03 January 2009
New Orleans, how I so miss you already.
The theme of our trip: Puke. Why is this so? I don't know. It only happened once, but still it was discussed, threatened, and deeply considered. The French Quarter smells like it- maybe that's how we got started. But for the rest of the trip it seemed to come up in every singe conversation. I'm pretty sure I was the one referencing it, and I was also the one who did it. It's true, I puked on new years eve. However- it was not alcohol induced. It was the result of eating deep-fried soft-shelled crab with onion rings and then following it up with.... single malt scotch gelato? What?!?!
Yes, I actually found a gelato place I can get behind. It's called La Divina and it's on Magazine street. They featured flavors like absinthe, sesame honey goat milk, pear Gorgonzola, ginger carrot marscarpone, avocado, red cream soda, pb&j, creole cream cheese, and bourbon pecan- to name a few. Not only were the flavors interesting, but they were also delicious. The totally dweeby counter boy and I geeked out about our mutual love of dairy products and the wacky things you can do with them. The gelato actually tasted like Italian gelato too. It ruled. But, only hours after happily accepting it into my heart I was puking crab skeletons on the hotel floor. Sad. Plus we had reservations for Herbsaint for that night. I laid in bed and wept for a few minutes and then picked myself up and said, Yes, I can go eat another 5 course meal! I will conquer this night!
Unfortunately, Herbsaint was kind of a hot mess. They were busy, yes, but it seemed like it was their first new years eve ever and they were seriously flailing around under the strain. And the Chef was drunk. This was not their first new years eve by a long shot however, and we were disappointed. A few things were good, I had an ox tail consomme that was tasty, and some hen with truffle something that was also good.
We spent the special midnight moment at Harrahs casino. Trashy, depressing and appropriate. What I learned there on that night was that in New Orleans, you don't have to wear pants. Throw on a tee shirt and some hose, (or not,) high heels, glitter, and fucking go out and have a good time! You can wear this look at night or day. Another good look is booty short zip up jump suits. I'm torn between which look I am going to introduce to Portland, but I'm pretty sure shirt-no-pants is already kind of hot here so I'm thinking I'll push for it.
Other great meals we had while we were there included: Lillette- we spent Kevin's birthday here and loved it. I had trout with leeks, Israeli couscous, and tons of garlic. This was my favorite plate of all time. We had awesome barbecue at a place by the prison called the Joint. I had ribs and macaroni and cheese. We ordered the whole menu and sat in the garden eating until we were paralyzed from the mouth down. We had pimms cups and muffulata's at the Napoleon house- I think this was my favorite bar. It was dark and old timey in the right way. We had drinks at the Columns hotel- this place is supposed to be old fashioned and cool but is actually a weird country club-like dive bar. We of course had bignets at Cafe Du Monde, and a kind of lame dinner at Cochon. I did not have a hurricane, but I did have lots of Abita beer which is the local brewery.
My favorite meal was gumbo z'herb. This is a gumbo that features tons of greens. You are supposed to cook it with an uneven number of greens for luck- and for every green you use, you get a new friend. We had this dish homemade at my families friend Macon's house. Macon has lived on the levee at river bend for 20 years. He built his house there and it is the coolest place ever. It is on stilts because the river rises very high a few times a year. Right now its pretty low, so there was a beach below the house. He has a goat that lives on their porch named Sweetpea, a cat named Shorty and a rabbit named Bun Bun. Macon made the gumbo with seven types of greens from his own garden and also blackeyed peas for new years. His lady Amy made whole wheat bread, and put out some of her families country ham. Everyone brought a pecan pie. It was a real treat to be invited into Macon's home for New Years, and this great feast.
We went straight from his house to the Maple Leaf bar, which is an old bar up in that neighborhood that has been there forever. We drank beer and played songs on the juke box.... I could go on and on.
I will mention that we witnessed an attempted robbery. A woman robbed a cab driver with plastic gun. He got out and fought her to get his money back. He pulled her shirt off during this struggle and we all learned that she was not wearing a bra. This was also conformation that she was in fact a female. We were all confused and told him to stop fighting her, but then he told us to call the cops on her. Then we were really confused. Anyway he got his money back, she ran off with one shoe, no shirt, and the cabby had a new lease on life. At least I hope so.
I want to go back to New Orleans when there isn't Sugar Bowl redneck bullshit going on. My stomach misses it there.