NOLA Takes Top Honors for Best Oyster Houses in the South

Southern Living’s blog, The Daily South, just posted their definitive list of the 10 best oyster houses in the south. Locals won’t be surprised one bit to learn that Acme Oyster House, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, and Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar all made the list! We love how these places let the flavors of fresh oysters shine through, and we especially love how close they are to several of our Greater New Orleans apartments. Drago’s, for example, is just 2 miles from Boardwalk Apartments, and our new Bella Ridge property (part of our January specials) is a 15-minute drive from Acme Oyster House’s Metairie location.

Drago's Oysters

Drago’s is one of several local restaurants named among the best oyster bars in the South. (Photo: Drago’s Seafood Restaurant on Facebook)

If you’re not a raw oyster fan, don’t worry. Acme, Drago’s, and Felix’s have plenty of other options to satisfy your palate. Take a look at some popular menu items with nary an oyster in sight:

Acme Oyster House

Boo Fries are the start to an unforgettable meal. Smothered in roast beef gravy and cheese, the fries are similar to poutine – with a Creole kick, of course. The grilled shrimp po-boy is another worthy pick.

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant

Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, spinach dip, and blackened duck linguine are just a few of the decadent options at Drago’s. Those with food allergies will enjoy ordering from the restaurant’s extensive gluten-free menu.

Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

We won’t tell if you start off with dessert: Felix’s Creole Pecan Pie is a must-try. Classic New Orleans dishes like turtle soup, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice are all on the menu, too.

Prefer an Asian twist when it comes to seafood? Try out Kyoto 2 in Elmwood – it’s practically next door to Bella Ridge.

January 2015 Apartment Specials

New Year, new space. We’ve got incredible deals on one- and two-bedroom apartments as part of our January specials. Sawmill Creek in River Ridge is offering discounts on rent and move-in costs while Grand Palms in Mandeville entices future residents with reduced rates on one bedrooms. In Kenner, Sugar Mill West is the perfect blend of outdoor space and proximity to city life – not to mention they’re offering a $99 deposit. Take a look at all of our January apartment specials!


With its beautifully landscaped grounds, Grand Palms is one of several properties offering great deals this month.

Lakes of Chateau Estates South – Call now to find out about our reduced rates on select floor plans at this Kenner community. Amenities like a putting green and private lake perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Sawmill Creek – If you’re looking for a two-bedroom townhouse, call Sawmill Creek in River Ridge: rents on this particular floor plan are at an all-time low. January also sees specials like reduced move-in costs and discounted rent on select units.

Arbor Gate – This month’s special for Arbor Gate – a $99 deposit and reduced rates – provides you with unbeatable deals on thoughtful amenities like a state-of-the-art fitness center and tranquil green space. In Picayune, MS, this community also features reduced initial moving fees and lease terms on select units.

Regency Club – This January at Regency Club in Baton Rouge, LA, you’ll find up to $50 rate reductions plus up to 1/2 month free rent on select units. Perks like a sand volleyball court and tennis court will help you stick to your healthy New Year’s Resolutions.

Sugar Mill West – Call for details on the $99 deposit special offered this month. Expect all the modern luxuries at this Kenner community: you’ll find gourmet kitchens and a washer/dryer in every apartment.

Brewster Commons at River Chase – Get 50 percent off your deposit plus waived admin fees at this Covington, LA property. You’ll also find reduced rents on select units, which could save you $600 or more. Granite countertops and wood-finish floorings create a sense of luxury at this Northshore community.

Hickory Creek Central – This River Ridge community features alarm systems, fireplaces, and oversized tubs in all of its two-bedroom apartments. Call now to take advantage of two weeks free rent and special pricing on select units.

Grand Palms – Two resort-style swimming pools make time at Grand Palms feel like a summer vacation. Floor-to-ceiling windows are another luxurious perk available in select loft-style units. In January, reduced rates on all one bedrooms (plus washers and dryers in all apartments) beckon new residents.

Bella Ridge – Opening in March, Bella Ridge truly has it all: sparkling granite counter tops, an attached parking garage, an on-site dog park, soaking tubs, and much more. Be the first to live in your unit, plus save up to $1,800 with special rental rates on select units.

Keep Your Diet on Track with This Healthy, Vegan King Cake

Not long after the decadence of Christmas, Carnival season gets underway, treating us to a calorie-laden stretch of parades and celebrations (it’s not called Fat Tuesday for nothing). Although you won’t see us restricting ourselves completely, we plan to at least put in the effort of baking our own vegan king cake this year.

This version from Dairy Free Cooking relies on rich – yet vegan – ingredients like maple syrup, coconut milk, and pecans to create king cake luxuriousness without the extra fat and calories of dairy products. It yields 10-12 servings, and you can make the icing and filling in advance if you’re short on time. Check out some other healthy, vegetarian recipes here!

vegan king cake

Vegan king cake. (Photo courtesy House Vegan)


For the cake:

  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoon organic white granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons soy margarine, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Egg Replacer Powder mixed with ¼ tablespoon hot water
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (not “lite” variety), plus more for brushing

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dairy-free soy margarine, softened
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the sprinkles:

  • Unrefined cane sugar (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Yellow, green, and purple Food Coloring

For the icing:

  • 1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons warm water


  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and maple syrup, mixing gently until the yeast dissolves and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and sugar into a food processor. Add the soy margarine and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add this mixture to the yeast, along with the Egg Replacer and coconut milk. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until a soft dough forms. Place in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy margarine, chopped pecans and cinnamon until combined.
  4. Make the Sprinkles. In three small bowls, mix about ½ cup of sugar in each with just a few drops of desired food coloring. Mix well until desired color is achieved. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or round pizza pan.
  6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle about 1/8” thick. Using a floured sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. Cut each of the strips into triangles, each about 3 inches at their base. (Think of a zipper or zigzag pattern when you cut, alternating the tops of triangles with the bases.) With the tips of the triangles pointed inward, place the triangles in a circle on the prepared sheet, overlapping one over the other and pressing the edges to seal. Place an even amount of the filling on the centers of the triangles, and place the baby or dried bean somewhere on the filling. Fold the outsides of the triangles over the filling, so that the reach just over the filling. Fold the tips over, pressing slightly to adhere the tips to the outside of the ring. Cover the ring lightly with a paper towel or clean dish towel, and let rise for 20 minutes more.
  7. Brush the cake lightly with coconut milk or soy milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, and then transfer the cake to a serving platter large enough to catch excess icing.
  8. Prepare the icing. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the warm water and, stirring vigorously, stir until the mixture is a very thick glaze. Ladle the mixture over the cake in several additions, letting the icing run down the sides. While the icing is still slightly warm, sprinkle the prepared sprinkles over the cake, alternating sections of purple, green, and yellow. Allow the icing to harden completely before serving.




How to Decorate with Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

Pantone’s annual “Color of the Year” is always a source of inspiration, and while some of the hues have been fun (like 2014’s Radiant Orchid), they haven’t exactly been easy to work into our design scheme. That’s why we’re thrilled with Pantone’s 2015 choice.

Marsala is a color that’s bold, but easy to incorporate into interior designs. Whether you use it sparingly or let it color an entire room, the cherry-chocolate hue is universally flattering, versatile for both men and women, and, with its rich hue and warm undertones, is especially appropriate for the winter months.

Check out our guide to incorporating marsala into any room of the house – we’ve provided online links, but all these shops are nearby for those who prefer in-store shopping.

For the Kitchen

Red Hobnail Ramekins – You can’t beat the price on these cute, textured ramekins from World Market. Use the set of four for snacks like nuts and chips. Their true purpose (souffles!) is a bit more challenging, but you can try this easy recipe for a savory version.



Garnet Enamel-on-Steel Tea Kettle – Also from World Market is this tea kettle in a slightly cooler shade of marsala. A cheery addition to the stovetop, the kettle quickly has a sleek shine and is of high-quality construction.



For the Living Areas

Mansfield Print Pillow Cover – The intricate pattern of this Pottery Barn pillow cover pulls in neutral hues like khaki and sage. Pantone’s own color pairings suggest that marsala plays well with such shades – their number 5 palette includes similar hues like Fennel Seed and Silver Fern.



Love Marquee Lights – A message of love in a bold color is welcome any time of year. From World Market, these lights add visual interest to a wall and also serve as a light installation with their warm, ambient glow.



For the Bedroom



Organic Cotton Pintuck Bedding – The romantic tucks and ruffles of this organic bedding underscore its sultry hue. In fact, all of the “Rose Bisque” color choices from West Elm offer a softer version of marsala that works as well in spring and summer as it does in fall and winter.

For the Bathroom

Quilted Velvet & Silk Cosmetic Bags – Irresistibly soft and textural, these cosmetic bags from Pottery Barn (in a set of two) are a beautiful accent for bathroom storage. Even better, you can take them with you on trips – they’ll double as a clutch on nights out. Optional monogramming adds even more personalization.





A New Method for De-cluttering

De-cluttering is often at the top of our to-do list at the start of a New Year – it’s the second-most popular New Year’s Resolution. We know the tried-and-true tactics (tackling one room at a time, donating items, etc.), but The New York Times alerted us to a new method we hadn’t considered. Their article “Kissing Your Socks Goodbye” from October of last year focused on a Japanese organization expert and her two simple tips for creating a clutter-free home.

organized closet

Joy may be the key to a clutter-free closet. (Photo courtesy Rubbermaid Products on Flickr)

Rather than getting mired in questions like “Have I worn this item in two years?” or “Do I have a specific upcoming event where I will need this item?” expert Marie Kondo advises her clients to ask themselves a simple question: “Does this item bring me joy?” The other tenant of her de-cluttering technique is that we do not need additional storage – our homes already have adequate storage for everything we need.

Try using the joy method next time you de-clutter. Plan to take a close look at your things and see how they make you feel. Sure, that old sweatshirt might be threadbare, but if it takes you back to a time and place that’s memorable for you, we say keep it! Do you furrow your brow when your eyes land on that dress with the tags still on? If you feel guilty for not wearing it yet, it’s certainly not bringing you joy: donate it instead.

Consider smaller items, too – you may have a picture you love but it’s in a frame that doesn’t spark joy within you. Toss the frame. You can reframe the picture in a frame you love, which will only amplify the feelings of happiness and joy you associate with the photo itself.

If this method feels too unconventional for you, then it’s not bringing you joy! Skip it in favor of more traditional de-cluttering tips: our blog features plenty of posts designed to keep you organized.

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