Today – possibly the perfect food day?

Today was a day of new experiences facilitated via already had comforts of sorts.

Breakfast was a sliced banana in milk; not mushed. I drizzled a thin ribbon of maple syrup over the slices and then poured milk over all of it. This was inspired by my discovery of milk and bananas for breakfast last year. Although last year saw some mushed bananas, brown sugar, and possibly cinnamon. Earlier this week saw some sugar and spice, but today maple syrup sounded so tasty. I think this is a close to perfect combination of hearty, bready breakfast fare – like pancakes and French toast – and nutritious morning fuel. And, most importantly, deliciousness!

Lunch. Oh, Lunch, how I loved thee! Yes, yes, I did. For the past few days I have been CRAVING a roast beef po’boy SO hard it’s almost ridiculous! That crusty, crumbly, light, doughy perfection that is French bread. Very long, satiated food moan inserted here. That wet, messy, get all over your face, one-of-the-most-flavorful-things-you’ve-ever-tasted gravy. And then the meat – important, but definitely nowhere near as critical as the two aforementioned po’boy components. But still… Oh. My. Gravy. Literally.

Well, to burst everyone’s bubble – mine included – there was no roast beef po’boy today. BUT. Yes, there is a but (and this is a happy and welcomed “but”). There was a po’boy. For the past couple weeks I’ve been craving New Orleans cuisine as a whole – not just the crusty, soggy sandwich perfection I’ve described above. It all happened the day I went to Disneyland a couple of weeks ago. I ended the magical day with dinner at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express in Downtown Disney. I had the jambaylaya – highly recommended – and listened to the soulful tunes of Brother Yusef – I love his music – definitely one of the BEST things about Downtown Disney and Disneyland. But I digress. We’re talking about today’s food.

I went to the New Orleans Creole and Cajun Cafe in Hermosa Beach. I went there for the first time for my 18th birthday, before I left for college. For almost as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the South and, in particular, New Orleans. So this was a huge treat. I had not yet traveled to the wonderful city yet, but I was already in love so anything related to New Orleans was love at first sight. It’s a small, almost hole-in-the-wall place. Can maybe fit 35 or so people, plus room for a few at the counter. I remember the chef (and owner) encouraging me to try some alligator. Once she found out it was my birthday she insisted. It wasn’t bad – actually pretty good. Alligator on a stick. Sounds like something you’d get at the county fair; I’ve even seen deep-friend avocado on a stick at the Los Angeles County Fair. Anyway, as it turned out, I got a shrimp po’boy. Now the first po’boy I ever had (I’ve only ever had three.) was at Mother’s in New Orleans. I remember it well. A small, very crowded, busy joint. I got a shrimp po’boy. I always liked shrimp, but as I’ve come to find out now – I’m not a huge fan of fried shrimp, or popcorn shrimp. (I do, however, like coconut fried shrimp.) I remember the po’boy being pretty good, but I wasn’t completely satisfied and I attribute that to me not like all the shrimp. This is rather sad, and in stark contradiction to my last statement of remembering it well, but I can’t recall whether I got it dressed, partially dressed, or with nuttin’ on it. Today I went all in – okay, well all in in with classics (They offer tartar sauce on their shrimp po’boys; I declined, but eagerly accepted everything else.). The bread. Oh, the bread. So good. Toasted. Buttered. Mayonnaised. And then the shrimp, lettuce, and tomatoes. The fact that I kept the tomatoes on is rather telling; I usually don’t do tomatoes unless they’re in a caprese salad or in a sauce.

[Nice, baby, sweetheart, where bread came from.]

Dinner found us at Alejo’s with family, family style, lots of loud talking, nice seeing them randomly in the week. Garlic, garlic, garlic. Spaghetti with their cream sauce – I then added some of their bread accompaniment to the pasta. Their bread accompaniment is lots of minced garlic in olive oil. Yes, yes it is. I split a Caesar salad with my cousin, which was also good and also got some bread accompaniment.  Mmm…

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