Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Orleans Fall '10

We had a fabulous trip to New Orleans last week. We left the kids with my fabulous mother-in-law and went with my parents for five days in New Orleans. It's the longest I've ever left the kids and I missed them very much. It's funny, I really needed to get away and have a break and I rejoiced in all the small gestures of independence and autonomy that I had available to me. I also missed the children deeply and achingly often throughout the trip. Still, it gets easier every time and it helped that I trust my mother-in-law implicitly and know that they are safe and happy.
But about the trip- we stayed in my parents condo which is absolutely fabulous. It's on the streetcar line and we walked and rode the street car every where. The first day we arrived, we dropped off our luggage, had a glass of wine and then walked up to Williams grocery to pick up our trolley passes. After we had those we caught a street car and went up the quarter. We went straight to Acme Oysters and had an enormous feast of oysters both raw and chargrilled and lots of hushpuppies. We also had our first Abita beer of the trip.
Then we walked down to Frenchmen Street to try and catch Miss Sophie Lee at the Spotted Cat. When we got there we were disappointed/excited to find that Miss Sophie Lee was not playing because they were busy filming an episode of Treme there. We saw the star of the show through the window and my mom told us that they had really gussied up the inside of the bar for the show. We headed across the street to Snug Harbor to watch through the window and wait to see if they would leave and the bar would reopen. We had some drinks and chatted and then the film crew left. Michael dashed over to see if they would now open and have some music, but they had decided to close.
Hearing that, we decided to head into the back room of the Snug Harbor and listen to music. Unfortunately, the band that was playing wasn't that good, so we headed home to fall into bed.

The next morning we slept in and read and drank coffee and then went for a long walk. We ended up at our lunch reservation at Herbsaint. This is now my favorite restaurant in New Orleans. It is truly fantastic. The food was all amazing and the service was top notch. We had a lovely wine with it and really enjoyed ourselves all the way through.

After lunch we took a nap and then took a taxi out to the Rockn'bowl to catch Kermit Ruffins CD release party and hopefully do a little bowling. Unfortunately, the nausea I had been fighting the entire trip really won the battle that evening. I was there, but I couldn't do much more. I couldn't bowl or eat or drink, but at least I could listen to the music which really good. Eventually I felt so bad I had to leave and everyone was sweet and kind I decided to take me home.
The next morning I felt much better. We had lunch at the former Bluebird, now called Coulis and then went for a walk down Magazine Street. Mom and I shopped and I got a new purse and a beautiful, fun dress. We went to my favorite chocolate shop in the world, Sucre. I bought a box of chocolates and we all sampled. That store is amazing. Then we finished our walk at the CVS to buy more nausea medicine and then a dash into a great little sushi restaurant.

In the evening we went out to eat at a place called A Mano which has two James Beard chefs in the kitchen. I was excited about it and while the appetizers were delicious (a jar of marinated olives and a spreadable sausage on bread), the mains were only so so. Both mom and I had to ask for red pepper flakes to add some flavor. After dinner we went to a wonderful place just down the street called W.I.N.O.. At this place you bought a card and got a glass and then you could wander around two big rooms putting your card in different wine dispensers and your glass under the spigot and get a taste of hundreds of fabulous wines. Mom ordered a cheese plate and we all sat down in wine heaven. This was so fun and so good! I'm sure some other things happened after this, but it's all a little fuzzy.

The next day, Sunday was also fun. We got on the street car and headed up to Audobon park. We had a lovely walk through the gorgeous park and arrived at the Audobon zoo. We were there to attend Swamp Fest. We bought our tickets and headed in.
The zoo in New Orleans is great. We got to pet a hedgehog and chinchilla.

Then we walked back to check out swamp fest. There were cajun crafts, cajun foods and cajun dance lessons.

There was also a big main stage with cajun music. We all took cajun dance lessons and learned the cajun two step and what we call, the broke leg dance. Then we laid on the grass at the main stage and listened to the music.

After the swamp fest we took the street car back to the quarter and headed to the Carousel Bar at the hotel Monteleone. I discovered that what is called a white martini in France is a lemon drop with gin instead of vodka in America. Good to know since I Love a white martini. I had one and we sat in the window people watching.
After a while we walked through the quarter and did some shopping at Rab Dab for Michael and found a new coat for Mom.
We continued our walk through the quarter to Frenchmen street to try one last time to see Miss Sophie Lee at the Spotted Cat. It was open! We went in and found a seat and made ourselves comfortable. Mom was so happy. We listened to two different jazz groups and even saw Miss Sophie Lee walk by. Mom stopped her and asked if she was going to play. It turns out she has her own club down the street and often performs there. Michael and I had our portrait drawn in the club. We tried to head down to Miss Sophie Lee's club later in the night, but that club was so packed by then we couldn't get in. We went down to a Thai food place and had dinner and headed home. It was a great night, though I think my mom and dad could have stayed out all night listening to music. (Sometimes I'm a party pooper. Hopefully after I quit feeling sick all the time I'll be more fun.)
The next day we woke up, cleaned the condo and got ready to go home. It was a wonderful trip. Michael and I really reconnected after his many, many weeks out of town and it brought me home fresh and ready to parent again. It was also really special to spend that time with my parents who, while always my beloved mom and dad, are also our best friends. I don't take that for granted. I am truly a lucky girl.


Lisa said...

Great post! I'm going to New Orleans in April and am definitely going to try some of the restaurants you mention. Herbsaint look amazing!

cheris said...

Sounds like heaven! I swear I'll make it to NOLA one of these days...