Obsessions in New Orleans

Our first stop in New Orleans in always The Faulkner House Bookstore. We stocked up on Borges, Irving, Capote, and Carver. After touring the local used bookstores we had to ship eight boxes of books back to Nova Scotia to make room for the new acquisitions. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="alignnone" width="334" caption="Another Great Bookstore"][/caption]

Around the corner from Faulkner House we stopped into the Absinthe Cafe and Bar. I was captivated by the presentation.

The Absinthe is trickled into a special glass and then a cube of sugar is light and later extinguished in the glass.

Water is then dribbled into the glass and the "green fairies" appear even when you are not intoxicated. We just had to have some for the bus.

If you visit we will light a sugar cube for you. -L

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Ouray, Colorado

ouray-090518-0017 The small town of Ouray (population 900) is surrounding on all sides by mountains. This village nestled in the narrow valley is one of Lloyd's favorite places. The mountains surrounding town are covered with world class off road trails. We spent our day in town. Some of the Victorian building reminded us of home in Lunenburg, NS.

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The blud sky seemed to explode with clouds.

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The recently renovated Hotel Beaumont houses a lovely bistro and bookstore.

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Before dinner we hiked to Cascade Falls.

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The landscape on the drive to Ouray is a mix of mountains and meadows.

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If you are ever traveling in southwest Colorado do not miss Ouray. -L

Naked Bookseller in Quartzsite

naked-bookseller We love bookstores and found a great one in Quartzsite. It even included a naked bookseller. We were lucky to pick up several books and Pamela got a hug and a photograph. -L

That's Paul, co-owner of Reader's Oasis on Main Street. Super nice guy. Also very ... nut-brown, evenly ... toasted. No tanlines. Uh hum. He performed a one man show years ago and thought he could simply drive from Montreal to Halifax in a day, in the winter. Now he knows. :)

-P

New Orleans: Take Two (and Gumbo Too)

January 1, 2009 The requisite ingesting session at Café du Monde:

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Above, a community art project adds more colour and character to the French Quarter with miniature trolley car artworks.

More of Vieux Carré, the oldest neighbourhood in New Orleans. En route to New Orleans I read Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer", set in the French Quarter, so our sauntering added extra life to the story.

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Filigree wrought iron ornaments stairways, porches, doors and windows. Below, the common shutters and ceiling fans.

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We always take advantage of the trolley.

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Lloyd stands before Faulker House Bookstore in Pirate's Alley. It was the first time we missed it - timing.

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A view from the Mississippi River side of Decatur Street, which used to be known as "Levee Street".

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Below: Horse drawn carriages for hire by Jackson Square. A pedestrian mall, restaurants, and an iron fence surround the square. Artist peg their works on the fence, next to psychics and other vendors.

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Below: My favourite pic of the bunch -  a rift in the fog for the busker and his alto sax.

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The infamous Creole Queen paddle boat:

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Our way out of New Orleans, that deceptively high train bridge (See! It's almost touching that cloud! Well, more or less...):

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We leave you with some (adapted) New Orleans flavour:

VEGETARIAN GUMBO

There is an alternating viewpoint on whether file powder should be added if okra is used as a thickener. I like both, so I’ve included both. Always add file powder to gumbo after it’s cooked.

1/2 cup cooking oil (see note) 1/2 cup flour 2 onions, chopped 2 bell peppers, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 qts vegetable stock, or chicken-flavored vegetable stock 1 lb fresh okra, chopped, or use frozen if fresh is not available 1 15 oz can tomatoes, chopped 3 bay leaves 2 teaspoons dried thyme 1 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne, to taste 1 lb. vegetarian kielbasa-style sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices, or tempeh, cubed salt, to taste Gumbo file powder
 (which, I learned, is just ground sassafras) Tabasco sauce Hot cooked rice

Make Roux: Combine oil and flour in heavy frying pan (preferably cast iron) or stock pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon or wire whisk, until it reaches a nut brown color. BE CAREFUL NOT TO LET IT BURN! If black flecks appear, the roux is burned, and you must start over. It should take about 20 to 25 minutes to achieve the desired color.

Just before roux is desired color, add chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and continue stirring until vegetables have been coated with the roux and are beginning to soften. If using the same pot to make gumbo, add stock directly to the pan. Otherwise, let roux cool until it is safe to handle, and add to large stock pot with the stock. Add the okra, the tomatoes, the bay leaves, and the dried spices, except for the salt. Let simmer for 30 minutes, then add vegetarian sausage. Let simmer another 10 minutes, and add salt. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Remove from heat, and serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with file powder if desired and Tabasco sauce.

 NOTE: Peanut oil works best at high temperatures but other oils can be used. Lower the heat and extend the cooking time for the roux if using canola oil.

-P