a kind cafes and eateries, see things that are different, listen to different accents and learn new things. I want to see beautiful small communities with vibrant city centers and see how other people live. Getting off the interstates and traveling the backroads, avoiding strip malls and big box chains are ideas that appeal to me. 

If these are the kinds of places I want to visit, why on earth would I wish anything different for my home town? I don't! When I close my eyes and envision a Scottsboro five, ten, twenty years into the future, what do I see? More bypasses and big box chains? No! I see our square dotted with darling cafes and cute shops and exciting event spaces. I see people coming from out of town to visit stores that they can't find anywhere else. I see these locally owned shops and restaurants spilling into the streets surrounding the square, because there are so many of them we can't fit them all onto just four sides of a square. I see more events and bigger, too, because people want to come to our beautiful little town filled with plants and flowers and murals and art. 

One thing that being part of Main Street Alabama has taught me is that a lively economy doesn't just spring from nothing. You have to have something to offer. Do businesses want to come to a town that is depressed and depressing? Do they want to relocate to a town that has nothing to give back? Do their employees want to live somewhere that is ugly and dirty and not loved? No! The changes don't start with the ones who come here. They start with us. And it starts from the inside out. First we change our way of thinking. We become part of the solution, rather than the problem. Then we start with the heart of our town, in our case, our square. We start by cleaning up and sprucing up. We add landscaping and hang flower baskets. 

We paint murals and use many local talents so that each mural is unique. We host events, not just to give our people something to do, but to bring in others, so that they can see what we have to offer. We grow a symbiotic relationship with our business owners. Our events help bring in new customers and, in turn, they stay open for events, they put a little more sparkle into their storefronts, and they become a little more involved, a little more encouraged to try something new. 

To give credit where credit is due, one person really got things going in Scottsboro. Seven years ago, Richard Matthews took it upon himself to singlehandedly give our beloved Variety Bake Shop a facelift. That one act had more impact than any of us could have imagined. I really believe every single good thing that has happened on our square since, was an indirect result of his willingness to give back to his community.

Payne's Soda Fountain has been a big supporter of Main Street and, in turn, we realize just how important this venerable old business is to our town. They stay open for all of our events, stay open later on some nights and they give it their all. Recently, for Halloween on the Square, every employee dressed '50s style and the energy they gave off was contagious. As a result, the place was bustling and people were waiting in lines to get seated. It was gratifying to see.

One new store owner, Adam Stiles of Back Porch Pickin' took it upon himself to add corn stalks to our light poles. He just did it! Nobody had to ask him. He offered. And our town looked amazing for Halloween on the Square, all because one person cared enough to roll up his sleeves and do something he could do. 

Diane Widgeon, the owner of another new store, Sassy Nana, put beautiful flower pots outside her shop and she keeps them watered, too. They look great!

Recently, Magnolia House has started staying open at night. How exciting that was to all of us hoping for a bustling night life in our district. We applaud Magnolia House for stepping out and hope they are just the first of many businesses who will be giving people a reason to enjoy our downtown after five. 

Since the heart of our town is our historic Courthouse and our City Hall flanks one of our side streets, we will always be a downtown where county and city business takes place. Our attorneys took care of the buildings when all the businesses fled in the 80s and 90s. We are grateful for their help and support and we support them. It makes sense for them to want to be near the courthouse where they conduct a lot of business. But, for the other buildings on the square, which are limited, we wish for retail and restaurants. We want businesses that will make people want to walk around the square and shop, sit outside and enjoy music piped from the clock tower and our wifi and read a book or share a meal. We want to show people that we love our town and why they should love it too. 

So, what can you do? I don't know. What CAN you do? What skills do you have? What kind of resources do you have that could help make Downtown Scottsboro better in some way? Only you can answer that question, but we would more than welcome your help in any way your heart and your gifts lead you. Perhaps you know of a great shop or diner that would be a wonderful fit for our town. Call them and have them call us. We are actively on the lookout for new businesses and will be happy to meet with them. Our City Council appreciates our current businesses and will always support them, but they are also enthusiastic about helping new businesses come to our town. They are eagerly working to help Scottsboro be a place that is welcoming to new businesses.

Downtown Scottsboro would love for you to join us in helping to make Scottsboro the best little town in north Alabama. Contact us and let us know how you would like to help.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Best Hummus Ever

I love hummus. Good hummus, that is. Sometimes the pre-made stuff in the grocery store is barely deserving of the name hummus. Grainy, gritty, and tasteless, it isn't worth the calories or the cost. When I hear people say they do not like hummus, I have to wonder if they've been the victim of some of that pre-packaged paste.

Not only do I love well-made hummus, I love hummus accoutrements. Hamilton's in Auburn has some of the best, in my opinion. Rob and I love it so much, we've been known to order two plates of the stuff. These are not small plates either. Hamilton's serves up full sized plates of hummus, sprinkled heavily with smoked paprika and surrounded by warm pita wedges, pickled onions, olives and pepperoncini pepper rings. It's so good!

Lately, I've been on a mission to perfect my hummus making skills. I've done it every way you can imagine, with canned garbanzos and with dried, plain and with add-ins, but in the back of my mind, I always thought it could be better.

With hummus, texture is a big deal. If it is too grainy or too pasty, the taste suffers. I want a hummus that is seriously fluffy and creamy. The stuff dreams are made of. I was flipping through some hummus recipes the other day and discovered that Bon Appétit had named hummus as their 2015 Dish of the Year. I decided it must be some really delicious hummus to garner that billing, so I checked it out. The hummus in question is the creation of a Philadelphia chef named Michael Solomonov and he has some interesting tips for making hummus.

1. Boil the garbanzos in water into which baking soda has been added. I'm no chemist, but according to Solomonov, this raises the pH of the water and helps break down the proteins in the beans which, in turn, creates an ultra-smooth purée when you put them in the food processor.

2. Use good tahini and lots of it. Do not skimp on this ingredient. While I have not yet tried Chef Solomonov's favorite tahini from Soom Foods, I do have it on order. I cannot wait to try it, because the Chef's other suggestions have made a world of difference to my hummus.

3. Chop the garlic cloves finely and puree with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to give the garlic time to mellow.  This prevents that sharp garlic bite that can sometimes overtake recipes.

4. Use ice water to bring the mixture to its creamy, dreamy smoothness.

5. Chef Solomonov does not add olive oil to his hummus, but he does drizzle the hummus liberally with olive oil before serving. I did add just a little to my hummus while processing, but not nearly as much as I have with previous recipes.

6. Dr. Rick Marshall, aka Will Ferrell, says in Land of the Lost, "If Chaka meat were the secret ingredient on Iron Chef, I'm sure Bobby Flay would probably serve it with roasted red peppers and a dash of cumin and a braised polenta." Well, Solomonov, would probably agree, because he also adds a dash of cumin to his hummus. It's that little bit of umami that makes the difference. 

6. Chef Solomonov suggests the following toppings: hot smoked Spanish paprika, fresh lemon juice, chopped parsley, radishes, fennel fronds, and mango pickles. I am going to figure out how to duplicate Hamilton's pickled onions and throw on the pepperoncini pepper rings.

Another favorite hummus topping of mine is a Galli Hot Pepper Italian Salad of jalapeños and olives made in Destin, FL. We've been buying this stuff since we first discovered it in a little shop in Callaway Gardens thirty years ago. Now we just order it from Amazon.

My newest discovery is Burrata, which is a mild, fresh mozzarella, stuffed with mozzarella curds and cream. It tastes a lot like whipped unsweetened cream and is divine when spread on top of hummus and sprinkled with salt and red pepper flakes. If you've never bought Burrata, here are a couple of things you might want to know. It is packed in water, like fresh mozzarella. There are only two Burrata balls in the BelGiosioso container, so you aren't getting a lot, as the container is mostly filled with water. You cut the mozzarella ball open to dig out the creamy goodness inside. That's the part you spread on your hummus.

But make no mistake, this hummus is delicious all on it's own on pita wedges or with tortilla chips.

Here's the recipe:

1 can garbanzo beans...pour into a saucepan, cover with several inches of water, add 1/2 t. baking soda and let boil for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into mesh strainer and rinse with cold running water for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

2. 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped and the juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons...add these to food processor with1/2 t. salt and puree away until the garlic is super fine. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

3. 1/2 c. of the best tahini you can find...add to lemon garlic mixture in food processor. While motor runs, splash in 2 T. ice water and blend until smooth, creamy and very light in color.

4. 1/2 t. cumin and 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil...add these to the tahini lemon mixture in the food processor along with the cooked and drained garbanzos. Continue processing until the hummus is fluffy and light, super creamy and cloud-like. Place in serving dish, drizzle liberally with good olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika, freshly chopped parsley or fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Scottsboro, the Time is Now

"Freedom lies in being bold. The best way out is always through." Robert Frost

Four years ago, I posed the following questions.

...what's next?  Will the citizens of Scottsboro be satisfied with the status quo or will they seize the day and become part of the solution? Will the square get new sidewalks, but fail to become an arts and entertainment district capable of attracting new business and growth to the downtown area? Will Scottsboro continue to be a "go through" town rather than a "go to" town? Will the downtown area continue to roll up the sidewalks at 5:00 pm or will it roll out the red carpet to more dining, entertainment and shopping possibilities? Will we continue to have a under-used Farmer's Market tucked off in an out of the way area or a lively and energetic place for farmers and shoppers to come together in the heart of the city? Will we let our proud First Monday tradition fade into the pages of history, or will we resuscitate it and give it new life in a bustling and vibrant downtown?

So far, the answers for most of these questions are, sadly, negative. We do have new sidewalks, but we are not an arts and entertainment district. We continue to be a drive through town and the sidewalks still roll up at 5:00 pm. We don't have a downtown farmers' market and First Monday is still suffers from lack of support. 

Back in 2014, I reviewed some of the charms of this quaint village in the valley and further wrote about a hunger among the citizens to grow businesses and breathe new life into the the town.

But that was four years ago. Where are we now? 

Downtown Scottsboro, the volunteer group, is still working, planning a few events a year and making just enough money at each event to be able to fund the next event. Our events have grown every year and the feedback from citizens has been encouraging. We have Jingle Bell Square at Christmas, Market on the Square in the spring and a few Movie on the Square nights in the summer. This year, with leadership from our new mayor, Robin Shelton, we were able to coordinate Jingle Bell Square with the town's annual Christmas parade, so our event was bigger and better than ever before. We are also getting ready to participate in Alabama's Bicentennial celebration and are coordinating events with input and direction from the Mayor. The encouragement and support we have gotten from him have been much appreciated and very much needed. Leaders with vision and courage are essential to growth and we have seen much of that with this administration.

Now, however, we are on the cusp of another big decision. Last night, a representative from Main Street Alabama gave a presentation at City Hall. The benefits of being part of this organization are numerous. Help with branding, promoting, growing and event planning are much needed and the costs of membership are very reasonable, with the biggest expense being a dedicated position within city hall for the express purpose of working with Main Street Alabama. We have a new event planner who could serve in this capacity, but she also has other responsibilities. Can Scottsboro address this issue? With some creative thinking and problem solving, the city leaders should be able to come up with innovative solutions. The big question is, does Scottsboro have the commitment needed? In order to be part of this program, the town has to "buy in" to the process and support it. First we have to apply. There is no guarantee we will be accepted, but not to apply will send a definite message to the community. If we aren't even willing to apply, we will know our town is seriously lacking in backbone. If we are afraid to even TRY, we have failed already. But applying is just the beginning. Assuming we are accepted into the program, then we need community leaders, citizens and volunteers to undergird the process or it will fail. There are no assurances here. Success is totally dependent on the willingness, support, drive and dedication of everyone involved.

Can we do this? I sure hope so. If we don't, I fear for our future. As surrounding towns muster courage and dive headfirst into revitalization, we will either join them or be left behind. So, again I ask, what's next, Scottsboro?

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Beautiful Trip to the Crescent City

Four friends, three nights, two and a half days, and one fantastic theater production! With more fun than time, Three Friends and a Fork set off to see the Carole King inspired musical, Beautiful, in New Orleans. I left home, stopped in Birmingham to pick up our friends, Merri and Julie, and then headed to Tuscaloosa to collect Luanne, before setting our sights on Meridian, Mississippi, where we planned to spend our first night. 


We made it to Meridian in time to eat dinner at our favorite Meridian restaurant, Weidmann's (pronounced Widemann's). You know you've arrived at Weidmann's when you see the pretty carousel horse on the sidewalk outside. 

Weidmann's has been in operation since 1870. That year, Ulysses S. Grant was president and Robert E. Lee died. Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge began and Felix Weidmann opened a tiny restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi, with just a counter and four stools. 


In the 1940's there was a butter shortage. Crocks of peanut butter were placed on each table in place of the butter. The tradition stuck and to this day, Weidmann's brings a crock of peanut butter to each table to start the meal. You can even buy a Weidmann's crock, if you so choose.

Today, Weidmann's is a fine dining restaurant that has entertained a number of celebrities and many of their pictures adorn the walls. One of the latest, was VP Mike Pence, who visited during the recent presidential race. We were tired and not feeling especially important by the time we arrived at Weidmann's, but the staff made us feel special anyway. We were quickly seated, menus handed out, drink orders taken and our peanut butter crock placed on our table. As we munched on peanut butter and crackers, we decided on our entrees. Julie and I chose to split an order of shrimp remoulade salad, along with a cup of the soup of the day, which was a brothy chicken mushroom soup with artichokes. Our meals arrived with a basket of perfect homemade bread and real butter.

 Merri and Luanne split an order of shrimp and grits which they both loved. 

Then we all shared a pecan praline bread pudding with ice cream and praline sauce. It was delicious.

We left Weidmann's and headed to our motel to recharge so that we could get an early start the next morning. New Orleans was waiting and we didn't want to be late.    

Friday morning, we ate a quick breakfast at the motel and jumped back in the car for the three hour drive into New Orleans. On the way, we discussed, what else, lunch! Luanne told us that her dentist, who is from New Orleans, told her if we wanted to get the best and freshest seafood, to eat at one of the restaurants on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain, where the boats bring in seafood right after it is caught. With that in mind, I began googling. I came up with a restaurant named The Blue Crab. It had good reviews and the name sounded like a good omen, since it was also National Crab Day. I will also tell you, that getting to the Blue Crab was not a straight shot and Lu, Merri and Julie were getting mighty skeptical before we reached our destination. I'm pretty sure they were thinking I had made a bad decision. However, we finally found The Blue Crab sitting right on the water. We secured a parking place and climbed a long row of stairs to the wide, light filled dining room. With each step, I prayed I had made a good choice, because I was pretty sure I would hear about it if I didn't. 

We were seated right away, ordered our drinks and began studying the menu. Luanne and I quickly decided we would share an order of chargrilled oysters. Merri ordered barbecued shrimp and Julie opted for barbecued shrimp and grits. We also decided to share an order of brown sugar corn muffins and, since it was National Crab Day and we were at The Blue Crab, after all, an order of crab dip. I'm not going to say we overdid it, but, well, yeah, we did. 


Luanne and I practically swooned over the chargrilled oysters. Lu said she thought they were the best things she had ever tasted in her life and I was pretty much agreeing. They were smoky, buttery, lemony, herby and parmesan cheesy, in a word, divine. It was all we could do to keep from putting the shells in our mouths.


Not to be outdone, Merri and Julie were giving similar accolades to their barbecued shrimp. They weren't kidding either. You could drink that sauce with a straw! Julie's came with grits, which were creamy and delicious. We were all so happy with our choices, especially me, because I didn't want to be a bad restaurant chooser. Beyond our main entrees, the brown sugar corn muffins were wonderful, almost like dessert. The hot crab dip was full of fresh crab, creamy and very tasty. Our trip was off to a great start. 

We left The Blue Crab and headed toward the French Quarter to check into our hotel and start exploring. There was so much to do with so little time and we didn't want to waste a minute. After checking in to our room at the Hilton, we put on our walking shoes. We walked up and down the narrow streets of the old, historic part of the city, stopping to take pictures of pretty buildings, doorways and windows and taking time to duck into quaint shops full of art, antiques and gifts. Julie, our resident artist was especially thrilled with all the art lining the fences surrounding Jackson Square. Actually, everywhere you look in New Orleans gets your artistic juices flowing. The city is so inspirational! From the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the heart of Jackson Square to the music and entertainment around every corner, New Orleans is exhilarating. Even though this wasn't the first trip to the city for any of us, each visit is an original, and there is always something new to see or something old to see in a new way. 

 We decided to be totally touristy and take a carriage ride around the square and our driver was quite entertaining. Along with his pointy canines (he also does a vampire tour at night), he pointed out lots of interesting things along the way and gave us some historical background.

The pretty horse posed for me!

This cheese shop was amazing!

After our ride around the Quarter, we resumed walking and I will tell you, while I didn't break my all time record for steps taken in New Orleans (that record of 24,957 steps was set when I visited with Haley and Ayla last year), we did manage some championship walking. My phone was groaning from counting steps and finally let me know it was exhausted from the 13,642 steps we took that day. All that walking and ooohing and ahhhing and picture taking and shopping took its toll and we realized our Blue Crab lunch was long gone and it was dinner time! This time we had reservaions at a porker of a place, Cochon  Haley and Ayla and I had tried to dine at Cochon last year, but we could not secure reservations, so I planned ahead for this visit.

Cochon's, as the name implies, is all about the pig, though the menu is eclectic with selections such as, oyster, shrimp, alligator, fish, crab, rabbit and beef brisket. We weren't feeling especially adventurous with our drinks, so we talked our waiter into some lemon drop martinis rimmed with sugar, which were not on the menu, but should be, because they were delicious. 


Then we got down to business. Since the pig is king at Cochon, we decided that we should honor him by going pork all the way. We got two orders of smoked pork ribs with watermelon pickle (if you know anything about me, you know the watermelon pickle was the deal maker!) and split them, so that we each got two ribs apiece. Trust me when I tell you this was plenty! We also shared some horseradish potato salad (everyone but the no mayo queen, Luanne). 

Then, to top off this wonderful meal, we shared a bowl of coconut lime sherbet with a crispy sugar cookie pig for crunch. Wow! It was all so good!

After dinner, we took a walk down Bourbon Street for some musical entertainment and a visit to a cool bar Luanne had visited before, called Tiki Tolteca, which had a definite South Pacific vibe.


We checked out several music venues. One of our favorites was a band called, Chicken on the Bone. They played classic rock numbers we all knew. 


Finally, we hobbled back to the Hilton to rest up for our last full day in the Crescent City, which promised to be even more exciting, because we would be ending it with the reason for the trip, the Carole King inspired play, Beautiful, at the equally beautiful, Saenger Theater. 


Saturday morning, we planned on stopping by Cafe DuMonde for beignets, but the line was longer than we had patience for, so we slid into a restaurant right across the street called, Monty's on the Square, which promised beignet fries. We thought those might be a good consolation prize for not standing in line for the real thing.

 We were right. We all enjoyed those beignet fries and they were covered in powered sugar for the authentic experience.

 Then we shared some fried artichokes which were also delicious. Julie sampled the gumbo, which she really liked.

 We spent some time strolling through the French Market, where a few beautiful photographs of New Orleans might have been purchased. This beautiful golden statue of the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Ark, stands near the Market. The statue was given to the city from France in 1972. The gilded statue is surrounded by the flags of the United States, New Orleans, Louisiana and France.

We spent more time shopping, looking at art and, in general, enjoying all the sights and sounds of the city, before it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for our big night. 





Our pre-theater dinner reservations were made at a restaurant with which Merri was familiar, Mr. B's Bistro, and thankfully, it was conveniently located near our hotel. We started with pear cosmos made with pear vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime. They were light and wonderful. Then came this delicious bread, delivered in its own bag, accompanied by fresh butter. It was so good!

For dinner, Luanne chose grilled mahimahi with wild rice and fresh asparagus.

I really wanted the beef tenderloin burger on a homemade bun and served with truffle fries, but when our server explained it would take 25 minutes to prepare, I joined Merri and Julie and ordered the truffle buttered filet mignon with garlic butter potatoes and sautéed spinach. It was a great choice, but I am definitely going back to check out that burger! Since we had a show to go to, I didn't want to take a chance on running late. 

We finished up our meal with a couple of yummy desserts. 


I'm not a fan of pecan pie usually, because of the jelly like center, but Mr. B's hot buttered pecan pie sounded interesting, so we got one of those, along with a white chocolate brownie. Both were topped with vanilla ice cream and both were delicious.

By the time we finished our desserts and paid our bill, it was time for my three beautiful friends and I to head over to the beautiful Saenger to see Beautiful. We were so excited!

Our first glimpse of the Saenger, lit up the night sky.

And the entrance hall did not disappoint, either.

But the inside of the theater itself was like a dream. You had the feeling you were sitting outside under the night sky, surrounded by ancient ruins. Absolutely gorgeous.

As for the play, I cannot stress enough how much we enjoyed it. The music, the acting, the sets, all of it did justice to the genius of Carole King. We loved every bit of it and it was really hard not to sing out loud along with the actors, because we knew all of the words! If Parker was here, she would probably point out that she did not believe a word of that, because I have never gotten the words to songs right, but that is my story and I'm sticking to it. I knew those words! 

We made our way back to the hotel, this time walking to the beat of so many Carole King songs, songs we never even knew she wrote. We knew we had a long drive back, but we were determined to squeeze as much as we could out of the time we had left. 

The next morning we got up, packed the car and took a long drive out of the city so that we could get one last look at the beautiful architecture that is so uniquely New Orleans. We had one last meal to squeeze in, too, and we could not resist going back to The Blue Crab one more time. It was that good. In a city of a million wonderful restaurants, we went right back to the first one we discovered. This time Luanne and I shared some more of those amazing chargrilled oysters and an order of barbecued shrimp. Merri and Julie shared the barbecued shrimp and added a bowl of crab and corn bisque. I'm still dreaming about those oysters. 

On the way out of the city, we stopped at a nearby grocery store for some French bread to bring home. I was totally blown away by two huge boats filled with boiled crawfish and steamed shrimp just inside the store. I would love to be able to shop at this grocery store on a regular basis!

 That's it! The end of a wonderful trip with wonderful friends. I can't wait for our next adventure!

Three Friends and a Fork along with our great friends, Julie and Merri, give Weidmann's, The Blue Crab, Cochon's, Monty's on the Square, Mr. B's Bistro, the city of New Orleans and Beautiful at the Saenger Theater 3 Beeyouteeful Yums UP! 
Laissez les bon temps roulez!