Cafe Burnside at Houmas House Plantation Wednesday, Jan 30 2013 

Café Burnside at Houmas House Plantation
40136 Highway 942
Darrow, LA
http://www.houmashouse.com

Dive Bar Girl and The Hubs have been married 72 days.  This mile marker in their relationship meant it was time to celebrate their Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries Anniversary. So they took drive down River Road to Café Burnside inside Houmas House Plantation for a proper lunch.

They entered through gift shop and each paid the $10 entrance fee that granted them access to the plantation’s gardens for the entire day.  In return, the clerk gave them a $20 dining credit at Café Burnside.  They took a stroll under the oaks and eventually reached chef Jeremy Langlois’s restaurant.  The meal started with a breadbasket and Houmas House’s homemade butter with infused with Steen’s cane syrup and pecans. A piano played while they dined on massive hand cut onion rings and poboys that overflowed with shrimp and oysters.  The Hubs knew the place was all class because they had their own signature china.

After the meal, they continued to roam the grounds.  They sat in the sun by the fountain and then visited Houmas House’s artist in residence and groundskeeper, Craig Black’s studio.  They even stumbled upon a secret garden.  It was a good day.

The Hubs Speaks about Houmas House:
“Gentlemen, if you want to take your special lady on a nice afternoon date, Houmas House is the way to go. It’s a nice drive, so there’s plenty of time to talk, the setting is romantic and the prices are very good for the quality and amount of food you get. It’s a hell of a lot more special than taking her to eat at TGI McApplebees and then going to see the latest movie adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. (And far, far less painful)”  

DBG’s and The Hubs will celebrate their Nicolas Cage/Lisa Marie Presley Anniversary after 107 days of marriage. What shall they do?

PS–Cross the footbridge to enter the tea pavilion.  Then look up and see a hidden treasure. Image

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Only Fools Rush In Friday, Jan 25 2013 

When most little girls were creating scrapbooks filled with ideas of long flowing dresses, carriages pulled by proud white horses and bridesmaids dressed in ice cream colored pastels, I was shunning these stuffy formal traditions. I was a child raised on New Orleans rhythm and blues and classic rock. I pulled my first slot machine handle around the time I learned to roller skate. My first car was a 1972 Datsun 240z that had an 8-track player. I have never owned a Barbie doll, and from the age of eight I knew I was destined to be married by Elvis in Las Vegas.   

Almost immediately after getting engaged, the Hubs and I booked our plane tickets for our elopement to Sin City. Many of our friends decided to join us, and the elopement quickly transformed into a de facto destination wedding. This meant we would actually have to plan our nuptials and a reception.  

Thanks to an Internet search, we quickly found the only chapel for the couple who considers themselves to be on the higher end of the lowbrow. A Little White Wedding Chapel has been marrying the masses for over fifty years. Many celebrities have also walked down their very short and very narrow aisle. To quote the Hubs, “If it is good enough for Michael Jordan, Paul Newman, and Slash from Guns N’ Roses—it is good enough for us.”  

After landing in Las Vegas, we took the city bus with tourists, casino workers, and a Gene Simmons impersonator who made balloon animals for children, to the Marriage Bureau near the old Strip.

Within five minutes a state employee, who never bothered to look away from her computer, stamped a piece of paper and granted us our license. On the way out the door, we took note of the sign that read, “We will not grant a license to the visibly intoxicated.”   

The evening before the wedding our guests arrived and we reveled late into the night at Frankie’s Tiki Room, an off-Strip local’s hangout. Many Mai Tai’s were consumed and most stumbled away with a souvenir Tiki mug.  

The next morning, it was time to get dressed. The Hubs wore his best suit. I made my own wedding dress modeled after the dress Elizabeth Taylor wore when she married Richard Burton the first time. It featured an empire waist and was made of shimmery gold fabric. Halfway through the day, I realized that I was leaving a trail of glitter behind me wherever I went and by the end of the night, we had coined it “The Stardust Dress.”   

My “something old” consisted of a bouquet of vintage brooches my relatives had collected over the years. Bridal Brooch Bouquets, a local business, managed to transform them into the most beautiful wedding arrangement I have ever seen. My “something new” was my dress, of course. I borrowed a sixpence from my mother, but was unable to fit it in my shoe. At the last minute, I stuck it in my bra, and changed the old adage to “a sixpence for my boob.” My something blue was the clearance sale sticker inside my right shoe.  

We stepped out of the hotel and the valet led us to our circa 1985 limo. After driving through the dodgy end of the Strip, we arrived and the first thing I saw was our chariot, the pink Cadillac convertible. The second thing I saw was a gang of outlaw bikers. We were led into the office of the chapel.  

We filled out paperwork and paid as the outlaw biker wedding began to sink into some kind of tattooed/leather-induced chaos. Apparently, the groom, who had decided to be a traditionalist the night before the wedding and sleep apart from his bride, had forgotten to bring the marriage license. Just as the bride, who was dressed in leather chaps and the top of a heavily bedazzled wedding dress, was about to cry, the leader of the gang appeared with the proper paperwork. The bridesmaids, who were clad in matching silver-sequined booty shorts, wife-beaters, and knee high leather boots, ushered the bride back into the chapel. As the concierge passed by our party she said, “Elvis will be right with you.” I got goose bumps.  

The King appeared wearing a white jumpsuit and carrying a portable stereo system. He asked us to come to the desk. We signed our license and decided Elvis would sing Love Me Tender and Can’t Help Falling in Love. Everyone walked out to the drive-thru chapel and gathered around the Caddy. We sat on the top of back of the convertible and exchanged vows. Our Elvis was a such a sincere minister that I teared up as I repeated, “I promise to never leave you at the Heartbreak Hotel.”  

As we kissed I heard clapping accompanied by whistles. I looked up to see that a double-decker bus full of tourists had stopped to watch the ceremony. After pictures with Elvis, we returned to our limo and departed for our reception at the Peppermill, just as a parade of Harley Davidsons was exiting the driveway.  

The Peppermill Fireside Lounge is located in the back of a coffee shop on the Strip and is one of my favorite bars in the world. Despite renovations over the years, it still manages to embody the spirit of the mid-1970’s. Neon tubes burn across the ceiling, but all roads lead to a circle of sunken velvet banquettes that surround a fountain that spews fire. Our guests feasted on fried food and drank Blue Hawaiians, Scorpions, and Champagne Cocktails while they played video poker and watched the LSU-Mississippi State game.  

In lieu of a traditional bride and groom on top of our Bavarian cream cake, we elected to have a pair of clay LSU Tigers dressed in their best formalwear that we had found on Etsy. They were able to watch an LSU victory while perched atop the second tier.  

To quote one of our male guests, “It was a good day. There was a wedding. Alabama lost. LSU won. And I could play video poker at the reception.”  

The next day we boarded a plane for our honeymoon in San Francisco. When we got to the hotel, I looked at my marriage certificate for the first time. As it turns out…Elvis’s real name was Chad, but this fact did not make my wedding and the vows I took any less real. I will love The Hubs forever and abide by my promise never to leave him at the Heartbreak Hotel—or any hotel.

13 in 2013 (New Sh#t in Red Stick!) Thursday, Jan 17 2013 

13 in 2013
 
Hey Red Stickers! We have quite a few things to look forward to in 2013. Here is a list of 13 establishments slated to open their doors and cater to your every whim this year! Who said 13 was an unlucky number?  
1.  The Pelican House should open its doors in February. It is billed as a New Orleans style bar and features a huge variety of beers on tap as well as a comprehensive whiskey selection.  A little birdie told DBG the menu is quite yummy too. http://thepelicanbar.com/
2. City Pork Deli and Charcuterie will open near the Perkins Road Overpass.  The world can never have enough homemade sausages, patés, terrines, cheeses and freshly made sandwiches. 
3. Street Breads Sandwich Shop is a Lake Charles favorite that is about to pitch a tent by the Perkins Road Overpass. The hope to be selling their delicious sandwiches by St. Paddy’s Day.  http://www.streetbreads.com/
4. Galatoire’s Bistro opened Wednesday.  Old school New Orleans can now be found on Perkins Road.  http://galatoiresbistro.com/ 
5. The owners of the Bulldog will be bringing a Mexican restaurant to Red Stick later this year. The Velvet Cactus will be serving a mean margarita out on Old Hammond Highway.  http://www.thevelvetcactus.com/
6. The Blues Room will open next weekend on Lafayette Street and will feature live blues music and a small menu of bar bites.
7. Lava Cantina is slated to open later this year in Perkins Rowe and will offer live music and a Mexican menu. 
8. Alexander’s Highland Market will open on Highland by I-10 sometime in the very near future.  Think Whole Foods with a local Louisiana vibe.  http://www.alexandersmkt.com/
9. Trader Joe’s is finally coming to Perkins Road!  http://www.traderjoes.com/
10. Rouse’s Supermarket should be coming to the Baton Rouge area soon.  They have a great deli and an even better meat selection! http://shop.rouses.com/
11.  Frankie Marcello’s will open in January on the corner of Perkins and Essen and will offer family style Italian, seafood and steaks. 
12. Government Street will be getting a new sports bar in the near future. The Fourth Quarter will open soon in the building that housed Shing’s Chinese Restaurant.

13. Voodoo BBQ continues to expand their empire with another location in Perkins Rowe right by the movie theater.  http://www.voodoobbq.com/

5 Red Stick Watering Holes in Need of Bar Rescue Friday, Jan 11 2013 

5 Red Stick Watering Holes in Need of Bar Rescue

DBG and the Hubs love watching Bar Rescue on Spike. The new season starts on February 12. (DBG knows she just sounded soooo corporate.)  This means everyone will have something to look forward to after Mardi Gras.  Running a bar is a business and a very hard one at that.  Here are the five places in Baton Rouge Jon Taffer needs to descend on and knock into shape.

1. Ivar’s: Sometimes a beer is $5. Sometimes the same beer is $4.  Happy hour has nothing to do with it.  It’s a sports bar, but the TVs are ancient.  The beer lines are skunky. The service is awful. No one cares.  The only high point: the chicken wings.
2. Hound Dogs: Is just sad.  Is it a dive bar? Is it a gay bar? Why are the drinks so weak? God knows downtown has enough Steinbeckesque-Tortilla Flats characters around to support a funky hole-in-the-wall. Too bad Hound Dogs doesn’t fit the bill.  
3. Zee Zee Gardens: Another bar in a great location where it seems like the owners quit caring. Here’s a first step — clean the dust bunnies off the ceiling and buy more than four pint glasses.
4. Fox and the Hound: Big sports bars used to be in short supply in Baton Rouge. Many competitors have come along and done things better.  Fox and the Hound has stayed in place, treading water.
5. The Bald Eagle: The owners of this downtown spot are trying, but the place doesn’t have much character. Being in The Bald Eagle really makes one miss the Thirsty Tiger.  

Bonus Round: If fiction were reality, DBG would love to see Mr. Taffer go toe to toe with Lana Lee from the Night of Joy Bar in A Confederacy of Dunces.

Homemade Honey Bourbon Friday, Jan 4 2013 

Homemade Honey Bourbon

Hey everyone, it’s DBG’s Hubs. I’m here with a recipe for a drink that will help stave off the winter chills — homemade honey bourbon.

I first encountered this drink a year ago in the Courtyard Bar at Juban’s. The honey adds a nice natural sweetness to the bourbon and helps to cut some of the bite of the liquor. The bartender was nice enough to give me the recipe.

More and more of the big distilleries are making whiskey or bourbon with notes of honey or maple. But those drinks usually have a cloying artificial taste that you usually associate with crappy breakfast cereals, not good spirits.

Start off with a honeycomb. The good folks at Bocage Bee & Honey can help you out there. They usually have a booth at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market, or you can visit their store in the Drusilla Shopping Center. https://www.facebook.com/BocageBee. Bocage Bee & Honey has a variety of combs, they even have one called “After the Hunt”, which is made for mixing with bourbon. But if they’re out of that, most of their other combs will work fine, although you probably want to steer clear of really floral honey.

Then get one fifth of bourbon. I suggest you use the brand you normally choose for mixing with Coke, 7-Up, or soda water, but it’s up to you and your bank account how much of a big baller and shot caller you want to be. Juban’s uses Maker’s Mark, I use Jim Beam.
Put the comb in a one quart Mason jar. You may have to cut it in half to get it to fit. Then pour the bourbon over the honeycomb. Put the jar away for at least a week.

After a week, take a mixer and break up the honeycomb. A wand mixer works great for this. You should have little bits of comb floating in the bourbon and it will be cloudy. That’s fine.

Wait another week. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and put it on top of a pitcher. Slowly pour the bourbon through. The cheesecloth will catch all of the waxy bits, leaving you with the honey-infused bourbon, which you can pour back into the Mason jar. You can now drink this beverage as you wish — neat, on the rocks, with soda, whatever. My plan is to spend Spanish Town Mardi Gras drinking this with club soda.