While Pamela blogs about knitting
in New Orleans (of all things!!), I am here to provide an exhaustive food diary of my 42 hours in the Crescent City.
1 p.m., Friday
While we waited (and waited and waited) in line at Central Grocery
, we chatted with a local pest-control man. It's a good sign, I think, when people who kill bugs come to a restaurant... Plus, he was a fellow foodie: "You gotta check out this place called Whole Foods!" he said excitedly. "You mean the overpriced grocery store??" Pamela asked. "Yeah!" he said. "It's got a cheesecake so good, it makes you want to slap yo mama!"
Muffuletta: A little treasure box of Italian meat and olive salad.
I like you. And I like your funny name.
4 p.m., Friday
A haiku of adoration:
Hot, deep fried goodness
I have sugar on my pants
Beignet, I love you.
7 p.m., Friday
It's possible that touring the Lower Ninth Ward with Pamela and Cousin Kevin may ruin my appetite. Two and a half years after Katrina, and this is it?? The debris has been cleared, but where are the people?? We see a dead dog. We see a live rabbit. We see signs of a half-dozen brave folks who have rebuilt their homes, maybe a little higher than before, with fresh vinyl siding and glass-paned front doors. I am pretty sure they're all keeping guns under their pillows, because this place is downright creepy. On the roofs of some homes, you can still see the chopped-out holes, where people climbed above the rising water. On others, all that's left is a concrete flight of steps to nothing.
8 p.m., Friday
Time for a drink. Hello Abita! You are lovely! Kevin takes us to a fabulous local bar, housed in a big ol' Garden District mansion. We sit at a wrought iron table, under a flowering magnolia in the side yard, like the kind of gals who might be invited to a swanky Mardi Gras ball. Why, yes, I would be delighted!
9 p.m., Friday
Reservations at Herbsaint
, one of Gourmet's top 50 restaurants in America. First, more cocktails! (Did you know the word cocktail was invented in NO?) Pamela goes upscale with a Pimm's Cup. Very nice! Kevin is ordering multiple Jack & Cokes. (Is it going to be that kind of night??) Crispy lettuce with buttermilk bacon dressing for me, followed by snappy shrimp on silky grits. Best ever! No dessert. Must save room for more drinks... We're off to the Marigny for jazz.
9 a.m., Saturday
Breakfast at the hotel. Eh. But free.
1 p.m., Saturday
This place is like walking into the dragon's mouth. There's a Sopranos pinball machine, a surly bearded cook, and a bunch of drunk Tulane graduates in the back room. I love it! Best of all, I an introduced to a fellow named Po, one of the nicest boys I've ever met, who fills his crunchy bread with drippy roast beef and gravy. (It wasn't half-eaten when I got it.)
4 p.m., Saturday
Ah! Dirty disgusting rat pigeon, brushing my naked ankle with sticky stinky feathers! I hate you! But I love my beignet. Pamela makes the mistake of wearing a black T-shirt. She looks like she has a sweet case of dandruff.
7 p.m. Saturday
is calling! We're off to one of New Orleans' landmark restaurants. First, some whiskey, a sprig of fresh mint, and a handful of ice in the appropriately named Whiskey Smash. Then, we're whisked into a turquoise dining room with dead song birds mounted on the walls. Aah! A Fire!! Oooh, bananas foster...
I have the turtle soup. And I refuse to consider the morality of it. And then I have the whole fish... (It says, "Hello Pamela! I'm looking at you! Have another whiskey smash!") How do they make it look like this?! As if it swum into a vat of boiling oil to die? For dessert, I have the bread pudding souffle. It's like a little warm pot of goodness. (Bathrooms: Excellent.)
Shelly C wonders why I need so many voodoo dolls. Since Shelly C knows where I work, I think she knows why I might be muttering to myself at midnight. But why assume it's a curse?! It could be a curative! Like, for example, I am not talking about anybody in particular... but let's say I work with a lunatic. I would, for example, not talking about anybody in particular, perhaps attempt to make this person sane! That would be extremely beneficial for me and her/him (and you too, Shelly C!)
Something I did not buy, but maybe would like to, is a lamp shade made out of melted Mardi Gras beads. Alas, if I had more than $183 in my checking account... (Could I do this myself? In my self-cleaning Maytag Gemini??)
I did miss the girlies. And I think they missed me. But David, who got thrown up on five times in my absence, probably missed me the most. Says Lucy, "Next time, you can take me with you. Right?"
And one final picture...