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The ABCs of Mardi Gras

Endymion Parade

Endymion Parade

Yesterday marked my 10th Mardi Gras in a row. Somehow, my liver has survived all 10. I have to say that there’s nothing like a Mardi Gras celebration. It’s more than about Fat Tuesday, and I’m proud to know the ins and out of Mardi Gras — from Uptown to Downtown to the French Quarter.

In honor of my 10-year Mardi Gras anniversary, I’m sharing my Mardi Gras knowledge — from Alcohol to Zulu.

Alcohol — You better have a bottle, cup or can in your hand during the parades and celebrations.

Beads — You’ll see people going crazy for a set of plastic beads on a string. And you’ll think to yourself, “Why am I doing this for plastic?” But you’ll do it over and over again and love it. $10 says if you don’t recycle them, they end up sitting in your attic for years to come.

Santiago at Barkus

Santiago at Barkus

Costumes — New Orleanians love their costumes and are some of the most creative people when it comes down to play dress-up.

Doubloons — Going crazy for these little coins is slightly better than spazzing out for some beads. Why? These are metal.

Endymion — My favorite parade and the Extravaganza in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a party you don’t want to miss. Even if it is black tie tailgating.

Fat Tuesday — The day when the weeks of celebrating come to a head. Only 356 days to go until next Fat Tuesday.

Geaux Cups — Yes, you can ask for a to-geaux cup for your adult beverage. It may not feel right to out-of-towners to take a drink outside, but it’s highly encouraged in New Orleans.

Hurricanes — The drinks Pat O’s is known for. Just be careful, this syrupy concoctions come with a ton of rum. However, you can’t visit it without having one.

A throw from the Muses Parade

A throw from the Muses Parade

Ice — You can never have too much ice during Mardi Gras. Whether you’re along the parade route or swinging by a friend’s place, bring some ice. It’s like Mardi Gras diamonds it’s so valuable.

Jambalaya — Because you gotta eat. This Louisiana staple can be found at countless Mardi Gras parties throughout New Orleans.

Krewes — These are the organizations who make up all the parades we’ve come to love. Starting with Krewe du Vieux and ending with Rex.

610 Stompers

610 Stompers

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler — French for “Let the good times roll.” And that’s exactly we what we do during Carnival season.

Muses — Bedazzled and glittered shoes are the prized throw from this all-female krewe.

Neutral Ground — Aka the driver’s side of the parades. If you aren’t on the neutral ground, you’re sidewalk side (passenger side). I’m a neutral ground fan.

Orpheus — One of the superkrewes. Orpheus rolls on Lundi Gras (the night before Mardi Gras) and features a ton of floats. My favorite being the train.

Parades — Most of the festivities revolve around the parades. Some are better than others, but they’re all fun.

The Quarter — There’s no better place to be on Mardi Gras day. From the costumes, to the strong drinks to the revelry, it all happens in the French Quarter.

Bead-Dazzled Chalice

Bead-Dazzled Chalice

Religious Protesters — Every year they waste their time and money to try and tell us Mardi Gras revelers how sinful we are. They’re annoying and need to go home. We don’t bring Mardi Gras to the aisles of your church, don’t bring church to the streets during Mardi Gras. 90% of the people on the street on Fat Tuesday will be in church the next day, Ash Wednesday.

Saint Augustine — Odds are you’ll see this high school marching band in the majority of the parades. This purple and gold band know how to get down during the parades.

Averie Bug at Mardi Gras

Averie Bug at Mardi Gras

Throw Me Something Mister — You’ll hear this yelled every minute a parade is rolling. It’s the best way to get the beads, cups or doubloons you have your eyes on.

Uptown — In my opinion, the best place to watch the parades. The setting is more picturesque and the atmosphere is more of what Mardi Gras really is.

Voodoo — Not the religion, but the strong “purple drink” from Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Feels like it’s worth every sip when you’re out drinking, but kicks your ass the next day. Beware.

Walking — You’re going to do a lot of it. Cabs are hard to come by, the streetcar doesn’t run downtown (during parades) and you don’t want to risk a traffic gridlock because of parades. Wear comfortable shoes!

X-Ray Vision — Odds are you won’t need it if you’re in the right place (or the wrong place). Enough said…

Voodoo or Purple Drink

Voodoo aka Purple Drink

Y’at — The question you’ll be asked most frequently during Mardi Gras. Translated, it simply means “Where are you?

Zulu — The most fun you’ll have at a parade. Be advised they don’t throw much if you’re watching on Canal so get to a side street to catch that coconut you’ve been wanting.

Like these photos? Be sure and check out MiguelSolorzano.com for a lot more pics from this year’s Mardi Gras.

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Livin'

 

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Review: Stanley

Thanksgiving Turkey Croissant

Thanksgiving Turkey Croissant

I always love restaurants I can recommend to people without having to worry about whether or not the recommendation will be well-received or not. Thankfully, Stanley is one of the places that never lets me down.

Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Stanley serves up consistently great dishes at a fair price point — especially given French Quarter spots tendency to drive up prices.

Sure there are more tourists on hand than some local places, but you’re a fool if you let them detract you from enjoying Chef Scott Boswell’s menu.

For breakfast or brunch, my favorite thing is the Breaux Bridge Benedict. It’s boudin, smoked ham, cheese and poached eggs. The boudin is of great quality and the poached eggs at Stanley are damn near perfect. The yolk of the poached eggs weaves its way through the boudin perfectly to give you a quintessential bite every time your fork hits the plate.

The Eggs Stanley and Bananas Foster French Toast are also worth ordering. The oysters for the Eggs Stanley are lightly crusted in cornmeal rather than a heavy flour breading so they don’t overwhelm the eggs.

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

For lunch, I would highly recommend the Thanksgiving Turkey Croissant when it’s available (seasonal). It’s nicely seasoned shaved turkey meat, bacon, cranberry dressing, arugula, cornbread dressing and basil mayo sandwich between a fluffy croissant. I would prefer this sandwich to most Thanksgiving full-on meals. The flavor profile is light even though the portion is a bit large, but I’m not going to complain about getting too much of this sandwich.

The Club Stanley is also legit. Rather than relying solely on deli meat, it has a grilled chicken breast as the star surrounded by ham, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and a pesto dressing. It can be a little bit messy, but I’ve always found messy foods to be some of the best.

Club Stanley

Club Stanley

A lot of people also like Stanley’s burger, but I honestly feel there are better options out there — even in the French Quarter. The Caesar Salad is also a little off. I found the chicken to be too dry both times I had it.

Aside from the food, Stanley has homemade ice cream and sorbets that are divine. The Pecan Pie ice cream and Bananas Foster ice cream are two of my favorites. You can also have any of the ice creams made into a milkshake or malt. I haven’t tried any of their specialty sundaes, but I doubt they will disappoint you. You really can’t go wrong if you go this route.

All in all, Stanley is a solid French Quarter spot that turns out high-quality items for a very affordable price. The best part is that it completely avoids the tourist trap feeling despite being situated along Jackson Square.

Stanley is located at the corner of St. Ann and Chartres in the French Quarter. Stanley is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Eatin'

 

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