Tag Archives: New Orleans

National Café au Lait Day

coffee calendarFebruary 17 is National Café au Lait Day! Café au lait is a French coffee drink, consisting of coffee with hot milk added. The name is literally translated from French as “coffee with milk.”

We’re not sure why this day was chosen to honor this delicious coffee beverage, but if you need a pick-me-up, then today is the perfect day to celebrate! In Europe, café au lait is usually prepared using an espresso machine, mixing espresso with steamed milk. To contrast, in the United States, café au lait is usually made using a dark roasted drip or French press prepared coffee with steamed milk added.

The beverage gained a significant amount of popularity in New Orleans, where the well-known cafe, Café du Monde, located in the French Quarter, serves a popular version which includes the addition of chicory to their coffee. The chicory has a slightly bitter flavor that offsets the taste of beignets, which are deep-fried pastries covered in powdered sugar. Though café au lait has become a favored coffee drink for many, there are some who think adding milk to your coffee detracts from the flavor of the coffee too much. French author Honoré de Balzac once called café au laits a “ludicrous” drink.

While we suggest going to your favorite coffee shop to get a café au lait today, you can also make this caffeinated drink at home. Here are a few recipes for you to try out:

Sources: Wikipedia, Food.com, Examiner.com

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Harry Connick Jr.’s Birthday

American jazz musician and actor, Harry Connick Jr., was born on September 11, 1967 in New Orleans, Louisiana. His musical talent was apparent at an early age, and by the time he turned 9, Harry Connick Jr. was a member of the musician’s union and had already recorded a few albums.

Harry Connick Jr. got his big musical break when he was asked to record the soundtrack for one of the most popular romantic comedies of all time, When Harry Met Sally (1989), for which he won his first Grammy Award. He broke into acting in 1990 as a tail gunner in the WWII film Memphis Belle, followed by Blockbuster hit Independence Day in 1995. Harry Connick Jr. earned his first role as a leading man in the 1998 film Hope Floats opposite Sandra Bullock.

Harry Connick Jr. has acted in nearly two dozen films, sold over 25 million albums across the globe, and is among the top 60 bestselling male musical artists in America.

Happy Birthday Harry Connick Jr.!

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

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Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday!

Fat Tuesday changes every year depending on Easter, and in 2013, we celebrate on February 12! Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, is all about overindulgence and feasting prior to lent, which begins the following day. Today marks the end of the Carnival season and people celebrate with music, parades, and parties.

Mardi Gras celebrations began thousands of years ago in medieval Europe as a pagan ritual to celebrate springtime. Christian leaders decided they would integrate Mardi Gras by recognizing it as a period of excess right before the Christian fasting holiday of Lent.

The first American Mardi Gras was reported to have taken place on March 3, 1699, when two French explorers settled in Louisiana. The Twelfth Night Revelers introduced the throwing of beads and other trinkets to crowds of people in the 1870s. Carnival has grown into wild and hedonistic celebrations, the largest of which occur in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Sources: Mardi Gras New Orleans, NOLA

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