Back from New Orleans! I honestly had low expectations for this trip, because half of it consisted of affirmative action training for work (dry!!), and also because I have not been too impressed with the city during past visits. Drunkenness allover the streets, gaudy tourist shops, Southerness, and shellfish aren't high on my likes list. Previous trips I took the easy tourist route by following people around to Bourbon St., museums, and Cafe du Monde, but the town doesn't just cater to dudebros and regular tourists.
With the guidance of Yelp, Mark, B and I turned this trip into somewhat of a food odyssey. There were too many places to go, but we jammed in seven restaurants in a day and a morning. I have no desire to ever do this in Austin, but New Orleans is a bursting with a variety of good cuisine. I would have to say my favorite meal was dinner at Cochon. I wasn't planning on bringing it up to the guys, but I chatted with the mother of the owner (she was attending my training), and Mark also read good reviews on it, so we went. It was two hours of savoring and tasting each other's pork entrees while sitting at the chef's table. The food could be categorized as New Cajun/Creole, and they make their own bacon, cured meats, head cheese and whatever else. After we stumbled out of there, Mark was so full he was on the verge of throwing up. B and I left him at the hotel and we went on a very long walk past the French Quarter into Marigny. By the end of the night I was sore beyond belief from walking, but it was definitely worth it. Past all the crudeness and silliness of the French Quarter are some very quaint and lovely Victorian neighborhoods. I think I fell in love. Everything is a skip away, and you are so close to your neighbors it probably makes for better community. No manicured front lawns, porches right next to the sidewalk, balconies on almost every building, and narrow but deep floorplans. Especially in the Quarter, all the buildings are attached to each other. Austin could compare if only Hyde Park was 10 times larger, 100 years older, more compact, and had small stores and shops incorporated into the neighborhood. I am enamored with old buildings, especially since I grew up in the suburbs, and New Orleans was replete with architectural history. To me that's better than visiting a museum, because instead, you can sit in or walk right next to a relic of the past. B and I would love to live in one of those old houses with a wrought-iron balcony. Austin has hints of old-world charm, but New Orleans truly tops the cake. I don't think I would ever live there (everything I loved about it exists in a wider scale in Europe), but I now have a much better impression and opinion of the city.
Work dinner at Deanie's. Notice how everything is fried. Wasn't into it at all! They had Abita root beer on draft, which was super yum. I took home 2 platefuls of leftovers, but had to throw them away since the hotel didn't have a fridge.
View of Lake Ponchartrain from my hotel window.
Waiting in the rain to eat at Willie Mae's.
This is what the best fried chicken in the US looks like. It was tasty, and I found myself wishing I could have more the next day. We ordered some at another restaurant in the Quarter, but it was only decent.
Exploding with flavor ham hock plate at Cochon. I haven't been that full and had so much fun eating dinner in a long time. And this was the second dinner of Saturday (we went to Mother's for a debris sandwich right before).
Getting snoballs/snocones at Plum St. Snowballs. They come in Chinese takeout boxes. Realized that snocones gross me out because the syrup is super sweet, artificially flavored, and intensely fake colored. I found it pretty similar to Casey's New Orleans Snowballs off 51st and Airport. It is located in a cute neighborhood in Uptown, close to Tulane.
I know I am wordy. Here's B's succinct impression.