Saturday, June 04, 2011
Memorial Day Weekend
We decided last Thursday night that it would be a good idea to drive to New Orleans on Friday afternoon. This might explain why it took Sergio and I over half the trip to realize that we needed something cooler to wear than jeans and then to find somewhere to buy those items. New Orleans is super hot and humid. I vaguely recall this from the first three times we went there.
We went with our friends Sam and Nikki and dropped Rosalind with Sergio's parents on our way. There were plenty of kids in New Orleans and I think there is a lot of good stuff for them to do. Walking down Bourbon Street with them is not one of those things. Especially when it is after midnight and the kid is asleep in the stroller and the parents are both drunk. I'm not usually one to judge other parenting styles, but I feel pretty confident in that one. Seriously though, what is it you want your 6 yr old to take in on Bourbon St.? The bars, the drunk people, the naked pictures, the live almost naked girls in every doorway, the smell of old pee/vomit? The only thing a kid should see on Bourbon St. is the amazing group of break dancer guys. That's it. If you want them to see the history, the architecture, the street performers, etc. you can take them down, um, ANY other street. The end.
So anyway, we walked around, drank some here and there, rode the trolley out to the Garden District, and shopped. But who are we kidding? Let's talk about the food! I love New Orleans and the food is my number one reason. This time we went full tourist and almost every meal we ate required a 30-60 minute wait in a long line down the street. We started with Po'Boys at Parkway. It is about two miles outside the French Quarter and we caught it on our way in before we parked the car for the weekend. It was under 6 ft. of water during Katrina but you wouldn't know it now. Shrimp Po'Boys with sweet potato fries covered in gravy(debris). Amazing. Sadly, they didn't offer oyster Po'Boys. Only downside.
If you go here, avoid the line and go to the bar. You can sit in any available seat and order from there. Lesson learned.
Beignets at Cafe du Monde. In all the times we had gone we never tried this. It is always covered with people. This actually ended up being our shortest wait time and there is a giant shade tree almost the whole way. They have it down to an art in there and it helps that there are only about six items on the menu and five of them are drinks. Totally wonderful. Even though it is outside and lots of people are crammed together the fans really work and the iced coffee is yummy and helps with the heat as well. Beignets are like a donut and funnel cake and good bread all at once, but better.
Lunch at Mother's. This was our second longest wait time but felt the longest because it was midday and there was no shade at all. BEST FOOD EVER! Totally worth it. I'm sure everything is good, but the best deal at lunch is the lunch red beans and rice. You get red beans and rice, a meat, and two sides for $11. It says you only get one side but you get two. I recommend getting two sides of greens. I wish I had. And even though it is the best deal you really don't need the additional meat. The red beans are cooked with sausage and ham. The greens are cooked in ham. The cabbage is cooked in ham. And not just a little either, enough to feed you and a friend. Go here, eat this, but don't piss off the lady that let's you in the door and tells you where to stand. She's frightening.
Dinner at Acme Oyster House. Sergio is really the only raw oyster eater among us, so when this ended up being our longest wait I think we were all a little unsure it was worth it. Since we had a lot of time in line we made friends with people all around us and they assured us it was more than worth the wait. Without these people we would not have known to try the chargrilled oysters and the dinner would have been wasted. But since we did know, it was delightful. Sergio still got raw oysters and said they were great. I will take his word for it. I like the taste but unpleasant things happen when I try to eat a raw oyster. Gagging, yacking things. But the chargrilled!!! Oh dear. They were something to behold. Covered in lemon and parmesan cheese and grilled and charred! SOOO good. I could have eaten 12 alone. Or more. That would have been expensive. Instead I just picked every shell clean and dipped bread into all the leftover juice and nibbled at the burnt edges like a crazy person. I will not be showing a picture of the oysters, though. Turns out you can't take a pleasing picture of oysters under red lights. It looks like the something unpleasant already happened.
La Fitte's Blacksmith Bar for Cazerac's. Disclaimer: I didn't drink one of those and nobody else liked them. However, if you want an authentic drink from the nation's oldest bar, a cazerac is your best bet. Your other option is a Ramos Fizz, which might be good but sounds awful. It involves lemon juice, egg white, milk, and alcohol all in one glass. ugh. A cazerac is mostly whiskey that they make smell like licorice. Two of the most divisive flavors all at once. The smell was not pleasant, the bar was. Lit only by candlelight, a jukebox, a good bloody mary with pickled green beans. A very pleasant place to be.
And that concludes our tour of New Orleans for now. I could go on about other stuff we like. The tiny independent bookstores, the Anthropologie store, Royal st., how some drunk person dressed up the lamps in our hotel hallway with all their clothes, how the fire alarm went off twice on our last night there and we had to evacuate the building. And more! But anyway, just go to New Orleans in the early spring or late fall and eat to your hearts content. It's a good time.