We landed around 4:30, quick trip to the hotel. Checked in, regrouped, freshened ourselves up, and headed out for the night around 6 (dinner reservations were scheduled for 8). We made a quick stop at our rooftop pool bar for a drink - Nola Punch for Brad, Moscow Mojito for me. Then into the Quarter. I could not stop smiling. You could blame the booze, but it was like seeing an old friend again (and a little booze always helps Bourbon Street seem that much more charming...). Everything was as I remembered it and I just loved it. I loved everyone. I was talking to strange people, petting random dogs, taking a million pictures, gushing nonstop to Brad. Add to that $5 Hurricanes that you can drink on the street as you stroll? Bliss.
Now... don't get me wrong. Bliss on Bourbon Street doesn't always last. And it's not for everyone. For more than an hour, it's not for me. But it is certainly something to see and experience now and again. And, lucky for New Orleans, there is so much more to see besides Bourbon Street. Nonetheless, that first re-immersion into the madness remains my top moment of our trip.
Saying too much almost feels like kissing and telling... If there's anything to take away it's that you must go and see for yourself. But I will certainly share a few highlights!
What happens when you spend eight years fantasizing about a sandwich? You wait in line to get not one, but two, and, despite how morally torn you feel about it, you take TWO WHOLE BITES of said sandwich BEFORE yanking off all the meat. Now that's love.
Note: I fell ill later that night - so much so that we had to push our reservation out an hour. I don't think it was actually related, but I don't think I'll be taking any more chances like that again!
Other must-do-because-we've-been-thinking-about-it-for-years was breakfast at Cafe du Monde. Not because we necessarily wanted to experience the place but because beignets (re: French donuts with oodles of powdered sugar, hot from the oven) are SO GOOD. We waited in another line (well, a first line because chronologically beignets were before muffalettas), were stuck with a horrendous waiter who kept setting his tray on our table (if you don't know, I have a very weak stomach about very weird things, including in-sight-garbage while I eat, and any sort of wet paper/trash), and were surrounded by a general not-nice smell. So advice to the would-be traveler - just go to the carryout line!! But these are so good we (well, I - Brad couldn't have been less interested) went back (to the carryout line!) Sunday night for a final helping.
Apparently, our table was very attractive to trays.
Otherwise, for food we had a little bit of everything. Trendy creole, local oysters, classy dinner, a jazz brunch. All delicious, all swoon-worthy. Most notable would likely be our "jazz brunch" at Commander's Palace, which is a Nola institution. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time we were there. It was just so HAPPY. Friendly faces, sunny rooms, a roving Dixieland jazz trio with banjo - even balloons!
Brunch was a three-course meal, so it was a lot of food for 11 am... But we somehow managed, wink! The staff was cheerful and helpful, and our waiter, a young local, offered up an off-menu entree item for veggies like me, which I happily ordered - a super fancy and beautiful omelet with veggies and cheese and prosecco-poached crab. But first, shrimp remoulade in a lettuce cup with heart of palm (and later a praline sundae). And then, with my omelet, world's MOST delicious buttermilk biscuits. So delicious, in fact, I had them wrap up my 2nd biscuit... which returned to me in swan form.
Brad's entree was pork shoulder with eggs and mushroom fricassee and other stuff I'm sure, but nothing as catchy sounding as fricassee... Me: How is it? Brad:
It's pretty f-ing good.
Behold the beautiful omelet and to-die-for biscuits...
This really was just such a fun experience. I loved every second of it. I told Brad when we go back, we should definitely make this a tradition - although perhaps we will eat at 12 instead of 11... More time in the am to prepare for all that food!
Otherwise, there was pool lounging. Frozen drink drinking. Crazy person people watching. Neighborhood strolling (our favorite thing to do - besides eat, of course. We could spend all day just walking around, looking at all the houses and balconies, meeting all the local dogs we can find).
And, of course, a cemetery. Or two.
A fitting family photo.