Monday, February 12, 2018

About Forty-Five Minutes Southeast of Thibodaux, Louisiana

Happy Mardi Gras!

If you have read this blog you know the two things I like talkin' 'bout the mostest is chasing ladies on social media sites and cookin' food.  And if I'm talkin' food I'm usually talkin' 'bout poor folks food like jambalaya or paella or anything else you can scratch up and throw together in a pot and stew on all day.  Of all the topics I've written about (food or chasin') Creole food on Mardi Gras has been perhaps my favorite and my most consistent annual post.

Another thing I love is visiting restaurants where the real food is made and enjoyed by the locals.  Not the tourists, the people who like the real deal.  I've spent some time down south and across those bayous in Louisiana.  One of my all time favorite "diner, drive-in and dives" type places I've come
across is the Jambalaya Shoppe.  The original store is in Gonzales, LA near Baton Rouge.  It's kind of an In and Out Burger meets Boudreaux the Cajun.  The Jambalaya Shoppes have franchised out across Louisiana now totaling about a dozen shops.  But they all serve great food.  One unique item they have that is sort of a new take on classic flava' (Cajun dialect) is Pastalaya.  So since I've done just about every creole recipe I know I present you today with -

The Jambalaya Shoppe's Pastalaya

2 Tbs     Butter
1#          Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast Cut into 1" cubes
1#          Andouille Sausage cut into 0.5" rounds
2 Cups   Trinity:  equal parts finely diced yellow onion, green pepper, and celery
2 Cups   Fresh Tomatoes chopped
1 Cup     Chicken Broth
2             Garlic Cloves minced
2 Tbs      Creole Seasoning:  paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, white pepper, thyme, celery seed, cayenne, ground black pepper
1#           Linguini, cooked
0.25 Cup Green Onion Chopped

*     In Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat.  Add chicken and sausage and cook until lightly browned.  Remove meat and set aside, leave butter and drippings.
*     Add Trinity to pot an cook until softened, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes
*     Add back in chicken, sausage along with tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic, and creole seasoning.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover.  Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
*     Stir in cooked pasta and green onions

Here is some more information on the Jambalaya Shoppes down dere in Louisiana!

And here are my past Mardi Gras food posts, laissez les bon temps roulade!

Here are my other Mardi Gras Food Posts
2011 - Cajun vs Creole
2012 - Muffuleta
2013 - Po Boy
2014 - Shrimp Creole
2015 - Gumbo Rice Fritters
2016 - Gumbo
2017 - King Cake Cupcakes

And here's you dat old Cajun song about dat dere man in da swamp....

As for that other love in life, yeah I did that as well recently.  Here is my latest effort on AM, do you think this note will get a reply?
 Well Ms Bell, Here's to hoping you grade on the bell curve and that I can be just ahead of the median male message on this forum! You've hit on a lot of my hot button topics - namely goofy! I love that, isn't that kind of what this is all about, getting outside the comfort boundaries a bit and pursuing who we want to be in our most free spirited moments. So you sent me to wiki a few times on that profile which is good, I love to learn; now I know what eigenstate means (only took one quarter of physics in college). So I think what you are saying is that the home life is kind of like Newton's First Law, cruising at a constant speed and direction and you have no interest in having an external force applied to that vector. Now comes AM and a desire to find that "alternative third place" or perhaps utilizing Newton's Third Law to achieve a certain balance, an equal (yet not evasive) opposite reaction (or relationship journey) that vectors towards the exciting if not thrilling and to get spiritual achieves a certain feng shui balance with that first law state of being. And of course you seems to be active and like active people so we can even throw in some of Newton's second law and say we can generate great force when our dual masses accelerate expeditiously towards fun! Or a walk along the river, etc. As Einstein said (in his law of happiness): "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness." So let's not move around restlessly knocking electrons off our atoms, let's move with balancing purpose and find that tranquil (and goofy) third place journey. Stay off the ice and have a wonderful evening! R

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I Can't See a Single Storm Cloud in the Sky but I Sure Can Smell the Rain

"Looking back is a bad habit" R. Cogburn
Thanks to my parents I grew up with very eclectic taste in music.  My earliest memories are of Glenn Campbell singing the theme song to "True Grit" and the Beatles "Maxwell Silver's Hammer," I loved it not quite getting the disturbing violent imagery in the lyrics (even then I was clueless).  But something about Classic Country music always gave me a warm soothing safe feeling of home.  Ray Charles said of country music "the words to country songs are very earthy like the blues.  They're not as dressed up and the people are very honest and say, 'look, I miss you darlin,' so I went out and got drunk in this bar..."  I guess he's right, I just like country because it is clean and true and the stories are so great and don't feel like you have to pour your beer into a glass!  I always seem to feel best when listening to Glenn Campbell or Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash.  All of which get a great deal of playful disdain from the fam who like to chastise me for my taste that is shared by about 0.01% of the population.  But I don't really care, I am after all the arch-typical goofy dad.

Of course in college my musical tastes evolved and I liked all that grunge and raw Seattle rock of the 90's.  After college I even delved into some of that rave techno stuff that all the hot girls liked to dance to in the clubs, funny how that was always my primary motivation in life.  That's kind of where I met Shannon, the eternal new waver - anti old schooler who is the antithesis to good old Ryan.

When Ryan and Shannon moved the deep south in the mid-90's we left all that East Coast techo-electronica and landed on an island where only Classic Rock, Pop, and Country lived.  The good news was that those years were full of (now) Disney Classics on the pop charts (see Lion King release date, etc) and quite a nice new era in Country music.  Those country years featured the continued emergence of Garth and the introduction of Toby Keith, Faith Hill, Clint Black, Collin Raye, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Sawyer Brown, and many others.  One of my favorite songs from this time is Blackhawk's "I Sure Can Smell the Rain."  "Somehow what she never says means more than all the other words I here."  Wow, ain't that the truth!

Unfortunately down there, we totally missed the Gangsta rap thing (I'm still not quite sure who Tupac is, is that some type of cold medicine?).

Anyway I like Blackhawk and all that early 90's Country that is now Classic Country along with all that Classic Country stuff I listened to when I was really young and it was new country.

I think one of the last times I wrote I mentioned that I had been back on AM!  I even got a response from a lady names Alexa.  Of course her name isn't Alexa, but as always the names here are changed to protect the guilty!  :)

Anyway, want to meet her?  As one of my fond former blog friends used to say?

Alexa is an INTJ and apparently difficult (as stated in her profile).  I also mentioned her here.

Early on Alexa was very inquisitive.  I enjoy the subtle dance during this period, telling a little of oneself but not revealing too much factual data.  In a sense this is more revealing as you tell as much who you want to be as you do who you are.  I tend to be coy and like to play.  Hint, hint, to ladies I like when they play along.  Alexa was being very INTJ and not playing along very well.

When she asked about my profile tagline "ami du jour," I replied:

She liked this when I sent it to her
"The Ami du Jour tag line is a tip of the hat to my food background.  As I navigated through the site it seemed like so many people, and perhaps me, were like waiters announcing the special of the evening.

"I'm a 40 something business professional who loves the outdoors and is fit and trim.... I can be wonderfully paired with a North Coast Pinot and finished with rosemary infused rubbing oils...."   :)

Sorry I like to be humorous but every menu has to have a soup of the day but french always sounds more classy so I used a few words I still remember from high school french.

Oh wow, I've written so much about myself and I was supposed to be listening to you about your day!!!  I do like to listen and (sorry to sound like our President) many, many people say I'm a great listener.

Have a great day Alexa and I'm ready for those questions.
Take Care,

Alexa didn't feign delight at my humor, just asked more questions:

"Ami duj our, very cute then.  Creative.

I'll ask just a few questions for now. I tend to ask more than I'm asked so I'm restraining myself.  The basics for starters:

Married for how long?
Have you had an affair before?"

Yesh - she's making it very hard to be charming!

She did ask why I had not asked her for photos.  She seemed impressed that I had restraint.  That did score points for me though.

"Once  I send this, I'll send a couple of photos your way.  You should know what the woman looks like that you're talking to, me thinks.  I am glad to know that you're interested without the photos, keeping you engaged it appears.

An affair to me is one where there is intimacy involved.  What drew you to my profile considering you're  in ******ville and I'm in  ********** County?  I've had three relationships (none met via AM), the longest was three years and the other  two were about 1 1/2 years so yep, I'm not a short-term  kinda gal, and I don't go poof either. Why have you not  met anyone on the site in five years?  That's a long time relatively speaking.

And  I always need and  want funny things, so thank you for sending that.  Much appreciated 😊"

Well that's starting to recognize my charm, savoir faire, and joie de vivre et al!  I'll be honest with you I kind of pulled a Trump on the "why have you not met anyone of this site..."  Nobody wants to hear your resume and that you are a blogger before that first "meet and greet."

So the messages went back and forth.  A few things in common, we both play racket sports though she is more into tennis (me racquetball).  She works in and around the hospitality business as do I but does not like to cook (as I do) and didn't seem so interested in talking about cuisine (thus I couldn't impress her with my foodiness).  She came across as a bit of a Yankee, thus impervious to my Southern charms.

All things considered things were not flowing seemlessly yet I still couldn't detach from her profile of wanting someone well traveled, well education, sophisticated, confident, yada, yada.  Dangit, I wanted her to recognize and admit how charming and witty I am.  Yes, I know the hubris is showing.

But then again, maybe words did not come to her easily.  Alas, she did always answer me and she was still asking questions.  She did say I had "piqued her interest!"

When she finally did send me her photo she looked pretty cute.  I didn't scare her off with my photo.

But all in all the dialogue was rather - MEH.

"Hey Ryan-

Thanks for sharing all you did, between where you grew up and lived, as well  as your interests in skiing and  cooking, Miami and weekend activities. I decidedly do not have a southern accent.  And my girls, never close to ballet.  Both gravitate to tomboyish, as I do. I've never skiied, and you know how I feel about cooking. I appreciate those who enjoy cooking for sure.

Much work for me, as is usually the case most weeks.  

As to a time to meet,  that'll be up to you.


Well not exactly fawning all over me but she did say meeting was up to me so I delayed no further.

We arranged an afternoon to meet at a common restaurant that I enjoy.  I think she appreciated that I picked out a nice place and sent her the menu.

She arrived a few minutes after I did.  I stood in the entrance hall and saw her as she walked past me on the other side of the window as she approached the front door.  It was still warm and she had on a tight button down white shirt and tight black pants.  Alexa is short and not exactly petite but certainly not large.  She is curvy, well let's face it she has a pretty nice "booty."  I'm I allowed to say that in the #metoo era?

I looked into her eyes and she looked into mine and it was as if I instantly understood how two souls could look into the mirror of the Universe and see their match.

Actually not, I looked into her eyes and saw Mrs. Holden, my best friend's mom from grade school.  Yeah, I guess in retrospect Mrs. Holden was kind of hot but I didn't want to have sex with her then I didn't think I wanted to have sex with her now.

But I was all in for lunch so we walked up to the maitre d.  He didn't say anything, stepped away, came back, thumbed through a reservation book, picked up the phone, and made a phone call.  It was kind of rude I thought to myself.  Alexa said, "well, that's mighty rude of him" just loud enough to be heard by those around us.  Me, in my Southern cordiality, couldn't help being a little embarrassed. He was rude, but I exhibit my reaction by not coming back, not by making a scene.  I mean, that's what Shannon would do and I don't need more of that in my life.

This is how I imagine Cecil & Alexa
We finally were seated.  Lunch was nice.  She did go into detail about one of her affairs with Cecil.  Apparently, Cecil is quite the salesmen; very talkative and engaging.  Didn't sound like he was a looker but I guess he was a charmer and a fast talker which I am not.  Based on her description it sounded like they chirped a lot at each other.

As a special the restaurant had a butternut squash soup.  I was not really that interested but Alexa said how much she liked butternut squash soup.  She talked me into trying it.  I am always OK with trying something.  I liked the butternut squash soup, I didn't love it.  It was just good enough to try a few sips and then I was OK.  But Alexa kept asking me if I didn't like it, as if it would be an insult if I didn't.  I felt like I was facing an inquisition from my mom, and I guess Mrs. Holden.  Btw, Mrs. Holden was always one of those moms that tried to pawn off healthy snacks like peanut butter stuffed in celery.  I liked that a little as well, but not a lot!  :)

Seems like I mentioned my friend's sister (Mrs. Holden's daughter) once.  She faked me out, being nerdy in middle school, going off to a service academy for college, and then showing up several years later really hot and divorced a few years after I was already taken.  Sorry, I know I seem to be grumpy today as I ramble.

During the meal Alexa had to take a call from her boss.  By the third call she finally said she had to leave because she had to meet him in Fairfax in an hour.

I took it to mean that this was her friend who was instructed to call her one hour into the date to give her a plausible exit.  Who knows, I guess I could have been offended but like the maitre d I figured I would express my displeasure by not going back.

I walked outside into the sun and I looked over to her as she got into her car.

I couldn't see a cloud in the sky, but I sure could smell the rain.  I decided it was best to get into my car and drive back home to where there wouldn't be any rain any time soon.