Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Full disclosure and this may be shocking to some, but I am not Mexican…I know, it’s hard to believe, lol. But I have uncovered similarities between Mexican Americans and Acadians (first Canadian French settlers); both groups are all about family… big families. And we tend to travel in packs, aunts, uncles, cousins…so many cousins, lol.

I love travelling and learning about different cultures so here are a few ways that we can all celebrate our neighbors to the south.

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But before we get started can we acknowledge the fact that Mexico is part of North America? It’s a pet peeve of mine when people forget that tidbit and think it’s just Canada and the US.

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See, I am not making this shit up!

History Alert

Before we get to the food and tequila we should also do a quickie history recap. Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexico’s independence day, which is September 16. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the May 5th, 1862 battle of Puebla; where Mexico fought France and was victorious! The victory was short lived as France did occupy Mexico for a few years after that.

May 5th is still celebrated in Puebla, Mexico, but Cinco de Mayo is actually more celebrated in the US by Mexican Americans than it is in Mexico.

The Food

When I think of Mexico, I think of awesome food. Growing up in Atlantic Canada, there were no Mexican restaurants; now Moncton has one…I guess that’s progress???

The first time I had real Mexican food was in New Mexico and I loved it. The tortillas were freshly made and warm, mmmm, it was so good; it all seemed so exotic to me.

I have since been to Mexico a few times and now live in Vegas where there are Mexican restaurants pretty much everywhere.

When my work peeps and I go out for lunch, we usually alternate between Thai and Mexican. One of the places we like to go is Frijoles. My big life lesson has been that authentic Mexican places serve corn tortillas, not flour…got it and I am down with that.

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This was our Cinco de Mayo lunch; fresh fish tacos, street tacos and ceviche.

Ceviche is a seafood dish typically made with fresh raw seafood cured in citrus juices, such as limes and lemons, and spices.

I’ve had ceviche before, but I had never seen anything like what the man next to us was eating! It was a huge beer mug of ceviche. I had to ask if I could take a picture of his lunch, he seemed proud to show it off. And btw he ate the whole thing!!

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They also have juices that I had never had before, like watermelon; I mean it makes total sense, watermelon is naturally watery, I mean it has water right in the name, lol. It’s very refreshing on a hot day.

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Tasty Tequilas!

Can you have Mexican food without tequila? Probably? But will you have more fun with tequila? Yes! Tequila makes everything way more fun. Ok, more fun to a point, then tequila can get you in a bit of trouble; it’s a fine line.

One of my friends is a super tequila lover, I’ll call him Pete Post, because that’s his name, lol. I asked him if he could recommend 3 tequilas for this post; here are his recommendations.

His first suggestion is Don Julio, Resposado (rested) or Anejo (aged longer). Don Julio is a good tequila and easily found. It’s a great tequila starter.

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The next is Cabo Wabo, it’s one is his favs, it’s really smooth and reasonably priced. It was originally owned by Sammy Hagar, but has since been sold.

Cabo Wabo sounds like it would be fun to say after a few tequila shots; Cabo Wabo, Cabo Wabo…lol.

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Rounding up the top 3 is Avion. The goal of its creator was to make a tequila that his wife could drink without making that “tequila face”. I can attest that it is pretty smoooth.

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Now I am not a big tequila “connaisseur” and what I am about to suggest may be a sacrilege to die hard tequila drinkers? But I like a shot of tequila with an orange slice instead of a lime, try it!!

So how cute are these small Patron bottles below! What a great idea and guaranteed, to make your party great!

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Decor

The party planner in me can’t not share a few decorations ideas. Whether you are hosting a Cinco de Mayo party or Taco Tuesday, I love the idea and simplicity of decorating with lemons and limes. It’s easy, classy and inexpensive.

I think a Mexican theme has so many options, the colors are so vibrant, so you can go wild or a bit more restraint. You don’t need to decorate with sombreros and pinatas to pull off a Mexican theme. I think this look below gives you that Mexican vibe.

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The table setting is from Fashionable Hostess.

I am thinking of hosting a brunch soon and I am totally going to use the citrus table above as my inspiration. I also love the ideas of slicing lemons and limes and adding them in a glass vase with candles or flowers.

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This centerpiece is from Wedding Chicks, sooo pretty.

Pink, orange, green and yellow make a beautiful color pallet. Used together it may seem like it’s going to be too much, but it’s super chic and pretty!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you try one of the tequilas in this post, if you do, let me know what you think? Also, next time you have Taco Tuesday, pick up a bag of lemons and limes from Cosco and make your dining table fancy.

Life is short, so please make each day count; use your fine crystal, buy yourself fresh flowers, enjoy good, fresh food without feeling guilty! And as always, be kind to others, no one wants to hang out with an asshole.

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So this is what happens when someone gives me a dozen roses, I put them on my head, lol. Some made it into a vase.

muah! Adios!

Liette

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I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol but the bastards learned how to swim – Frida Kahlo

 

 

Taste of the South

Taste of the South

One of my favorite things to do when I am in the south is eat! The food is so amazing, that you almost need a plan or a checklist, lol. Here are a few southern staples that you need to try; and a few helpful hints to help you find the best places to eat.

Crawfish

We we’re lucky enough to be in Mississippi during crawfish season, which is in the spring. Although I have been traveling to Biloxi for many years, I had never tried crawfish…till now!

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How pretty are these little suckers??!!

First of all, let me say that they look exactly like tiny lobsters…exactly! They kind of have a bit of a lobstery ish taste too.

There is a trick to eating them that I picked up right away; my land locked friend from Arizona, wasn’t such a quick learner, Staci, I am talking to you!

You twist the tail from the body and you pinch and suck the tail in your mouth. The local guys we were with sucked on the heads too, but I kept my focus on the tails…mmm ok, that may have taken an unintentional inappropriate turn, but let’s stay focused here, lol.

They are cooked in spices with potatoes and corn. These weren’t too spicy, I thought they had a bit of a kick to them, but keep in mind that I am Acadian, so the spiciest spice growing up was pepper, lol. The Cajuns didn’t get their love of spices from their Northern cousins.

Bread Pudding

We finished off our crawfish lunch with some bread pudding. To be honest I’ve never been interested in bread pudding, because it doesn’t contain chocolate, lol, but the locals we were with insisted we have some. And I have to report that it was one the most delicious things I have ever tasted! And it turns out, as per my mom, that bread pudding is an Acadian thing, so that may be something the Cajuns brought with them when they migrated south?

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It was served warm with ooey gooey sugar, yum!

Helful Tip

One of my best travel trips for finding great places to eat is to ask the locals. On this trip our service techs invited us to lunch, as we walked out, the receptionist whispered, it’s a dive, but they have good food. I love dives, so off we went! And now I can check off crawfish and bread pudding off my list.

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This place wasn’t fancy, but it was full, which is always a great sign. I can say it’s my favorite crawfish place!!! (and my first and only, lol)

BBQ

No one does BBQ like the south, obvs. We’ve been going to this next place for years. It’s called The Shed and it is literally a series of sheds.

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Staci and our local host Kevin.

This is another, not fancy place; but it has become one of our favorite places to go.

If you ever find yourself in the south, ask a local where their favorite bbq place is, they will most likely tell you they make the best and they are probably not lying, but they will point you in the right direction. Southerners are a lot like Maritimers, they are super friendly and hospitable.

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This trip I had the ribs, make sure you pick their potato salad as one of your sides.
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You eat at picnic tables. The Shed is off the highway, not sure if it’s in Biloxi or Gulfport, google it if in this next of the woods.
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They sell BBQ sauce and marinades, they have smokers outside where they smoke their meats.

Grits

In New Orleans we asked the concierge at our hotel for “a good” breakfast place; he said, I know a good place, but it isn’t fancy. It sounded like we were in for another dive. Another helpful travel tip, is be best buddies with your hotel’s concierge and don’t forget to give him a tip!! No one likes a cheapskates lol.

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This place was called Hobnobbers; you have to walk through a grungy bar to get to it. The only people there when we arrived were, a lady of the evening and what looked like her John, see the man above and the lady in white fishnets, you can see her legs.

As soon as we sat down, the place quickly filled up. Staci ordered some grits, so we could check them off our list. I have tasted them before and I am not a super fan. They look like mashed potatoes, these were served with butter. If you haven’t tried them, you need to because it’s such a southern staple. Side note, our breakfast was really good and cheap!

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Crab, Shrimp and Oysters

Another way that the Canadian Maritimers  are similar to the Southerners is their love and abundance of fresh seafood!

On this trip, we literally had crab cakes every night. We were on the hunt for the best ones, it seemed like a fun and tasty challenge!

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Ah…so many crab cakes, so little time. You can even have crab cakes, topped with crab! You can actually get anything topped with crab; if given the option, go for it!! Most are served with a remoulade sauce, which is mayonnaise based.

The French Quarter has so many amazing restaurants, I always try to go to Bourbon House on Bourbon St when I am in New Orleans. Get the crab cakes! Lol  and save room for desert; get the pecan chocolate crunch, it’s to die for!

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There is always something going on, this time it was an impromptu concert.

One of the fun things about the French Quarter is happening upon amazing restaurants. Before we left New Orleans we realized we hadn’t had any oysters yet; we looked up and saw the sign for Royal House Oyster Bar; it seemed like destiny, lol, so we went in.

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Another cool thing about restaurants in New Orleans is that they can look small from the street, but then open up to a large outdoor courtyard. This places looked ordinary, until we were seated on the second level.

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Our table overlooked Royal St, even though you are close to Bourbon St, the vibe here was super chill and quaint. We even saw another wedding procession, which is a parade, while we were there; there is always something interesting to see!

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I don’t love raw oysters, but I do love charbroiled oysters! These were amazing!! Garlic, butter, breadcrumbs and a bit of cheese, what’s not to love? Even if you don’t think you like oysters, you need to try these. Most restaurants serve them, try them!!

Beignets

Beignets are basically donut dough drenched with icing sugar and they are sinfully delish!!! Note to self, don’t wear black, you will get icing sugar all over yourself.

The most famous place to eat beignets in New Orleans is Cafe du Monde. You order then try to find a table; actually, you wait in line, then order and then try to find a table.

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We didn’t get any on this trip because the lines were insane; we walked by a few times and each time the line was longer than the previous. Although Cafe du Monde makes amazing beignets, I know that they are not the only beignets in town; on my next visit, I am going to find a new spot and give them a try.

If you have the patience, or if you are up early, go to Cafe Du Monde, they will melt in your mouth. I will let you know if I discover a place just as good, with less people.

I don’t know about you, but this post has made me hungry!! Lol. I should probably have mentioned a bit of history, in case you aren’t aware. Cajuns that our found in Louisiana and Mississippi originate from Acadians from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada.

I hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading all the way to the end! My next post maybe about bunnies?? Stay tuned!

Muah!

Liette

 

Dim Sum Yum! Chinatown, Las Vegas.

Dim Sum Yum! Chinatown, Las Vegas.

(for my subscribers, if you are reading from your email, click on the title, it will make everything look fancier).

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Lots of cities have Chinatown’s; New York, San Diego, Vancouver are just a few that come to mind, but did you know that Las Vegas has it’s very own Chinatown? Neither did I until I moved here. It’s just two miles from the strip, along Spring Mountain Road.

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas in the past few years is painfully aware that it has become a very expensive city; especially if you are staying and eating on the strip. I encourage you to take a super short Uber ride over to Chinatown. It’s by far the best bang for your buck! And what a yummy bang it is, lol.

Dim Sum

I am not a Dim Sum expert by any means…like really not. I am just a French Canadian girl trying new things and sharing my experiences. So let’s get started; and by started, I mean let’s eat!

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The first advice I was given about Dim Sum, was not to fill up on rice or noodles; so what were the first two items we got? Yup, rice and noodles, lol. The second advice was don’t order coffee, because they serve tea. So what was the second thing we did? You guessed it, my friend ordered coffee; we were off to a great start!

Dim Sum is traditionally served for breakfast, but in the US and Canada, it’s more of a brunch thing.

If you have never been to a Dim Sum, here’s how it works; they roll out carts of food and you select which small plates you want, no menus needed. It’s perfect for sharing, so bring a few friends.

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The carts come out in random order and they keep coming, so take your time. You can let a cart go, it will come back; I promise!

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Chinatown has an abundance of restaurants; we went to Honk Kong Garden, there are two of them, this one serves Dim Sum, see above.

There are so many hidden gems in Chinatown, we have visited a few so far. We used Yelp for a bit of guidance; all have been fantastic and cheap!!!

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The top left dish was shrimp and top right was pork, sorry I didn’t get the official names, the carts were just coming at me so fast I couldn’t keep up, lol.

We ate a lot!! You will leave full, but please save some room for desert.

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Hong Kong Garden is my friend, Michael’s fav restaurant, even though you can eat desert first, he advised against it. So I did wait to eat one of these custard filled rolls until after I was done dim suming (yes, I know it’s not a real word); and omg, it was so good! It was still warm, crusty sugar on top and a gooey custard in the center.

So here is my hard hitting question for you; how adventurous are you? Would you have tried the chicken feet? I passed, but I did try a few new things and like them.

Chinese New Year is quickly approaching, it’s Feb 5th; so Happy Year! This year is year of the Pig, in case you were wondering…you’re welcome.

Thanks for reading!

Muah!

Liette

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Nuts for DoNuts!

Nuts for DoNuts! In search of Las Vegas’ best donuts.

Now in the spirit of the new year and in honor of our collective resolutions to eat better…to be better; I am going to take one for the team and taste test one of Vegas’ best doughnut shops…you are welcome!

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Yes I wear glasses and no, I don’t have a lazy eye even though it looks like I do in this pic. Not that there is anything wrong with a lazy eye… oh never mind, lol

We will be taste testing donuts from Las Vegas Donut Bar. They are hugely popular in San Diego and now making waves in Las Vegas. They have great social media buzz; we are going to see what all the buzz is about and we’ll let you know if you should spend the calories and your hard earned cash there.

They are located at 124 S 6th St. #140, which is in the heart of downtown. Having been told that they open early and stay open until they run out of donuts, we made sure to get there early. We arrived and were busy eating before the crowds showed up, so yay us!

My brave volunteers tasters today are Lynn and Olivia.

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Lynn and Olivia, up for the donut eating challenge!

Today’s special was a French toast donut and a grilled cheese donut. I am a lover of grilled cheeses, so I am currently kicking myself for not trying it, but it’s because  I was swayed by the pretty colors and sprinkles of the other donuts.

(OK side note!! Canadians spell doughnut like this, not like “donut” this, lol. I am using the American spelling because I thought “DoNuts” in my title was cute and Las Vegas Donut Bar spell it “donut”. Now we can continue, just needed that out of the way, lol.)

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Sooooo many choices

The staff were super friendly and welcoming; we chose three donuts and Olivia got one free, she’s just that cute.

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We chose the unicorn donut…how could we not??? The strawberry shortcake and the crème brûlée, that’s the smaller one in bottom left, in the image above. BTW the crème brûlée donut is not baby sized, the strawberry shortcakes and unicorn donuts are just extra big. Olivia got the purple spider.

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The reason why I didn’t get the grilled cheese donut was because I thought it would be too sweet. But their actual donut isn’t sweet, it’s very light and fluffy. Even though this donut was massive it didn’t feel heavy, the cream was light, the powdered sugar on top was really the only sweet thing. It was yummy! I should have tried the grilled cheese one though, not doing so is clearly a donut mistake! But the strawberry was delish, will just need to go back to try the grilled cheese.

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Lynn’s crème brûlée donut had a hard sugar coating on top and a beautiful custard inside, mmm!

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Olivia’s purple spider donut was a hit too. Her white shirt wasn’t so white when done, lol.

Being the team player that I am, I gave the unicorn a taste even though I was already full and found it fresh, light, fluffy and yummy!

We are giving Las Vegas Donut Bar, 4 Timbits out of 5! Which is an amazing score, my Canadian friends will get the reference, lol. Their store was clean, staff friendly and the donuts looked and tasted expensive and bougie, but we’re very reasonably priced.

If you are a local, give them a try; if visiting from away, check them out!! They would probably be great after a festive night of out…if you know what I mean?

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If anyone knows of another donut hot spots in Vegas that I should try, let me know! And let me know what your favorite flavor is?

Thanks for reading!! Be sweet and share or like…do you!! lol

muah!!

Liette

Day Tripping in Toronto

Back in Canada for work, I found myself with a few hours of free time to explore the city; what to do, what to do? To say that this city has an infinite list of things to do is a huge understatement!

My favorite thing to do in a big city, any city really, is to walk the streets, people watch and to get the feel of the unique vibe of the city.

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Hello Toronto!

We walked our way to Graffiti Alley, which is in a really neat part of town. It is in the Fashion District and runs south of Queen Street West from Spadina Ave to Portland Ave.

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Graffiti Alley is a true alley, there was a large truck backing up when where there, it’s beautiful and real. You can just imagine how it got started, mural after mural until it turned into this amazing space.
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The colors are so vibrant! There is approx 1 km of art.

Never heard of it? If you are Canadian, I bet you have seen it without knowing what it was. It’s the alley that Rick Mercer, a fellow Maritimer, walked through during his awesome rants on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

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My beautiful cousin Nicole, who lives in Toronto (Oakville), was our tour guide. Yes she is my first cousin…really, she is super petite with an Italian or Spanish look, while I have more of a blonde viking vibe, but we are a family!

I discovered Graffiti Alley a few years ago, if you read my very first blog post on the hard hitting subject: How to Take the Perfect Selfie, you will have seen this pic, taken there.

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This pic taken a few Novembers ago.  On a much cooler day.

You often see photo shoots being shot when touring the alleys, which I love to witness.

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Feeling a bit faint here, oufff hot and humid. I seriously thought I was going to pass out! My face looks a bit funny here…funny looking, not funny ha! ha!

If you find yourself with free time in this beautiful city, I urge you to get out and explore!!

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I see you there CN Tower!
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There she is, I’ve decided, the CN Tower is a she! Toronto also has a working trolley system. No texting and walking here! Watch where you are going!!

We have had two awesome meals here, here are my recommendations:

Si Lom Thai Bistro – 534 Church St

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Best Pad Thai ever!! Prices were super reasonable.

My second recommendation Is Donatello: 37 Elm Street

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Another gem, freshly made pasta, was soooo good!
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The restaurant is huge, with a rooftop terrace, they have a small eating space right on the side walk; which is where Mary and I decided to eat.  It is surrounded by flowers. It was so quaint!

 

Tomorrow I am off to my hometown of Moncton, N.B. I have already put my parents on notice that I will be expecting lobster rolls for lunch. They are more than happy to comply. But tonight, I am eating smarties in bed; resting up for some vacation adventures.

Thanks for reading, more pictures on Insta & Facebook: oui-liette, check me out! And click like below if you liked. If you didn’t like this post, sorry, but you just read all the way to the end, so it couldn’t have been that bad, lol.

Feel free to share your fav thing to do in this Mega City! I will be back here in two weeks, would love some recommendations.

Muah!

Liette