Archive | 2:01 am

A Backup Muffaletta Plan in New Orleans’ French Quarter

15 Nov

In the past, I had always headed straight for Central Grocery when I was craving a muffaletta in New Orleans. Their overstuffed sandwich is mighty, meaty, and legendary. Frank’s Restaurant is located just a couple doors down — in the shadows of the old French Market and Cafe Du Monde. Central Grocery, our old standby, happened to be closed the day we stopped by. Bummer! Undeterred, we plowed ahead towards Frank’s place. I had seen them recently on a Food Network feature, so I knew the muffaletta would get the job done — and it did.  

A rainy morning had given way to a muggy afternoon in The Big Easy.

A close-up look at Frank’s Muffaletta (above) – it’s a thing of beauty that feeds a family of 4 or two hungry adults  for about $12. My son Travis (a true gourmet at the ripe old age of 14) commented that Frank’s meat/bread ratio was slightly bread heavy compared to Central Grocery. You know something? He was right on the money.  However, Frank’s makes a pretty darn good Italian sandwich and I was just happy to get my fix of deli meats, crusty bread and pickled olive salad that late Sunday afternoon.

The hometown Saints were on the tube above the bar and things were not exactly going well. The manager bellowed “Your Daddy’s Saints are back, y’all” as the Super Bowl champs went down in flames to the lowly Cleveland Browns. The full house of diners at Frank’s seemed distraught, yet how upset could I get with a belly full of muffaletta?

We even picked up a large (32 oz.) jar of Frank’s olive spread to take home with us. Our waitress gestured towards a small dining table near the door as we made our exit. I discretely glanced over and spotted none other than Joseph Gannoscoli, who played Vito Spatofore in the HBO series, “The Soprano’s.” Pretty cool, huh? 

Touring the Tabasco Hot Sauce Factory and Scenic Avery Island, Louisiana

15 Nov

Entry to the world famous Tabasco Plant on sleepy Avery Island, Louisiana.

Some of the stunning scenery we enjoyed on our recent visit to Avery Island.

The brick facade of the Tabasco plant — looks a bit like a military stockade.

We toured on a Saturday afternoon, so the bottling plant was not in operation.

Eileen and the boys enjoying the tour & learning more about Scoville Units.

The company store truly does offer all things Tabasco — bring lots of $$$!

These former oak bourbon barrels are used to age the spicy red pepper mash.

Interesting choice of bait, huh?

You can even try Tabasco ice cream — sweet & smooth with a fiery finish!

Avery Island is home to a massive salt dome — first discovered back in 1862.

www.tabasco.com

Another interesting tour nearby is the Konriko Rice Mill …

The Koriko (Conrad Rice Company) mill is technically in New Iberia, LA.

Konriko’s rice (stored in the above silo) has a fresh, nutty taste.

These rustic sacks of Konriko pecan rice make for great take-home gifts.

www.konriko.com

Louisiana’s Sugar Cane Country

15 Nov

 Louisiana is home to Cajuns, Gators, Saints and … SUGAR CANE!!!

Fields of sugar cane are a frequent sight in these parts.

A sugar cane processing plant we happened upon near Jeanerette, LA.

Spent sugar cane stalks are seen spilling out just to the right of the red truck.

Truck beds loaded with spent cane stalks preparing to head out.

Steen’s makes perhaps the best — and best known —100% LA Cane Syrup.

Steen’s bottling plant in Abbeville is a surprisingly small operation.

This is where all the magic happens – Steen’s is simply the best!

www.steensyrup.com

Abbeville is also famous for oysters – Dupuy’s is a pretty popular spot.

Our favorite Abbeville bivalve slurping spot is Black’s Oyster Bar.

Fresh Topless Salty Oysters – need I say more???

Majestic Oak Alley Plantation on Louisiana’s Historic River Road

15 Nov

Majestic oaks at the entry to magnificent Oak Alley Plantation (circa 1839). Many classic Hollywood films have been shot on the property. Those films include Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and the creepy Bette Davis vehicle HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE.

The front facade at Oak Alley is quite impressive — and ominous!

Looking back at the rows of giant oaks from the mansion’s veranda.

Me and my well-traveled boys, Austin (l) and Travis (r).

Looking back at the mansion from the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.

A full family shot — thanks to some friendly tourists from the UK.

The finely manicured grounds at Oak Alley were splendid.

Another view of the stunning landscaping work at Oak Alley Plantation.

Our tour guide was a young woman with a very strong New Orleans accent.

Sturdy white columns outline the mansion’s veranda at Oak Alley.

These antique metallic vessels were once used for boiling pure cane syrup.

www.oakalleyplantation.com

Another massive estate (Nottoway) along the fabled Louisiana River Road.

http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/riverroad.htm