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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 9 comments

A Restaurant Guide to New Orleans

 

Bourbon Street in New Orleans

 

Writer’s Note:  New Orleans is my favorite city in America.  Over the next 18 days and nights, I’ll be here and will share with you what I love about this special place.  With the final WSOP Circuit stop of the season now happening at Harrah’s New Orleans (May 8-20), followed by the WSOP National Championship (May 22-24), many poker players and their colleagues will be coming into town, as well.  Hope to see you in the Big Easy!

 

The title of today’s article was originally going to be — “Top Ten New Orleans Restaurants.”

How foolish!

There’s no way to narrow down all the incredible restaurant choices in this fine city to merely a handful.  So instead, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite restaurants with some special menu recommendations — all the way from fine dining down to cheap eateries.  I’ve also included a section on restaurants that I think are a bit overrated, which should probably be avoided (assuming you share my tastes).

First things first.  I can’t stand nouveau cuisine.  Hate it!  Listen up — I want to eat my food, not stare at it.  Too many pretender-chefs seem to think food presentation is more important than the things that REALLY  matter such as taste, texture, and temperature.  Sticking with the “T’s,” when it comes to dining, nothing beats tradition.  Which is why New Orleans is my taste bud’s mistress.

In New Orleans, food is part of the culture and tradition of this city.  I love the New Orleans restaurant scene because most of the places are private and/or family owned.  Corporations haven’t taken over and ruined everything yet.  Food is a reflection of what lives in the Delta — both plants and animals — not just another means of profit.  No other city in America has as many old-style family owned and operated restaurants as New Orleans.  Here, you’re likely to see the owners either hanging out in the dining room or working the kitchen.  To me, that makes this place really special.

Warning:  One tip — Don’t dress in shorts and a t-shirt.  Many of these places have a dress code or at the very least you will look and feel out of place.  People or New Orleans also tend to dress better than normal when going out.  Keep this in mind when you’re dining at one of the most expensive places.

In order to appear on the following list, each restaurant selected has to have what I call a “wow” factor.  The food, service, and experience must be exceptional.  I’ve dined at each of these places more than once, so I know each of these choices is consistently reliable.

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Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Blog, Rants and Raves, Travel | 3 comments

Shreveport Short Stories

shreveport-taxi

Photo Caption:  The world’s worst taxi driver — in Bossier City, LA

 

Sitting here at the Shreveport Airport waiting on my flight.

Decided to post a few short stories from my two week stay in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana.  There are short and sweet.  Here it goes:

 

STORY 1 — THE ACCIDENTAL HITCHHIKER

At 3:30 am last night, I’d wrapped up my work assignment at the World Series of Poker Circuit, which took place at Horseshoe Bossier City.  Hotel was about a mile walk away from the casino.  It’s dark.  It’s quiet.  There are no cars on the street.

I’m dressed in a dark business suit, and wheeling a small suitcase behind with several items I use while on the road — computer, printer, cameras, cables, etc.

The sight of a 50-year-old bearded man rumbling down the sidewalk of Bossier City, Louisiana at 3:30 am towing a suitcase is rather uncommon.  I “stood out” from the crowd, you might say.

As I walked along the poorly-lit road, a car pulled up next to me.

“Need a lift?”

I’m a bit surprised by the sound of a human voice, which seemed to come out of nowhere.  I glance up and it appears to be Paul Oresnteen, from Poker News.  I had just seen Paul hours earlier covering the WSOP.  He even mentioned he had a rental car.

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 3 comments

B-52s and Banana Cream Pie — My Visit to Bossier City

 

 

Writer’s Note:  The World Series of Poker Circuit is currently taking place at Horseshoe Bossier City.  So, I’m staying in Shreveport, Louisiana during the next two weeks.  Today, I’ll share with you two things that have impressed me most so far about my visit.

 

It sounded like a screech.  A deafening, high-pitched screech.  Almost like the scream in a horror movie.

I looked up into the sky.  There it was.

A giant B-52 bomber.

If you’ve never seen the breathtaking sight of a B-52 in flight, I must say — even from the ground — the visual is awe-inspiring.  Conjoined with its high-pitched eardrum-shattering 120 decibels, the image of the B-52 plowing overhead with it’s beastly eight engines barreling out thick black smoke is a momentous assault on the senses.

Barksdale Air Force Base is located on Bossier City’s east side.  Years ago, I remember well the sight and sound of B-52s regularly hoovering over the Louisiana Downs Racetrack off in the distance, which I frequently visited.  It’s been a long, long time since I saw this aircraft up close.  I had forgotten how intimidating the sight is.  Earlier today looking up into the sky, I rekindled that double-edged love affair with darker forces and was once again reminded of mankind’s inherent aptitude for creating marvels of self-destruction.

It was horribly beautiful.

The B-52 is an astonishing image of national power.  The fleet carries payloads of nuclear weapons.  These are B-52s on high alert — always ready to strike.  Prepared for its target like wolves catching the scent of a bunny, B-52s are always swilring around up in the air somewhere, defending the nation.  This is intentionally so, as a sort of Orwellian flip-flop of logic manifested by explaining the madness as a “deterrent.”

Never mind that their constant presence was one of the things which triggered an arms race and ignited the fuse for a lot of bad guys in the world who came to accelerate their own ambitions for nuclear weapons.  Even with the Cold War long over, B-52 missions continue around the clock, every day and night of the year.  I had just witnessed the conclusion of one of these missions, landing at Barksdale AFB.

But what’s really most impressive about the B-52 is longevity.  This year marks the aircraft’s 60-year anniversary.  That’s right.  America’s nuclear arsenal is hauled around in a fleet of planes that were designed when Eisenhower was President and most the country was tuned into “I Love Lucy.”  I’m not sure if that’s more astonishing, or horrifying.

That’s how incredible these planes are.  That they have stood the test of time for six long decades and remain just as frighteningly effective as the day they first rolled off the Boeing assembly line as the most powerful fighting machine perhaps that’s ever been designed.  Think of all the advances in technology and changes in aircraft design since that time.  And yet, the most destructive instruments in the history of mankind are hauled around in the equivalent of a 1952 Chevy.

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