After we pulled out of our spot in Orlando, FL a day later than expected due to storms in the area, we knew we needed to haul-ass to get to Sedona in time for our February 1st check-in. Long drive days and one-nighters were ahead of us and all that pulled us through was the food and drink we were about to consume as we passed through two cities known for very different, but very good culinary scenes.
First up, New Orleans.
By the time we arrived at our campsite at the Bayou Segnette State Park campground, just minutes from downtown, it was early evening and we had enough time to set-up and get to bed. However, from what we could make of the campground between our coming and going, was that it was convenient to the city, it was clean, and a nice departure from the urban surroundings with the large areas of forest and swamp land. We also heard there is good fishing there from our taxi driver, so there's that.
Because we only had a single day in New Orleans, I had mapped every stop from morning to evening, and our day completely revolved around food. If you're going to eat your way through New Orleans, here is our route which turned out to be phenomenal if I don't say so myself.
Sugarcoat your morning with a few beignets.
The morning of our tour, we got ourselves directly to one and only Cafe Du Monde. Sure, it's a tourist trap, but the beignets are delicious and the coffee is good. Plus, we amused ourselves some of the city's creatives vying for tourist dollars around the perimeter of the gated patio.
Grab yourself a drink and wander.
Walking towards Garden District through the French Quarter, we wove our way through the narrow streets lined with creole architecture complete with those quintessential ornate black balconies where visitors are seen leaning over their eggs and bloody mary's. At some point, we realized that in order to do New Orleans right, we also needed such a drink. So, we stopped at one of the many bars in the neighborhood and procured ourselves a boozey something-or-other in a plastic cup and kept walking.
Get down with some charbroiled oysters.
Now, our wandering in the French Quarter was not totally aimless and I had planned a stop along our way to refuel and to try one of city's specialty dishes - charbroiled oysters. We ended up at Acme Oyster House and oh man, the perfectly charred and cheese-ladened oysters were simply delicious!
"You have to have crawfish etouffee!"
Every time I spoke with my sister about our impending trip to NOLA, she would insist, "You have to get crawfish etoufee somewhere! And not shrimp etoufee, it must be crawfish!". So, being a good sister, I researched the best crawfish etouffee and found multiple recommendations for Bon Ton Cafe. By this time, it was around 1pm and we were just on the tail end of lunch, but the place was empty. We had a darling server to ourselves and satisfied ourselves with a shared bowl of the crawfish etouffe, complete with a dose of cream sherry on top.
Visit a cemetery.
I know, I know, this is not a food stop. Or is it? No, gross. But it is a great way to pass the time between eating and drinking. One of the compromises we made with our bodies while planning this little epicurean tour was that we would include a ton of walking. So we walked all the way from the French Quarter to Lafayette Cemetery, one of the oldest and most interesting haunts right smack dab in the center of the district.
Pig out at Cochon.
After our failure in Chicago, I'm a little sensitive about doing a city right. When it comes to food, I generally stalk every food and travel blog to make sure we get to the right place for the right food. For NOLA, I left no stone unturned and when travel/food writers for Conde Nast, Gourmet, and Bon Appetit mentioned Cochon in their visits to the city, I decided that if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. We completely devoured several courses of pork themed goodness and left glad for our recent decision NOT to become vegetarians after all.
Cap off the day with a Sazerac at the only bar named for the drink.
This one made my job easy. We needed to try a Sazerac and there is a bar in the Hotel Roosevelt named as such. Done. Reminiscent of our stand-by, the Old Fashion, we sipped our drinks and contentedly proclaimed our whirlwind visit to be a success.
Next up, Austin.