After my Baton Rouge adventure, it was time to skedaddle on to New Orleans, yay! But no trip is proper without a good meal to kick it off, and with that in mind, TechGod and I headed to a popular BR brunch spot to eat.
Sunday Brunch at Mason’s Grill
Mason’s Grill is known for decadent breakfast dishes with a Cajun spin — perfect for launching a day of further Louisiana exploits, if you ask me! Keeping with my gorging-on-fresh-seafood theme whilst in the Red Stick city, I opted for a crab cake benedict …
With a side of hearty breakfast potatoes and a mimosa to wake up my senses, this brunch had me ready to sail. And we kind of did, driving as we did on the looong bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.
Lovin’ the Loews New Orleans Hotel
It was a cloudy start to the day, but at least it was fairly warm. Soon we were rolling into the Crescent City, ready to check out our fabulous NOLA HQ, the Loews New Orleans Hotel.
I can’t say enough about the phenomenal amenities and service at this palatial building on Poydras Street. From the moment I stepped inside, I felt like every care and need was taken care of, or could be. As our luggage was whisked away, we had to rush upstairs to make our spa appointment at the hotel spa; the front desk representative assured us that not only would our bags be delivered to our luxurious room, but our hotel key cards would be dropped off at the spa during our treatment. Now THAT is service!
Happy spa times at Balance Spa
When they learned of the Diva’s pending arrival, the lovely folks at Loews treated me to the Girlfriends Getaway package, which includes a two-night stay (I could only stay for one, alas!), complimentary valet and cocktails in the hotel’s famed Swizzle Stick bar, gift cards for patio-and-hurricanes haven Pat O’Brien’s and beignet beacon Cafe du Monde, a 10 percent discount at the spa AND super-fun feather boas, just for kicks! Loves it!
Added bonuses from the lords of the Loews included a beautiful gift basket full of NOLA-tastic treats aaaaand a credit for at the Balance Spa. A relaxing, reinvigorating massage and session in the hot tub later, I was ready to hit the city!
Welcome drinks at the Swizzle Stick Bar
After the rest and relaxation fostered by Balance Spa’s wonderful services, I did the very opposite of post-spa hydrating and hit the hotel’s phenomenal little Swizzle Stick Bar, which has made a name for itself in NOLA for expertly created craft cocktails. You know your Diva had to sample the signature drink — the Adelaide Swizzle (above left)! Named after the aunt of the Ti Adelaide and Lally Brennan — the proprietors of New Orleans’ legendary Commander’s Palace — the Adelaide Swizzle is a flavorful blend of rum, lime, bitters and a secret ingredient, according to the recipe in the Brennans’ book “In The Land of Cocktails.” My palate didn’t give away the secret, trust me — I was too busy savoring the splendor of the drink to focus on guessing!
Post cocktails, we hit the street to use the Pat O’Brien’s voucher from Loews before our dinner reservation. Strolling up Royal Street, we came across performers Tanya and Dorise, whose evocative, emotional music interpretations grabbed my attention on my last NOLA visit.
Standing there listening to their stirring rendition of “Over The Rainbow,” I nearly cried — and plenty of folks paused from their hustle up Royal Street for a moment of pure bliss. Keep on keepin’ on, ladies — hope to see you in NOLA next time! Chickadees, check out the violin-and-guitar duo’s music here!
Stay tuned for the rest of my NOLA adventures!!Read the rest
Dearest chickadees! Forgive my delay in continuing to share my travels in the Red Stick city, Baton Rouge. You know how life and time just get away from you? Well, this Diva’s birthday month just sailed past, like sands through the hourglass, but I’m jazzed to bring you the rest of my recap — voila, my second day in Baton Rouge …Read the rest
On May 8, Whole Foods Market and Chef Kent Rathbun‘s Iron Fork, the annual dazzling display of culinary chops, where two top chefs go head to head in an “Iron Chef” style battle while guests graze on tasty nibbles and sip on wine and cocktail samples. What’s not to like here, people?!
New this year is the venue — Iron Fork is moving from the Fashion Industry Gallery right downtown to the Dallas Contemporary, another terrific space that’s in the Design District. I think it’ll work a little better, as it’s one biiiiig space, and traffic won’t get clogged in the little mini-galleries at the f.i.g.
Also new is the challenger against reigning champ Scott Romano of Nick & Sam’s: the one, the only Matt McCallister of FT33. The chefs will get one secret ingredient that they have to build a dish with, and the best dish will crown this year’s victor. Fun stuff!
And this year, you’ve got even more to like, as your Dallas Diva is sharing a promo code with you for a little discount action when you buy your General Admission tickets here! Your tickets for an evening bursting with great food and drank will only set you back $30, a good discount in April, an even better one in May, when the price increases. Just enter the code dallasdiva, click Apply Code, then Get Tickets. You are welcome, my chickadee!! Hope you will flock with me to the big show on May 8!
This weekend, food fuels some tantalizing events on the docket: the North Texas Taco Festival and the North Texas Food Bank’s Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Cowboys Tailgate Party. Happily, they’re on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, so you won’t miss any of the notable noshing!
North Texas Taco Festival
The taco fest takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, on Main Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Crowdus Street. Presented by Taco Trail and Entree Dallas in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas, this event promises to deliver a wealth of tasty taco goodness directly to your face. Among the taco providers will be Cafeteria y Loncheria El Padrino, Rusty Taco, Rock and Roll Tacos, So-Cal Tacos, El Tizoncito Taqueria and more. Deep Ellum Brewing Company will bring the craft beers, and there’ll even be a music stage and a chef taco cookoff. Sweet!
Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Cowboys Tailgate Party
The North Texas Food Bank’s fundraiser is in its ninth year of inviting fans to mix and mingle among NFL greats while sampling outstanding local fare and drooling over silent auction items. And check out this year’s lineup of hosts: Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, Abacus exec chef and proprietor Kent Rathbun, and former Dallas Cowboys Preston Pearson, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Chad Hennings. This year, the fun migrates from Dallas to Grapevine’s Glass Cactus nightclub, which’ll provide a terrific outdoor space for the party — perfect for this weather. Among the chefs dishing it out will be TJ Lengnick of Shinsei, Aaron Henschen of Del Frisco’s Grille, Bronwen Weber of Frosted Art Bakery & Studio, and Ernie Mendoza of Suze Restaurant. Mmmm, I can’t wait to revel in the sips, sports and eats. If you’d like to, too, you need to get a move on — advance ticket sales end at 5 p.m. today. Purchase yours here now, as any remaining tix sold at the door will be priced a bit higher.Read the rest
With warm, sunny weather just arriving to Dallas (except, of course, for yet another ugh-noying cold front on the way), and swimsuit weather on the way, a Diva’s thoughts turn to eating healthier, good-for-you food. Happily, Salata, the Next Generation Salad Bar, makes that easy with seven locations in the area, including its newest branch in Uptown this Thursday. I look forward to trying out the greens and proteins there, as I haven’t visited my nearest location — in Preston Center — in a couple years.
For newbies, Salata creates fresh salads and salad wraps made to order — you just pick what you want from the bar from all kinds of greens, vegetables and meats, and get it tossed or topped with Salata’s own signature salad dressings or stuffed into a wrap. Sounds like a treat for the tastebuds without being too much of one on the waistline. And at Thursday’s grand opening, it’ll be a treat for your wallet, too — all salads and wraps will be only $5! AND the first 50 customers will snag a Salata gift card worth between $5 and $50. Bonus!
What: Grand opening in Uptown
When: Thursday at 11 a.m.
Where: 3000 Blackburn St., Suite 150, Dallas
Why: Because you go gaga over fresh, delicious salads and wraps!