Mamas, Divas and Chocolate

The day before the Saints battled the Vikings in the Super Dome Meg and I drove to NOLA for a day of fabulous food and shopping. We began our day at the Canal Street mall and then headed to Magazine Street to grab some grub before hitting the boutiques.
Nachos Mamas is a personal favorite of mine. Known to me as a Park City icon, I was shocked to discover it was actually a chain restaurant with a Mamas located in NOLA. The food was just as I remembered it, fabulous! I am still dreaming about the black bean and cheese quesadilla I had two weeks ago. Yummy!
Following lunch Meg and I walked several blocks to Trashy Diva, my new favorite store. Each article is co-designed by New Orleanian Candice Gwinn, a diva with impeccable taste. Interested in checking her out? Visit Warning: This website is addictive. Believe me, I know! I can't stop drooling over the vintage inspired frocks and am excited to share I finally own one; a leopard print coat dress.
On our way to Trashy Diva we passed Sucre, a swank little chocolate shop recently featured on the local news for their NFL inspired cakes. In honor of the home team I snapped a photo of this impressive rendition of the Saints helmet over Easy Breesey gelato, which was heavenly. During your next trip to the Big Easy, include this local favorite. You won't regret it.

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Field Photos 1.27.2010

Meg and I discovered this structure Wednesday while driving Harrison County. Surrounded by Katrina Cottages and single story Ranch houses, it definitely doesn't compliment or enhance the existing landscape. However, I can't help but wonder what type of person would choose to design and subsequently construct a home like this. Try as I might I can't
imagine what it would be like to come "home" to this every evening.
What is the interior like? Does it resemble the exterior? How is the interior space divided? Why did the builder choose to install garage doors on the upper stories? Why not enclose the ground story and install a two-bay garage there? What's with the small single-light windows and the metal screening on the front and rear facades? I am assuming the metal screening functions to protect the windows from flying debris during hurricanes but could there be another purpose, one I am missing? Who knows? But seeing structures like this in post-Katrina Mississippi begs the question. Will the post-Katrina Mississippi resemble the "Old South" or will it evolve into something that is a complete departure from its architectural past?

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Field Photo 1.26.2010

Photo Courtesy Meg Richardson
King and Queen of the Mardi Gras geese were spotted on Jackson Avenue in Ocean Springs yesterday. Just one more reason to love Mardi Gras.

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Field Photo 1.19.2010

The Old Cuevas Bistro and Bakery, located on Menge Avenue in "the Pass" is a Gulf Coast gem. Meg and I revisited Old Cuevas yesterday for lunch. Meg enjoyed a smoked salmon salad, while I feasted on a cup of veal vegetable beef stew, southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes with a cracked pepper gravy and steamed green beans.
Though completely satisfied, the waitress convinced us to sample a slice carrot cake, which was honestly the best carrot cake I've ever had.
If you're looking for a pleasant dining experience, which is often a challenge in southern Mississippi, set your sights on the Old Cuevas Bistro and Bakery. You won't regret it.
For more information regarding Old Cuevas Bistro and Bakery see

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If I Were...

Preservation Barbie, Biloxi Edition, this would be my dream home.

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Field Photo 1.15.2010

Photo Courtesy Meg Richardson

Have you ever seen an herb garden? Perhaps your parents planted one in your backyard, or your grandmother had one near her house. My parents and grandparents didn't bother with herbs. They focused more on potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and corn; hearty vegetables whose plants were easy to distinguish from grass or weeds. I didn't even realize herbs were grown in gardens until I saw my first herb garden at Shakertown. I think I may have been eight. Since then, I think I've seen maybe half-a-dozen herb gardens, the majority of which were growing at historic sites or in small flower pots on porches where they were protected from foot traffic and easily accessible to kitchen cooks, dying to add rosemary and thyme to, you know, whatever.

Yesterday, Meg and I decided to walk around a structure, we were surveying, to investigate the building's rear exterior. Without thinking, we walked through the area depicted in the photograph above. Our stroll was interrupted midway by a chicken in a floral jacket waving her arms and shouting, "You're walking through MY herb garden!"

I reacted by frantically scanning the possibly affected area for A.) herbs and B.) damage. I saw neither. Apparently, Meg didn't either because we both asked where the plants were and what they were. The chicken squawked that herbs were not currently growing in her garden but they would be planted and growing soon. The chicken also confessed she felt like beating us with an organic carrot. The thought of being chased and beaten with an organic carrot only gave Meg and I something to mock and giggle about the rest of the afternoon. Thank you hysterical chicken.

After the organic carrot line, my Yankee bitch side came out. It became clear hippie chicken was catching on when she asked, while eyeing me, "how many of you are Yankees?"
Unwilling to humor someone who abused people with organic carrots I remained silent. Meg must have felt the same way because she didn't speak either. Only Hugh responded by saying, "I'm from Virginia." The hippie chicken responded with a knowing nod and a "Humph." As in, that explains it all.
Before concluding our conversation with distressed chicken, I suggested she post a sign marking the area as an herb garden to prevent future trampling. Apparently that was the wrong thing to say. "You want me to post a sign?" she asked. "I've posted a dozen signs! You know what? They all disappear! I can't keep signs in MY garden because EVERYONE wants a sign for THEIR herb gardens so they steal them."
Try as I might, I found it difficult to imagine young men or housewives, creeping into herb gardens to steal signs for entertainment or in desperation. I also tried to imagine vengeful chicken wondering the streets peering over wooden fences or around peoples' houses hoping to locate her stolen herb signs so she could beat the culprit with an organic carrot. Call me skeptical, but I just don't see it happening.
I thought about offering additional suggestions to violated chicken but abandoned the idea to thoughts of hibachi chicken and steak mixed with fried rice and non-organic vegetables. We ended our encounter with hippie chicken with excuses of wrapping up so we could break for lunch, which we did, by the way.
Moments later, while savoring my non-organic carrots smothered in teriyaki sauce I marveled at the power of imagination. I imagine myself doing many things but imagining an herb garden where there isn't one is something I have never done BUT walking through an imaginary herb garden...DONE.

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Field Photo 1.13.2010

This afternoon Meg and I surveyed the Manhattan Grill in Ocean Springs one of the best dining experiences I've had on the Gulf Coast. It's located in the historic downtown area on Washington Avenue almost directly across from Al Fresco's another personal favorite of mine.

Although it's a small town, Ocean Springs, boasts over one-hundred restaurants, and is quickly earning a reputation as the restaurant capital of Mississippi.

In addition to it's great restaurants, Ocean Springs has an abundance of boutiques, which I also love. If you're looking for great food, fantastic shopping in a small southern town, Ocean Springs is the place for you. If you need a place to stay my door is always open.
C'mon down y'all.

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Field Photo 1.12.2010

Ever wonder what happened to Herbie the Love Bug? I'm not sure where Herbie is but it looks like his twin is hanging out in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Check out those "eyes" and racing stripes. Too cute!

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Field Photos 1.11.2010

Photo Courtesy: Hugh McAloon

Instead of joining the team in the field, I was asked to take notes for a meeting. Although I was relieved to be spared another day of surveying in the freezing temperatures I missed Meg and Hugh tremendously.

In my absence, however, they took two field photos for today's post. The first photo shows Meg posing next to a very feminine-looking bush. Note how stylish she is in her new JCrew coat. I have taken to calling her MiMi, which I think she enjoys and I totally love.

Photo Courtesy: Hugh McAloon

This dinosaur, according to Meg and Hugh, is a lawn ornament for a house located across from the Mocha Moose coffee house, which I attempted to patron once but they only accept cash, and as my friends know, I never carry cash. Seeing this photo makes me wonder about the type of people who would purchase a dinosaur lawn ornament for their house.
Are they young singles who are trying to make a statement? A married couple with young children who love dinosaurs? Or perhaps, an eccentric Southern lady like the characters in the Southern literature I enjoy so much. Either way, I think beside the fox, turtle and bears, a dinosaur may be the perfect addition to our lawn ornament family at the Cat Farm.

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Field Photo 1.6.2010

For the first field photo of 2010, Mandy submitted a photo she took yesterday in Bay St. Louis. Although they resemble brick kilns, the odd pyramidal structures located behind the playground equipment are porta potties. I don't know about you, but these kiln-like structures are unlike any potties I've ever seen, let alone, used before. Not sure who designed these potties but I think they're kinda cool. Just one more reason to love fun, friendly Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

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New Years in New Orleans

The purpose of this post is to convince all my friends that New Orleans is one of the best locations to welcome a new year. My hope is, if I am still residing in Biloxi on December 31, 2010, my friends will plan to join me because they want to experience New Years in the Big Easy too.
New Orleans is known for its Cajun cuisine but the Italian isn't bad either. I began my New Years celebration at Angeli's on Decatur, a hip local joint on the outskirts of the Quarter. We arrived just in time too. Shortly after we grabbed a table, several large groups descended on the restaurant only to hear they would have to wait outside or return later.
Despite their busy evening Angeli's did not disappoint. This beautiful calzone found it's way to our table. I ordered my signature pizza, of course, and enjoyed every bite. A great way to ring in the New Year.
Strolling down Decatur we made our way to Jackson Square. Most of the streets in the Quarter were closed to vehicular traffic, enabling pedestrians to navigate the city in safety. Mia Borders and her band were on stage entertaining the crowd with her funky soul music. If your interested in checking out her tunes her website is located at
On our way back to the hotel we decided to "stroll" down Bourbon. We anticipated the street would be crowded but nothing prepared us for what we encountered; a sea of humanity ebbing and flowing filling any empty space available between the street, the stores and the sidewalk. I felt like a salmon fighting to swim upstream.
The Sugar Bowl is January 1. So, naturally the street was flooded with Cincinnati Bear Cat and Florida Gator fans who taunted one another by cheering for their team. In addition, Saints fans could be heard screaming all over the city, "Who Dat?!" The energy was incredible. Definitely, something to experience.
After retrieving our coats we wondered over to the Jax Beer building where baby Bacchus was waiting with his Saints football helmet and banner to countdown the new year. A fleur-de-lis, also located on the roof of JAX Beer was lowered at midnight. I couldn't see the baby but I did manage to watch the fleur-de-lis descend. This was followed by an impressive fireworks display over the Mississippi River. Showers of confetti floated through the cold air while silly string landed in my hair. Standing in the large crowd gathered on the banks of the Mississippi, watching fireworks with total strangers I felt hope. Hope for humanity, hope for a wonderful year, hope for me.
Welcome, welcome 2010.

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