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Feb 9, 2010
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So, Saturday we bottled (see other thread under "winemaking from grapes"). My plan for Sunday was to sleep in to about 7am, then spend the day simply relaxing.

Sunday morning, 6am, the phone rings...

It was Harriet.

Harriet Bachner is a very unique character. Originally from New Orleans and a mother of 7 children, she is an absolute delight to know. For years, she has been making some extra money selling desserts and coffee at the annual NJ craw fish festival. Her entire family help out so it is has become, for her, a bit of a family reunion. Even though she recently moved back down to New Orleans, she still continues to come up north to work the festival and spend time with her full grown kids.

Over the past week, Harriet has called to ask to borrow several things that she needed like a 10X10 tent, some hose, a kitchen stand mixer, a spare coffee urn, etc. I was more than happy to lend her anything she needed.

So, when she called I expected that she needed something.

Little did I know that something was me and the wife! "John, is there any way you could come up and help us today? Several of my kids had to leave the festival and I am a little short staffed" she said. In short, my friend needed my help.

We got there just a soon as we could. It was a mad house! She was the only food vendor that sold beignets (those tasty doughnuts original to the Big Easy) which she fried up throughout the day.

The line to get them was HUGE!! They could not make them fast enough. Having helped Harriet in the past she greeted me, and immediately sent me to the fryer.

I must have fried THOUSANDS of them all while listening to zydeco music. After 4 hours the line had died down so that the wife and I could "tap out" and get something other than dessert to eat.

We first had a small cup at the crawfish etouffee stand. Very tasty, but not filling so I then visited the beer stand and then the jambalaya stand (just loaded with chicken and sausage). Outstanding! I have been to New Orleans many times and this was every bit as good as the real thing!

In front of one of the music venues, I heard a singer that sounded very familiar. Turns out it was Samantha Fish, an amazing blues singer and guitar player. She was the biggest hit at the Briggs Blues Festival and she is absolutely indescribable! We ended up dancing through 2 complete sets.

Which made me hungry again..

So it was now off to the Crawfish stand. They get them in live, boil them up and sell them by the scoopful. I pinched tail and sucked head and enjoyed each and every morsel.

On the way back to Harriet's venue, we found the Louisiana fried chicken stand. I convinced them to sell me just one piece and found it so good that I ordered a "to go" box of 8 pieces that I could take home.

After a short second shift at the frier, we helped break down the venue and were home by 6pm.

In summary..

1) Got into the festival for free (I was working for a vendor)
2) Had a lot of fun frying beignets.
3) listened to great live Zydeco music
4) Stuffed myself with good New Orleans food.
5) got to see one of my favorite performers live
6) danced with the wife
7) helped out a dear friend.

All this on a day that was earmarked to "just relax".

You just never know what life will throw at you !!

Here are some pics

Pic 1: One of the fryers making them golden, brown, and delicious..
Pic 2: The industrial sized crawfish boiler. Note the crane used to lift them in and out.
Pic 3: Samantha Fish.. Man, what a voice!



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That's awesome. Oh and I can pound down some cajun food. I lived in New Orleans for a year and a half back in the late 80s and fell in love with it! I always keep a Riesling on hand for it!
Oh man! What a great day. There is nothing like working hard and then getting to play hard!

I lived in Lake Charles for a bit when I was younger....man do I miss the food.

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