Featuring… the gorgeous peepers of my lovely friend Amie. Hot – right?
Now on to Squeenstock.
Let me first start by explaining “Squeenstock”. We have a fabulous group of friends (I luckily inherited through Adam) that we used to do a weekly Sunday night dinner with. Back a couple years ago – right when Adam and I first got together, one lovely lady in this group – Miss Courtney McClean (of Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls), moved to Minneapolis. We had a huge weekend-long farewell bash for Courtney, which was dubbed “Courtstock” – we designed t-shirts and had them made and wore them all over town as we mourned Courtney’s exit from NYC. Then… the Jacksons (our Sunday night dinner hosts) were next to ditch NYC for greener pastures in Geneva, Switzerland. Hence… super weekend-long goodbye party #2 – called “Jackstock”. Following Jackstock, The Jacksons came back to NYC for a visit so Courtney flew in from Minneapolis, we designed & bought t-shirts again and we had yet another weekend-long welcome home party called “Backstock”. Following this, was our wedding in the Berkshires in October – dubbed “Reidstock” (more t-shirts). And finally – this brings us to this past weekend in New Orleans for our fellow stockers Dan & Yvonne who were married on Saturday. Their last name is Pasquini… hence our 5th stock – “Squeenstock” (and more t-shirts). This has turned into a pretty awesome ritual and a great excuse to get everyone together. Next on the table… “Bangstok” (a group trip to Thailand?) – or “Burnstock” (a group trip to Burning Man). Who knows?? Here are some pictures of the “stockers” from Squeenstock on the left and Reidstock on the right:
Now… back to New Orleans. I’ve never been to New Orleans and haven’t really traveled much in the South at all so I was pretty psyched for this wedding. I know Dan & Yvonne are into good food and I know New Orleans is famous for good food – so what could be more exciting than that?
My first bite in New Orleans was a shrimp po boy from Jonny’s Po Boys. I had never had a po boy before – and frankly, I was not super impressed. I thought it was way too big, way too bready and needed more sauciness. It was fairly dry. Adam got the Alligator po boy… so adventurous. His was delicious! The alligator was in sausage form and pretty much tasted like chicken sausage – but had a great spiciness to it – I liked it better than my shrimp.
Friday night we went to the rehearsal dinner at the pharmacy museum. What a cool location. My photo 49 was taken there. An awesome jazz band serenaded us as we all enjoyed the rocking BBQ buffet in the lovely outdoor courtyard. Man… the BBQ was gooooooooood. They served a ‘deconstructed pig’ – an entire pig prepared in different ways – pulled pork, sausage, roasted pork loin and ribs – all with different dipping sauces. They even had the pig head out on the table! The server gave us a little slice of the cheek as I hear it’s tasty and wanted to try it. It was delish but very fatty. Here is a picture of the pig head – CRAZY!
After the BBQ pig feast, they served us 3 delectable pies for dessert – each better than the next! A key lime pie, a praline/pecan pie and a chocolate peanut butter pie. WOW. Delicious night #1. I couldn’t wait to see what the wedding was going to bring.
The next day we rode on the bus through the beautiful Garden District to the Holy Name of Jesus Church. What an impressive building. It was gorgeous! Then we took a trolly to the reception. We had delicious hors d’oeuvres – like mini muffaletta sandwiches, fried coconut shrimp on skewers, little praline & brie bite-sized crescent dough things and crab cakes, which rumor has it, had crawfish meat rather than crab. I just love good hors d’oeuvres.
Then came the main event. Yvonne’s favorite color is yellow – so yellow was the theme running throughout. Our seat assignments were made of adorable lemons with the most beautiful calligraphy:
As for food – wow – a multi-table buffet running around the perimeter of the ballroom. Table one – roasted pork loin and a freaking AWESOME cajun fried turkey. I think this was the first fried turkey I ever had and man… that is a great method for cooking turkey. It was the juiciest turkey I ever had! Table 2 – jambalaya, rice, salad, fruit, roasted veggies, twice baked potatoes (sinful) – and more that I can’t remember at the moment. Table 3 – shrimp & grits… a man was sitting there cooking the shrimp continuously so it was hot and garlicky and perfectly cooked!
Finally, to top it all off… DESSERT. Now Yvonne is a baking queen so I knew dessert would be something special – and boy was I right. Instead of one wedding cake, they had FIVE different cakes!! Luckily, there were 5 people (all stockers) sitting our table. Adam assigned each one of us a cake and we dutifully followed orders bringing slices of each of the five types to the table. Then, we did the bite & pass until each of us had tried all five. Here are some photos of the cakes:
For those of you counting – that’s only four. The fifth was a chocolate peanut butter cake. After our tasting, the red velvet came in first place with the chocolate peanut butter & lemon battling it out for second.
At that point, we were in a food coma, but got abruptly woken up when a New Orleans marching band came busting through the door! We were all given handkerchiefs and we made a sort of conga line, waving our handkerchiefs following the band, and the bride & groom around the room. The big finish was “When the Saints go Marching In” – we formed a circle around Dan & Yvonne as they danced around with their southern style parasols. It was a precious moment. Here is a picture of the newlyweds… you think Yvonne is having fun or what?
After the reception, we changed into comfy clothes and hit the town – off to Bourbon street where we drank multiple hurricanes – an enormously large rum & fruit juice drink that completely wasted us all. Ahhhh – New Orleans.
For our final day, we started off with a little taste of beignets (fried dough type things w/powdered sugar) from Cafe du Monde. Our crew was a little late to the breakfast, so there was a HUGE line when we got there. We met up with the others who were already seated and they gave us their scraps. Then the stockers went off on our own to find a good lunch spot. On our way to eat, we got caught in a crazy thunder storm – then ran for shelter to Coops Place – a restaurant that had been recommended by some friends.
Well – this meal was the kicker for me. I don’t even have any pictures… I think I was too immersed in the eating experience to think about photography. We ordered Fay’s famous bloody mary’s (Fay waited on us). Then, because the cake bite & pass went so smoothly at the reception, we did another group order. A cheeseburger, a plate of fried seafood (crawfish, shrimp and oysters), the most ridiculous rabbit & sausage jambalaya, shrimp creole, seafood gumbo and cajun fried chicken. This meal ROCKED my world. For real. If anyone ever goes to New Orleans – you MUST go to Coops Place.
After lunch, it was time to join back up with the wedding group for a swamp tour of Honey Island Swamp! We piled in our boat, led by the fearless “Captain Jack” and spent a couple hours touring the river & swamp – checking out the gators and greeting the locals in their riverside cabins:
We flew home first thing Monday morning as Dan & Yvonne flew off to Costa Rica. We all had a fabulous time in New Orleans and I would love to return someday to do more exploring. I definitely want to do a haunted tour and a plantation tour. Bourbon street was not exactly my thing (I mean, it was fun and all… but a little loud – and really drunk people scare me) – but Royal street in the French Quarter… GORGEOUS! I felt like I was at a theme park – like Disney Village. So, happy wedding to Dan & Yvonne and to all the friends & family members I met in New Orleans… it was a blast & a total pleasure meeting you all!