New Orleans Highlights and Tidbits

*Café Du Monde: I kept thinking to myself what a great business model – there’s hardly anything on the menu (mostly just coffee and beignets) so everything is really fast. Even when the line was long we got to a table pretty quickly, and it was always efficient because the waiter took our order, told us the total, and then collected the money when he brought us our food.

*Cane & Table: This was the bar that I had decided I needed to go to after I saw it in Southwest Spirit magazine. It took us a while to find because there was no sign outside, and it was a classy escape from the touristy bars on the same street across from the French Market. For only 5 extra bucks, I got my mojito IN A PINEAPPLE. Money well spent. Also, the fried ribs with papaya chutney appetizer? I will never forget those.

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*NOLA Restaurant: This was #1 on Michelle’s To-Do list (plus it was the only of Emeril’s restaurants we could actually get a reservation to). Obviously, it was amazing (mmmm, Salmon). And it helped that EB’s incredibly generous boss told us to have fun and put $500 on the company credit card, plus taxis if necessary. Appetizers, entrees, desserts, Champagne, wine, multiple cocktails and $400 + tip later, we were very happy campers. Plus they had amazing service – I had never been to a restaurant before where the waiter gives you different colored napkins based on whether you are wearing light or dark clothing. We also really liked the waiters and manager, who were very funny and personable. Also, this meal actually moved at a normal speed – we found that every other sit-down restaurant we ate at took ages to bring our food and drinks.

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*Verti Marte Deli and Convenience Store: Marisa and Michelle and I came here for lunch because its very positive yelp reviews. We were looking for sandwiches and didn’t realize that Verti Marte was actually just a counter located in the tiniest convenience store ever. The 20ish minutes we spent waiting for our sandwich were pretty awkward because there was literally nowhere to stand that wasn’t in one of the employee’s ways, but our $12 fried shrimp and oyster sandwich was definitely worth it.

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*The Carousel Bar: #2 on Michelle’s To Do List. This is a bar in one of the more upscale hotels in which patrons sit around a (verrrrrrry sloooowly) moving Carousel, while the bartenders make drinks in the middle. We finally found four seats around the Carousel and stayed FOREVER  because it was so much fun.Image

*Pat O’Brien’s: This is a famous restaurant for Hurricanes. This was a nice part of our trip because we just sat outside and caught up for two hours while day-drinking.

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*The Garden District: Marisa and I came here for about an hour on Sunday because our waitress at Cane and Table had told us about some good vintage shopping in this area. As Marisa and I passed the Garden District houses via our cab, the ideas that we already had in our heads about relocating here turned into definite YESSES. I liked the French Quarter already, but this cemented in my mind how much I wanted to move here. Also, two amazing vintage necklaces, a vintage skirt and $70 dollars later, I was very impressed with their vintage offerings – I also enjoyed the spontaneous conversation I had in a coffee shop with a woman who couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved my vintage blue purse, and I loved that we didn’t even know each other and she whipped out her shopping back to show me the vintage purse she had purchased down the street just then.

*Our ghost tour: I really like going on nighttime ghost tours when arriving in a city so that I get a lay of the land (we did one in London and Stephen and I did one on our first night in Victoria). I don’t believe in ghosts but they are fun to go along with, and the history is usually interesting. The notable part of this particular tour was that everywhere our guide took us, there were always 1 or 2 other ghost tour groups within eyesight (often, telling very different versions of the stories our guide was telling us). I learned a lot of New Orleans history and next time I definitely plan on taking more walking tours.

*The Many New Orleans Wedding Processions we saw during our trip: This was honestly probably the highlight of this trip for me. If you’ve never seen a New Orleans wedding procession, the have something called a “Second Line”, in which the bride and groom, accompanied by a jazz band complete with a tuba, lead their guests out of the church to the venue for the reception, while singing and dancing and waiving white handkerchiefs in the air. I got really excited by all of these because they were just so ridiculous, and also because it was something that the other tourists were obviously excited by as well – we walked by St. Louis Cathedral when it was obvious that a wedding party was exiting, and there were many, many people who were not guests waiting eagerly with cameras. I think it’s such a cool part of New Orleans culture that is both interesting and is something free for visitors! We may have crashed one of these processions.

This video is from Youtube, not something I took, but you get the idea!

*Cooking Demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking: This is not something I would ever have considered doing had EB not suggested it, but I’m so glad we did. It was a 2-hour demonstration with about 50-60 people in the room, in which our very funny chef doled out historical information while preparing Gumbo, Jambalaya, Pina Colada Bread Pudding and the famous New Orleans Pralines, all of which we got to try of course. Some of what he cooked for us was better than what we ate in the restaurants too, plus they served beer. They gave us the recipes (all of which serve 15-20), so I’ll have to try some when I get home. Also, we were sharing a table with 3 ladies who were guests at a wedding procession we crashed the day before.

 

I had the best time. I haven’t felt this way about wanting to live somewhere for a long time. And then move back every summer, obviously.