Magazine Street

Today I was wandering down my favorite street, Magazine Street, looking at the different shops and houses and a thought struck me like a lightning bolt. One of the things I really enjoy about New Orleans is there is nothing cookie cutter about it. For example, as I stroll down the street, I see on one side is an old Victorian style house sporting a wide porch with an intricate wooden railing decorating both the upstairs and downstairs porches. On one end is a large round sitting area where I imagine family and friends shooting the breeze on a hot day, sipping a cool drink while watching the world pass by. Directly across the street the house has a completely different look. I have no clue what style it is, but it looks, to me, like it has been transplanted from another time and place. Tall, and stately appearing with wrought iron railing, surrounded by hedges and palm trees which enclose it in privacy. This privacy extends to the side yard and garden. All I can see is a glimpse of an orange outdoor umbrella peeking between the openings in the hedge. As I continue wandering, I see such an eclectic array of buildings, homes and businesses. A little ways down the road is a house that is getting into the Mardi Gras spirit early. With the various decorations springing up everywhere, it is obvious to me New Orleans is getting into full swing party mode. I totally missed it the first time, but as I walked back to my car, I pass by a small lot and see a small, shed size building with a sign out front that reads @PLMIRRORHOUSE #reflectyourself.  

As I am strolling along, I see trees that have been here for so long, the sidewalk is being pushed up by the strength of the roots. The trees in some places look like they are in competition with the people of New Orleans for residency.  What I appreciate is instead of cutting the trees down, people simple adjust the sidewalk, or adjust their stride to accommodate the lumbersome tree roots asserting their dominancy. In some areas around New Orleans, the trees are so large and unyielding, that you can imagine what life would look like if there were no more humans. One sidewalk, I forget where I saw it, appears to be a fine line between humanity and the jungle, and the trees are winning!

What I like best about Magazine Street is it is truly one stop shopping. You can start at one end and have coffee, get your pets vaccinated, treated or groomed, buy musical instruments, or grab a bite to eat. There is a plethora of options for your dining pleasure. 1- you will not starve here and 2- there are enough options that even your pickiest eater can find something they will enjoy. There is a dentist, architect, and the most adorable Spanish colonial building that is a wedding venue (Il Mercato). The buildings have balconies on the second floor that overlook the street. 

For the clothing enthusiasts, Magazine street does not disappoint. For the gentlemen, there is Aiden Gil for Men (a barbershop and personal grooming store), a place to get a hand tailored suit, and a hat store established in 1895 named Goorin. Speaking of Goorin, the staff inside is so friendly there; I met a man, totally blocking on his name but I know his astrological sign is Leo like me, who is both friendly, funny and knowledgeable. And I met Serena Ray Black, who is an aspiring singer so go and ask her to sing you a bar or two… her voice will have you hearing angels. She is shy so she might need encouragement. There are several other clothing stores for men as well. For the ladies, there are several clothing stores, lingerie stores, and a shop Miette, which has an upstairs section for empowering women and embracing your sexuality. You can also get a beautiful headpiece at Goorin’s too. Along the route there are several children’s clothing stores and your mix of fun to wear and vintage clothing stores too.

When you are finished dining and have your complete outfit all picked out, there are several furniture stores for your perusal. I don’t mean name brand like what is advertised on TV. No, these are more like smaller, personal type. I guess what I am trying to say is the area isn’t commercialized like a Mall. 

Gentlemen (or Ladies), while your partner is receiving a spa treatment, and getting their hair styled, you can wait for them while drinking some beer at the Craft Beer Cellar. And after you have filled your bellies, added to your wardrobe, sporting the new fedora, and found the perfect end table for your digs, you can stop by the local artist warehouse/shop and decorate your abode.  If I remember correctly, is open Thursdays through Mondays, but don’t quote me on that…. I forgot now and didn’t write it down. Inside you will find several artists with their wares on display. There are also other shops sprinkled throughout Magazine Street with handmade tiles, artwork, and other artistic options for your viewing and buying pleasure. If you are craving new ink, there is a tattoo parlor on Magazine too. And a gym! 

Magazine Street can be confusing. Whichever end you begin on, as you walk or drive, you will wind up in suburbia. Don’t think the trip is over! Keep going, another section opens up so you can continue the shopping journey! The bottom line is there is so much to see and do on Magazine street. You will not be disappointed, I promise you that! 

Beginnings

I am a foodie! But not fanatical to where I over analyze the ingredients or just HAVE to learn how to cook the dish I am eating. I simply love good food. I love all types of food. And, I recently moved to New Orleans…the town synonymous with good food, good music, the arts and the Saints. What better place to live and eat! Though I am not sure if I will retire here, I know I am here for at least a few years so I am going to make the best of it. I’ve decided to start blogging about my experiences, and write about the places I have seen and the food I have eaten. I welcome you to share your experiences with me or ask me questions about what I have seen. Feel free to suggest places to visit and restaurants to enjoy. I’ll make sure to write about it.  

One of the things I love about NOLA is the vibe. I like to say you can be anything you want here, dress any way you desire, and walk down the street wearing a tutu, or a three piece suit, and no one will bat an eye. There is no awkward gawking or judging of you for just being You. Point in case, I was eating dinner one night and the restaurant was full. In the back, there was a man who was wearing the most fashion disaster of an outfit, well at least in my eyes, one could imagine. I mean to tell you, the shirt was a loud obnoxious print of some sort and the pants were a batik type print. It looked like he was wearing a cross between pajamas and a suit. The colors couldn’t have clashed any brighter if a two year old picked them out. He was leaving the restaurant, saying good bye to the staff and as he passed by tables filled with people eating, not a single person looked up or gave a sideways glance as he passed by. You know the look I am talking about. The glance people give after someone walks past them, oogling behind their back in disbelief. That moment is when I knew I was going to like living here.

I have eaten at several restaurants already, before I decided to start this blog, so I will just mention a few and what I enjoyed about them. I will make sure I revisit them in the future and give a proper review.

1-      Bear Cat Café is an excellent little place who has given breakfast new meaning for me. They offer two sides to their menu for a dining experience that will satisfy even the pickiest of diners. The “good cat” side is vegan fare, while the “bad cat” side is for carnivores. They offer paleo options as well. Their Bison sausage is flavorful. It has ruined “regular” sausage for me. I am not sure how they cook their potatoes, but the taste is wonderful enough, I do not dare use ketchup. Their grits will make a believer out of those who turn their nose up at them. I have not had a bad meal off the menu yet. They offer a lunch menu also, with delicious sounding options, but I cannot attest to the flavor because I stick with breakfast.

2-      The Company Burger has a simple menu with different varieties of burgers. My favorite so far has been the lamb burger. So juicy and delicious!

3-      Gris-Gris Restaurant offers several dining options: the upstairs outdoor patio with a view of the street, inside either at a table or at the upstairs bar, or downstairs at a bar type seating arrangement where you can watch the chefs prepare the food. That is my favorite spot to sit. I confess to going more than once and every time, the staff is friendly and helpful. Always willing to answer questions about the food they are preparing while you watch. The first time I went, the owner was also preparing food and came around and struck up a conversation. I learned the inside scoop to why he has a BBT (Bacon, Basil and Tomato) sandwich on the menu. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you…. Instead, go learn for yourself! 

Thank you for taking time to read my blog. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. Let me know your favorite places to visit when you are here. I will be posting another one this coming week so make sure you come back for more!

Lisa