Our trip to New Orleans was amazing. I'll be the first to admit that I could only take it in small doses. But I think that might be because those doses,at least for us, are so packed full that by the time the trip is over we're ready to get back to real life. It reminds me a little Disney - a ton of brightly colored, sparkly fun.
I was there for a conference so the first few days were filled with work, but we managed to squeeze in a couple of tasty meals in between sessions. I arrived Saturday night and just had a bite in the hotel. I must say though that the chicken club, a la room service, was really well prepared and the fresh fruit cup made a light breakfast for me the following day. Since no lunch was planned a few of us headed to Mother's (thanks for the invite Keith) for a brunch. This restaurant has true Southern food and the biscuits were as big as my hand. You line up, order your meal, they give you a ticket and you head to a table to wait for your meal.
After a full day of talking taxes, we were famished and thankfully a colleague had made reservations for a few of us at NOLA, one of Emeril's restaurants. My total bill came to about $70 which may seem a little high for one person, but I had Gumbo to start, then moved on to the Shrimp and Grits, which was so packed full of shrimp I wasn't sure I could finish it. I accompanied all of this with a martini. All in all a delightful meal and a restaurant I would heartily recommend.
Once I got through my presentation Friday morning, I could relax and look forward to spending time exploring NOLA with Jim. After changing into "civilian" clothes, Jim and I headed out to find lunch. We make the slight mistake of going to Pat O'Briens before getting anything to eat. Of course, we had a hurricane there. If the weather is as lovely as it was when we were there (73 and sunny) you must head to the patio. Keep in mind that you can't get food on the patio though, so plan on eating before or only staying for one hurricane because they'll knock your socks off.
I didn't take my own advice so after meeting up with friends and having yet another hurricane on the patio I decided i needed something hearty, so we headed to Palace City, one of Brennan's restaurants. We didn't have a reservation but they still seated us. The meal was good, though inside the restaurant seemed dark and a little dated. I had the oysters as a starter and then moved on to the shrimp. Overall it got good reviews from other colleagues that went there so I can recommend it but I think that there are better restaurants out there.
After that long day, we headed back to the hotel to get a good rest because we had 9:00 am reservations at another Brennan's restaurant, called aptly enough, Brennans. Brennan's is a long time favorite of tourists because of its history, oh, and perhaps because it is traditional to have a glass of wine with your breakfast. I had the prix fixe meal that started with oyster soup. It wasn't my favorite and I'd probably not order it again. Next came the Eggs Nouvelle Orleans, basically eggs benedict with a marchand du vin sauce, a red wine sauce in addition to the traditional hollandaise. I quite liked this twist on tradition. Jim, in the meantime, had the crab omelette. It was cheap by any means but it was loaded with crab. I was truly surprised at the amount of crab. We both feasted on it and had no need for more by the time the omelette was gone. We finished the meal with bananas foster, included in my meal price. Well, for an extra 5 bucks on top of my meal price. It really was delightful. They flambeed it in front of us, a real show, and then served it with ice cream. If you go to Brennans for breakfast make sure you get the bananas foster.
To work off all of that breakfast we took a lovely walk around the garden district reached by riding the oldest continually running streetcar in the U.S. After our return to the city we took a river cruise.It was a little boring and I would have much rather taken a cooking class. It looked like a lot of fun. If you take it let ne know how it was so I can sign up next time I'm in .N.O.
I had promised to take Jim out to dinner in NOLA and following a recommendation from one of the bartenders we met we decided to shoot for Irene's. What a find that was! Yes, we had to wait two hours and from other reviews even with a reservation we might have had a long wait. But, they have a waiting area where they will keep you well plied with alcohol though no food. There was also a piano player and since we wee seated right next to him, it was quite fun listening to him play and hearing his history. The atmosphere was like being in someones home and the food was amazing. Jim had the cannelloni and it was some of the best he, and I have ever had. But, first, we started with oysters Irene and, shockingly to me, my anti-oyster hubby said he actually liked them. Score! I had the filet and it was meltingly tender. But, here the cannelloni.
So there were a number of other great moments but these were the highlights. Oh, wait, forgot to mention that the last day we were there, we passed Drew Brees in the lobby of our hotel. Can it get much better? Oh, and they won the game that day. I guess it can. Can't wait to go back sometime.