Eating Louisiana: A few photos

I’m home in Louisiana for the holidays. And that means food. Lots and lots of food. How has it gone so far? Let me show you.

1. Fried shrimp platter from Soileau’s in Opelousas, eaten upon completion of 25 hour drive from New York.

2. Sunday morning breakfast. Boudin and cracklins from Ray’s. (Billy’s boudin recipe, though.) Donuts from Mikey’s. I ate a lot more than what is on this plate.

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Don’t Poop Where You Partake

I am lucky enough in this phase of my life to live within a 45-second walk from my favorite bar, a place where I’ve almost reached the status Norm had on “Cheers.” Taking a break from all your worries sure does help a lot. And it’s even better when everyone knows your name — but not your entire life’s back story or that thing you did that one time that none of your so-called friends just will not let go.

The Brazen Head is perfect for me: low-key; an interesting client base of locals, law students, lawyers, criminals and that one cat who just shows up and plays his clarinet along with whatever music is playing; a solid selection of bourbon (and Scotch, too, if you’re into that sort of thing); a dart board that is used by people who bring their own darts (I don’t play anymore, but this I find comforting); and a rotating selection of good beers but, just as equally, a place where no one is going to give you stink-eye if you order a Budweiser and a Jack on the rocks.

Also, the staff is exceedingly friendly and, in the case of the women, attractive (yes, even before the drinking starts).
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Clean-up In Apt. 5

My toilet is so clean you could actually eat out of it. I swear. Come over. I’ll hook you up with some Ramen or something.

But seriously. This weekend, I found some time between hangovers and driving out to East Hampton in craptastic weather to do some much-needed cleaning in the apartment.

Not only was it dirty, but there were the obvious psychological implications associated with cleaning after a relationship falls apart. I’d actually swept through the living room after the first week, completely rearranging that into something that didn’t resemble an unholy cross between Hoarders and a college dorm room. I came really close to hanging the flat-screen on the wall out of some misdirected spite but I didn’t like the thought of the wires running down the wall to wherever I’d put the Xbox, Wii and cable box. I liked even less the thought of the TV pulling out of the wall and crashing to the floor thanks to my slapdash handywork.
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I’m on the 4 Train commuting to work this morning. Somewhere along the line, a couple blunders into the train. The woman takes a seat and the guy almost gets his jacket caught in the closing door.

“The fuck off of me. Give me my jacket,” he curses, but laughs at the same time.

Seems like someone’s had his liquid breakfast this morning, is in good spirits and, obviously, want to chat. I’m a magnet for such people, so I bury my head in my book. As we crawl by 33rd Street, he sets his eyes on me.
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The First Annual Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ

No. I did not change the name of my novel from The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival to The First Annual Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ. Rather, in a weird bit of coincidence, my good friend Toby Dore–the guy who set up the Facebook Group for my book–is actually part of a gang of guys trying to get their own first festival off the ground. The Basin Cleanup and BBQ will be held Sept. 26 from 6 to 12 p.m. at Whiskey River Landing.

Like I said to Toby, I wish he’d have told me about this. I could have used him for a little research instead of just making up all the details in my book!

I fully expect those of you who live in the area to get out there and go check this out. Invite your friends. Spread the Facebook group around. Go, man. Go.

And for those who don’t live in the area? Well, come a little closer. Let me talk to you about Louisiana festivals.
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Ken Wheaton: Guest Bartender

Want ME to serve YOU drinks? Here is your chance!

We’ve got a group of Ad Age people here at work running for charity. Since I can’t run long distances anymore due to my bad back (and laziness), they found a fitting way for me to pitch in. Boozin’.

Wednesday July 8
Red Sky
East 29th Street (between Park and Madison)
6:30 to 9:00
I will be bartending between 6:30 and 7:30
Cost: $20 plus cost of drinks. (Hey, it’s for charity.)

So them’s the details. Twenty bucks will get you in and get you Happy Hour prices for the duration. It seems steep, but it’s for a good cause: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

As far as my bartending skills go, I’m sure you will be crazy impressed with such signature cocktails as:

1. Beer in a bottle!
2. Beer in a can!!
3. Beer in a pint glass!!!
4. Whiskey poured over ice!!!

First Reading for My First Novel Scheduled

So this afternoon I received an e-mail from my editor at Kensington Books asking me to confirm whether or not I’d be able to do a reading from “The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival” at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance show in Greenville, S.C., in September.

Um, let me think abou… Hell, yeah! I get to do a reading at a major Southern trade show three months before the book comes out? Most excellent.

Of course, once I agreed, the thought of public speaking got me nervous for something that’s not happening for months. Thankfully, this reading will be in the evening and I’ll presumably be able to knock back two drinks to steady the nerves.

I was in Greenville earlier this year for a conference that involved lots of brilliant people, lots of fancy food and racing BMWs at the BMW Performance Center. The one drawback to that trip was there was no time for barbecue. Not this time around!

Barbecue, booze and book-reading … from my own novel, no less … well, slap my ass and call me fanny. I don’t know if it gets much better than that.

My Easter Debauchery

For the last 40 days I’ve had no alcohol, no candy, no soda and, with the exception of some barbecue extravaganza’s, have kept my calorie intake in the 1,500 to 1,800 range.

So I started off this morning with a chocolate rabbit and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

I kid. I kid.

Much to my own surprise, I haven’t had either booze or candy yet today. This, despite my promises to the contrary. This, despite the Easter basked it–one I purchased with my own two hands–stuffed with chocolate.

Instead, I started off the day with yogurt and Grape Nuts, then went down to Starbucks for a couple of hours to get some writing done.

And then I went to Popeyes.

Oh yeah. Popeyes. Three piece dark with a side of red beans and rice. And a large Coke. To be honest, I don’t know which was better, the Coke or the chicken. But both were damn good. I usually get a Fanta Orange when I go to Popeyes, but since I hadn’t had a soda in so long, I wanted the real thing.

Now, I may nap. But not until after having some sort of candy. Robin Eggs or Cadbury Mini Eggs? These are the type of hard-hitting decisions that a guy like me must face.

And then after the nap, perhaps I’ll go for a drink somewhere.