Walking off the plane, on the ramp, I noticed one thing: warmth.
Flying from Minnesota to New Orleans in mid March is climate change in rapid motion.
Paysh and I were both in jeans. I had on a button down, long sleeve shirt. I was beginning to perspire before we got to baggage claim. But enough of that boring shit.
We were met by our hosts, Kendra and Michael, friends of ours through mutual friends and through my first book, who made the entire trip possible, and so I’d like to say, HELL YEAH, and THANK YOU, to them for this week.
We arrived around 8pm, so were a bit behind the eightball to begin partying in the Big Easy, but Kendra and Michael quickly wisked us to the heart of the city, where we grabbed ‘traveller’ drinks at their posh hotel, The Roosevelt, and then dove into the Quarter to go get a very late dinner.
I’ve never been to New Orleans, and Paysh’s first and only trip was when she was young, and it was more of a ‘drive thru’ experience.
The Quarter was buzzing, as I suppose it always is. We wove our way through the narrow streets, scattered with debris of various kinds: some solid, some liquid. We alternated between the sidewalk, and the middle of the street, dogging people, cars, garbage cans.
The Quarter is a place of many sights and sounds that are strange to those of us not from here. They’re also delightful, simply because they’re different. The smells are intoxicating, probably because they’re a mix of bakery, grilled meats, hot grease, and the scent of old streets, continuously stained for 300 plus years with booze, and other liquids.
Music is everywhere. There are musicians nearly on every corner. The Quarter is a cliche in action. And it fuckin’ rocks.
We finally arrived at our dinner destination: K Pauls.
It’s an old building, as you would expect, with french windows and doors. We were quickly ushered to our table–since we took the last reservation of the night–and were served our drinks. I don’t even remember the name of mine, but it was very good, especially on the tail of the cup of bourbon I’d just slammed outside, plus the rest of Paysh’s drink.
I didn’t know before we got there, that this place was the famous Paul Prudhomme’s restaurant. If I had, i would have been even more excited for dinner. Kendra and Michael informed us, however, and then I was really looking forward to the food.
The bread basket was almost worth the trip, to be honest. The jalepeno cheddar rolls were amazing, as well as everything else in the basket.
For dinner, I ordered the creole. I don’t know the name of Paysh’s dish, or Kendra’s, but I tasted everything on the table, and it was all orgasmic. The creole was fucking wonderful.
If you live in frozen, Yankeeland, like me, getting fresh shrimp is next to impossible, so I’m gonna be eating a boatload of it this week.
After dinner, we drove to our home for the week: Kendra and Michael’s little condo on Sofie Wright Place, just south of the Garden District. It’s a cute little neighborhood. There are three bars and one wine bar within spitting distance. When I say that, I mean I could ACTUALLY spit from our balcony outside the bedroom, over the wall into the courtyard of one of the bars: Down the Hatch, which is an Irish pub, owned by a Cuban dude. Yeah, it works. Probably on works in N’awlins, but it works.
The next morning, I was burning daylight, and slept in till just before 8. To be fair, I’m suffering from a cold, and I went to bed at 2am the first night. So, after 6 hours of sleep, I needed two things: breakfast, and my sweet tea. Paysh got up soon after I did, and started on making eggs and toast, while I stumbled out the door, round the corner to the coffee shop (it’s really only about 50 yards away), to get Paysh her cup of joe, and while I was there managed to get a big cup of iced tea, into which I pumped some simple syrup, and off I went, back for breakfast.
We ate scrambled eggs and toast in the little courtyard behind the condo, while listening to French music on Spotify.
About 10, Michael dropped over and we spent the morning just hanging out, talking, drinking sweet tea that I brewed old school style, like my mama makes, in a pot. I had to walk down to the little store a block away to get a bag of ice for it.
The store is pretty, interesting, we’ll say. There are bars on every window and door, stuff strewn around the aisles, a defunct butcher/deli area in the back, but it works if you just want a bag of ice. So I paid the friendly Chinese lady and carried my ice bag to the condo on my shoulder, gathering friendly looks from people as I went. I was wearing the kilt. I always get smiles when I wear the nine yards.
We grabbed Kendra from the hotel, and headed to the Garden District to have brunch at another, old hotel: The Columns. This place has been operating as a hotel since 1889 I think?
It is amazing. We had a five course brunch on the front porch of this place, watching the streetcars go by, in wonder at the decorated trees (they all have Mardi Gras beads hanging from them), and just taking in the warm spring air, while listening to a jazz guitar player, sitting right behind us.
I had more bread, from another abundant basket, with plenty of butter.
Then came salads, which I happily handed over to Michael. What I was waiting for was the Shrimp n Grits. It was pretty much a sexual experience. And the Creme Brule topped it off, along with the mimosa, of course. Pinky fingers were extended the entire time.
The afternoon was pretty lazy after all that food. Kendra and Michael, sadly, had to drive back to Lafayette, and so Pash and I took an hour long nap.
For dinner, we walked right next door to Down the Hatch, the Cuban Irish pub, where we had cold beer on their kick ass patio, while watching the Blue Devils and the Gamecocks battle it out on a huge TV. I tried my best not to watch it much, but it was difficult.
We had the special, Cuban pulled pork sandwich with fries. It was very good. I’d like to get a taste of it when they pull it out of the smoker, before they pull it and cover it. It was a bit steamed, but very good.
We took a short walk around the block, went home, watched some stories for a bit, then went to bed.
If you enjoyed this one, check out my other Big Easy Adventures: