Ever notice how your head just changes on vacation? At home, I have sense. I know that I need my veggies and fried food is like a once a week thing max and exercise happens when it should and a little whiskey or a little wine is also a once-ish a week thing and certainly not to be mixed in big fruity cocktails. Once I leave town, my head changes. All of a sudden it’s ok that my dinner consisted of fried pickles, cajun fries, and a crab cake po boy one night. Maybe that daquiri or 4 in the big souvenier cups isn’t absolutely unthinkable. It’s that sort of fuzzy logic that makes me glad I usually take short vacations and that my instinct is to IMMEDIATELY snap back to my healthy lifestyle as soon as I’m home.
So, yeah. WARNING! FOOD PORN AND TALES OF IRRESPONSIBLE DRUNKEN DEBAUCHERY TO FOLLOW!
Did I lose anyone? Yeap, didn’t think so.
Day 1: Thursday
The plan was to head out at 5am. The alarm went off at 4:30 to which we both groaned and flopped back over (I couldn’t fall asleep until after midnight and Zliten was even later, even though we both really tried to tire ourselves out that day). Finally we got up around 5:10 and headed out around 6 am. 20 minutes out of town, we realized we forgot to leave the door in such a way that our lizard feeder-person could get in the door so we headed back. Finally, about 2 hours late, we were back on the road. That’s about par for the course for us.
We first drove to Houston and hit some post-rush hour traffic. It wasn’t *too* bad, but I’m happy we avoided it on the way back. Oddly enough, Zliten elected to drive the whole way. I guess he just really likes driving my car or hates when I drive. One of the two. We had a Jason’s Deli stop for some healthy lunch (as we figured it was the last healthy food we’d get). Once we got to Louisianna things got super green (poor Texas and our exceptional drought) and there were lots of little casinos and adult shops. Coming from TX to LA was just about like leaving California and going to Nevada. Any of you in games, my first instinct on that sentance was to say “zoning” into Nevada. Oh yeah – and just about every restaurant claimed to be the “original” cajun restaurant. Perplexing!
We drove over a bunch of bridges that seemed to go on forever. Hey, if anyone was wondering, Louisianna is pretty wet! Who knew? Then, we finally got into town and found our Hotel. The city seemed sort of familiar in a way (and I’ve never been there) like some of the little parts of San Francisco. I had been warned by a lot of people that it was a dirty place and that things might be all shut down still being rebuilt from Katrina – at least in the super touristy areas, not so. But venturing outside of the French Quarter or casino/warehouse district – it was kinda rough looking. Only half the shops were open and there were a lot of buildings literally falling over. But, upon the advice of one of our first bartnders, we stayed in the touristy areas lest we’d expect to be mugged.
The hotel. Oh the hotel. I’m not entirely sure I ever want to book a room this nice again, as sometimes it was hard to leave it. The bed was probably more pillowtoppy and cushy than ours at home. We had a super hi-def flat screen tv and even a bathroom TV and phone. The shower had 4 nozzles that sprayed different ways. There were super cushy robes available for use. The decor was awesome. Oh, and somehow we even got to stay on the top floor with an AMAZING view.
But leave it we did. We headed to a place called Bourbon Rocks, which incidentally had a CRAPPY bourbon selection, but also had a fun band playing. We hung out there for a while and watched a group of people from St. Louis get super drunk on 2 for 1 beers. After soaking in a little sun, music, and booze, we were in need of food. However, we decided to head down to see the river. Literally saw the river, said hi, took a picture, and then headed back. We hit up another little corner bar and got more drinks, spicy fried cheese sticks, and found some slot machines. I didn’t have much luck on this trip, but Zliten kept turning a dollar into a few and once paid for dinner with it. Nice place, great happy hour, but there was much more to see/eat/drink, so we moved on.
Next, we walked down a street that apparently was the art gallery street, and we mosied in and out oohing and aahing. We inquired in one of the galleries about the price of something and the dude spent the next HOUR trying to sell us something and wouldn’t let us leave. Apparently they didn’t know they were not exactly speaking with people with extra money, but it was kinda fun to try to be coerced. Also, we definitely got a nice sobering break from the bars. After finally getting out of there, we made it to the R bar, which our good friend’s brother was bartending. Things got a little hazy there, but Zliten annoyed the DJ and we were well taken care of, and invited back for a 6pm shrimp boil (which we sadly did NOT make it to).
We walked back to the hotel from the farfarfar side of the French Quarter, and stopped at the little divey bar across the street from the hotel. The bartender there was pretty kick ass and the cocktails were strong and stylishly poured. I devoured a shrimp po boy (fried shrimp on french bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayo) and some fries. They were totally diet fries. We did a Jaegermeister shot with the bartneder and that pretty much ended the night out – we were done (stick a fork in us).
Day 2 : Friday
Somehow, after all that silliness, I was up and out of bed at around 9:30 am (I think we called it a night around – 4? 5? ). I do believe it was the sheer amount of caffeine I had the night before. We got up and hiked down to Cafe Beignet and I got the reasonable, healthy breakfast of a large coffee with half and half, an order of beignets (fried donuts with powdered sugar), and a muffaletta (ham, salami, and cheese sandwich with olive spread). We enjoyed the morning reading the paper and enjoying the not-100-degrees NOLA weather outside.
Then, it was totally pool time. We swam for about an hour, which felt like 10 minutes. The pool was a perfect warm-but-not-bathwater temp, and was even somehow cushy on all the sides and the bottom. So considerate of them! The hot tub was out of order and the pool bar never seemed to be open, but the hotel WAS in the middle of a remodel and we couldn’t complain. The outdoor pool area was on the 4th floor, and had an awesome view of the buildings around there. There was a church with gorgeous stained glass windows and we could see where somethingawful.com was hosted (because they were reporting live from there during Katrina). It was fun playing peek-a-boo with all the people looking out from their rooms. I still had some super twitchy energy to burn after that so we headed to the gym. Super fuzzy picture, but notice each cardio machine has it’s own tv (with cable)? Um, swanky…
After the gym, we got dressed and headed out for a late lunch/early dinner. We walked down bourbon street again and found a nice little homey restaurant that was reasonably priced and looked like it used to be an old house inside. Zliten had the BEST red beans and rice there, and I noshed on a delicious stuffed crab claw and some heavenly mac and cheese. Totally healthy, I know.
Then…we decided it was time for a hand grenade. I think I’ll end it here for now. Tune in next time for part 2! If you just want to check out the pictures, you can do so here!