We went on a little trip over the weekend to New Orleans. Friday, Kevin, Merrin, Camille and myself headed down to New Orleans for a little fun. We started with some bloody marys at the bar at Love Field and after a short 1 hour plan ride we were in the Big Easy. Once we got to our hotel, the very very nice W New Orleans, we hit the streets.
Our first stop was to meet a friend of Kevin’s for lunch at Place Pigalle. They brought us out a traditional appetizer of spicy boiled potatoes, which were perfectly done. I had the “Mate Combo” with fried shrimp and fried oysters. It was great, I don’t know why but oysters are always better in New Orleans. I also got a rare treat, a Abita Seasonal Draft, which was an amber bock. I love beers from Abita, but there are only a few that they bottle and ship outside of Louisiana.
Next we headed down Bourbon street and thats when things start to get a little fuzzy for me. We hit Pat O’ Brian’s for drinks. You really can’t not go there when your in down. I had a Hurricane, of course. I also had a Mint Julep that was nice and strong. From there we wandered in and out of any bar that looked interesting until it was time to get cleaned up to go out to eat. I guess you could say that everything centered around where we were gonna eat next.
For dinner we headed out to Pascal’s Manale, home of the original barbecued shrimp. For and appetizer I had turtle soup, its been a long time since I’ve had any and I really enjoyed it. For the main course I had the Barbeque Shrimp of course. It was delicious, and not was I was expecting. Its not some shrimp with barbeque all over them, but a very tasty and spice sauce, unlike any standard sauce you would have.
After that things got really fuzzy as Kevinand I hit Bourbon street till the late hours of the night, we had alot of fun.
Saturday morning we started with a nice walk on the river front on our way down to Care Du Monde. We had the beignets of course and I had a cafe au lait. I could drink that every morning. Then we wandered around Jackson Square, where Camilleand Merrin picked up some art work. And before you knew it, it was time to eat again :).
For lunch we headed to Red Fish Grill. We got the Bourbon Street Sampler, which consisted of Coconut shrimp, grilled alligator sausage, BBQ oysters, and mini crawfish cakes. I thought the alligator sausage was good, but the BBQ oysters had to be the best I’ve ever had. Merrinand I couldn’t stop talking about the them, the other 2 well, they just missed out. I think with some work, we can come up with a comparable recipe. For lunch I had the Sweet Potato Catfish, one of the dishes they are known for. I was really good, I would never have thought the pairing of the two would work, but it does.
After that meal we hit the side streets wandering up and down and around stopping in at little shops here and there. One stop, Jack Sutton Antique & Jewelry, yielded Camille a nice pair of dragonfly earrings for a valentines day gift. Then we started heading back to the hotel and stopped at Harahs Casino, just to look around and donate some money to them. Then finally back to the hotel where we found a little cave like nook by the bar. We rested and had some drinks, I had a Blanton’s bourbon, neat. I think it was the only bourbon on the shelf that I’ve never had. It was good, it had the most pleasant smell of any bourbon that I’ve drank. I actually sat there just sniffing it for the longest time really enjoying that aspect of it. After drinks it was time one again to clean up and head out to dinner.
We got our dinner tip form our hostess at the bar, she recommend Praline Connection a creole soul food restaurant on Frenchman street. We took a short cab ride over there. Not knowing what to expect we ordered up BBQ oysters, fried pickles and fried okra as an appetizer and I got an Abita Turbodog to wash it down with. When our appetizers came out, we were in awe. Two huge baskets of fried goodness and a dish of BBQ oysters. Really huge and really good. I ordered the “A Taste of Soul” platter which consisted of FilÃ© Gumbo, Red Beans & Rice, Jambalaya, Greens, Cornbread, Fried Chicken, Catfish Strips, and Bread Pudding. Talk about a lot of food, there were 4 of us at a 8 top, and we took up almost all the space. It was an awesome meal and the service was awesome as well. Normally I wouldn’t mention the other folks that were eating there, but they were also nice. We shared our appetizers with some other folks and they shared there. Talk about a real family feeling restaurant. I shouldn’t say this, but I ate my whole meal, I was so full.
After that we wandered around Frenchman street and stopped at a little bar where a small band was sing some 1920’s sounding jazz. It was great and I could have listened to that all night. Camille even purchased one of their Cd’s so she could listen to it some more. Next up we went to Hookah Cafe. Here I enjoyed a Black Buddha, I think this is the first time that I’ve ever had black vodka and it was unique. I don’t remember the exact mix that we got for our hooka, but it was really smooth and light with a hint of apple. Even the extreme non smokers seemed to enjoy it. There was an interesting crowd there to watch before we headed back to Bourbon street to finish off the night.
We wandered, once again, from bar to bar listening to live music. One thing that we noticed was that the bands tended to place the same music at each bar. Once we got tired of that started heading back. Kevin had to take a side trip to Crystal Burgers for a late night snack then we made one last stop at the Hustler store. They have some very interesting things there but watching Kevin eat a burger and check out some adult toys was one of the funniest sites that I’ve seen.
Camille and I had an early flight out so we hit the sack after that. Once we got to the airport a 7am I had time for one last meal. As luck would have it there is a small Praline Connection in the airport. I had a nice breakfast of liver, eggs and hash browns and one final cup of chicory coffee to was it down with.
What a trip, one that will not soon be forgotten and one that will go in my top 5 road trips of all time.
I’ve got some pictures that I need to upload, besides the ones I posted from my palm while we were walking around.
Kevin talks about the trip here.
Merrin talks about it here.
Camille mentions it here.