Vacation dreaming: A roadtrip through the Historic South

Ever since I studied in New Orleans, I’ve lost a piece of my heart to that incredible city. I can’t really describe what it is about that place, but I’ve been wanting to go back pretty much since I set foot on the plane that took me back home. New Orleans is warm, it’s fun, it’s music and long, hot nights. It’s cocktails and coffee, jambalaya and jazz. It’s the waitress at the café calling you “baby”. It’s the piano bar at Pat O’Brien’s - as clichée as the one song I remember most from there (Don’t Stop Believing). It’s the first cool breeze of fall that relieves the summer heat and humidity. I’m getting homesick for New Orleans as I’m typing these lines. There are many wonderful articles and blog posts about The Big Easy, but this one from Local Milk almost had me in tears, and this love letter couldn’t be more accurate.

It’s no secret that I met my boyfriend over there, where he was studying for the semester. And he’s no different - he loves the States and New Orleans, and we’ve been planning to go back for the past 3 years. Originally, we wanted to go this summer, but then things happened, jobs changed, backs got injured, and we had to postpone. Our idea is a road trip through the South, ending in New Orleans. We haven’t completely planned out the routes, but I have an ever-growing Pinterest board with inspiration for the journey. I even found the perfect car: Blacktop Candy’s rents out beautifully restored classic American cars, and I’ve got my eyes set on this amazing ’67 Camaro. Wouldn’t you just love to take it for a ride?

 

Here are a couple of places that are on my must-see list:

We all know them from the song (“Country Roads”), but the winding roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains are supposedly one of the most amazing scenic routes in the United States, especially in the fall, when the leaves begin to change.

My plan would include a one- or two.day drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, spending the night in a cozy mountain lodge, sitting in front of the fireplace with a hot chocolate…

Depending on the weather, we might want to take a stop at Myrtle Beach and enjoy some time at the sea.

Of course, we’ll have to put a couple of days aside for Charleston! I can’t wait to explore that city, I’ve seen so many great pictures, and I really want to go!

 

Further down the coast, Savannah, Georgia, awaits, with all its Southern charm.

On the trip, I also want to make sure to visit some of the wonderful restored plantations, such as Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, or Houmas House Plantation, or Oak Alley Plantation, both in Louisiana.

I have many other places on my list, but would love any suggestions or secret tips you might have on what to see, where to stay, which charming little towns are worth a visit, where to eat the best Georgia peach pie or crawfish, … I can’t wait for late summer/ early fall next year!

Around Copenhagen: House of Souls

I’m very happy to present a special review of one of my favorite restaurants in Copenhagen: House of Souls!

As I already mentioned, we went out for dinner on Friday. Normally, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s day - I honestly don’t really care that much about it. But since we hadn’t been out for dinner in a while, we thought it would be a nice idea. Also, most restaurants offer special multi-course menus for Valentine’s, and I think that’s a great opportunity to try something you normally can’t order at one of your favorite restaurants. So we selected House of Souls (www.houseofsouls.dk), which specializes in the creole/ cajun cuisine that New Orleans is known for. Since I first tried it, it has quickly become a favorite of mine, because the food is just amazing!

The atmosphere is rather clean, not too much decoration apart from a giant oil painting of world record sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner and some musical instruments. They play soft jazz or blues in the background, which suits the theme very well. The crew is great, always happy and very friendly, including the cutest waiter who will dance while taking your orders!

As I said before, they did have a special Valentine’s menu, which we opted for. It had some very yummy-sounding dishes that are not on the usual menu, so why not give it a try? And we were not disappointed! Every dish was spectacular, and I even ate one of the two marinated prawns, although I usually don’t like shellfish, just because the marinade was so incredible!

Here’s the menu:

New Orleans smoked lobster soup with caviar

Grilled prawns, tomato chips and macadamia creme

Beef tenderloin with green pepper glaze, sauce amore and pommes du pont

Cointreau-glazed pineapple with coconut ice cream and ginger tuille

Appetizer: lobster soup

Appetizer: lobster soup

The lobster soup was simply amazing. It had a smoky note to it, was perfectly seasoned - a pure delight. It came with red caviar on a crispy piece of bread, and I could have easily eaten five portions of this! I wish they would put this on their permanent menu…

Starter: marinated prawns on salad with macadamia creme

Starter: marinated prawns on salad with macadamia creme

As I said, I normally not a fan of shellfish, but these prawns were delicious! Grilled in a spicy and fruity marinade, they harmonized very well with the rocket salad and soft macadamia creme. We also had some home-made cornbread on the side, which was perfect as well.

foto 4

Main: beef tenderloin with mushrooms, sauce amore and pommes du pont

I’m not a big steak person, and when I order something in a restaurant or steak house, I always go with the filet. I’m very picky when it comes to meat, and anything that’s fat or “chewy”, I won’t touch. But this tenderloin - beautiful. Great quality meat, prepared to perfection, cooked medium/ medium-well, just how I like it, juicy and tasty. A spicy tomato paste on the side (probably the sauce amore), and some oven-baked potato wedges with a nice seasoning (assuming this is called pommes du pont, even though I hadn’t heard that before). On top of the meat there was a good chunk of home-made chives butter, which complemented the taste of the meat perfectly. All in all, an amazing course!

Dessert: glazed pineapple and coconut ice cream

Dessert: glazed pineapple and coconut ice cream

Dessert - my favorite! As far as this menu had gone, I was already blown away, and the dessert just put the cherry on top. Small balls of fresh pineapple, glazed and caramelized with Cointreau, and a scoop of home-made coconut ice cream. I think the coconut was roasted, which gave the ice cream an especially delicious twist. The pineapples were still warm, so the components played together perfectly.

We chose a white wine (2012 Babich Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand) to go with the entire menu, even though it didn’t quite match the main course. But we’d tasted this wine there before (I’m a sucker for Sauvignon Blanc!) and it is simply great, so we decided we could always order a glass of red for the main course - but in the end, we felt like that would be a bit much wine for us!

All in all, I would definitely recommend House of Souls to anyone looking for a great meal in Copenhagen - it is definitely something completely different from the “standard” New Nordic food you get at so many other great places here. It is warm, spicy, exotic - and amazing! Plus, the prices are absolutely fair, and you can normally get away with sharing a starter and then going for a main each, because the portion sizes are generous (though not wasteful). Definitely try the Creole Duck (comes with a blueberry-rosemary sauce) and the Beef Bayou (with grilled prawns), or go for New Orleans classics like the Seafood Jambalaya or Jerk Chicken. And if you go for dessert (which you should!), I can warmly recommend the cheesecake!

House of Souls

Vestergade 3, 1456 Copenhagen (www.houseofsouls.dk)

House of Souls on TripAdvisor: here