Eating: Abel’s Onion Rings

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been coping with really bad headaches lately. My eye doctor thinks it’s due to my eyesight changing and after waiting a week I am finally wearing a new pair of glasses. Hopefully, this does the trick so I can get back to writing more regularly.

Now for the subject at hand, I was recently cooking some onions to put on top of something. I must have started paying attention to something else, because the next thing I know my onions are burnt. I know Cristina won’t have a problem with this since she like food past well done. I popped one in my mouth and was taken back to when I was around seven. It tasted just like an onion ring from Abel’s Restaurant.

I don’t remember much about Abel’s. I do remember how it cool it was to go to the bathroom because you had to pass through the bar. I remember my dad telling me when I was older and was able to go that side I should always call my girlfriend or wife first because friends of his didn’t and they had to sleep outside while he was able to sleep peacefully in his own bed because he called my mom. I remember the hamburger steak which I do judge all other hamburger steaks by. But mostly I remember the onion rings. Especially, I remember ordering them right before it closed. I think i savored the taste even more making sure I remembered them. They were cut so small and breaded so perfectly that the breading was more of a seasoning. And I remember getting a few of the burnt ones and thinking there aren’t many side dishes that would taste better than this.


Traveling: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Travel

This blog started as basically a blog about me learning how to cook with Crisitna writing candidly about what it was like to eat my food. However, our other interests started to creep in and wanted a voice. Well, our other big mutual interest is travel.

While Cristina documented her love for travel in an earlier blog, my love for travel took a bit longer to develop. I was content with watching the Travel Channel. It wasn’t until right after Cristina and I started to dating that I realized that not only do I like to travel but it was good for me as well.

I’m a teacher. However, I also assumed a lot more responsibilities that year outside of being a teacher and a coach. The work wasn’t hard it was just very time-consuming and deadline centric. I was basically causing a lot of stress for myself. Too make matters worse, I had just been through a battery of medical tests to rule out bladder cancer. The tests ruled out cancer (not sure what it was because it cleared up itself), but thinking you might have cancer is not a pleasant experience.

On a whim in the parking lot on the last day of school before the holiday, I asked Cristina if we could go to Disney World for the Easter break. No homework, no calling vendors, no writing newspaper articles. Nothing but riding rides, eating food (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and maybe trying to drink around the world in Epcot. Luckily, her best friend and sister live in the Orlando area so accommodations weren’t that hard to come by. So the day after Easter we packed the car and took off.

What a difference a week makes. I walked in a 35-year-old and walked out a seven-year old. Cristina remarked on our last day that I had smiled for the entire week. Even when I was sleeping.

I came back and handled the rest of the school year with ease. Now, I’m willing to travel anywhere at any time. It’s good for me.

Writing about Europe, Washington, and the Arts Market also make me feel better. Some posts may be silly, exciting, or boring. However, the experience meant something to me. Therefore, if you have been with this blog from the beginning you may have noticed an evolution of this blog. Not only will it be about our dining and cooking experiences, it will be about all of our experiences.

Sometimes, however unlikely, even a trip to an exotic locale such as Kenner can yield an experience worth writing about.

Watching: Adventure, excitement? A Jedi craves not these things.

Good thing I’m not a Jedi! Because I do crave these things. And last night was no exception. Last night, I got to meet one of those people who I never thought I’d actually meet. One of those people I have been admiring ever since I received Mallrats as a gift at my 8th grade birthday party. That’s right – Kevin Smith. The man who made me laugh and think philosophically about such things as God, Star Wars, and relationships in such movies as Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks. How did this long-time dream come true? It is all thanks to my better half, Kurt.

Kevin Smith's Red State ticket

Kevin Smith's Red State ticket

Kevin has a new movie that he wrote, directed, edited, and released himself. It is a very low budget ($4 million) movie called Red State. He decided to do a 15 city tour to promote/screen the movie before the actual wide release date, and lucky me, he decided to bring it to New Orleans. I was so excited when I found out he was coming down here, doing a Q &A, screening the movie, but I wasn’t sure we could go, as tickets were $60 a piece. Did I really want to spend that much money? Especially with a wedding coming up? As I debated, Valentine’s Day rolled around. Kurt and I exchanged gifts, and one of my gifts was a manila envelope. Che cos’è?!  (What is it?!)

KEVIN SMITH TICKETS! I was so excited. My baby knows me so well.

Fast forward to last night, March 26. We head to the AMC Elmwood at around 5:15pm to wait in line, even though it didn’t start until 7pm. No, we were not the first people in line, but we were in the first row. Kurt’s friend that we see at every “nerd” event we go to was there with his wife, about 5 people in front of us. It’s kind of scary how alike he and Kurt are! After waiting until about 7:30, with the line out of the front door of people waiting for this sold out event, we were finally let into the theater. Kurt and I knew that if we wanted to be directly in front of Kevin Smith, we should sit in the front row; however, we wanted to actually see the movie. We decided to just sit in the middle, about 8-10 rows up. About 8 o’clock, the side door opens and in walks some of the stars of the movie. Stephen Root! Melissa Leo, the Academy Award winning actress for The Fighter! Kevin Smith’s wife, Jenn! As they are walking up the stairs to sit in the back of the theater, Jenn assures us that Kevin is right outside the door.

Kevin Smith Q & A

Kevin Smith Q & A

And so he was. He quickly introduced the movie (well, not that quickly…he’s a talker!), then we sat back and enjoyed the show. The movie is being toted as a “horror” film, but honestly, it wasn’t that scary in the slightest. I would call it “unsettling.” It is not predictable and it doesn’t have any “otherworldly” elements in it, meaning you could imagine something like this actually happening. The actor who played Abin Cooper, Michael Parks, was outstanding. I completely believed him as one of those Christian pastors who feel like it’s their duty to rid the world of such abominations such as sinners and gays. You never really knew what the next step would be, and I truly felt that everyone was believable. I thought Kerry Bishé was so horrible in the updated Scrubs that they tried to put out in that last season, but she was very good in the movie as the sweet, naïve Cheyenne. At the end, I thought it you could see the Kevin Smith in the movie, especially with the quirky jokes, style of writing, and subtle digs on politics and religion (even though in the Q & A, he said he didn’t think people would know it was him if they didn’t already know). I enjoyed the movie thoroughly and would definitely recommend it.

Stephen Root, Melissa Leo, Kevin Smith

Stephen Root, Melissa Leo, Kevin Smith answering Red State questions

Afterward, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Kevin Smith came down and answered random questions from the audience. Can that man talk! If you ask a simple question, such as, “How did you get started in the editing process?”, it would be a full on ten minutes and 15 tangents later before he’d be finished talking. Of course, no one minded, and everything he said was interesting. He spoke for over an hour, much to the chagrin of his assistant that kept trying to get him to wrap it up. Melissa Leo and Stephen Root joined him down there about halfway through and answered questions as well. I really enjoy Melissa on Treme and on The Fighter, and Stephen will always be engrained in my brain as the red stapler guy.

When they finally had to go, they left out the side door and the audience is slowly making its way out, an idea occurs to me. The people selling the merchandise outside of the theater before the show had said that Kevin would not be signing any autographs or taking pictures. I was bummed, so I bought a Red State poster for $20 that came signed by Kevin. What if Kurt and I went around to the back of the theater, where Kevin Smith’s bus was? I bet that not many people would have thought to do that, so many he might come out. I told Kurt my plan, and he quickly agreed. What was there to lose, right? We go out the front and start to make our way around back. As we get to the side of the building, we see a couple of people in a circle ahead of us, taking pictures. We

Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo and I

notice that it’s Melissa Leo! The only reason why she was at this screening is because she’s filming Treme in New Orleans right now, so it was very easy for her to come over and participate. She had her family with her and they were just walking to their own car. She was so nice and since there was only about 7 people there, so she had no problem taking pictures. I felt so bad because I took the picture with her as Kurt snapped it, but he assured me he didn’t mind not being in the picture. He just told her how he’s admired her since Homicide, which she gave a big smile for and thanked him.

Then, we walk to the back of the theater. There is a group of about 12 people who thought just like me. We decide to all walk to the bus together. The cops and couple of official people standing outside the bus looked nervous at us all walking over there, but we politely asked if Kevin wouldn’t mind coming out. Because there weren’t that many of us, the assistant said Kevin would come out and take a group picture. When he got of the bus, we all clapped and thanked him. He is honestly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He insisted on signing all of our merchandise that we had, which included

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith!! Long time dream come true.

my copy of Clerks that I brought with me. He then took individual pictures with everyone. I’m not one to push people out of the way to meet someone, so even though I was standing right next to him, other pushy people kept jumping in front of me. Kurt eventually caught him attention and told Kevin how he bought me the tickets for Valentine’s Day, and it would mean so much to him if he could “seal the deal” and have us take a picture together. Kevin laughed and said it’d be his honor. I had the camera so just took one of those self shots, which even though it is the tiniest bit blurry, you can totally see the happiest not only on my face, but on his as well.

After that, we left. I still can’t believe I got to meet one of my idols.  Such a great evening, one that I won’t forget for a long time.

Ramblings: Possible Weekend Adventures

Photograph of Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie...

Oak Alley will be more crowded this weekend. (Image via Wikipedia)

The other day I posted about taking some Louisiana road trips, so I decided to post some trips you might want to take this weekend.

Trash Bash Celebration: Saturday is Trash Bash in St. Charles Parish. The Trash Bash is from 8-11 followed by a celebration at the West Bank Bridge Park. We will be at the celebration helping the Wetland Watchers exhibit. Don’t worry, I will not be doing crafts at this event.

Hogs for the Cause: In City Park on Saturday, there is a one day festival to help raise money for families with children suffering from brain cancer. Amanda Shaw, Ander Osborne and the Radiators will be performing. And of course, pigs will be roasting.  This event is being put on by the guys who write this blog, which should be part of your daily reading.

The Fair Grounds: I didn’t get to the fairgrounds this year, or actually any previous year for that matter. Next year, this will be remedied. This is the last weekend so if you haven’t got out there out there and you have nothing planned, you still have a shot. The Louisiana Derby is tomorrow.

20th Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Festival at Oak Alley: The title kind of says it all.


Also, Kevin Smith is doing a QA this week to show his new film Red State. Cristina and I are going. Can anybody think of any questions I can ask him?

Traveling: I Prefer to Pronounce Louvre with the R

On our last day in Paris, I realized I planned poorly. I didn’t think things through. I should have made a chart or a spreadsheet. This day was to be a museum day: The Louvre then the Orsay. Every morning while Cristina was making herself even more beautiful, I would read our Rick Steves book. Skipping over to the Paris section, I read that the Orsay is closed on Monday. Damn it. Well, sort of. I mean we were going to Louvre and that more than makes for a great day.

Outside the Louvre

Outside the Louvre

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Traveling: The love of travel

This is a Cristina blog. You’re welcome.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved to travel. I think that stems from my family and I moving so much when I was a kid. We didn’t move because my dad was in the military, as most people ask me, but rather because we were just always in search of something better than what we had. We weren’t exactly dirt poor, but we did struggle. Though I don’t really remember too much, by the time I was five I had lived in Ohio, California, Australia, and Louisiana.

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Reading: Road Trips

I’m practically finished reading Louisiana Rambles by Ian McNulty. If a book’s main purpose is to inspire the reader to some sort of action, then this book has more than achieved its goal. I’ve got so many road trips planned for Cristina and me that I may have to take out a loan due to the rising gas prices.

For instance, I’ve never been to the Angola Rodeo mainly due to the fact that I have no interest in rodeos. The way that Mr. McNulty writes about the rodeo and the arts and crafts fair, not only do I want to go but I want to bring a pick up truck with me to bring home some of the wares. I’ve driven through Morgan City numerous times. Now, I want to stop and tour Mr. Charlie, the rig museum.

However, to say the book is only for tourist promotion to short changing it. The book goes deeper then that. He captures the people of South Louisiana perfectly. His story about the new state capital not only captures the day he was there, but anyone who has ever been there will experience a little de ja vu. When he meets someone, he makes you feel as if you are meeting them too. Seriously, if you love Louisiana and the people, this book should be on your bookshelf.

Finally, to show how much I liked this book I’ll leave you with this fact about it: I actually put down Angry Birds to read the book.