Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mardi Gras

When I was much younger, I thought a trip to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras would be wonderful. Then I became uncomfortable in large crowds. Finally, I spent a Halloween in New Orleans and discovered that drunk crowds are the worst and Mardi Gras would involve even larger drunken crowds.

So, when I remember, I treat the Sunday Super Supper Squad to a little taste of Mardi Gras without the drunks or the masks. This used to be a dinner that Gillian Horvath did, but she's up in Canada making television programs these days. Generally, I'll do jambalaya or gumbo along with red beans and rice. I do buy beads and I make a King Cake. This one comes out of a box, but making it from scratch isn't very difficult. The dough is similar to brioche--an enriched, egg and yeast dough. The hard part is finding the finishing sugars and the prize baby when they aren't part of a package. Cost Plus World Market usually has King Cake mix, along with Cafe du Monde chickory coffee and beignet mix if you don't wait until the last minute to stock up.

During the trip to New Orleans that included Halloween, we were part of a group that ate at K-Paul's and some of the other notable restaurants in the city during our stay. We had a legendary supper at Tujagues, a story that includes George R.R. Martin, Melinda Snodgrass, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Walter Jon Williams, Roger Zelazny, and Gardner Dozois' knob (ask a science fiction writer or a New Orleans waiter some day.) And every night, we would close out the evening by going to the Cafe du Monde for coffee, beignets and great conversation before the shuttle took us back to the dreadful hotel housing our convention. 

The thing about New Orleans is that the wonderful food gets really heavy after about two days. We were there for eight days. We could not wait to get back to L.A. where we could get a real salad.

Taking Tea

I am so far behind writing this blog. I've got several drafts waiting to be finished. Photographs have backed up as I made a decision about whether to move up to Lightroom 3, and, suddenly, Lightroom 4 appeared. Once I got all my images moved into the new library and figured out the basics, I am left with no excuses to procrastinate.

Between Christmas and New Years, Susan Ellison, Kathryn Drennan and I headed out for tea and shopping in Beverly Hills. We seem to do this every year about this time, because I usually take that week off from work. Most of the time, we have to look for tea shops that are open on Saturday or Sunday.

This year, we gave tea at the Montrose Hotel a try. The hotel also houses a Thomas Keller L.A. restaurant, Bouchon, but it doesn't appear that they cross-over (I did get to eat some finger food from there in December, at a Case Western Reserve University School of Law reception, but I didn't use my camera.)

I thought the hand-painted china was quite pretty (and so was the cost of a set in the gift shop.) The tea was very nice, though perhaps not as accommodating as the one we go to at the Peninsula Hotel in another part of Beverly Hills (we like more control over the choices of food.) The service was good, surroundings were lovely,  and the post-Christmas shopping afterwards was fun.