After some of the comments I received on the last post, I realize I’ve skipped over a few significant details that merit mention. Our final week in the States was such a whirlwind. I was able to get a dog sitter for one last time and join Snakes for his consultations in NYC. Besides hitting my favorite fabric and notion stores in the garment district and visiting my old Brooklyn roomie’s restaurant, I had but one minor goose chase to lead us on. I’d been reading for years that gourmet doughnuts were gaining ground in the booming cupcake markets of the last decade. It’s no secret that I love a well made cupcake and I thank the genius who nudged so many of our country’s talented and creative bakers in that direction. But finding a respectable doughnut? Nearly impossible.
Snakes had his doubts. I have a reputation for not researching things as thoroughly as he would, preferring instead to just investigate on a lark. Following my (dough-) nutty intuition, we zigzagged our way through the lower east side over to the far edge of Grand St, just past Essex. What we found was a humble little shop, the Doughnut Plant, with some of the most gorgeous doughnuts I have EVER feasted my eyes on. The only trouble was deciding. He had a blackberry jam filled, I had one glazed with valrhona chocolate. (What I wouldn’t give for one NOW!!!) On the way out, I bought the creme brulee flavored, which we shared the next afternoon at the airport. (Filled with custard and iced with crunchy caramelized sugar!)
We arrived back in DC around 2p on Wednesday, picked up a rental vehicle and headed back to our beloved Capitol Hill neighborhood for one last time. While Snakes shuttled off some final boxes to the post office, I buzzed through the house with a few final sweeps. We loaded up the truck, made the dogs a cozy area in the back, and set off for Houston via New Orleans. (but of course!!)
(In order to make things as easy as possible on the dogs, we had requested a flight from Houston, since that’s the only non-stop to Luanda from the states.)
We pulled into New Orleans late Thursday night and settled in quickly to our gorgeous and lush accommodations. One of my dearest friends owns a beautiful home ( I’ve mentioned her here before) which she has turned into a funky little boutique hotel-ish compound. She had blocked off a couple of days for us in one of the rooms, just off the back courtyard. She also owns the lot next door and is breaking ground on a black-bottomed salt water pool this spring, half of which will be shaded by an arbor of night-blooming jasmine. Does life get any better??? I am so excited to spend some R & R time here. (**Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miranda. Thoughts of your paradise get Banjo and me through the rough patches!**)
On Saturday, our last night out in the States for a while, we went for dinner at Couchon, one of our Nola favorites. After, we set off for a stroll down Frenchman street to catch some live music. I think New Orleans is going through a major renaissance now. It was like some fantastic adult circus, complete with gymnastic fire twirling and swallowing. There are SO many more musicians on the streets than I remembered too. And the latest addition, one I couldn’t resist, were the performance art poets. Guys set up with old school typewriters, plunking away a poem, written just for you in like 5 minutes! When he finished, he tore it off the machine, triumphantly stood and delivered to us the following:
Under cloud scattered skies in the birthplace of humanity’s rise and falling lightning cracking echoes of its passage on the back of the eyes–
there lies the adventure of a life.
From New World Oak Street night times and traipsing pot hole home drives
to Angolan slow sunrise–
is the difference so unkind?
And in the making of new minds, especially ripe and far-flung climes
can always be counted on to feed a life begun in the sun.
-Tristan Bennett 4/2/2011
Not bad for on demand poetry. I was expecting a limerick! The next morning we repacked the car and made a few more stops to visit friends and buy around 10# of artisanal sausages and salamis to stow away in our suitcases. It’s really funny the things we value at times like this. House cured spicy fennel salami? Ah, yeah… 2 # please. Andouille? why of course we do!
And so, here we are, a week and a half later, freezer full of sausages and my belly full of baby. No. I have not reverted to eating babies, I was just looking for a clever segue to my closer…
From the great gourmet doughnut and sausage shop in the sky, a little strawberry comes our way. For those of you who may have missed it, we are expecting a daughter in August!