Posted in: Food, Sightseeing

Eating In New Orleans: Toast

We found this awesome breakfast place called Toast. It is by the French Market in the French Quarter, which gives it a nice view and the opportunity to people watch.

Everything was delicious. It was a chilly morning, so Ben and I started with coffee and we got the boys hot chocolate. We picked 4 items from the menu and shared between us, so everyone got to try the different foods. We ordered chicken and waffles (it came with a delicious container of Cajun butter), a savory Florentine crepe, Aebelskivers (puffed pancakes) with chocolate sauce, and coconut cream stuffed french toast.

The puffed pancakes were little round balls of fun, and tasted like…well, pancakes. The crepe had a lot of flavors going on and was the most savory out of the things we ordered. Chicken and waffles are always a hit with our family. The Cajun butter was a nice surprise, not very spicy, just enough to add flavor and cut down on the sweetness. I think they used white and dark meat for the chicken. The stuffed french toast was huge. The macadamia nuts added a nice crunch and texture. I enjoyed it even though I normally don’t like coconut. It was a very sweet dish though.

Our waitress even brought us to-go coffees, which was super nice on a chilly morning. I would definitely recommend eating here!

When we eventually get more storage room, I may give making the Aebleskivers (puffed pancakes) a try. There is a special pan for them and I found a couple of recipes online (Recipe 1, Recipe 2).

Posted in: Food

Eating in New Orleans: Acme Oyster House

The first time we came to New Orleans in 2017, the boys were exhausted by the time we stopped to eat at the Acme Oyster House. They were much smaller then. They fell asleep before we even placed our orders, woke up enough to eat a few bites, and then fell back asleep on the table.

Luckily, with age (well, I guess to a certain point), comes the ability to stay awake longer. This visit, we got four different dishes to share. We just recently started doing this, and it seems to be working well for us. We pick 4 meals and then ask for an extra plate (or two) so we can share the meal. That way everyone gets to try a little of everything. The side benefit is that it forces us to try something new a lot of the times, something that individually we may not have ordered. (Normally I wouldn’t order anything with fish, Will wouldn’t order anything with cheese, etc.)

This time we ordered the Acme Special Po-Boy, Fried Fish Po-Boy, New Orleans Medley (samplings of jambalaya, seafood gumbo, red beans & rice, and a grilled sausage), a side order of hush puppies and onion rings. Their specialty is chargrilled oysters, which we did not order this visit (but we did the last time we were there).

The restaurant has a lot of red tinted lights, which makes pictures difficult. Although it may not look pretty, everything tasted great.

Everything was delicious. The Acme Special Po-Boy was made with roast beef and was very moist! It was a little messy to eat. Nick and Ben loved the fish po-boy, and Will hasn’t met a rice and beans that he hasn’t liked yet.

The tables were much more spread out this visit due to Covid restrictions. (Last time it was wall to wall people and tables.) They also had a contract tracing list to sign when you entered. We haven’t really seen too much of that down here.

Posted in: Food, Sightseeing

Eating in New Orleans: Cafe Du Monde

I have a confession to make.

I love beignets.

We first had them in New Orleans in 2017. I’ve tried them elsewhere but they just aren’t the same. We were lucky enough to be staying in the French Quarter in 2017 and were able to walk up almost everyday to grab a bag to share for breakfast. It was delicious and messy (powdered sugar just gets everywhere!).

A staple in New Orleans is Cafe Du Monde, which serves beignets and chicory coffee. They have a few locations, but my favorite is the one on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. If you are staying in the French Quarter, it is easy to walk to and you can then grab your goodies, walk up the stairs to the right of the Cafe, and eat while enjoying the view of the Mississippi River.

The cafe has two to three lines open during the day and one line open at night. The outdoor seating was open during this visit, but there are a lot less tables (spaced out for social distancing/Covid). However, they were serving in bags, not on plates like before. The bags still had a ton of powdered sugar in the bottom though if you wanted more for dipping. I would say there was about 1/2 inch in the bag after the beignets were gone!

Beignets on a plate from our 2017 visit. Rest of the pictures from 2021.

It was $3.40 (plus tax) for a bag of 3 beignets. As of our visit, January 2021, the Cafe was only accepting cash.

Posted in: Food

Houston: Black Walnut Cafe Brunch

Nick found this cute breakfast place while in Houston, the Black Walnut Cafe. It was located in Conroe (north of Houston) by the local airport. The cafe was located on the top floor, so it was a great place to sit and watch the planes coming and going.

The pancakes were very fluffy and had a nice flavor. The breakfast sandwich had eggs, bacon cheese. It had a nice crisp to the croissant.

Tables were spaced apart for social distancing. When you get there, you went to the counter to order/pay. You received a buzzer and you were able to pick where you wanted to sit. There was also an outdoor balcony to sit at.

If you are in the Houston area, we would definitely recommend eating here.

Posted in: Christmas, Food

Cooking In The RV: Hanky Pankies

We normally make these delicious (although not exactly visually appealing) appetizers at Christmas. However, this year we didn’t make them. We were kind of missing them, as I usually only make them for parties and Christmas. We made them in the RV oven! It took a little bit longer, as my baking sheet is much smaller than the one I had at home. If you’ve never made them, they are really easy! You can find the recipe here (link to my other blog).

Posted in: Christmas, Food

Cooking In The RV: Cranberry Pie

Months ago, I saw a recipe online for Cranberry Pie. I saved it because I really wanted to try it for Christmas. I was a little worried about baking it in the RV, but after successfully baking some Christmas sugar cookies, we gave it a shot. It was easy, delicious, and turned out well.

It took a little longer to cook than the directions stated. I have a pizza stone under the rack to help disperse the heat, so I think it causes the temperature to run a little low.

The pie was both sweet and a little tart, and even the cranberry skeptic loved it. I would definitely eat this warm, soon after it comes out of the oven. We had some cold the next day and it was nice, but the flavor wasn’t the same intensity.

Posted in: Christmas, Food, Holidays

Wineing In The RV: Advent Calendar Days 21-24

Day 21: Red wine. I liked this one, it had a nice taste. A little sweet. Barcelos, Red Blend Touriga Nacional, Portugal

Day 22: White wine. This one definitely had a puckering lip reaction. Ben called it “sour grapes” taste. I would not drink this again. Flutter, Chardonnay, Spain.

Day 23: Red wine. This one was ok, not my favorite. Ben liked it though. Chateau Cap De Biolet, Bordeaux, France.

Day 24: Brillant Sparkling, Vino Spumante Brut, Italy.

Posted in: Christmas, Food, Holidays, Sightseeing

Exploring Austin, Texas

Austin was a little over an hour away from the campground and we were excited to see it. We had heard a lot of good things about the city, plus there were a few holiday events there that we wanted to check out.

We started off at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar. It was a really neat store with booths from different artists. Nick made out with a new baby Yoda face mask and a keychain guitar pick holder. I found a chocolate bar with locally sourced ingredients. It looks like it will be tasty. They did a great job with Covid precautions: everyone had to wear masks and they were limiting the amount of people allowed in the space.

We drove further into Austin and had a little bit of a hard time finding parking. There were several artist booths with items for sale ranging from food to jewelry and clothes. We found a couple of items for Christmas gifts. We wandered around and tried pizza from Home Slice and ice cream from Amy’s. We explored this amazing candy store called Big Top Candy Shop. The inside decor was awesome and they had all different types of candy (chocolates, gummies…).

We also saw the Austin Motel’s Winter Wanderland. This must be a fun place to stay. It was close enough to walk to shops and restaurants and had a really cool vibe. They decorated the courtyard (even the pool area!) for Christmas with a lot of trees and garland. Even the prickly pear cacti had ornaments on them! It was really neat to see, super festive.

I did notice as a whole, the part of Austin we were in did a much better job with wearing masks, even outside.

Posted in: Christmas, Elf On The Shelf, Food, Holidays

There Was An Elf Spotted In The Campground (You’ve Been Elfed)!

At our old sticks-and-bricks, we used to make and deliver Christmas cookies to everyone in the cul-de-sac. There were a few times we did Elf Bags as well, but it mostly the cookies. It was a great way to try to bring a little brightness to someone else’s life. I do miss our neighbors and the cookie tradition. Sometimes the neighbors joined in: one of our neighbors would bake sweet bread and bring it over, another would sometimes give us an ornament when we dropped off the cookies, one year a neighbor and their family went caroling.

With Covid, I have noticed not as much community get togethers in the campgrounds, which I totally get (and support). We’ve been staying to ourselves as well, with just the “hello” in passing for the most part. However, I think everyone needs some cheer, especially this year, so we wanted to do the Elf Bag at the campground. Due to Covid, we didn’t do any homemade treats and tried to make sure everything in the bag was sealed or washable. Elf Bags are similar to the Halloween boo bags, only Christmas themed. (I’ve also seen it as You’ve Been Jingled.)

We found a cute ornament kit and a Hershey’s Build-A-Santa bar at Target (ornament kit in the deal bins at the front of the store). We also added in a bag of red and green suckers, a penguin tic tac toe game, candy cane filled with red and green candy, and some mini candy canes. For more Elf Bag ideas, you can see my list here (from my mom blog). The campground store also had a packet to put in the fire pits that caused the flames to change* color, so we put one of those in as well.

You can find the free Elfed printable here.

*Affiliate link

Posted in: Christmas, Food, Holidays, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Fredericksburg, Texas: Christmas Lights & A German Christmas Pyramid

We wanted to find a couple of Christmas things to do with the kids for their first Christmas away from home. While I hoped we didn’t see any snow, we did want to see some Christmas lights! After searching online, I found the 55 Nights of Fredericksburg Lights. The town did a nightly event to turn on the lights at the Marketplatz and featured the 26 ft tall German Christmas Pyramid.

The pyramid was made in Germany and was the tallest one in the US when it came over. It was neat to see; all but the top layer moved. The candles were electric (small Christmas pyramids for houses used to use real candles).

The town itself was very cute with lots of historic looking buildings. There were several hilarious shop signs as well.

It was about an hour drive from our campground. We went on a Tuesday, which may have been a mistake. Although the 55 Nights were advertised, there actually wasn’t a lot to do when we got there (about 4:45pm). It seemed like most of the shops were closed for the day (or there were several that were closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). There were only two places open serving dinner type of food (a wine tasting place and a brewery) and an ice cream shop. (We ended up grabbing dinner on the way home.) There was also a chocolate shop, but once we got to the front doors and saw the employees were not wearing masks, we did not go in.

I did find some cute mini cookie cutters and a Christmas gift for Will. We did not stay long after the lighting, as most places were closed.

VIDEO: 55 Nights of Fredericksburg Lights and Driving Through Town