Archive for the ‘Bed and tango’ Category

A hot little secret   1 comment

A hot little secret

A lot of music is still floating in the air as the festival season just exploded with the one two punch of a heavyweight fighter. The French Quarter Festival in mid April set up the stage for a very successful JazzFest, the first one in years were rain was not an unpaid participant.


As the hordes who descended on New Orleans for the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May began to gradually return to where they came from, the largest ever convention got underway, however the busy people in the hospitality industry know that just about this time of the year New Orleans’ infamous summer heat takes over the calendar and officially launches what people here call “the dead season,” because this is when the exodus from the city begins. That is the exodus of those involved with the city but not having made a commitment to it.

This is the time of the year when the body count wandering around the usual places trickles down and many business appreciate the presence of people at their establishments. There is no lying about it, the sun this time of the year can be brutally hot, the humidity at times can turn the driest skin into porcelain, and the afternoon rains become a frequent and welcomed visitor.

So here is the deal to tango lovers and aficionados dealing with brutal summer time along and across the nation. In New Orleans we have boulevards enclosed by giant oak trees, and we have air conditioning. We also know when to stay in and when to go out. We do this year in and year out, and look forward to do it again.

This period is ideal for a Bed and Tango experience with Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart combining a great vacation, with a world class tango experience in the most unexpected of places tailored to every individual couple and reaching as far as you want it to go.

Posted May 9, 2012 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango

Bonfires on the levees   Leave a comment

Bonfires on the levees

The word bonfire is said to derive from the Middle English bonefire, a fire of bone. In South America a bonfire is a large fire built in the open air. In Louisiana, a bonfire is a festive fire to which everyone in the neighborhood contributes a certain portion of material.

There is an area of South East Louisiana known as the River Parishes (St. James, St. John and St. Charles) that was settled along the lower Mississippi River in the early 1700’s by the Old World French and Germans. These early colonists brought with them the knowledge of both summer and winter bonfire customs and traditions which they had known in their native lands. By sharing this knowledge with their many descendants, it is said that they provided the inspiration for a practice which has evolved into one giant celebration – the present-day Christmas Eve levee bonfires!

There is one more recent and increasingly popular explanation. The bonfires were a “Cajun tradition”, first used to light the way for “Papa Noel”, as Cajuns called Santa Claus. This charming version, although improbable, has been depicted annually in front of a Paulina, LA business establishment where a levee scene shows “Papa Noel” with his pirogue drawn by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, “Te-Boy”, Celeste, Suzette, etc.

In the weeks following Thanksgiving, the levee has been alive with activity as scores of young people worked together, contributing labor and material to create the masterpieces that will be ignited on Christmas Eve.

Every year over one hundred 30 foot plus tall bonfire structures are built of wood, firecrackers, and occasionally bamboo along the Mississippi River levee near the town of Lutcher, Louisiana. These bonfires are laced with kerosene or lighter fluid, then weather permitting, the fire chiefs give the signal at 7 o’clock US Central Standard Time, and the St. James Parish residents simultaneously set a torch to their bonfires, re-enacting a fire ritual long-performed by their early European ancestors to welcome the arrival of Papa Noel on Christmas Eve.

All are welcome to join the merriment, now even special stern wheelers, paddle boats, or riverboats offer bonfire cruises down the Mississippi River. The Gray Lines out of the French Quarter packs a dozen buses and heads for Lutcher on Christmas Eve.


It is a Christmas Eve tradition, unless it rains, then it is promptly changed to a New Year’s Eve tradition.

Posted December 28, 2011 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango

A New Orleans Southern Christmas brunch   Leave a comment

A New Orleans Southern Christmas brunch


The table in the dining room was set up early in the morning and it was a beautiful sight waiting to welcome good friends for a Christmas brunch. The chosen menu was to include Southern comfort food.

The feast began with smoked salmon with caviar and cream cheese. Also hearts of palm with Argentine salsa golf.

It continued with fresh raw oysters with horseradish sauce

The main course was Gulf Coast shrimp and grits. After cooking on hot oil and butter, the shrimp was stirred into halved cherry tomatoes sauteed with minced shallots, drained capers, dash of Tabasco and fresh lemon juice.

The grits were stirred into boiling milk and then baked in the oven. Separately, minced shallots and minced garlic were sauteed in melted butter and dry Torrontes white wine from the Cafayate Valley in Argentina until translucent. The mix along Parmesan cheese was folded into the cooked grits.

The grits were served on a plate and the shrimp and sauce layered over for a great presentation and a much more delicious treat.

Posted December 25, 2011 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango

Caroling in Jackson Square   Leave a comment

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Caroling in Jackson Square has been a tradition since 1946, and remains free and open to the public thanks to people’s support of the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre.
People of all faiths occupy Jackson Square with candlelight and a book of carols in their hands.

Posted December 21, 2011 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango, New Orleans

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Fun under the frescoes   Leave a comment

FUN UNDER THE FRESCOES
Concert Series presented by Friends of Saint Alphonsus in support of St. Alphonsus ChurchA Holiday Show with
Becky Allen
Chris Wecklein
Harry Mayronne

Filmed live at Saint Alphonsus Catholic church on the Irish Channel on December 14, 2011


Reservations   1 comment

Book your personalized and discreet getaway, now!

All the tango you can muster,
Surrounded by the fabulous gastronomical offerings of the city
Riding the streetcar to the French Quarter
Strolling the streets with to go cups filled with your favorite libation
Catching a mid afternoon jam session
Joining an evening of music and more culinary temptations.

  1. Private room with queen size bed, private bathroom, and 2 hours of private lessons, $250 per day, single or double occupancy.
  2. $450 weekend special, Saturday and Sunday.
  3. $950 four day extended weekend.

To book, calculate the total amount, and send check or money order with 50% deposit to,

Valorie Hart
808 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130

Or use your credit card via safe and secure site PayPal HERE.

Phone, 504.535.3614 or email planet.tango@gmail.com

Posted June 3, 2011 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango

Guest comments   Leave a comment

TESTIMONIALS
First we want to thank you very much for the hospitality and the high end educational argentine tango training sessions. Magda and I are very appreciative of the great personal attention and skills given to improve our argentine tango.
We hope that soon can meet again. As discussed you are welcome to stay in our apartment in Hackensack NJ. There is very convenient transportation in all directions and we could also assist you if needed.

Magda and Andrei

Please know how much we enjoyed the entire weekend. It was the best! Our friends are so excited about the book/DVD we shared with them. Hopefully some of them will reserve a Tango weekend with you soon. I really have enjoyed the magazines also. We would love to do another tango weekend or at least do a lesson or two on our next visit to New Orleans. Thanks for making our tango experience so wonderful! We will continue working on what you taught us and use the book also.

Judith

Linda and I began to study and dance Argentine Tango about 5 years ago, and we have studied with Alberto and Valorie on numerous occasions (they’re our favorite tango instructors in the whole world); our weekend of Tango, bed and breakfast at their lovely home/studio in New Orleans was a wonderful getaway experience, the city was great, and having this couple all to ourselves has taken our dance to another level altogether!!!!!! We recommend this weekend experience to everyone who wants to work on the romance and authenticity of Tango…

Bud

I had a wonderful time and I have already begun watching your teaching DVD. I’ll be using it to practice with my friends… Of course I’ll also do my best to spread the word about what a great thing it is to spend a weekend at the Tango B&B and take intensive individual instruction.

Sara

What could be better than staying with good friends, sharing in their warm home and garden district environs and honing our tango. It was also great to see you doing well!!! Thank you -we enjoyed our tango week-end immensely.

Hilda

Tango being a part of my life, Alberto, Valorie, I had an amazing time. I’m still smiling… My poor roommate had to listen to me gush about how great my tango weekend was. I’m sad that we had to leave, but I know that we will be seeing you both again soon. Thank you for the fantastic experience, in an amazing city, with the best tango instructors. I learned so much and gained so much more confidence with my tango.

John

I traveled to New Orleans for an intensive tango experience. A few of you have asked me about it, and a few have noticed the change in my dancing! I just want to take a moment to share with you an opportunity that you might not realize you have…I made reservations to spend a long weekend with Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart as a guest of their “bed & tango getaway” in New Orleans! Always generous and masterful teachers, I spent hours each day working with them, and practicing in their studio. I even received the two best master classes of my entire tango education from them while I was there! It’s those “aha!” moments that you get with only a world-class teacher that have impacted my dancing so noticeably. On Saturday night, they hosted one of the most delightful milongas I’ve ever attended…beautiful music in a gorgeous venue, the most openhearted and friendly people, and a floor filled with skillful dancers! It was truly refreshing to be embraced by the culture of tango so completely and warmly… and of course, it was also a treat to be surrounded by the colorful culture of New Orleans…jazz and food and architecture… it’s an incredibly generous offer and I’m really excited to share it with you.

Laura

Thanks for your hospitality and the use of your comfy home. We really enjoyed the Tango lessons and meeting your friends at the milonga. We are reading your book — so well written — and continue to pracice. Till our paths cross again.

Culest and John

Posted December 1, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango

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Thelma and Louise   Leave a comment

Thelma and Louise

By their own admission, these girls are so easy… that is when it comes to breakfast. They are both coffee drinkers and they’ll eat anything from fruit and cheese to peanut butter toast. I don’t think there is anything they won’t eat. They also love to keep it simple and easy. For these special guests of the Bed and Tango it was all about the tango, the getaway and good conversation.

Posted November 12, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango, New Orleans

Wandering New Orleans in the Heart of Oyster Season   Leave a comment

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal for the private use of our readers

By ANDREW HARPER

[1105nola10]

Swizzle Stick Bar, New Orleans


November in New Orleans brings pleasantly cool temperatures and the heart of oyster season. The city’s classic restaurants are doing brisk business, and several new places of note have opened in the business district. With its intriguing collection of one-off shops specializing in everything from toy soldiers to out-of-print cookbooks, the French Quarter has long dominated the city’s shopping scene, but Magazine Street, particularly the stretch between Jackson and Louisiana, has emerged as a pleasant thoroughfare of boutiques and cafés.

Restaurants

Cochon: Chef Donald Link’s latest effort is a proud celebration of the pig. Set in the business district, it is an airy space with rust-colored walls and plenty of wood accents. The menu has many small plates — the wood-fired oyster roast is superb, and a “boucherie” section is devoted to pork dishes that include excellent ribs with a tart watermelon pickle. Main courses include a tender smoked beef brisket with a zippy horseradish potato salad. Groups of six or more can order a whole roast pig, which comes magnificently dressed on a platter before it is whisked away for carving. Average meal per person, excluding beverages, is about $55.
930 Tchoupitoulas Street, Tel. (504) 588-2123; cochonrestaurant.com

Cuvée: Another outpost in the business district, Cuvée is a charming, low-key space with brick walls, soft lights and a menu full of inventive Creole dishes. A starter billed as a spiced shrimp Napoleon arrives as a layered construction of shrimp, crisp mirliton (a vegetable also known as chayote) and a remoulade filling. We also enjoyed the beautifully prepared redfish stuffed with jambalaya risotto accompanied by green tomatoes and sauced with a tasty barbecue butter. A wine list of more than 650 bottles features intriguing sections of “alternative” reds and whites, such as an Elk Cove Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Average meal per person, excluding beverages, is $65.
322 Magazine Street, Tel. (504) 587-9001

View Slideshow

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Commander's Palac

Mandina’s Restaurant: Easily reached by the Canal Street streetcar, this beloved neighborhood spot has made a comeback over the past several years. It’s a family-friendly, cash-only establishment with a lively bar up front and a generous side dining room. The menu includes one of the best turtle soups in town (boosted with a splash of sherry), a luscious trout amandine and, when in season, impeccably fried soft-shell crab. If you visit on a Saturday, do not miss the special — shrimp Creole. Average meal per person, excluding beverages, is $40.
3800 Canal Street, Tel. (504) 482-9179; mandinasrestaurant.comCasamento’s. Casamento’s on Magazine Street, opened in 1919, is a no-nonsense period piece (the interior is all glazed tiles, small tables and fluorescent lights) that celebrates the monarch of mollusks, the oyster. Whether raw, fried, stewed, or stuffed into po’ boy sandwiches, the oysters here are superb. It’s not a fancy place, but a memorable Uptown institution. It’s closed during the summer months, when the oysters aren’t so good. Average meal per person, excluding beverages, is $30.
4330 Magazine Street, Tel. (504) 895-9761; casamentosrestaurant.com

Bars

Hermes Bar: The stalwart restaurant Antoine’s recently opened this room on St. Louis Street, and it appears to have achieved instant classic status. With a checkered tile floor and dark wood paneling, it is a congenial spot for a drink or for a bite to eat. For the first time in its 169-year history, Antoine’s kitchen is serving po’ boys, having created one just for the Hermes Bar. The Oyster Foch is a feast of fried oysters combined with pâté and Colbert sauce (a meat-based sauce made with wine, butter, shallots, tarragon and lemon juice) on toasted French bread.
725 St. Louis Street, Tel. (504) 581-4422; antoines.com

The Swizzle Stick Bar: Part of Café Adelaide in the Loews Hotel, this smart, contemporary bar is the domain of Lu Brow, a knowledgeable and effervescent woman who delights in showing patrons how her cocktails are crafted. A fine brandy milk punch was followed by our favorite New Orleans potion, a Sazerac, a bracing mix of sugar, Sazerac rye, Herbsaint (a pastis), Peychaud’s Bitters and lemon. Put yourself in her good hands.
300 Poydras Street, Tel. (504) 595-3305; cafeadelaide.com

Magazine Street Shops

Magazine Antique Mall is a warren of dealers offering a wide array of jewelry, watches, antiques, books, prints, china — the list is almost endless. It’s an engaging spot with a lot of funk and junk. (We walked out with a charming teapot from the renowned Belleek pottery works in Ireland, for which we paid $75 — a very good price.)
3017 Magazine Street. Tel. (504) 896-9994; magazineantiquemall.com

Sucré: As its name suggests, this stylish place is devoted to sweets. Aside from the assortment of individual chocolates (absinthe, Port, gianduja crunch, coconut truffles — the list goes on), you will find luscious French-style macaroons in a rainbow of colors and flavors, from the mint-green pistachio to the bright pink strawberry. All are made in the shop’s 4,100-square-foot “Confection Studio” four miles away and delivered fresh daily. They can be packed for shipping (the striped hatbox is particularly fetching), and if you just want a coffee or a gelato, that is also an option.
3025 Magazine Street, Tel. (504) 520-8311; shopsucre.com

As You Like It Silver Shop: Here you’ll find an impressive collection of silver objects of every description: decorative pieces, frames, tableware, jewelry and more. Makers include Tiffany, Towle, Reed & Barton and Gorham. All of the pieces are handsomely displayed in wood-and-glass cases. We walked out with a beautiful tea strainer that we certainly didn’t need. If you are missing pieces from a cherished pattern, the staff can offer excellent assistance.
3033 Magazine Street, Tel. (504) 897-6915 or (800) 828-2311; asyoulikeitsilvershop.com

Wilkerson Row: Artisan Shaun Wilkerson features his own furniture in this handsome shop. It is all handmade, with cypress being his favored wood, and ranges from tables to hutches to bookcases. The overall style is elegant and spare, suggestive of Shaker but with some ornamental moldings. Strolling through the shop is almost like spending time in a museum; the workmanship is remarkable. Prices range from $295 for night tables to $1,495 for queen headboards to $2,250 for consoles. Mr. Wilkerson counts Jude Law, Ron Howard and Anne Rice among his clients.
3137 Magazine Street, Tel. (504) 899-3311; wilkersonrow.com

Perch Foto

Photo and styling by Valorie Hart

perch: Inside this bright house dating to the 1860s you’ll find an eclectic mix of antiques, furniture, decorative objects, lighting fixtures, pillows and fabrics. You will find items as varied as an antique sewing table, a Venetian mirror tray and mercury lamps. In short, all things that would add an eye-catching element or accent to almost any style of interior. Perch also offers a selection of custom furniture.
2844 Magazine Street, Tel. (504) 899-2122; perch-home.com

Classics

Commander’s Palace Restaurant: The Commander’s Palace remains in a category of its own. Its luminous Garden Room is one of the prettiest dining venues in the country, and the service is always clockwork efficient and friendly. On our last visit, we enjoyed chef Tory McPhail’s wild shrimp, pan-seared with local Abita beer, followed by a rich bread pudding soufflé. If you are in town on Sunday, the Jazz Brunch is a favorite local tradition. Start with the classic New Orleans eye-opener, a brandy milk punch. Reservations are highly recommended; those in high season should be made several weeks in advance. Average meal per person, excluding beverages, is $60.
1403 Washington Avenue, Tel. (504) 899-8221; commanderspalace.com

Posted November 10, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango, New Orleans

Unexpected pleasures of the tastebuds   Leave a comment

It has happened before and it is happening again.
They come because they are convinced that undivided attention and plenty of time to work on ways to improve their understanding of tango dancing is worth the sacrifice of being in a city where distracting temptations come from every corner. Shoo, go away great food, jazz musicians leave us alone!They’re up bright and early sipping their coffee, savoring the breakfast fare and reading the Gambit in the shadowy warmth of the porch, the New Orleans steam bath with a window to see the world pass by.Then it is time for tango lessons when they work very hard before heading out for a sightseeing walk of the French Quarter, a Swamp tour or even a visit to Laura’s Plantation. The routine will repeat with minor variations for three and sometimes four days all the while getting real good at dancing the tango like those who really know. At the end they do.

But then, an unexpected surprise awaits them around dinner time.

Tangomans Eggplant Napoleon

Tangoman's Eggplant Napoleon

Eggplant slices marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Then oven at 350 for 30 minutes.
After cooling, the napoleon are assemble stacking eggplant, tomato, basil, eggplant, polenta, mozzarella, basil and eggplant.
Fifteen to twenty minutes of oven do the trick.

Tonight the Napoleons are served on top of onion and mushroom risotto with a side of Alberto’s signature blackened catfish but only after the two hours of private lessons are over and if only they do good. Just kidding!

A real New Orleans treat at the Bed and tango

A real New Orleans treat at the Bed and tango

Posted September 26, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Bed and tango

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