Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Food Lover's Paradise

And we showed little to no restraint during our four days in New Orleans.  Because we could not check into our room, we checked our bags at the front desk and headed out on foot. As I had not taken time before we left for the airport at 5:30 am to eat, I was starving.  And there is no place better than New Orleans to have an appetite.

Our first stop was the Market Cafe where we had the best Bloody Mary's, or salad in a glass as my friend, Pam Bennett calls this drink.  We also had a side of the roasted potatoes.  Since we had luncheon reservations at NOLA's, we didn't want to have the breakfast buffet even though we were very tempted.

We shopped our way through the Farmer's Market, toured the Maigny and had a second Bloody Mary at one of our favorite Quarter bars, The Gazebo, where we regrouped and listened to great jazz.  

We wandered some back streets meandering our way to lunch at NOLA's.  The hardest thing to do was make a decision on what we wanted to eat.  If we were not hungry before, we were by then as we had walked up a good appetite. 

 We ended up ordering Shrimp Remi as an appetizer, a panini for Gene and Shrimp Grits for me.  Gene tried the Aperol Negroni and I opted for a Sazerac, my first and I really liked it.  The food was, of course, simply amazing and we ate slowly to make the experience last.  We got talking with a couple next to us and it turns out the young mom taught in the same school district in St. Louis from which my daughter attended high school.  Small world.

We met up with Steve and Dee Dee back at the hotel and we unpacked while they grabbed some lunch at what was to become a fun evening drinking place, Pere Antoines, just around the corner.  The gal who tended bar was so warm and welcoming, we returned there a couple of times more during our stay.

Later that evening we headed to a lovely restaurant near our hotel to watch the Derby and have an appetizer or two along with libations.  We loved the atmosphere at Muriel's.  The fried green tomatoes were wonderful and enough to serve us for our dinner that evening.  After a roam up Bourbon, it back to our rooms and sleep.

The Place d'Armes serves an ample Continental Breakfast with croissants, assorted Danishes, fruit, juice and coffee so we ate in the courtyard of our hotel and discussed the day's plans.  Where to eat next!

We worked up that day's appetite with some retail therapy on Decatur, pausing briefly at The Gazebo for New Orleans style "lemonade" and something wonderful called an ice cream daiquiri.

 Sunday was the Cajun Zydaco Festival in Louie Armstrong Park and, while Gene rested up, Steve, Dee Dee and I headed over to the festival about 7 blocks away or more.  Lunch was red beans, rice and Cajun sausage eaten in the shade of the park.  The Zydaco music was great fun.  We made Lafitte's Black Smith Shop for a beer our last stop before heading back to the hotel.  We had dinner reservations at Delmonico's to celebrate our anniversary and my b'day and celebrate we did.

The Boudin Balls and the Grilled Oysters as appetizers were so good, we ordered seconds on the oysters.

 I had the Drum, Gene and DeeDee had the swordfish, and Steve had the Pork Chop.  Dee Dee has the bisque and said it was the best ever.  We shared a serving of grilled brussel sprouts and had Banana's Foster and a berry cobbler to share for desserts.  Stuffed and sated, we took a cab back to our hotel and rested for the next days epicurean adventure.

Now it is close to a cardinal sin not to have beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde and , not wanting to insult anyone nor sin more than we already had, we headed out Monday morning for our share.

The best part of these little treats is how the powdered sugar sticks to the roof of your mouth long after the donut like creation is gone.  We followed this up with more walking, shopping and, before we knew it, it was time guessed again.

Steve and DeeDee are avid watchers of Dives Diners etc. and try to eat at one of the featured restaurants as they travel.  This little house is located in Treme and while was on St. Anne like our hotel was over a mile or two away so we took a cab.  The place has been in the same family for generations and is currently run by the grand or maybe great grand daughter of the first owner, Willie Mae.  There is very limited seating and by the time we got there about 45 min. after it had opened for the lunch crowd, the line outside had formed. 

The dish of choice and the one Willie Mae's is most famous for is the chicken so that is what we all still my heart.  THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER. 

I chose a side of rice and green beans....yum.

We read, napped, roamed a bit after we got back and had drinks pool side wiling away the afternoon and digesting our excellent lunch.

We headed back to Pere Antoine's for early evening drinks and discussed where to dine.  We were dodging some rain showers so wanted to stay close to home.  We ended up at an old favorite, The Coffee Pot and, needless to say, we all ate light.  Steve and I had the sampler of some New Orleans standards, DeeDee had one of the bisques and Gene chose a hamburger.  We had dined here often in the past and always sat in the courtyard.  The rain forced us indoors and it was not quite the same.  The food also was not a authentic as we remembered it but good never the less.  Steve and Dee Dee had an early departure as they drove from St. Louis and wanted to be rested so we headed home again after one more stop.
We all ate the Continental breakfast the next morning, wished the Schmidts' a safe journey homeward.  Gene and I packed up our things and I walked a bit doing some last minute shopping and exploring while Gene enjoyed the courtyard in front of our room.  It was my birthday and all I wanted for my last meal in New Orleans was a muffalatta from Central Grocery where they were invented.  I picked up a half which could feed a small nation and stopped for a bottle of wine at the grocery a block or so from the hotel.  BLISS and the perfect birthday!

And then it was time for our cab ride to the airport and a fond farewell to one of our favorite cities!

I may have one more post with some random shots not included in the previous N.O. posts and will decide when I get a chance to finish downloading more pics off my phone.  Meanwhile, Bon Appetite

P.S.  The recipes for most of the menu items from NOLA's and Delmonicos are available with a search for Emeril and a look at menus from his restaurants.  So far we are gathering ingredients for Boudin balls and the grilled oysters.  I'll let you know how they turn out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Place d'Armes

Long ago and far away in a another time, I stayed at Place d'Armes when it was the Felton (or Feldon) Guest House.  It was 1/4 the size of what the place is now, no pool, about 15 rooms total and run by two eccentric Southern women who were sisters.  I have no clue to what happened to the two gals who played one upmanship with me over mint julips and other assorted drinks long ago and far away as I sat reading around the fountain...but I do want to thank them kindly.

Place d'Armes is on St. Ann and about 3 blocks from Bourbon (we outgrew the noise and crowds years ago) and two blocks from Cafe du Monde and the French Market (never outgrow that area)!  It is quiet at night and convenient but the biggest draw of is beautiful!

Our room and the same courtyard room we had 16 years ago when we shared it with the Schmidts.  This visit...we did not share!

 There is a lovely Continental Breakfast served every mourning: croissants, Danishes, fruit, and the best coffee along with juice!

I've stayed elsewhere in the Quarter but Place d'Armes is our home away from home.  And am I not just the biggest tease ever making you wait for the food post? lol  It is coming; I promise!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Four wonderful days in New Orleans

We returned on the 9th from our anniversary/my birthday trip to New Orleans.  We had not been back for about 16 years and were way over due for a taste of the Crescent City.  We squeezed so much into the four days with our friends, the Schmidts and had such a good time.

Besides eating at some of the most wonderful restaurants, both famous and not so, we also walked the streets of the Quarter and the Marginy (the Quarter's neighbor) admiring the architecture and the glitzy decorations that remain long after Mardi Gras.

Here is just a sampling of what we saw.  The food will come later...

and, what turned out to be a lovely walk with gorgeous homes....

And, what would a photo collage of New Orleans be with out the most iconic architectural building of all.

I'll be blogging about our trip over the next few days.  If you have not been to New Orleans, put a trip here on your Bucket List for sure!