Posted tagged ‘New Orleans’

New Orleans Celebration Man-cation in Pictures

July 27, 2009

DSC00058The DNC New Orleans Celebration Trip went perfectly this past weekend.

Walking around the Big Easy was blast. A few of us went all around the French Quarter from the art district to the French market and back.The city is a clash of so many different cultures. Definitely unlike any other metropolitan center I’ve ever visited. New Orleans truly has a character of its own.

While there, the man-cationers got to sample some delicious authentic Cajun food at Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster and Johnny’s Po’Boy while staying downtown. Sunday, on the way out, we ate at three different places uptown, simultaneously. My group decided on El Salvadorean breakfast at La Macarena Pupuseria. The others had Camellia Grill‎ and Hana Sushi. All delicious I’m sure.

And the drinks… OMG the drinks. Did you knew bars in New Orleans close, well…. never!? We went all over the quarter from college clubs to the balcony bars. We even got to see some new matrix moves at the cabaret and somehow also ended up at some S&M-themed maze of a bar called the Dungeon. No more pictures were allowed in there and for good reason, as their signatures included Everclear-filled cherries.

Unfortunately, that’s as much of the story as I’m a part of. I snuck back to the Hilton Riverside early while the ninjas, sans myself, managed to party it up until after the sun came up on Sunday morning.

Pictures from the 2009 NOLA Trip on Picasa.

Houston Foodie Review: Calliope’s Poboys

July 9, 2009

oysterpoboyHaving eaten in New Orleans-style eateries ever since I moved to Houston from New Jersey, I thought I had a good handle on what constituted Crescent City cuisine. I knew what gumbo was… I’ve had many Po’Boys… But little did I know that I had been missing the key to good NOLA food all along.

You see, ole boy, it’s the intricate details that distinguish good New Orleans-style sandwiches from the rest. And despite the fact that I named the Po’Boy as one of America’s Top 10 Greatest Sandwiches prior to this review, I never really had one that truly captured my taste buds in such a way as it did about two weeks ago.

It was then that DNC Attorney-At-Large and our resident Bourbon Street expert, Eric Junker, wanted to pick me up for lunch in downtown Houston. Eric said he had something specific in mind, as he had been meaning to try out a Po’Boy place by the name of Calliope’s (pron: cal-eye-oh-pees) for quite some time. You see, Junker is a true foodie when it comes to Cajun / Louisiana-style cooking. I would even go so far as to call him a snob in that respect. So I knew he would be highly critical in judging this place afterwards.

We both agreed that we discovered at Calliope’s was nothing short of what is likely to be, without a doubt, the best Po’Boy place in Houston. And not only are their ingredients fresh and high-quality, but the portions at Calliope’s are significantly larger than what you’d typically get at your typical Cajun sandwich place. I think both Eric and I were very impressed with this unassuming little shop in the warehouse district. Personally, I loved the gumbo. The oyster in there was really key.

While we were eating, Eric questioned the owner, Lisa, on just about everything from how long they cook their red beans to who makes their bread. (they do.) She even shared a little of their history with us. It turns out that they’ve had a long time to perfect their unique brand of New Orleans cuisine. Calliope’s journey actually began right in the heart of New Orleans and they’ve taken it to Hattiesburg, Mississippi before the disastrous Hurricane Katrina landed then in our space city of Houston, TX.

Co-owner Lisa Carnley had this to say about Calliope’s on their newly-formed Facebook fan page:

“We are the first in Houston of a 20 year tradition of Po’Boy shops run by our family. Our food is great because the recipes have been tweaked and polished through years of experience.

Our vision is to bring an authentic New Orleans Po’Boy to the city of Houston. It all starts with fresh cooked french bread. New Orleans style french bread has a distinctive look and texture that was particularly difficult to duplicate in Houston. Like any sandwich we are only as good as our contents. Our seafood is fried and battered to perfection. We also feature a very authentic sloppy roast beef po’boy with homemade gravy. We are confident that you won’t find a po’boy in town that can compare to ours.

Calliope’s opened in Houston on 3/24/2009. We hope that you can take the time to stop by our neighborhood, located on the edge of downtown, and check it out.”

n90240906778_780My Final Verdict is that this place is best New Orleans-style eatery in Houston. But I’m probably not the authority you should ask. I’ll leave it to Junker to give our readers his final summation of Calliope’s…

“The red beans and rice are authentic New Orleans. Hands down the best in Houston.” Says Eric. “The key is in the bread. It’s as close to anything at Mother’s or Johnny’s in the French Quarter as you’ll find. The attention to minute details sets them apart.”  – Julius Eric Junker, Attorney specializing in Estate Planning, Probate, and Wealth Management in Richmond, Texas.

Additional Information on Calliope’s:

  • Address: 2130 Jefferson, Houston, TX 77003
  • Phone: (713) 222-8333
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Houston Press Review of Calliope’s.
  • Diner Reviews from Yelp.

Dispatches from New Orleans

August 19, 2008
Jino Manalo

New Orleans Trip - By: Jino Manalo

So, for the past several days I have been busy stripping months, possibly years of my life celebrating my friend’s nuptials in the Big Eazy. After four consecutive days of marathon drinking sessions that lasted till five in the morning, i am definitely worse for wear. Though I’m loving every minute of it. It is really true what they say, you can leave New Orleans but it can never really leave you.

Wednesday night started innocuously enough. After waking up at approximately O’Dark hundred to get to work — with the express purpose of leaving early to start my adventure — my workday proceeded to be a hellish nightmare that could only come before a debauched break from reality. Nothing like having to do massive amounts of work before vacation, and having the whole server go down for the majority of the day. Thanks IT and a hearty FUCK YOU from me!! Finally leaving an hour after my scheduled departure time, i was ready to start the journey. However half-way to the Eazy apparently my wheel well cover decided to extricate itself from its cozy place in the front bumper. Thank god it was just the cover, a more serious problem would have left me in nowhere Louisiana. Definitely not the weekend I had anticipated. I basically had pulled into an exit, with nothing in both directions for miles. With visions of dueling banjos and albinos dancing through my head i set about diagnosing and solving my predicament. Three spools of galvanized wire, a pair of gas station bought wire cutters, and a six dollar knife later, i was able to MacGuyver my escape and continue on my way.

Now, any sane minded person facing these type of consecutive situations would have been applauded for arriving at his destination and promptly passing out on a friends ever so gracious couch. However, my special relationship with this city does not allow me to give up that easily. An hour after pulling into my friend’s driveway i was at Pat O’Brien’s enjoying a couple of beers and reminiscing about old times with some aussie chums from England and some friends from Tulane. Now, at this point, midnight or possibly one o’ clock has come and gone a crucial decision needs to be made retreat for the night and save up for tomorrow or continue on. Well the car bombs made that decision for me and i was off. Several Guinness’s, a hand grenade, a cigar and possibly a stripper or two from rick’s caberet, i finally gave up the white flag at 430 am. Exactly 24 hours…

Snapping awake exactly six hours after i had passed out (working does that to you) i proceeded to take my haggard self on a path around /new Orleans for chores. Nothing like driving in the humidity and heat and having to go to a formal wear shop dressed in gi pants. Finally getting my shit done, i proceeded to meet the happy couple at St. Joseph’s church for the rehearsal. Dinner at HerbSaint courtesy of the groom’s parents (which was nothing less than extraordinary) was the prelude to a drunk bus that revisited our old stomping grounds around the city. Meanwhile, working from a marathon session before, the training had served to increase my tolerance somewhat. Trying your damnedest to get drunk and your body is shrugging every aimed shot of alcohol is somewhat disconcerting, because you know it eventually hit you. Needless to say, stepping off the bus in the quarter, my required walking skills finally left as did my good judgment. Warning to all, do not get those tourist shooters at bourbon bars. Very bad idea. The last stop of the night was to a small bar called Snake and Jake’s. Lets put it this way, if a bar will give you free drinks for the night if you go in naked and free drinks for life if you survive a shooting on its grounds. You know its worth the late 0400 trip. Again surrendering after my body decided to give the outside wall of the bar a fresh coat of chili cheese fries paint, i stumbled back home at the o-so early time of 430.

Batting 0400, i decided to continue my average the next two nights. Hell why the fuck not. However at this point my body is taking doses of alcohol equivalent to a .500 magnum rounds and laughing hysterically like a coked up Tony Montana. The day was fairly low key, a fried seafood dinner and trips to Lucy’s (which apparently has the monopoly in those southern belles we dream about) we proceeded to go to a Kangaroo bar. I was told that there was an explanation for the Kangaroo bar but the combination of alcohol and fatigue finally took its toll. I threw in the towel at 0300, off my previous average.

The wedding night was awesome. Good thing the day before was spent catching up on some much needed rest as the night was to be spent in drunken debauchery by all of us. Its kind of weird when you’re at a wedding and you know every single young person on both sides of the guest roles. Friends from England came in as well my two groups of friends in New Orleans. Its also somewhat awesome when current Tulane students come up to you, shake your hand and say they’ve heard all good things about you and buy you a drink, four years after you graduate. Food and open bar proceed to destroy me as we all danced atop the sky in for several hours. Finally it was time to get back to earth as the party ended and i was slowly losing my buzz. Fast metabolism plus increased tolerance equals sobriety pretty damn quick. Luckily all of us decided to go to the same club so we can continue the festivities.

While the Goldmine was fun because of the drinks and people, i could not say it for the bar itself. Dressed in a Tuxedo and in a club with less than adequate ventilation leads to being pretty much owned. The rounds of bull blasters and flaming dr peppers were still going around, my sanity was basically going slowly out the window. Now i know what the hotbox torture method feels like. The last straw was the fact that the bar took at least 10 mins to take my drink and at least 30 to close my tab. Sweating out all the alcohol that i previously drank and stone cold sober. i drove home at four with my two comrades in arms.

Unfortunately, my dehydrated ass left my phone in the cab. Great… phoneless. Not wanting to end my marathon session there. I decided to hit up another bar. While i did not pick up another drink at my final bar. I was able to run into some good friends from the wedding and have some good conversation to end the night on a somewhat positive note. Going home at approximately 530 i thought about how great this city is, but convinced that if i had ever decided to live here it would surely kill me. I probably stripped 36 months off my life and my body is best described as charred not burned, but in all honesty i would not have it any other way.