Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sweating Season

Front Yard Foliage

     Let’s face it, New Orleans can be downright miserable in the summer. The humidity slaps you in the face like a steaming wool blanket the second you walk out the door. It’s all bad hair days and sweaty clothes from now until October. The city goes into a reverse hibernation, with many people taking the opportunity to travel. For whatever reason, I’m usually the dummy that doesn’t get out of town during the hottest part of the year. This year, that’s got to change.

     August marks our ten year wedding anniversary (when in the hell did that happen?!)  and while we were planning on renewing our vows where we got married, the timing was off (thanks, fall school schedule) so we opted not to say “I Do” again, at least not this year.  Instead, we’re packing up the car for a week long road trip: NOLA>Atlanta>Asheville>Louisville>Pigeon Forge. I’m looking forward to making road trip playlists, visits with friends and family along the way, truck stop dinners and dusting off our trusty two man tent. Goodbye humidity, hello clean mountain air. 

So, what’s your summer travel itinerary looking like?

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Splendid Pig Is Poppin’ Up All Over

By now you’ve probably heard that pop up restaurants have infiltrated New Orleans. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll sum it up: an already established business allows a chef to utilize their space during times that the kitchen is closed. Why dine at a pop up when we already have so many options? For starters, the chefs are usually restaurant veterans that are attempting to break out on their own. Many of them do it to flex their creative muscles, often serving underrepresented food in a city that frequently caters to tourists’ palate more than locals. You’ll also be supporting up and coming restaurant owners, winning bragging rights of discovering them first when they (hopefully) open a more permanent eatery. Think of it as being a satiated early adopter. 


     My friends at Splendid Pig, husband and wife team Brandon Blackwell and Jennifer Sherrod,  have been running their pop up restaurant out of Carrollton Station every Monday night since November of last year. Even though Splendid Pig has only been in operation for seven months, the duo brings years of experience to the operation.  Brandon was sous chef at Upperline, as well as a butcher at Cleaver & Co., while Jennifer filled the general manager position at Martinique Bistro for fifteen years. In other words, you’re in capable hands in terms of food and service.  Splendid Pig’s menu is comprised of small plates, ranging in price from $6-$9. As the name indicates, pork is the standout, but their offerings are surprisingly diverse. The focus is Southern, utilizing locally grown and raised produce and meats. Inglewood Farms pecans graces the seared Louisiana drum this week, accompanied by a roasted summer squash polenta, charred tomato vinaigrette and mint. Covey Rise Farms supplied the corn for this week’s chilled corn soup with pickled squash, marinated crab claws and chili oil. For those of you with a sweet tooth, two desserts are always up for grabs. The boozy brownie, the mainstay option, is based on a different cocktail recipe each week. My advice? Bring a friend or two and sample the entire menu. 
 
Last month Splendid Pig expanded, taking over Milk Fish in Mid-City once a month. Starting in July, they will be in Coulis every Tuesday night.  I took these photos for them six weeks ago; keep in mind the menu changes weekly. For the entire month of June, Splendid Pig is participating in the Locavore Challenge, which challenges diners to eat 100% locally sourced ingredients. Several dishes adhere to the local stipulation, even down to the pecan oil.
 
Check out this week’s menu here, and make sure to get on their weekly mailing list. Catch them tonight at Carrollton Station, or this Wednesday at MilkFish in Mid-City. Pssst! Yours truly will be working Wednesday’s dinner service, so pop in (see what I did there?) and say hi. 
 
 
 
Splendid Pig Schedule:
 
Every Monday 6:00-9:30pm (ages 21 and up):
Carrollton Station, 8140 Willow St. 
Liquor: Carrollton Station is a bar.
 
Every Tuesday 6:00-9:30pm (starting July 1st):
Coulis, 3625 Prytania St.
Liquor: BYOB, mocktails and mixers available for purchase. 
 
Wednesdays 6:00-9:30pm (once a month, date changes):
Milkfish, 125 N. Carrollton Ave. 
Liquor: BYOB
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Worth The Drive: Abita Mystery House


Unexpected free time this summer has afforded me the luxury of taking random day trips from New Orleans. My first stop? A trip across Lake Pontchartrain to Abita Mystery House. Tucked away in the charming town of Abita Springs, this quirky museum houses owner John Preble’s impressive collection of tchotckes, vintage arcade games, painstakingly detailed dioramas and taxidermy that looks straight out of Rob Zombies’ House of a Thousand Corpses. I mean that in the best way possible.

 I was downright giddy when I first drove up to the museum. My friend Rebecca described it as a “Pee Wee’s Southern Folksy Playhouse” and I couldn’t agree with her more. The collection is split up among a vintage gas station, a 100 year old Creole cottage and the House of Shards. Each building contains an amalgam of the ordinary, the odd and the downright delightful. Make sure to allow yourself a few hours to explore. While the Abita Mystery House is small, it’s chocked full of wonders. Photos are highly encouraged, so bring your camera and a roll of quarters if you want to fiddle around with the arcade games. 

The Abita Mystery House is definitely worth the hour drive from New Orleans and the three dollar admission fee. 



Abita Mystery House     
22275 Hwy 36 
Abita Springs
 Louisiana 70420 
985-892-2624


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