Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cousins' Visit, Day 2

This is the second day of my cousins' visit last weekend. If you want to read about their first day, read here.

Our day started with breakfast and then we went to attend mass at St. Mary's Basilica.

The church is beautiful inside and out, built in 1842. If you are ever in this area, this is a must see!

Then we went to the Carriage House, which is behind the Stanton Hall and used to house the horse carriages in the olden times. It is now a restaurant and we had brunch there.

After brunch, we toured the grounds and inside Dunleith, one of the grandest antebellum houses here. It is now a Bed & Breakfast, in fact that is where the hospital placed John and me during his interview.

Do you see my head peeking through the rooster topiary?

I love their courtyard.

We were like little ants in front of this mansion.

3 Southern belle cousins and a gentleman on the front porch!

I love this wrap around porch!
 After brunch, we had about an hour to rest at home and then we headed out again to tour the working plantation, Frogmore. What is so unique about Frogmore is that it was a cotton plantation in the 1800's and is still being operated today and the way it used to be is all preserved. The slaves' quarters and its contents are still intact so that we can see and feel first hand how they used to live.
 They are normally close on Sundays but John contacted the owner and Lynette was kind enough to give us a private tour. She is so knowledgeable and we really enjoyed her giving us the tour.
 Claude gets so excited about old kitchen stuff.
 He collects vintage coke items too. I gave him my coca cola crate and a coke handled box, some bottles and glasses. I figured I can always find and buy them in the future since I am such an avid shopper. Their shopping time here was just so limited. I wish I could have brought them to antique shops in Natchez but they are close on Sundays.
On our way to the gin (short for engine), which is inside this building. Lynette showed us step by step, how the cotton was processed before all the modern machinery were used.
Lynette was showing us the primitive kitchen utensils that the slaves used during their time, while John attentively listened. Do you see the long wooden bowl on the floor? That's where the little children of the slaves shared their meals.
We drove by the Mississippi River just to show them. The other side of the river is Vidalia, LA.
I had made a reservation for dinner at the Magnolia Grill overlooking the MS River but when Claude found out that John's favorite dish is Paella, he told me to cancel the reservation and he would instead cook for us.

And so, we saved the best for last, a cooking lesson from Claude, the master chef and culinary artist. We enjoyed watching him cook and learning from him. It was quite a show and he showed us his technique of why his seafood paella turns out so tasty.

He  also told me to wipe my copper pots with acetone to get rid of the coating and then washing them before using them. He said they are coated with something that burns which has to be removed first before using them for the first time. I still have to do that.
It's cooked!.......the moment we have been waiting for.
Isn't that seafood paella looking so scrumptious? It's the best we have ever had and I assure you, we've had plenty, from all over the world, at different times.
And all Claude wanted was his steak, lol.
I also served crawfish because none of them have tried it before and they loved it. Maryann here is showing how much she ate, lol.
Mangoes for dessert. They are so good and sweet. I bought them from a Vietnamese store in Baton Rouge. They taste just like the ones we have back home in the Philippines. I bought 2 crates and John and I are still enjoying them.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the excitement of my cousins' visit. We watched a DVD after dinner but we all fell asleep in front of the TV. It was a hectic, fun but exhausting day!

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