New Orleans on my mind….

I have loved New Orleans for over 30 years.

Being able to have my product invention, which is incredibly important to me, with me in the beloved Crescent City during my past two visits was really special.

It was with pride that I took photos of something that I created from scratch (RestoPresto) in some fantastic spots around the Big Easy.

With New Orleans on my mind, I share the photos with you along with a blog repost from December 2013.


NOLA 8.29.15


Today is my Birthday and even though I am not there, I celebrate New Orleans, her people and all of her wonder!

“Old Spanish Stables” on Governor Nicholls Street in the French Quarter

“Old Spanish Stables” on Governor Nicholls Street in the French Quarter


New Orleans Part Deux “212 in 504”

Have you heard about the “never lefts”?  The people who visit New Orleans for a festival, convention or a weekend getaway and fall under her spell and stay.  Well, I have never lived in The Big Easy, but I am a spiritual “never left” and fall more in love each visit.

New Orleans is a “big city” that maintains a small town pace, which is fantastic for visitors because it means that you will not be rushed as you saunter and observe.

I have always said that New Orleans is the least American city in America in the most wonderful way because of its robust cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. To discover the magic of NOLA, one should always be looking up, down and from across the street.  There are hidden gems everywhere and you will notice something new even if you have passed the same block multiple times.

Surrounded by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, the Crescent City has about 70 neighborhoods. If you are a visitor with a limited amount of time, I highly suggest getting a map of the French Quarter and begin there with a walking tour (professionally guided or self-guided) to get to know the rich history, landmarks and architecture of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. The open container law allows you to imbibe as you sightsee (by foot, of course).

The “Go NOLA” free app caters to visitors and provides free celebrity-guided walking tours.  If you Tweet, then it is worth following NOLA handles on Twitter for news/updates while you are there: Visit New Orleans @VisitNewOrleans and New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau @NewOrleans.

I always stay at a hotel in the Vieux Carré and spend most of my time there because to me, the French Quarter is a little slice of heaven where you can do just about anything you want.

Creole Townhouse in the French Quarter

Creole Townhouse in the French Quarter

The Candi Dish Vieux Carré Favorites

Casual breakfast:  Vacherie on the corner of Toulouse and Dauphine (in the St. Marie Hotel).  Weather permitting; try to dine in the courtyard. The fried green tomato breakfast is excellent.

Casual Lunch:  Café Maspero on Decatur & Toulouse.  The rarity of finding a vegetarian muffaletta on the menu attracted me but this joint has something for everyone, is well-priced and good.

Casual Dinner:  The Gumbo Shop on St. Peter between Chartres and Royal captures creole cuisine very well. Jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbos galore, strong drinks and the staff is a trip!

Upscale Dinner:  Galatoire’s is a MUST.  On Bourbon & Iberville, it is a New Orleans institution, delicious and fun. The service is terrific but if you can get Peter (“Boston Strong”) as your server, then you are golden!

The Candi Dish favorite restaurant is GALATOIRE’S

The Candi Dish favorite restaurant is GALATOIRE’S

Musts for Cocktails + Ambiance:  * Revolving bar/Merry-Go-Round at the Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone, which is an official literary landmark (Hemingway, Faulkner, Williams, Capote), on Royal * Pat O’Brien’s is famous for a reason.  Originally a speakeasy, Pat O’Brien turned a small bar into a huge business. In the 1940s when all liquor except for rum was hard to come by, an experimental concoction called The Hurricane (served in a glass the shape of a hurricane lamp) was born! With its celebrated and fabulous courtyard, dueling pianos and fun specialty cocktails, it is easy to spend hours at Pat O’Brien’s * The Old Absinthe House on the corner of Bourbon and Bienville is over 200 years old, haunted and THE place to try an absinthe (Herbsaint) cocktail.

Fantastic fire pit in Pat O’Brien’s courtyard

Fantastic fire pit in Pat O’Brien’s courtyard

Dessert/Snack:  Café du Monde (open 24 hours a day) in the French Market for beignets and café au lait.  IT IS A MUST.

Pralines and candy:  Southern Candymakers (various locations).  Known for praline, try the salted caramel tortue.

Upscale Jazz:  Hearing (and seeing) Jeremy Davenport at the Davenport Lounge at the Ritz (Canal at Dauphine) on Thursday – Saturday evenings is bliss.  Mr. Davenport is as smooth and charming as his voice and trumpeting.

Bar-Hopping: Bourbon Street, of course.  It is gritty and fun! I love it. I love that I can dance to a cover band at The Famous Door and if I do not like the next song, can skip over to The Beach or Funky 544  (with the same drink in hand).  Bourbon Street is like your very own entertainment menu and you are a human remote control.  Enjoy it – there is nothing like it.

Other Highlights in the Quarter:  * After roaming the French Market, take a snack and drink towards Governor Nichols Street Wharf and have a seat overlooking the Mississippi River (you can hop on the Riverfront streetcar here as well) * Visit St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest practicing Roman Catholic Church in the US (built in 1727 and rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire in the 1850s). At night, go to St. Anthony Garden in the rear of the Cathedral to see the awe-inspiring shadow of a statue of Jesus projected by floodlights (between St. Ann and St. Peter on Royal) * Café Amelie, while established in 2005 has a 150-year old historic courtyard and carriage house.  I did not eat there but enjoyed a drink by the fountain while I mingled with locals and visitors. * For souvenirs and kitsch, I prefer shopping in the French Market & Decatur Street to Bourbon Street.  Antiques are everywhere, particularly on Royal Street.  Peruse the street art around the perimeter of Jackson Square.  * I like to walk “up”, “down” “towards the river” and “towards the lake” with a drink in hand checking out the shops, street tiles, architecture, people, and hand-painted soft clay molded tiles stating the name of the street when New Orleans was the Capital of the Spanish Province of Luisiana between 1762-1803.

Spanish tile of Calle del Hospital on what is now Governor Nicholls in the Quarter

Spanish tile of Calle del Hospital on what is now Governor Nicholls in the Quarter

Brief Candi Dish Tips on the Garden District

The second neighborhood to explore is the residential Garden District, which is overflowing with Southern charm.  Viewing the beautiful Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian style homes, gardens and LaFayette Cemetery No. 1 are musts.  Again, consider a guided walking tour to have a New Orleans expert show you the details that you would most likely miss on your own.

Dining in the Garden District:  Commander’s Palace on Washington is a Brennan classic.  Between the bright turquoise and white Victorian exterior, glass-encased Live Oak tree trunk in the middle of the floor, 25-cent martinis at lunchtime and its award-winning cuisine – you cannot go wrong!

Magazine Street is a delightful commercial area filled with places to eat, drink and shop. To explore the boutiques, antique malls and allure of Magazine, I suggest starting around 8th Street and working your way toward Felicity.  Right before you reach Felicity, cut across to St. Charles to catch the streetcar or walk back to the Quarter.  At Lee’s Circle, veer right and enjoy the architecture on Camp.

“Before I Die ____” Chalkboard in a parking lot off of Camp

“Before I Die ____” Chalkboard in a parking lot off of Camp

Jazz & A Streetcar Named Desire

For casual jazz in the evening, venture to Frenchman Street in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood:  The Spotted Cat, dba, Snug Harbor…just follow your ears.

Traveling on the St. Charles Streetcar (which connects uptown and downtown) is a great way to view part of the Warehouse District, Garden District, Audubon Park and the beautiful homes along St. Charles.  A popular route is to catch the Streetcar at the intersection of Canal Street & St Charles in the Quarter and hop off at Washington Avenue towards Prytania Street and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.  The streetcar fare is $1.25 or you can purchase the aptly named “Jazzy Pass” for unlimited use of streetcars and buses. In addition to the St. Charles Line there are 3 others: Canal Street, Riverfront and Loyola lines.

Every street has a story, every courtyard, every balcony, every building and of course, every person has a story.  Soak it up, enjoy every minute and geaux to New Orleans soon! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Frozen beverage & the mighty Mississippi River

Frozen beverage & the mighty Mississippi River


Please note that I was not compensated for this post.  My hope is to simply spread The Crescent City amour!

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

239 years ago on the 4th of July, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by Congress to formally separate from Great Britain and the United States was born.

The Declaration of Independence, one of the most important founding documents of the United States, is kept safe and sound in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

Last month, I was in D.C. and took an early morning stroll along Pennsylvania Avenue. When I happened upon the National Archives, it was not open yet so I took a quick snap of RestoPresto from the outside. It was a meaningful moment to bring my invention to this striking building that holds a document that bestows life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

RestoPresto at the National Archives Building

RestoPresto at the National Archives Building

I am incredibly proud to have seized the opportunity to design, manufacture and assemble my product in the USA. I recognize the significance of this and view it as my own American dream achievement.

If you celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, may this holiday be a happy one for you and your loved ones!

All the best,



Giving Thanks!

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Honor. Courage. Loyalty. Veterans Day 2014


I personally feel gratitude for the brave men and women who have served and serve in the US Military through out the year. Today, I particularly honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

The words in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Veterans Day Proclamation” on October 8, 1954 are just wonderful.

“In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”

On this Veterans Day 2014, with honor and respect to each and every Veteran, I thank you for your service. I am particularly grateful that my Dad, Sergeant Bruce Obrentz, 1st Battalion 13th Marines, Whiskey Battery returned from active duty in Vietnam in 1968.

May the families and loved ones of fallen troops and troops whose lives have been eternally altered be held in our hearts.

Visiting Remnants of the Berlin Wall in Berlin

Remnants of the Berlin Wall in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Remnants of the Berlin Wall in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

I visited and traveled around Germany with my Sister in 2009. Spending time in the distinctive city of Berlin was a highlight. On the 25th anniversary of the “falling” of the Berlin Wall (“Berliner Mauer”), I recall my own visit to the remains of the Wall in Berlin.

My first “hands on” experience with the Berlin Wall was holding a bag filled with chunks of the Wall that had been daringly chipped away and brought back to the US from Berlin by my Mom & Stepdad (daring, indeed) in 1990. I was 18 years old when the barrier between East and West Berlin opened and while I remember the news coverage, photos and of course, the stories from my Parents, as a young adult in the USA the entire situation was not easily grasped.

Being in Berlin was a colorful, educational and emotional experience. With respect to the Berlin Wall, most of the remnants of the Wall located in various spots in Berlin (and around the world) that I witnessed were covered with art and graffiti. It is just odd being in front of these segments of the “mauer” given what they represent.

A section of the Berlin Wall in Berlin

A section of the Berlin Wall in Berlin

What truly struck me was witnessing the remaining 200 meters of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße which has been preserved since 1989 and are without decoration. This section marked the border between the districts of Mitte (East Berlin) and Kreuzberg (West Berlin) and is the longest in tact segment of the outer wall. This fragment of the Wall (which was designated a historic monument in 1990) is one of the few sections of the Wall in Berlin that was not demolished. It is now part of the Topography of Terror Site which is an outdoor and indoor history museum. This site holds enormous significance as it is also the previous location of the Gestapo and SS Headquarters during the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945. It was physically and emotionally uncomfortable standing in this area. The feelings of empathy for the innocent people whose lives were affected and ruined by what transpired in this vicinity was overwhelming. It was a chilling reminder.

“Berliner Mauer” = Berlin Wall

“Berliner Mauer” = Berlin Wall


200 meters of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße

200 meters of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße


Sections of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße

Visiting Berlin was an experience that I shall never forget.

May the celebration marking 25 years since this somber, hopeful and unique moment in history bring comfort to those who seek it.

Happy 1st Anniversary to The Candi Dish!

Happy 1st Anniversary to The Candi Dish!

It was a year ago that I hit “PUBLISH” on my first blog post on The Candi Dish and what a year it has been!

Dishing out stories, snapshots and suggestions is the goal of The Candi Dish. While I have not dished out as much as I had hoped due to my focus on my production invention, RestoPresto™, it has been fun and I plan to keep the blog going for as long as possible.


RestoPresto is the size of a beach towel but can be carried in your hand when in its easy to stuff pouch!

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Snaps, drawstrings & loops allow TONS of configurations! RestoPresto is a multifunctional solution for people on-the-go!

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RestoPresto weighs under 9 ounces and fits in your hand! SO convenient!









Please check out my product, RestoPresto™ on Kickstarter! I am raising funds for the first production run in the USA! To get your own RestoPresto™, contributions begin at $40 at the “GOLD” level.  http://kck.st/1sBYxRq


Have a wonderful day!

Thanks for following The Candi Dish!

Warm regards, Candi



Dishing about RestoPresto™!!!

Introducing RestoPresto™!


Dear Followers of The Candi Dish,

I am thrilled to share news about my product invention, RestoPresto™.

RestoPresto™ is a 3-in-1 portable, compact, water-repellent mat that you can sit on, sit under and wear.  When contained in its pouch, RestoPresto™ (aka “RP”) fits in an adult hand and when open, it is the size of a beach towel. With snaps, drawstrings and loops at each corner, the configurations for RP are endless making it a multi-functional solution for impromptu and planned events.

Picnics, the beach, travel, unexpected weather changes, sport events, child care (including diaper changes), festivals, pet care, playgrounds, commuting, exercising on the go and so much more! RP is for all ages and all seasons!


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I came up with the idea for RP in 2013 and have been designing, creating prototypes, testing fabrics and trims and searching for manufacturers in the U.S. that are willing to work with a first time inventor.

I am very pleased to have established a relationship with two prospective factories in the U.S., finalized the design after creating 15 prototypes, registered my trademark and have a provisional utility patent and a design patent pending.  I am now ready to put RP into the hands of consumers!

This is where you come in! To get your own First Edition RestoPresto™, I will be pre-selling through a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first production run in the U.S.  Up until this point, I have self-funded each stage of the pre-manufacturing process and would like to secure funding before taking the leap to production.

Now that you now have the link to my LIVE Kickstarter campaign, please check out the site spread the word to your friends, family and social media networks.  #RestoPresto

RestoPresto™ on Kickstarter

I hope that you will support my project to get your own First Edition RestoPresto™! 

I cannot wait to find out how RestoPresto™ makes your life easier!

Thank you and warm regards,



13 years.

Each year, on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, I acknowledge certain people who perished that day.  I did not know these human beings but the story of each person, in some way, has resonated with me.

On this 13th anniversary, I am including the names of the brave men of my neighborhood firehouse Engine 8, Ladder 2, Battalion 8 who lost their lives trying to save others.


“Flag of Honor” listing the name of each human who perished on September 11, 2001 displayed in Battery Park during the 10-year memorial.

“Flag of Honor” listing the name of each human who perished on September 11, 2001 displayed in Battery Park during the 10-year memorial.


Father Mychal Judge, Frank Reisman, Margaret Ruth Echtermann, Pablo Ortiz, Frank De Martini, FF. Robert Parro, CPT. Federick Ill, Jr., FF. Denis Germain, FF. Daniel Harlin, FF. Dennis Mulligan, FF. Michael Clarke, FF. George Dipasquale, FF. Carl Molinaro, BC. Thomas DeAngelis and FF. Thomas McCann.

May their souls rest in peace. May peace prevail.

Honoring on Memorial Day 2014

My photo from the 10th Anniversary of September 11th in Battery Park, NY.

My photo from the 10th Anniversary of September 11th in Battery Park, NY.

In honor, remembrance and respect.  

May the legacies of the Men and Women, who served the United States of America and lost their lives, be memorialized.

Mother’s Day Dishing!

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