Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mr NYC in New Orleans

Being Mr NYC (pretentious I know), you might think I have no use for other cities. Quite wrong. I love all great cities and, after NYC and San Francisco, New Orleans is easily my next favorite. Last weekend my pals and I went to NO – home to Fats Domino and Lestat the Vampire – for a weekend of food and frivolity. So here it is, the long overdue New Orleans wrap-up:

Day One: NYC to NOLA is expensive -- hence the need for cheaper connecting flights (only in America are multiple flights cheaper than one). So we’re scheduled to go from NYC to Detroit to Nawlins. Flight from Dee-troi is dee-layed. Miss connecting flight. Rebooked to New Orleans through Charlotte, NC. Told I’ll get bumped to first class on both flights with one of my pals. Get to gate for Charlotte: THEY LIED! It’s coach for me to Charlotte (first class to NO only. Okay!) My classy friend in first class sends me back a complimentary glass of wine and a Twix bar (forgot how good chocolate and red wine go together; must make part of my decadence diet). So now we’ve zig-zagged from the East to the Midwest back to the East to get South. This is the kind of route only George W. Bush could love.

Touchdown in New Orleans. We meet one of our friends at the gate who had just gotten in on another flight. Apparently he caught the eye of one his flight’s flight attendants for she dropped him off a note that read:



We congratulate him. If I ever got a note like that, it’d be ten years of therapy right there.

Cab it to our hotel in the French Quarter. It’s a great hotel, several old converted townhouses, and we got one with lots of space and a patio in the back. We meet up with our other friends from across the USA who had already gotten there and we head off to Jacques-Imo’s for dinner. Phenomenal food! I have the crawfish etouffee and we also have some delicious stuffed shrimp and the famous alligator cheesecake. Dinner done, we stroll through a pulsating Bourbon Street with lots of loud, partying people who prove that Mardi Gras never really ends. We stop at the legendary Pat O’s and order a round of Hurricaines in tall glasses.
While sipping our beverages and bantering, a young blond gal comes up to us. Why, she asks, did we get our Hurricaines in glasses while she and her friends only got them in plastic cups?

“’Cause we put out!” one of my friends jokes.

“I put out,” says the girl. Needless to say, we’re all ears.

She then formally introduces herself and invites us all to join her and her friends at their table. Playing it cool, we idle for a bit (don't want to look like dogs in heat) and then finally go over to their table. We talk to the ladies for a bit and are shocked to discover that they … are … boring … And when it’s finally revealed that nearly all the girls and all the guys in this situation are either married or shacked up with someone, the flames of conversation die out quick.
No worries, It’s now 3 AM, the bar is closing, and we’re tired. Back to the hotel. Day one is over – and already memorable.

Day Two: get up around noon and head over to the world famous CafĂ© Du Mond. What do we have for breakfast? Must you ask? Coffee and beignes are downed by all of us with gusto (naturally the powdered sugar gets everywhere). After that, it’s a stroll around beautiful Jackson Square, then a bunch of us are hungry again. We go to Napoleon House nearby and have some delicious Italian muffalettas. If you’ve never had these, they are sandwiches with multiple Italian meats (like Genoa ham, salami, sausage, etc.) plus melted cheese. Unlike a panini, these aren’t pressed and they also have some vegetable in them like chopped broccoli and spinach. They are out of this world delicious, a perfect mid-day snack.

Return to the hotel where we shower, change, and head over to August’s for dinner. We consume a five-course wine pairing dinner, and our meal consists of caviar, pork bellies, and Kobe beef amongst other delicacies. It was classy, and tasteful, and out of this world.

Next, it’s back to Bourbon Street where we hit multiple bars and drink various beers and liquors. And how do we end the night? Why, with MORE food of course! Around 3 AM we find a funky little diner and consume burgers and apple pie. Then, all of us in a serious food and booze stupor, it’s back to the hotel.

Day Three: we wake up to CHAOS. The impending East Coast storms have canceled many of our flights. Cell phones are working overtime, airline 800 numbers are being called endlessly, some of us are lucky and get rebooked, some us not so much. This doesn’t stop us, however, from having a delicious farewell lunch back in the French Quarter. I have a Gumbo Poopa which is gumbo in a bread bowl. Did you also know that you can get a dozen fresh oysters on the half shell for $12 down in New Orleans? A steal!

Friends and I head to the airport. We fly to Memphis where we’re forced to spend the night in an airport hotel. That being the case, we take a cab to Corky’s and have a delicious BBQ dinner of dry baby-back ribs. They were so good and rich that I was unable to finish them all but WOW! They were awesome …

Next morning, we hear it’s snowing like crazy in NYC. We expect our flight to be canceled yet again. But miracle of miracles … it’s ON TIME. We’re good to go! One of our friends (the man who got the note) wasn’t supposed to be on our flight but he managed to get on, and lucky man that he is, GETS INTO FIRST CLASS! GETS A DELICIOUS MUSHROOM OMELETTE BREAKFAST WHILE ME AND MY OTHER PAL ARE STUCK WITH CRAPPY COFFEE IN COUCH. ARGGGGGHHHHH!
But no hard feelings.

Our flight lands in NYC on time, early Monday afternoon. You’ve never seen anything so beautiful as the sight of the whole city down below you, blanketed with snow. We land, bid adieu to each other, and thus ended one of the more memorable trips of my life.

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