Friday, February 25, 2011

Nola, Solo

Yesterday's column was about the kids' reaction my leaving town without them--Weekend getaway not easy to get away with. I went to New Orleans with three of my girlfriends from roller derby--Mary, Aimee, and Launa. We had a great time! Here's a peek at our weekend activities.

We stayed at my cousin's "dorm" in the Central Business District. We were about two blocks from the French Quarter, and walking distance to the Warehouse District and streetcar system. We took a cab or two and rode the St. Charles streetcar a couple of times, but for the most part we walked everywhere. It was pretty awesome.

Our first order of business was breakfast at the Old Coffee Pot in the Quarter. It's one of Aimee's favorites mainly due to the Bloody Mary's. I had never been, but it reminded me a lot of the Gumbo Shop. There was some discussion about them possibly having the same owner. I really liked this place because it had a sweet courtyard, we arrived just in time to not have to stand in a line of 50 to get in, and our waitress (who was sassy!) let me have gumbo for breakfast.

Once sated, we went to Aimee's favorite perfume store, Hove. Next, we hit a few other fun shops in the Quarter, like Red Lantern, and anxiously waited for the Popsicle store to open. (On my lats visit, I discovered Meltdown, and I had been counting down the days until I could return.) It was a big hit with everyone, and I had no problem working in a visit each day that we were there. Over three days, I ate seven Popsicles (six of which came from Meltdown!) The flavors change daily, but a few of my favorites are Wheatgrass Pineapple, Pineapple Chili, Vietnamese Coffee, and Salted Caramel.

After spending the morning in the Quarter, we decided to head to Magazine Street for more shopping...and eating...and drinking. We totally lucked into finding a Mediterranean restaurant called Byblos. There are several locations in the city and I can see why. We split 4-5 appetizers and they were all fantastic. The drunken haloumy was the stand out--because of the flavor and the garlic burps we all had later! We also really, really enjoyed the mango berry mojitos.

In fact, we enjoyed the mojitos so much so that we decided to go ahead and make our way to the highly recommended Coquette Bistro and Wine Bar for a really fancy cocktail. This is a place that infuses their own liquors (Benton bacon infused bourbon, anyone?) and mixes some amazing drinks. The service was also stellar. Sadly, even though I took a picture of the menu, I can't remember what I ordered!

We easily could have sat on the sidewalk drinking all night, but all of the locals insisted we go to the Marigny and watch the Krewe du Vieux parade which satirizes local and national politics. We planned to take a taxi to Frenchman street once we freshened up at the dorm, but the Quarter was already so crowded, we hoofed it over on foot. We arrived just in time to catch the tail end of the start at Elysian Fields.

While we waited for the parade to make it's way back around to Frenchman Street, we stopped at Yuki Izakaya for more food and refreshments. The lighting was really low so I will spare you pictures of what we ate (edamame, gyoza, shrimp crackers with crab salad, and lemongrass beef salsa). It was good, but Ben Smith of Tsunami set the bar really high with his Izakaya menu, so everything completely pales in comparison. Once we were done there, we headed over to the Spotted Cat to listen to some local music while we continued to wait. After an hour or so, the full parade passed and Launa and I ran out on to the street to watch.

Before, during, and after the parade we had no smart phone service. Then eventually most of our smart phones ran out of juice because we'd been using them (or attempting to use them) all day. I did capture a few last shots. I was very happy to get to see my friend, Amy, for a few minutes. I last saw her at her wedding in September and now she's working on a baby! I was also happy to see this nice young man selling Popsicles on the street out of a cart! His flavors weren't as exciting as Meltdown's, but he had a food cart!

Then, believe it or not, we went to the Clover Grill in the Quarter to eat. Again. In our defense, this was a 15 hour day, so it certainly warranted a fourth meal! With my phone dying, I only managed to snap a picture of the menu and not the food. It was your standard greasy spoon, but with an attitude.


After eating we were all more than ready to hit the sack. We had a very loooooong walk home.

More to come!

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