La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience

I was looking forward to going to New Orleans, LA, for the 1st time. Then, I landed up getting Vertigo. It is some kind of crazy, dizzying, off balance, and at times nauseating sickness. It comes from out of nowhere and no one knows how long it will last. Mine lasted about a whole week. I haven’t had it since thank God!

I called the doctor and she prescribed me some pills that mostly put me to sleep. I took those and got on the plane. Luckily going to NOLA for us is only an hour flight. When I say, I was out of it, I mean I was OUT OF IT. I wasn’t going to let Vertigo ruin my first NOLA experience. Thank goodness, for my husband, who was extremely patient with me. I couldn’t have made it on the plane or enjoyed anything without him taking care of me.

We stayed at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. It was fantastic! We had an extra large room and away from Bourbon St, which is exactly what we were looking for. It was peaceful and quiet, but close enough to be able to walk to the party scene in the French Quarter. We had a view of the river and the French Quarter from our room. I would definitely stay there again and recommend it to others, as well.

11221725_10105001382216878_6395816108223182216_n

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Musts:

Gumbo Shop was our 1st stop to fill up on gumbo and jambalaya. For those unfamiliar with Creole food, it is a beautiful mix of African, French, Spanish, and Caribbean styles of food. This is what we come to New Orleans for, to discover this piece of history and culture that is exclusive to NOLA.

11193440_10105001390185908_6104128253655610784_n

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience @ the Gumbo Shop – It’s all about Jambalaya for me.

 

Johnny Sanchez the baby of famous chefs John Besh and Aaron Sanchez. 1 word: Awesome! It was such a delicious and flavorful Mexican taqueria in the middle of New Orleans. We went back to eat and drink there twice. This has to be my most surprising discovery in NOLA. It’s also outside of the French Quarter, but still walkable in the downtown area. It’s worth the walk and reservations are accepted. I’ve been telling everyone about this place. It’s become my top recommendation because it’s completely different and unexpected to New Orleans cuisine.

NOLA Restaurant gets a big Yaaaasssss, from me! One meal here and I remember why Emeril Lagasse is a world renowned Chef. We had an unforgettable dinner here. The portions are more than generous and left us wobbling out the door. The wine list was extensive and the service was fantastic. I highly suggest reservations.

11193376_10105001383758788_6961110126941247946_n

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience @ NOLA Restaurant

Saints and Sinners probably more famously known for its owner, Channing Tatum. Yep and we were told every time he’s in town, he’s usually enjoying the party. I’ll forever remember this place as the 1st place I tried Crawfish. A Southern staple. Since living in the South this was my first, but not my last time enjoying crawfish.

Pat O’Briens is the place to be to start the party since 1933! By the time we got here, I was feeling better from my Vertigo and was ready for a Hurricane or two. What’s a hurricane? Well, it’s Pat O’Briens signature drink, a mix of Rum and their own famous Hurricane mix.

Gordon Biersch Brewery my husband is a beer enthusiast through and through, meaning anytime we can stop and enjoy a pint or two we do. This place is a great mid day or evening stop for a late night beer. They also have food, but we never ate there as it was only a stop on the way to wherever we were going next.

Cafe Fleur De Lis usually has a line out the door. I promise it’s worth the wait. It serves only breakfast and lunch. It doesn’t take reservations. I don’t suggest going with a big group. It’s pretty tiny on the inside. It’s a great way to start the day with a big ‘ol Southern breakfast!

11216205_10105001381722868_8372888038243757498_o

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience – Cafe Fleur de Lis

Cafe Du Monde has been in NOLA since 1862! It’s open 24 hours a day. We enjoyed our beignets late at night on a walk around the French Quarter. It’s a NOLA must and easy to understand why it’s been around for generations. The one, the only Cafe Du Monde…

10481030_10105001383843618_1833106246748248768_n

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience – Cafe Du Monde

 

We celebrated Easter Sunday in New Orleans. We went to mass at the famed St Louis Cathedral.

First of all, I’ve never seen an Easter mass as I experienced it in NOLA. It was bright, colorful, and every single person was dressed to impressed. There were several parades throughout the entire day. They were all full of music, beads, and plenty of costumes. I love a good old fashioned NOLA parade.

My other favorite New Orleans must is actually away from Bourbon St and the French Quarter. It’s a short cab ride away called, Frenchmen Street. This is where the over 25 crowd hangs out. It’s abundant with live music, signature cocktails, and plenty of art to be experienced. It’s the grown-up version of Bourbon St. I enjoyed it so much more than I expected.

I took away that this city is proud of its history. Seeing how far they have come from Hurricane Katrina is uplifting. I would suggest don’t just visit New Orleans, experience New Orleans. Eat as much as you can. Drink as much as you can. Sing and dance as much as you can. Just make sure not to step in a bourbon puddle.

11169191_10105001380430458_1863437527924120641_n

La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Experience @ Bourbon St

 

Did your favorite NOLA eats or sights make the list? If not, let me know where you love to eat, drink, and hang out in New Orleans? Cheers!

Advertisements

Meat-Free Zucchini Spaghetti

How many of us grew up eating fish on Friday’s during Lent? I’m here to add something new to our meat free Friday’s.
One of my favorite meals to make is zucchini “pasta”. I usually make it with turkey meat. However, I’m going completely meatless during Lent. I’ve had to alter some of my recipes. Servings: 2-4 Prep Time: 30 min or less. The most time spent is in chopping.

image

Hard to believe these beautiful veggies are going to fill us up, but I promise it does.

image

Chop up the green pepper, red pepper, and onion.

image

Saute it all together in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

image

My favorite kitchen tool is this here: Veggetti. You can pretty much find these things anywhere nowadays. It’s a must!

image

Look at all that fabulous zucchini turned spaghetti. Low carb and filling.

image

Add all that delicious zucchini to the same pan. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper for added spice (optional) and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil.

image

Saute it all together over a low to medium flame and mix it all up.

image

Add some fresh parmesan. We enjoyed it with fresh bread. No seriously, my husband bought it fresh from the bakery on his way home from work. Hallelujah, for fresh bread! My husband enjoyed it with a bottle of Chianti. I’ve also given up wine during Lent. Is it almost Easter? Enjoy! Buen Provecho!

Meatless Monday’s: Poblano Fried Rice

I decided to give up meat for Lent. It’s not an easy task, especially being married to a man that loves meat with almost every meal. I will be posting some of the recipes I come up with for Meatless Monday’s.

1st up: Poblano Fried Rice: 2 – 4 servings

image

Rinse poblano peppers and cut in half.

image

Add onion, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Saute it all together.

image

For some reason, I also decided to add a potato and pepper. Knowing what I know now, I should’ve added the potatoes 2nd, not the onion and garlic. You live you learn.

image

Add 1 cup of cooked rice and 2 eggs. Mix it all up on a medium to low flame.

image

I finished it off with a squeeze of lime over it. Serve it in a bowl or plate. My husband also had it with some flour tortillas.
Enjoy!

Team JP Viva Las Vegas

I haven’t been to Las Vegas, NV, in a long time. Since, President Obama was 1st elected president, in 2008. I used to go at least once a year in my 20’s. Now, on the verge of 35, my husband and I, have been discussing places we’d like to revisit together. Las Vegas has always come up on our list of places. He hadn’t been in 4 years. So, we booked a trip for January. I wanted to see Jennifer Lopez’s, “All I Have”, Las Vegas residency.

imag3285.jpg

The only pre- show picture I took, before the show at Planet Hollywood. Jennifer Lopez, “All I Have” Las Vegas Residency.

 

My husband got us tickets for her show. We were able to see J.Lo, on her opening weekend in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood. She is the ULTIMATE Vegas showgirl! Her show is glitz, glamour, sexy, and 90 minutes of non-stop dancing. I think she’s the perfect fit for a Las Vegas show and does not disappoint. She had 10 costume changes. She had JaRule come out as a special guest. She even sings a beautiful song dedicated to her children. If you happen to be in Las Vegas, while J.Lo is in town her show is worth the Vegas experience.

Along with concerts and parties to be enjoyed in Las Vegas, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the food there. Las Vegas has become the new celebrity chef restaurant capital of the world. We made reservations at “Carnevino” the Italian Steakhouse, by celebrity chef Mario Batali.

photogrid_1453901662636.jpg

One of the most exceptional steaks I’ve ever had in my life, since Argentina! “Carnevino”, takes pride in their meat, and you taste it when it melts in your mouth. This steak didn’t stand a chance between us both. 

If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, win big at the tables or happen to be passionate about food, especially steak, this is a perfect choice.

 

We stayed at The Palazzo. All of the rooms in the hotel are suites and extremely luxurious. It’s also connected to The Venetian. Between both hotels and casinos, there’s plenty of entertainment and food to be enjoyed. We ate an epic breakfast at the French-inspired “Bouchon”, by world-renowned Thomas Keller. We also enjoyed the Southern food at “Yardbird Southern Food Table & Bar”, we ate there twice. Sooooo goooood!

photogrid_1453682834030.jpg

The Las Vegas bakery of “Carlo’s Bakery”, be prepared for long lines at any time of the day.

I even stood in line for almost an hour, just to get a cannoli at “Carlo’s Bakery”, made famous by the TLC show, “Cake Boss”, and everyone’s favorite baker, Buddy Valastro. Would I do it again? Probably not. The cannoli was good, but I’m not a fan of waiting in long lines for food.

imag3357.jpg

We survived our 1st Vegas experience together! Team JP Viva Las Vegas!

I have to admit going back to Las Vegas, in my 30’s and married, was different than all my single girl trips in my 20’s of years past. For the first time in Vegas, I didn’t get too drunk, wake up with a hangover, or go to a club. It was Fabulous! Times may have changed, I may have changed, but Las Vegas is always a good time!

NYC Wine & Food Festival

In October 2013, we traveled to New York City. It was my first trip to the “Big Apple”, and it was one I’ll never forget. We saw a Broadway show, Pippen, stayed in Times Square, went to the Statue of Liberty, took a stroll through Central Park, ate at a 3 Michelin star restaurant, Le Bernadin by Eric Ripert, and went to the NYCWFF: Food Network & Cooking Channel NYC Wine & Food Festival.

Food Network & Cooking Channel NYC Wine & Food Festival was on my bucket list. It’s a 4-day event, held in October, every year in NYC. They invite all of our favorite celebrity chefs to host events all over New York City, all in the name of charity. “Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival has raised $9.5 million to date to help fight hunger! 100% of the net proceeds benefit Food Bank for New York City and the No Kid Hungry campaign.”- http://corporate.nycwineandfoodfestival.com/about/

The events we chose to attend were Guy Fieri’s Rock of Ages party.

It was a great time! Guy was an awesome host.

2013-10-19-23.46.43.jpg.jpeg

Guy was our bartender. He was pouring them strong!!

He was fun, swearing, pouring drinks, and showed a side of himself you never get to see on T.V.  I would definitely encourage others to go to any of his events in the future.

Did I mention, the Rock of Ages, cast was there and performing throughout the whole event? It was spectacular!

2013-10-20-14.32.57.jpg.jpeg

With Andrew Zimmern, at his Octoberfest party.

The other event we went to was Andrew Zimmern’s Octoberfest, held in Queens. The event was what one would expect for an Octoberfest party, plenty of sausage and beer. Andrew Zimmern wasn’t as sociable at his event, but he was busy cooking.

If you ever find yourself in NYC in October, I highly recommend attending at least one of these events.

1383673_10102964872997678_762746123_n

With Chef Robert Irvine, who took the time to talk to us, and introduce us to his mom. He was such a humble and genuine man.

They are a bit pricey, but remember the money goes to charity, and you never know who you’ll run into.

2013-10-19-23.56.15.jpg.jpeg

With our favorite Iron Chef, Morimoto. He was incredibly kind and funny!

It was a real foodie dream come true. Bucket list. Check!