I am now in love with NOLA … the smell of beignets in the air… the sound of beads hitting the pavement from balconies above… the incredible live music in almost every place you enter…. and the food… the incredible food. If you missed day 1 and 2 of my trip, check it out here!
Day 3 in NOLA is a day where Eric was in his IMSA sessions for the most part. We started out with breakfast together where I tried both grits and biscuits and gravy among many other buffet items.
After breakfast, Eric and I split up until the late afternoon. I walked down to the French Quarter and looked at restaurant menus, trying to come up with ideas for dinner that evening.
After much walking, I went back to the hotel to wait for Eric at the Vitascope Hall in the hotel, as we had a shuttle picking us up to head to a swamp tour! Before the tour Eric met me there, and we each had a beer – him a NOLA 31 and me a Prickly Pear – and we shared a bowl of Cajun Popcorn: deep-fried shrimp and crawfish with a creole dipping sauce.
The swamp tour was incredible – we saw a lot of alligators where the tour guide has them come right up to the boat using marshmallows and hot dog weiners as “treats”! There were wild boars as well, and they loved the marshmallows too! We also saw a few great herons, a really large and gross spider which I wish not to discuss (yuck!), and so many cool cypress trees! We also went past a lot of the destruction that still exists from Hurricane Katrina, 10 years later. In the photos below, there is a house on the river in the top left corner. If you see the yellow flag that is on the balcony, that’s how high the water rose during Hurricane Katrina… quite scary indeed!
Back at the hotel now, we quickly changed and headed down to the French Quarter for some dinner! On my morning walk I had taken note of a few places, and we decided on Cafe Soule. The building is from 1830 and has some magnificent architecture. The ceilings alone were amazing at at least 16 feet!
Eric ordered a beer (a Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan, from Mississippi) and I had their cocktail special, a Cucumber Pierre. Then for our food, we both ordered the Louisiana Trio, which came with a serving of jambalaya, shrimp creole and crawfish étouffée. All three servings were delicious and if I were forced to pick my favourite of the three, I would go with the jambalaya.
After dinner we strolled around the French Quarter, catching some of the crazy night life of Bourbon Street. The Saints game had just ended so the street was full of fans all wearing black and gold. We stopped in to Kingfish Bar and each had a beer (Abita Ambers) and then headed to the hotel. However we had to stop at the Roosevelt Hotel first for an authentic Sazerac. A Sazerac is a local New Orleans whiskey drink, so Eric had his Sazerac and I had a large glass of much needed water!
On day 4 we were up at 8:00 am and got ready to go to Cafe Beignet for some coffee and beignets. After having beignets from Cafe du Monde first, I have to say I like theirs better. Around town I heard mixed reviews – some love Cafe du Monde and some love Cafe Beignet more. As I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t like a lot of sweets, but had no problem finishing all of my beignets from Cafe du Monde; at Cafe Beignet, I couldn’t do it, eating only one and a half.
We did next what we normally did … we walked around! We looked at more restaurant menus, checked out the Mississippi River and browsed through a few shops. The menu looking and walking of course made us hungry, and after only having 1.5 beignets I felt it was appropriate to eat again! So we dipped into the Royal House and enjoyed a Bloody Mary each (I am starting to get used to the tomato cocktail, opposed to the Canadian version with Motts Clamato). We ordered fried alligator and oyster tacos and really enjoyed them while the waiter told us dirty jokes! It was quite hilarious and entertaining!
By this time, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the opening ceremony of Eric’s conference. We followed a jazz band into the hall (this is New Orleans style, to follow the band!) and then had more food and drink while enjoying the band.
The evening consisted of more walking around the French Quarter and taking in the busy Sunday night! This place never sleeps, I am sure!
That’s all for day 3 and 4! Only 3 days left here – with so much more to do including a New Orleans cooking class, Plantation tour and more eating and drinking!
Do you prefer Bloody Mary’s or Caesars? Have you tried Creole or Cajun cooking before?