I have often entertained thoughts about the type of restaurant I would open should I find myself mad enough to properly enter an industry with less than a 10% first year survival rate.
Something haute and white tablecloth-filled? I might as well file bankruptcy for lolz. A sexy little food truck? Definitely more my style…but an idea endless menu and drink limitations of its own.
Realistically, I would strive to open a restaurant reminiscent of Elizbeth’s in New Orleans and give zero f**ks about its success beyond survival. Elizabeth’s is local, charming, and – from a shrewd foodie perspective – infallible. A restaurant worthy of their 20-year strong standing in NOLA’s competitive food scene.
The Bywater-based brunch favourite has fundamentally developed their reputation on praline bacon and a bevy of ‘down-home’ inspired breakfast foods, but their low-key digs serve high-end dishes of every variety.
After taking over the restaurant in 2011, Head Chef Bryon Peck curated the menu – forever subscribing to lavish comfort food philosophies – to heights I would jump on a plane to revisit. Highlights include the Boudin balls in Creole mustard (a Louisiana must), a campfire-smoked ribeye (the best I’ve had anywhere in the US), ‘Beer BQ’ shrimp (with unimaginable complexity ), and an indulgent bourbon sauce-covered bread pudding (perfectly paired with Elizabeth’s Sidecar – Maker’s Mark, Cointreau. lemon & Whiskey Barrel bitters).
If it is good enough to pique my prudent entrepreneurial interests, you better believe it is good enough for your next meal out.
I love short dresses, I love high heels, and I hate them together. At a skyscraping five feet tall, I am able to get away with the combination without looking like a head atop two legs but always feel most comfortable with a more demure thigh to floor measurement.
Thankfully, though y’all know I am usually found in Chelsea boots, these handcrafted kicks from San Antonio Shoemakers (or SAS) have been the answer to all my boot-bored necessities. They are beautifully made, flex with the foot, have a cushioned insole, ‘no bite’ back, and even come in a hue that happens to be the perfect “nude” for my skin tone.
As a woman with an all-consuming passion for food and music, New Orleans found itself at the top of my bucket list long before I was old enough to enjoy the fruits of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and the city’s many other ID-protected infamousies.
In true go big or go home style, one of life’s unexpected tragedies encouraged me to embark on a cross-country travel adventure – hereby referred to as Lela Takes The Crescent – on Amtrak’s New York to New Orleans sleeper train of the same name.
I have been trying a handful of products from Atlanta-based natural skincare brand Pure Tropix over the last three months in the US and have become relatively reliant on their Purifying Honey Oil Cleanser and Green Ginger Toner. The cleanser utilizes black castor oil (full of vitamins and a wonderful treatment for everything from acne to eczema) to thoroughly cleanse the skin without any harsh chemicals or moisture-stripping. It works so well, in fact, I also use it as a double duty shower gel/body cleanser.
As I steer clear of any kind of face makeup in hot weather, I find the toner really encourages an ‘airbrushed’ look to my skin, as well. As it tones the skin with mild herbal extracts, the antioxidant-packed liquid also feeds the dermis with free radical-fighting vitamin C and E which really brightens everything up. The duo are a daily dream.
Joico Blonde Life Brightening Masque
I have gone from root smudge to wash-in brunette to rose gold over the Summer and this masque has been a true hairsaver in the process. I initiallyy packed it for my US adventures because the Blonde Life range’s Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex actually targets and reconstructs damaged strands, replenishes Arginine (a naturally-occurring amino acid), and hyper-hydrates with Polynesian, Tahitian Tamanu, & Manoi oils. Even without being blonde any more, the masque works to neutralize pesky trace minerals that lead to dullness and yellowing which has kept my succeeding colours purer much longer. It’s a sun-drenched staple.
Ultrasun Face SPF50+
Last but not least, UltraSun’s Face SPF 50 sun protector has kept my face – and body, in a pinch – protected from the sun every day for months. As well as absorbing within seconds, a little goes a really long way and the non-greasy formula helps restore optimal moisture levels in the skin as it protects and quasi-‘blurs’ imperfections.
There is something rather extraordinary about falling in love with a city you would have sold a kidney to leave at one point in your life, but that is exactly what Indianapolis has thrust upon me.
Indianapolis – affectionately known as Indy – was my wanderlusting teenage self’s home and once felt small enough to warrant a transatlantic escape. Getting to know the city after almost ten years using London as a home base to travel the world has been a trip in every sense of the word.
Indy, in its current form, is electric. And well worth the extensive city guide, below. Enjoy!