I'm getting ahead of myself though; there were LOTS of great parts to this weekend that I don't want to leave out. I'll start with Saturday night, when Zack decided to cook dinner for me in honor of my birthday since he knew we'd go out to eat while my parents were here. Of course, I got to pick the menu which was kinda tough because everything he makes is always so good. I hemmed and hawed (sp?) and finally decided I hadn't had a good steak in a long time, so thats='s what he did. He made me an incredible filet with a whiskey pan sauce and asparagus and french fries. Yes, this is what I requested. He also baked my birthday cake Saturday night; an oreo cheesecake with a chocolate ganache swirl (Heaven) and then promptly tried to convince me to eat it that night.
As incredibly-awesomely-wonderful as that thing looked, I'm a big believer in not eating birthday cake or opening presents ahead of time. You have to wait until the actual real day or it doesn't count. The same goes for Christmas, but that's beside the point.
So sunday morning I dropped Zack off at school to study for a couple hours then headed to the airport to pick up Mom and Dad. For some reason Mom was convinced that my looks had changed significantly in the three months since she last saw me, so I made sure to wear my bright blue UK jacket just in case they wouldn't recognize me. For what it's worth, I'm 99.4% positive I still look almost exactly the same as I did when we moved.
We picked Zack up on the way back into town and grabbed lunch at one of my new favorite places here in NOLA--the St. James Cheese Company. Oh. My. Gosh. I love this place. Its this little cheese and sandwhich shop in the Garden District that imports cheeses from all over the world and gets a lot of its meat from a local charcuterie. The sandwhiches are nothing short of incredible and if money were no object I'd gladly eat here three or four days a week. I'm drooling just thinking about it.
Since it was rainy and gross outside (you're shocked, right?) we decided it maybe wasn't the best time to do the cemetary tour we had been planning to do, so we opted for the National WWII Museum instead. Believe it or not, it was actually really, really interesting--and that's coming from someone who is by no means a "history" person. When I suggested going there I figured it had a 50/50 shot at either sucking and being a complete waste of an afternoon, or being really really good. Lucky for us, it was definitely on the really, really good end of the spectrum. I doubt the history museum is the first tourist attraction most people associate with a visit to New Orleans but after going through myself I'd highly recommend it.
Dinner that night was at Parkway Bakery and Tavern over in Mid-City. We figured we couldn't let Mom and Dad leave without experiencing the greatness that is the classic N'Awlins po' boy and Parkway happens to have the best ones we've had since we've been here. (I realize this post is turning into a glorified play-by-play of what we ate all weekend. I'm ok with that). I tend towards the more simple fried shrimp po'boys but Zack and Dad went with the famed "surf n turf." Picture a footlong loaf of crusty french bread stuffed with sliced roast beef, covered in gravy and then topped with fried shrimp and you've got the surf n turf. One of the sloppier, more impossible sandwiches to try eating with your hands but well worth the mess you make doing it. Ah-mazing.Disclaimer: I didn't take these pictures myself. Thanks, Google.
This brings us to yesterday, which was my actual birthday. I had to work so Mom and Dad entertained themselves by taking a plantation tour and then a Hurricane Katrina devastation tour. Meanwhile, my new friends at work threw me a surprise party! And by surprise I mean complete and total SURPRISE. I had no idea they even knew it was my birthday, much less that they would do anything to celebrate it. It made me feel really good to have only worked here a month and already made friends who are nice enough to do such a sweet thing like that.
Dinner last night was (of course) yet another phenomenal meal. We went to La Crepe Nanou (I'm dropping all these names in case someone reading this blog ever comes to visit the city and wants to know what places are worth trying) which is this little french place over on the edge of the Garden District. What can I say? It was great. It was a perfect place to go for my birthday dinner and I think I speak for all of us when I say is was a perfect way to round out a great weekend. After dinner I got to open presents (yayyyyyyy!) and then dive into the birthday cheesecake I had been waiting TWO WHOLE DAYS to taste. It was every bit as heavenly and wonderful as you'd imagine something like that to be. I'm so lucky to have a husband who not only bakes me birthday cakes from scratch, but who is so darn good at it to boot. There's still roughly half of it left sitting in our fridge which means that I'll be indulging in cheesecake for the next several days. Of course, then I'll probably moan and whine and feel guilty for a week afterwards but I think it'll definitely be worth it.