Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thirsty Thursday: The Riff Off (Toup's Meatery, New Orleans)

Last week I made my quarterly jaunt down to Louisiana for work.  After wrapping up all my site visits, I was rewarded by sharing an amazing dinner with my cousin Primo at Toup's Meatery.  This place has been on our radar for a while, and we finally got around to visiting.

(Photo Source:

Owner Isaac Toups may be familiar to you if you're a fan of Top Chef--he finished third on the 13th season of the show. But Toups Meatery has been around since 2012.  As opposed to Blue Oak BBQ, which sits catty-corner across Carrolton Ave and hosts a more laid-back vibe, the Meatery is more upscale, with low lights, small packed tables, plenty of ambient chatter, featuring a few local beers, double-digit cocktails and entrees ranging from $20-40.  Primo & I decided to start with the smoked trout deviled eggs, and then share the Meatery Board: $25 for a selection of their available house-made meats, pickled veg, and condiments.
Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs, topped with cracklin, pickled jalapeno, and trout roe.
Note: I swiped this photo from their Instagram--the low lighting inside didn't do much for my photos.

The Meatery Board didn't disappoint.  We enjoyed tasting our way through the variety of offerings, particularly the pickled wax beans, grilled jalapeno, housemade dill pickles, ginger sesame sausage, boudin ball, chicken-pork terrine with brandied cherries, and candied pork belly...
See...low lighting makes for crappy pics, and I can't bring myself to use a flash or bring in extra lighting.

...and OHHHH the rillons...I mean...pork belly is amazing in pretty well any form.
(Delicious photo borrowed from Tabelog.)

To accompany this, I selected the "Riff Off" from their cocktail menu.  While the name of course appealed my love of Pitch Perfect, the server's description of its contents sealed the deal.

Plum Liqueur
French Sparkling Cider

It's like fall, in a glass.  And it paired beautifully with the ginger/sesame sausage.

All in all, if you're a fan of tasty cocktails and housemade meats, this is a must for your "to dine" list. I do recommend getting a reservation, since even the bar was packed when we visited (8pm on a Friday).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Adventures in Parenting: 14 Months In.

Hey all--it's the holiday season!  Which means life is crazy busy.  But when isn't life crazy-busy, really?  Anyway, here's what's been going on since we last chatted.
Teeth:  we have CANINES coming in.  Top row canines.  He hasn't even gotten his bottom 1st molars yet.  His teeth are confused and out of order and he's BITEY.

WALKING (and falling):  Yes, he's finally walking.  It started about a week ago, with just a few steps.  Now he can toddle most of the way across a room, and also stand up on his own.  And now...the falling into things.  Yesterday, he managed to trip and fall into a door, the dog, his bookshelf, and an end table. No serious injuries yet, just a few scrapes and red spots (and LOTS of tears).  Not sure why he always picks the hard surfaces to fall into, rather than the padded coffee table, overstuffed chairs, etc.

New House:  Finally got moved into the new place.  The first night, we were so busy unpacking that Lil' Man didn't get put down to bed until 9pm. I was expecting him to be restless and up all night from being in a new place...but he slept through the night.  Wow...maybe it won't be that bad, I thought.  And then he was up every hour or so the night after that.  After a week, he finally settled in and got back to (mostly) sleeping through the night, but it was a little rough there.

There are plenty other adjustments to be had--like all the cabinets have no handles so our current babyproofing locks don't work, so we had to buy new ones. Or the baby gate at the top of the stairs that he likes to smoosh his face up against and reach underneath.  And he's also discovered that he can pull all the fun toys and books and decorative pieces OFF the cube shelf in his room.

Tantrums:  From a scientific perspective, I get it:  it has to be incredibly frustrating to have so many ideas, wants and needs to express, but be so limited in the ability to communicate them to anyone else.  When all you can do is point and grunt, life is essentially a REALLY long game of "Hot & Cold".  Lemme carry you around, you point in the general direction of the thing you want, and then you start bawling when I walk too far past the thing you wanted (usually a light switch, a door knob, or his toothbrush). Or when I take away the thing you want to play with because we need to stop changing our diaper and go to the grocery store.

That being gets a little old.  I dunno where he learned these dramatics from.  You always hear about the "Terrible Twos" and the "Threenagers".  But "Tantruming 14 Month Old" has apparently never caught on.

New Day Care:  He's been at his new day care for a few weeks now.  It's been an odd transition--at his old day care, they had moved him up to the 1's class, so he was the littlest guy in there, and the only non-walker. At this day care, they decided to start him in the infant room so they could have a chance to assess him and so that he wouldn't get plowed over by the bigger kids. So now he's the oldest one in the room.  Drop-off has gotten a little more challenging too, as he's having some separation anxiety when we leave. It's slowly getting better--and if we time it right, breakfast is there when we drop him off and I can just put him into a high chair, and he could care less if I'm leaving him so long as there's food to eat. :)

It sorta feels like a step backward, since they were weaning off the bottle, and getting him to sleep on a cot in the old 1's class, and now that he's in the infant room his new teacher is fine with giving him both a sippy and a bottle, and he's back to napping in a crib.  But his new teachers are great, the facility is very nice, and aside from a few tears at drop off, he seems to be doing great, playing well, eating well, etc.  
Playing tunes for his new girlfriend/groupie, K.

Utensils:  His first day at his new day care, they sent me a photo of him eating lunch...with a spoon.  I'd never tried actually giving him a spoon to eat with, so we're working more of that in.  He's got the general mechanics down, but actually getting stuff a) ON the spoon, and then b) KEEPING it on the spoon is a challenge.

Thanksgiving:  We decided to host this year, since we have the new, bigger house.  My in-laws came to stay with us over the holiday and seemed to enjoy the new guest bedroom with attached bathroom.  Lil' Man always enjoys having them visit, and cried big fat tears when the left and he couldn't get horsey rides on his grandpa's legs anymore.  We did a traditional dinner with ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, pea salad, stuffing, and of course pie.  Lil' Man loved all of it--especially the week's worth of leftovers. 

Oh, and Cool Whip.  We had to hide the container from him for the rest of the week until we'd eaten it all, because if he saw it come out of the fridge, he'd start pointing and pitch a fit if we didn't give him a spoonful.

Stay tuned for next month, where we get to talk about Christmas!