I have an obsession researching and documenting the hotels I stay at, but I’ve been pretty bad about actually writing about my experiences. I’m going to attempt to try to blog about my hotel stays on weekends, starting with the lovely hotel we were at during our stay in Paris last year.

The hotel is located in the heart of Paris, within walking distance to many attractions and many of our favorite spots. The staff was very welcoming and spoke English quite fluently.

When we entered our room, it took my breath away. Mr. K remarked “Why didn’t you book this for our honeymoon?” Sheer, billowing, floor-to-ceiling curtains surrounded the bed, evoking such a romantic feel. There were also delicate gold leaf twinkling lights above the bed and next to the curtains.

The bed and pillows provided were Tempur-Pedic ones. I confess, until this experience, I didn’t really understand the fuss over Tempur-Pedic. I had tried other similar memory foam beds like Sealy Posturpedic and hadn’t felt anything special.

But when I slipped into this bed, it caressed my entire body, hugging and supporting every crevice and curve. It was like the most nurturing mother holding me and whispering “Relax, everything will be okay now.” It was the most refreshing night of sleep I’ve ever had and my aching body felt completely healed the next day. Later when we returned to the US, we shopped around for a Tempur-Pedic since we were buying a new bed for our house, but we balked at the price. We then tried several other memory foam, non-spring beds, but none of them compared to that experience in Paris. Maybe one day we’ll be able to splurge on a Tempur-Pedic bed.

The room itself had a decent amount of space, especially for Paris hotel standards. Our previous hotels could barely even fit the two of us and our luggage.

And just look at these windows leading to a charming balcony view. I loved staring out them in the morning.

One of the best bites of my New Orleans trip was the famous fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch House. The fried chicken has been lauded as the best fried chicken in America and featured on the Travel Channel, Food Network and practically every other food media outlet.

The original restaurant was flooded and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but the locals rallied to rebuild it and it is now run by Willie Mae’s great granddaughter. As a result of the restaurant’s fame, there is usually a long wait. Since we do not enjoy lines, we opted go right when the restaurant opens, at 10:30 AM. Fried chicken for breakfast? Hey, we were on vacation!

America’s Best Fried Chicken

Of course we started with the chicken. One order brings you a basket of three pieces of chicken, fried to a crunchy, glistening golden hue. One bite and I was a believer. That initial bite was the best bite of fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. Many of my friends have asked me to describe what makes the fried chicken so special and it’s really hard for me to explain because I’ve never had fried chicken like the way it is prepared at Willie Mae’s.

Yes, the chicken is juicy and seasoned. But what makes Willie Mae’s version stand out, is the crust. Though the exact recipe is a closely guarded family secret, the restaurant has revealed that they use a wet batter, whereas most fried chicken uses a dry batter. Here’s a video I found demonstrating how they fry their chicken. The wet  batter, when fried, becomes a thick crust that covers the chicken.

Despite its thickness, there is such a delicacy to it, crumbling into dozens of pieces immediately upon contact. Some have likened it to glass shattering. Whatever the analogy, the effect is definitely unique and immensely enjoyable.

I will say though, that on its own, the crunchy crust is a tad too salty to enjoy solo. You really do need to eat it with the chicken to get the best results.

Buttered Beans and Rice

For your Super Bowl Sunday recipe consideration, may I suggest these bacon wrapped eggplant fries brushed with a light glaze of honey sriracha sauce?

One of my favorite appetizer recipes have been my bacon wrapped avocado fries. But I think these may be even better. Sure eggplant may not sound nearly as delicious as avocado, but here’s why I prefer this version over my original.

First, raw eggplant has a much sturdier texture than avocado, making it a lot easier to wrap bacon around it. And when the eggplant is cooked, it turns soft and creamy, much like the texture of avocado.