Surviving the Big Easy

Sorry for the delay of my post-New Orleans shenanigans. I’m sitting here in my living room under a blanket with a space heater on full blast if that explains anything; the heat has been out since I got home. I’d give anything to be back there now with my flip flops and t-shirt and Abita Amber in hand. It seems like I really haven’t been at home since I got back from The Big Easy. Enough about that, man New Orleans was a blast. I had been once before, back in college, which is ancient history. So I was happy to go back again with a greater appreciation of food and beverage, as well as the service industry in general. Plus I needed a vacation in a bad way. I did not partake in the drinking of any hand grenades in case you were wondering. There were plenty of other beverages in which I imbibed. The great thing about New Orleans is that everything has a history or a great story behind it, especially the food and drink. The Hurricane, the Sazerac, and the Café Brulot were all invented in New Orleans; and I tried them all. If you’re in town you have to go to Pat O’Briens for a Hurricane. Yes, it’s a little touristy, but the waiters look like they just won The Masters with their green jackets. I had two amazing dinners while I was in town, albeit at two very different establishments: Herbsaint and Antoine’s. Antoine’s is definitely old New Orleans; it’s been there since 1840. Plus they invented Oysters Rockefeller, how cool is that. I think what sets places like Antoine’s and other old school restaurants in New Orleans apart is the service. The waiters in their tuxedos who have been working there forever treat it not as just a paycheck, but as their career. There is a craft in being able to serve the public for that long, plus I’m sure they make a ton more money than I do. But it was pretty awesome to get a behind the scenes tour of Antoine’s and all its history and secrets; a definite highlight of the trip. Herbsaint was equally as amazing. Who doesn’t like house made spaghetti with guanciale and a deep fried poached egg on top? The coconut custard pie was probably one of the better desserts I have had in a long time. Very simple, but delicious; and it was pretty tasty with Eagle Rare on the rocks. Of course I had a muffuleta while I was here, as well as a trip to Drago’s for charbroiled oysters. Charred oysters dripping in garlic, cheese, and butter, served with crispy bread to soak up all the goodness was another highlight of the trip. It was great just being able to walk all over the French Quarter and Bourbon Street and check out all the unique bars, stores, and antique shops, all with a beverage in hand of course. 3 for 1 beer. Enough said. Why does this not exist in Raleigh? Good thing I had my drinking shoes on, because my feet were really sore the next day. Nothing a little Bloody Mary and eggs won’t fix. I didn’t only eat and drink the entire time I was there, although that was a significant portion of it. I did check out the World War II museum. It was massive, although a little too crowded for my liking. I only spent two full days in New Orleans, but I could have spent another week there. There is so much to see and do if you love great food, unique cocktails, and old Southern history. My liver might have been a little angry at me, but it was an amazing trip. New Orleans has to be one of my favorite cities I have visited. If you haven’t been, make it your next trip, you won’t regret it.

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