New Orleans, Louisiana
The Saints beat the Cardinals.
Bourbon Street was as colourful as I remembered it.
We were spared a full day of forecasted rain.
The po’boys were delicious.
I finally got out for a few nice, long runs.
And there was enough pork fat and coffee (and for some, alcohol) to keep even the grumpiest traveler happy.
Overall, my recent, extended weekend in The Big Easy was a good one.
My friends (this time, traveling with four others: Iggy and her husband The Drummer; Houston, whom you all have met before on this blog; and The Hair) left the dining itinerary up to me.
Not having been to New Orleans since Katrina, I scheduled a mix of old and new eateries.
Of course, there were dozens of places that I didn’t have time for, including Drago’s (for their char-grilled oysters), Central Grocery (and a handful of other places, for muffalettas, including the warm ones at The Napoleon House), Brennan’s (or any one of its family of restaurants for their famed banana’s Foster), or Antoine’s (for the original oysters Rockefeller), or Arnaud’s (for their reputable baked Alaska), or any of Besh’s restaurants, or Lagasse’s empire.
However, I did make it to the following restaurants. Click on the restaurant below to read the review:
The trip started off on a bad foot under wet skies. Our first couple of meals were plagued by unusually poor (and slow) service.
Thankfully, things improved quickly thereafter.
The sun came out. The Saints won (well, that was happy for the locals). We found the Southern hospitality we had hoped for at a number of restaurants – on our last night, we were pulled into conversation with tables around us, table-hopping and making acquaintances out of complete strangers. And we even did a little celebrity spotting.
Staying right in the French Quarter, just blocks away from Jackson Square, couldn’t have been a more pleasant experience.
Immersed in the Old World charm of it all, I enjoyed weaving my way in and out of the narrow streets of the vieux carré, happening upon great little bookstores like Faulkner’s (located in William Faulkner’s former residence around from Pirate Alley), and antique stores where bibelot and knick-knacks abound.
I went at 6:30 a.m. and there was no line (well, at that hour, there was hardly anybody anywhere). Wait until after noon, and there will be a line around the corner regardless of what day of the week you’re there. They only accept cash.
As famous and storied as these beignets are, I didn’t care for them. I’ll admit that I’m not the first person in line in the fried dough aisle. But I don’t mind a nicely powdered beignet or fritter right out of the fryer if they’re airy and light.
The ones at Cafe du Monde were disappointingly tough, dense, and doughy – chewy.
The chicory coffee here, though praised universally, isn’t my kind of coffee either. I like my coffee dark, strong, and bitter. Chicory gives coffee a sourness that I don’t like. Admittedly, I’ve heard that chicory coffee is best taken as cafe au lait. I failed you on this front – I took it black, as I normally do.
But don’t despair (I didn’t). I found lots of wonderful food and laughs, which I will share with you in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned for more reports and updates from my trip to New Orleans.