Late last week, my human mommy helped my rockin’ friend Bashful pack his bags and head home after an eventful stay in my hometown of New Orleans. He had quite a visit. Between a Pelicans basketball game, gumbo and brass bands, and laundry and red beans and rice, it seems Bashful was always on the go with my humans . . . and he was always eating. He may need some new clothes (one size up) when he gets home. Before Bashful traveled back to Bacon and the Hotel Thompson, I got to spend a very special day with my new little friend.
We were up bright and early last Wednesday and in the car for a road trip. Bashful called shotgun.
Before I knew it (maybe because I slept for most of the trip), Bashful and I had arrived at our destination: the Small Animal Clinic of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine where I do rehab for my hip and elbow dysplasia. (You can click here to read more about my special joints and the rehab I do.)
I sent Bashful off with Mommy to run a few errands while I did my workout. The pre-Christmas Baton Rouge traffic was even more horrific than usual. I want to apologize to Bashful for any words he might have heard as he and my human mommy attempted to traverse the city as quickly as possible.
I sensed some slight traffic-related tension when Bashful and Mommy returned to the vet school to pick me up, so we all spent some chill time in the Serenity Garden with its beautiful fountain before heading back to New Orleans.
When we returned home, my little sister Tallulah Bee was still at Camp Bow Wow, which meant that the fabulous piggy toy that arrived with Bashful could come out to play. (Tallulah is a bit rough with toys, so they tend to run off and hide in a special cabinet when she’s around. When Tallulah goes to camp, the toys know that it’s safe to come out and play with me.) Bashful and I had had a pretty eventful day already, so after just a very short play time we were fast asleep.
We had a message from the Hotel Thompson that Bashful arrived safely at home Sunday afternoon . . . and he didn’t arrive alone. Seems Bashful is quite the ladies man and he brought his new friend Lola from Nola back to Georgia. At this point, I’m going to leave you in suspense so that Bacon can introduce you to Lola when he’s ready. Patience, my friends. 😉
Our little friend Bashful has been out of the picture lately. Between decorating for the holidays and entertaining out-of-town guests, he’s had his hands full. (Okay, so Bashful doesn’t have hands, but you know what I mean.)
This past Monday, Bashful got back to living the New Orleans life, and on Mondays that means laundry and red beans and rice. My human mommy/blogging assistant did a little research into why red beans are such a Monday staple in my hometown, and she found this nugget of wisdom from the Camellia Beans people:
Old habits die hard. New Orleanians continue, with ritualistic fervor, to consume red beans and rice on Mondays. Spicy Caribbean recipes for beans and rice were brought to the city in the late 1700s by French-speaking Haitians fleeing the revolution in Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti). Local housewives and housekeepers quickly adapted the thrifty, convenient practice of tossing meaty ham bones leftover from Sunday suppers into simmering pots of red kidney beans that could be left to cook, undisturbed, over a low flame for hours–leaving them free to engage in the arduous Monday drudgery that was “laundry day.” Despite the modern convenience of washing machines and dryers, the Monday red beans tradition continues today….
Bashful observed while Mommy followed the red beans recipe (I was sound asleep on my bed; I’ve watched this process for more than seven years). It’s a family recipe, so measurements aren’t exact; but you’ll get the general idea, and then you can adapt it to your tastes.
- Empty one 16-ounce package of red beans into a large stock pot and add enough water to cover. Soak over night. Drain water the next morning and add the following ingredients:
- One yellow onion chopped
- One green bell pepper chopped
- Two ribs of celery chopped
- Three to five cloves of garlic chopped
- A few large dashes of garlic powder
- About six to eight healthy dashes of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
- Four or five healthy dashes of Tabasco sauce
- Three or four bay leaves
- One or two ham hocks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A handful of chopped parsley
- Add water to just an inch or two over the combined ingredients.
- Bring to a boil, and then simmer all day.
- Add sliced sausage about 30 minutes before serving.
While the beans simmered, Mommy and Bashful headed to the laundry room and got to work. You can’t tell from this picture, but Tallulah Bee and I slept under the ironing board while Bashful supervised. I have no doubt that Mommy truly appreciated all the extra
help moral support snoring.
When the laundry was finished and the beds were made, it was time to slice the sausage. Mommy found a really yummy and slightly spicy sausage made by the butcher at our local grocery store. A note to Bashful’s buddy Bacon about the sausage: It was beef, not piggy pork. Our apologies about those ham hocks though. 😉
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Bashful looked too thrilled when Mommy held him over the hot pot to have a good look.
He was a whole lot happier when the beans were served with some good French bread and a fine red wine. I think Bashful could get used to the Monday routine in New Orleans.
It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update on Bashful’s New Orleans adventures. Every time I turn around, that little fella is hopping into my human mommy’s purse and they’re headed out the door. I finally got those two to sit down long enough to tell me where they’ve been and to share a few photos. Wow. They’ve been busy. A couple of weekends ago, Bashful joined both of my humans at Armstrong Park for the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival–New Orleans’ Premier Brass Band Showcase, which is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. In New Orleans, we love a festival. There’s at least one every month–sometimes one each weekend of the month–and they usually revolve around tasty food and great music.
This festival features gumbo of every sort you can imagine: creole gumbo, seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, even vegan gumbo and smoked tofu and Portobello mushroom gumbo. (Just for the record, Mommy doesn’t recommend those last two.) Bashful had quite an appetite that day, so he also tasted some red beans and rice served with fried chicken and corn bread. (Mommy had a little bite of the fried chicken. She said it was one of the best things she’s ever eaten. She’s still talking about it.) Naturally, Bashful chose to chase down his festival food with a couple of local Abita Brewing Company Amber beers.
With his taste buds satisfied (for the moment), it was time for Bashful to enjoy some brass band music. Brass bands are a new Orleans tradition. Rebirth Brass Band, Hot 8 Brass Band, and the Original Pinettes Brass Band, an all-female group, are some of the more well-known groups. Bashful settled in and listened to a few songs by the Panorama Jazz Band. It was my humans’ first time to see them perform, and they had every bit as much fun as Bashful.
Having spent the afternoon enjoying two of New Orleans’ greatest offerings–gumbo and brass bands–Bashful had one more stop to make before leaving the festival. He headed straight over to visit Miss Linda, the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady. If you don’t live in New Orleans, you probably haven’t heard of ya-ka-mein. Here’s how Miss Linda’s website describes this local delicacy:
Ya-Ka-Mein is one of New Orleans’ well-best-kept secrets. It is a soup. They call it Old Sober. Ms. Linda is world famous as the guardian of the secret juice recipe in her Ya-Ka-Mein. Taught how to make the broth by her mother Shirley Green, Ms. Linda keeps the tradition by lacing the broth with the perfect mixes of spices–not quite Asian, not quite Southern–adding noodles, green onions, a hard-boiled egg and hot sauce. It’s a sure-fire remedy for a New Orleans’ size headache, which is why it’s known as “Old Sober.”
If Bashful keeps drinking that Abita Amber beer, he just might need another helping of Miss Linda’s famous ya-ka-mein.
Last Friday, my little sister and I received a very special delivery from our sweet little piggy friend Bacon. (If you already know Bacon, then you know what a special little pig he is. If you don’t know Bacon, click here to link to his blog. I promise you’ll fall in love.) To say that our box from Bacon sent both of us into a tizzy would be quite the understatement. It was packed full of everything a girl could ever want.
Tallulah and I were especially obsessed over the pink piggy toy. We spent quite a bit of time trying to dismember him, but he’s tough and managed to survive . . . at least for the first round.
As fabulously fun as the pink piggy toy and the fancy treats were, there was something even more special in that little box from Bacon. Meet Bashful, Bacon’s pet rock. As Bacon says, “He knows a lot of tricks like stay, sit, be quiet and dad taught him how to play dead. Bashful is a happening pebble. He actually has his very own segment called Field Trip with Bashful… the international rolling stone. It is about all of his adventures in field trips around the world. He goes to all kinds of different places and stays with host families for two weeks.” Bashful has been to France, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hawaii, and so many more fun places.
I gave Bashful a little kiss and welcomed him to New Orleans, Louisiana. He’s going to be our houseguest through Thanksgiving, and my humans and my little sister Tallulah Bee and I are beyond excited about showing him a good time.
No sooner had Bashful rolled out of the box than he and my humans were off to the bus stop for his first big adventure . . .
. . . and his first “go cup,” which he enjoyed while waiting for the bus to arrive. Go cups are a very New Orleans thing. In most cities, you have to consume your adult beverages inside. Not in New Orleans. Here you’re free to poor that drink into a plastic cup and sip it while strolling down the street. Judging from that little smile on Bashful’s face, I think it’s safe to say that he was happy to embrace the go-cup tradition.
After a short bus ride to the Central Business District, Bashful plopped himself down on the bar at Borgne (pronounced “born”) restaurant for what my humans say is one of the best happy hours in the city of New Orleans.
After digging into the catfish sliders and the fried turkey necks, I think Bashful would have to agree with my humans.
Next stop was a quick photo-op outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome . . .
. . . and then another photo outside of the Smoothie King Center . . .
. . . before heading inside to watch the Phoenix Suns play our very own New Orleans Pelicans in what I am quite sure was Bashful’s first NBA basketball game.
My humans’ normally sit in the nosebleed section. But their ticket rep must have heard about their very special houseguest, because on this night they were upgraded to these sweet seats. They’re thinking of asking Bacon if Bashful can stay through the end of basketball season. 😉 Unfortunately, even the great Bashful wasn’t able to bring the Pelicans their first win of the season.
So it was time to jump back on the bus and head toward home.
I was so happy to see Bashful again and to hear about all of the fun he’d had on his first night in New Orleans. I’ll be honest with you, I think he was a bit tired, so we’ve let him catch up on his rest the last few days. Trust me, he’s going to need his energy to take on the Big Easy through Thanksgiving. We have quite the adventures planned for our new little friend.