I’m not one to plotz when I see someone famous, and it’s a good thing because I saw two of them this week 🙂
I was going thru security at Newark airport on sunday and I saw Patricia Clarkson standing in the other line. One of my favorite roles is when she was in the Station Agent. The other star spotting was Anderson Cooper from CNN, walking down Royal St in New Orleans, right in front of my hotel 🙂 That is one SKINNY dude!
Okay, for those of you that came for the title, yer done, you don’t have to keep reading.
We touched down on Sunday after a tearful goodbye with the kids and a bumpy ass flight. Yowza, no fun. Getting the car and our stuff proved fairly painless and we got to our hotel mid-afternoon on Sunday. Wanted to get some of the local flavor and we were both hungry, so we stopped at Cafe Beignet on Royal St. There are three in the French Quarter with the same name, but this was a small little coffee and pastry shop.
Have you ever had a beignet? Dude. If you only go to Nawlins for one reason, let it be the beignets – fried dough with powdered sugar, yum yum yum. Ever get fried dough at a carnival? Same idea, but MUCH better. Stayed put for a while drinking cafe au lait and talking about what to do and how much we missed the kids.
To go on record, cafe au laits suck, dude. I guess I’m used to bold coffee or something, but this stuff was weak.
We went to a mexican place that was highly rated called El Gato Negro. Was down past anywhere I wanted to be after dark, but decent food. Nothing that floored me, tho I had pork and andouille sausage fajitas which were good. As we sat there, I saw a bag of water hanging over the front door, looked like it had practical joke written all over it. Turns out it’s a Mayan thing that is supposed to keep the flies away.
Monday I had the conference and learned quite a bit that I won’t bore you with since I know you’re only interested in what Fae was doing 🙂 While I was listening to geeky stuff, she was walking around the city and coming close to passing out! YAY….oh wait, that sucks. Boooo! Heat index was up around 105 or so. She stopped at a place called the Palace Cafe and they were wonderful about letting her sit in the AC and got her water. She didn’t realize it at the time, but the guy making sure she was okay was the owner of that place and two others, Dicky Brennan. We ended up going back there for dinner where I had my first taste of crawfish in about 10 years. Still tastes awesome.
Tuesday, Fae decided to go out of town and see some of the plantations she had read about, Oak Alley and Laura. I didn’t know that Oak Alley was where the filmed Interview with a Vampire, cool 🙂 Very interesting thing to note that although they are on the same road, Oak Alley is painted white with it’s columns and huge lawns and rows of trees, while Laura is smaller, lot more buildings, and the main house is yellow. Back then, as I understand from Fae, painting it whit e and using column architecture denotes white owners, while the yellow buildings denote Creole.
Here’s your lesson for the day: according to multiple people we talked to Creole isn’t racial, it’s about where you were born. “Louisiana Creole refers to people of various racial backgrounds who are descended from the colonial French, Spanish, and German settlers, Africans, and Native Americans from the time before the Louisiana territory became a possession of the United States through theLouisiana Purchase” from Wikipedia. They wanted to denote that they were born in Louisiana and not somewhere else. Very cool.
We decided to walk down Bourbon street that night. Flashy, lots of drunk people, and strip clubs. We don’t drink so all the bars didn’t really do anything for us. Stopped to eat at a place that I Can’t remember the name of and I got my first bowl of Crawfish Etouffee. It tasted really good at the time, but I was on a mission to find the best bowl of it. Found it the next night.
Wednesday while I was at the conference, Fae was just walking around, looking at artwork – lots of galleries down there, and generally getting to know the French Quarter. We ended up going for a walk that night up Magazine street – by the way, people were going on and on about all the shops on Magazine street – didn’t see it. Went to a place called Mother’s. You walk in and they hand you a menu, you walk along the counter and then order, and go find a seat. They come to your table and bring your food. Not dive-y, but not a 5 star restaurant. Nice homey place.
They win. Hands down. Had Crawfish Etouffee and THAT’s what it’s supposed to taste like. Talked with some of the staff, Felicia and Tyrone, and they made us feel welcome, told us stories, great great place. If you go to NO, you have to get to this place.
Thursday Fae took a cooking class at the culinary school in the French Quarter, made Shrimp Creole and corn and crawfish soup. Had a good time. I could already taste another bowl at Mother’s, so we went back for dinner. This time we didn’t eat so much we couldn’t walk. Saw our friends again and again, had a great time just sitting and eating and talking.
Friday we drove around in the Garden District and saw a lot of really huge old houses, including Anne Rice’s old house. Stopped by St. Louis Cemetery #1 to see Marie Laveau and then went to the airport. Got home to some really glad kids and even gladder cats 🙂 My Mom stayed at our house for the week and it was a lot easier than the last time we went away 🙂
Tips for the French Quarter – don’t walk around alone after dark, go with a group or as a couple. Be careful of talking to everyone you see, don’t be rude, just be wary. Walking down Bourbon Street at least once is a must. Never go down there in June, holy crap. And go to Mother’s on Poydras.