Our first stop in Louisiana was in New Orleans, where we spent an entire weekend in a fancy hotel directly on the streetcar line, a hotel that I was able to book for next to nothing by using this quirky site. Did you know that there is a strategy involved in getting exactly the place you want? Google it. It worked for me.
Young One spent the first day and night with us, and then she went out to the country with her grands, leaving the man and I free to roam in search of music until the wee hours.
It rained the entire weekend.
We usually don't seek out famous-name, chef-owned restaurants when we visit. Come on, it's New Orleans, as long as you steer clear of Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company on Decatur, then you are likely going to be okay. This year we did visit both Mondo, of Susan Spicer fame, and Luke, a John Besh restaurant.
Both were fabulous.
But you know... I'd be perfectly happy with oysters, all day, every day. We ate these at Felix's, standing at the bar as the guy shucked them for us. With an ice cold Abita Amber on tap. In heaven. With friends. Everyone in NOLA is your friend. Well. Except for the NOPD. At least they have cool rides. Ahh, the Vespa.
We happened upon a small place called Mena's Palace on Chartres that served up a mean plate of red beans and rice and a spot-on Greek-inspired Creole tomato salad, with capers, olives, feta, and peppers. Here too, super friendly people. I did chuckle a bit when the lady seated at the table next to me asked for the carb count on the poboy she ordered. She wanted to see the packaging for the bread. This ain't bread from Winn Dixie, Honey!
At Luke I ordered a crabmeat and asparagus omelet for breakfast. Well. What do you think? Worthy of an almost Iron Chef? He was a finalist in season one, you know. I wonder if that is validating for a chef ... this whole Iron Chef business.
What's NOLA without a Lucky Dog?
Finally, we had cafe au lait and beignets and made a trip via streetcar to the Garden District to both Tracey's, for poboys and boudin balls and to Superior, for Tex Mex with a Louisiana twist; I had crawfish enchiladas. We stopped in at Johnny's PoBoys in the Quarter where we had an incredible bowl of seafood gumbo, served in a styrofoam cup, mind you. Yum, nonetheless. For the best Bloody Mary, try The Organic Banana in the French Market. Perfectly spicy.
We found the music.
It's not really difficult in this city as it's around every corner.
One night we headed down to the Blue Nile on Frenchman Street
and listened to the Brass-a-holics.
We're so damn cool and hip.
Can you dig it?