Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekend Mishmash: Road Trip Mania and a Travel Giveaway

This week, is running a contest in celebration of road trips. To enter, you simply have to share your favorite road trip song with the folks at Moon. The deadline is tomorrow evening at 5 p.m. PST, and the winner will receive a free 8GB iPod Nano and a Moon guidebook of his or her choice.

To help promote the giveaway, I've spent this entire week blogging about road trip-related things, including a long-ago RV adventure on Interstate 40, between Tennessee and Arizona. In addition, I've shared 10 of my favorite road trip routes in America as well as suggestions for road trip essentials – basically, everything from snacks to audiobooks to jumper cables. So, take a minute to check out the posts – and don't forget to enter the contest. Good luck, and happy travels!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Fantasies: A Source Code Break

For the next few weeks, I'll be hard at work on my Moon New Orleans manuscript, but that doesn't mean that I (a professed perfectionist) can't stop and smell the roses every now and again. Just to prove my point, Dan and I did two fun things this week: a wine tasting class at the Wine Institute of New Orleans (a.k.a., W.I.N.O.) on Tuesday night and a free screening (thanks to the New Orleans Film Society) of Source Code last night. And I must say, despite initial trepidation about this flick, Dan and I both found it most enjoyable, far more entertaining, for instance, than the insipid Insidious, which we also got to watch for free. Not only were the performances in Source Code solid (especially those of Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga), but the plot, even with its rather predictable turns, was also more riveting and less convoluted than I anticipated. Plus its 93-minute running time was the perfect length for such a sci-fi, time-travel yarn. So, all in all, a good way to spend an evening away from the laptop.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Munchies: French Quarter Fest Vittles

Today's post at Come In Character (one of my other blogs) was inspired by the 28th annual French Quarter Festival – one of the largest free music festivals in the American South and, frankly, my favorite festival in New Orleans. Besides the music – which entails hundreds of performances, from solo guitarists to lively zydeco bands – the festival also features a ton of awesome food (the purchase of which helps to fund the free event).

As usual, most of this year's vendors were local bars and restaurants – such as Pat O'Brien's, which served its classic hurricane; The Court of Two Sisters, which offered its traditional turtle soup; and Antoine's Restaurant, which prepared its famous baked Alaska dessert. So, despite the fact that the small, pricey items can add up quickly, sampling food at the fest is a great way to familiarize yourself with the city's local cuisine.

Although Dan and I weren't able to spend all four days at the fest, we did manage to venture outside a few times – and of course, we opted to sample a few dishes along the way. Perhaps our favorite was in Jackson Square: Jacques-Imo's delectable shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake, a rich concoction that seems more like a casserole than a cheesecake. For a long time now, Dan had wanted to try this dish; when we were in Los Angeles not too long ago, he even attempted the recipe – and though his version came out pretty darn good, we didn't realize how close it was until we tried the cheesecake at the fest.

See, Dan? I told you that you got it right! (And he says I never listen to him!)