Friday, March 09, 2012

(Over) Rewarding

Sunday evening after the race, the walk home, and the patio time, Ashley actually had to go to a work conference. I felt bad for her, but I also liked the fact that it gave me a reason to hang out in the city for a couple more days. (We planned to drive home together on Tuesday.)

So, she went to the Hyatt for her conference, and I went to the Bywater to hang out with my old friend, Amy, who I first met in the Peace Corps. She just had a baby 8 months ago, and I was really excited to meet him. Leo and I hit it right off.

Amy's sister came over, as well as a few neighbors, and her husband, John, grilled us up a feast. It was great getting to relax and catch up and OMG hang out with Leo! Amy let me hold him, feed him, and even watch him take a bath. (I know, I'm weird, but I haven't been around a cute little baby boy in over seven years!) It was also really cool to see Amy as a mom.

By the time I got back to the apartment it was almost 11 and I was beat. I tried watching "Drive" on my laptop, but I fell asleep.

Then--get this--I woke up eleven hours later! That NEVER happens in Memphis. I took my time getting up and watched the end of "Drive" before venturing out. I had planned to spend the morning exploring the Quarter and the afternoon meandering down Magazine, but since I slept in, I decided to just stick to the Quarter.

My first stop was The Melt Down for a salted caramel popsicle.

I browsed in a few stores, considered having my palm read in Jackson Square, and then hit the bar at Napolean House. They are known for their Pimm's cup. I watched Kevin, the bartender, make about 300 of them over an hour or two.

He only made two for me. Yum.

Once I felt warm and fuzzy on the inside, I moved out to the patio for some gumbo and a quarter muffaletta.

I didn't think the food was nearly as good as the drinks, but I had a lovely time. Next, I did some more roaming before landing at Bar Tonique. My friend, Margot, told me about it and it was love at first sight.

It was the New Orleans version of the Cove--lots of specialty cocktails and a very warm & cozy atmosphere. I ordered a Ramos gin fizz, also at Margot's recommendation. Normally I wouldn't drink something with egg whites and heavy cream, but it was taaaasty.

Bar Tonique's motto is "Providing shelter from reality and sobriety since 08/08/08."

When I finished my drink it was nearing 4pm. I decided to get another popsicle--Vietnamese Coffee--and then take a nap before dinner.

That's right, a nap!

Ashley picked me up around 7pm and we headed to the Marigny to see our old friend, Adam, and his wife Cindy. I hadn't seen Adam in 15? 20? years and I'd never met his wife, but after about a half hour we were all carrying on like besties. We had some prosecco at the house and then walked into the Quarter for dinner at Sylvain. It's right across from Napolean House and very trendy and hip. Adam and Cindy, who don't cook, eat there three times a week! After trying the food, I see why. We had a really yummy antipasto plate with pickled veggies, black eyed pea hummus, homemade mustard, toasted baguette slices, creamy goat cheese, and who knows what else. Then I had a shaved brussel sprout salad with granny smith apple cubes and pistachios followed by a farm fresh burger. They made lots of fancy drinks in house, including delicious gingerale, but I decided to go with a Schlitz. (It's the Nola equivalent of PBR/hipster beer.) Sylvain also has a fabulous courtyard. I'm so happy to have some "insider" places to go on my next visit.

Mid-meal, Cindy looked at me and said, "Do you do that Dining with Monkeys blog?" When I said yes, she said, "I enjoy the shit out of that blog." And just like that we were best friends! Ha! (Adam grew up in Memphis and Cindy lived here for a bit--it was cool to see how they still stayed abreast of the happenings here, especially on the restaurant front.)

After dinner, we went for some gelato, then walked back to the house to re-group. Once we decided we still had some energy, we walked over to Mimi's to check out the swing dancing. (By check out I mean watch, not partake.)

Everywhere we went was dark, so I have no pictures. Also every time I tried to sneak one of Adam, I was foiled. Oh well!

Back at the apartment, I settled into bed and watched "The Walking Dead" via iTunes. Overall, it was a pretty hedonistic day, and I loved every minute of it.

Tuesday morning, I got up early so I could go back to the Quarter and gather supplies for the family. Warren requested a muffaletta from Central Grocery and Satchel wanted some gumbo. Jiro originally requested a glass egg with an eyeball in it, but I talked him into some Popeye's instead.

I also picked up some beignets for Ashley because I'm sweet like that.

My last stop was at a place called "The Store" right next door to the apartment. It's only open on weekdays so I usually don't get to eat there when I'm in town, but I was still in need of some gumbo. I couldn't resist adding on a shrimp po-boy with collard greens to my order and I was so glad I did. Best.Po-Boy. Ever.

It was so nice to have a little downtime and ME time. Maybe running the half wasn't so dumb after all.

When Ashley and I rolled into Memphis around 7pm, I was really happy to see my family. I swear the boys grew in the four days that I was gone. In fact, I think Satchel was still growing when he saw me because his first words to me were, "Did you bring food?"

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