Here’s the continuation of my vacation stories!
Oh, jester bar and your many, magical potions...
I had spent the last week reading up on things to do, places to go, places to avoid, what to eat and drink, etc. and I had made a list. Hand grenades are pretty much something that one must have at least once. The bar that sells them brings them in pre-mixed and they are a secret recipe. If any other bars are caught selling something called a hand grenade, they get in trouble (plus whoever reports it gets a 250 dollar bounty). I’m usually skeptical of fruity strong drinks but this one packed a g’ddam punch. One drink and I went from sober to a bit tipsy – which with my Russian tolerance just doesn’t happen. There was a dude playing guitar and singing, and he was really quite good!
Next, we made our way to the carousel bar in Hotel Montelione – which was pretty disorienting in a sweet way. You sit at the bar and it rotates around slowly. It took us about a revolution and a half to finish our 8 dollar vodka and cranberry drinks. That drink price was disconcerting in a not-so-sweet way, so we moved on, after I got my fill of the snack mix they had out. That was sweet and not disorienting!
Hurricane the size of my HEAD!
On the list after that was the jester bar, as Zliten had declared that we get our touristy, fruity drinks out of our system in one night. The jester bar was the next stop to get our namesake jester drink (Zliten is pretty much obsessed with jesters so it was a natural thing). We met a bartender dude there that had been up 30 hours straight and also was a sidekick owner. We talked phones a bunch while we drank our drinks. They were pretty much full of kiwi strawberry, love, and rocket fuel. After a bunch of brain freeze and the sun going down, we headed out.
Next was Pat O’Brien’s where the original hurricane drink, uh, originated. This drink was so the size of my head, even more than the drink was on the cruise. Somehow, this was the most serious drink of the night even though the others definitely contained a ridiculous amount of jet fuel. This place was super cool because there were fountains on FIRE! Also adding to the supercoolness was the hundreds of individuals dressed in red lingerie who were in town for a running/drinking event of some sort. I am totally going to have to look that up. Apparently the “race” (though they said they hated calling it that) had a beer stop every mile and they had 6 hours to hit up as many of them as they could or something. Sounds like a recipe for dehydration – but too fun.
Recursive Mirror is Recursive...
Next, Zliten decided on another hand grenade. If I would have had a little sense in me I might have protested. But I didn’t. Went back to the Tropical Isle and the same dude was singing and guitaring with a keyboardist this time. They were even better! We snagged two more seats at the bar and found a recursive mirror! It was quite a trip indeed.
After that one, I wasn’t doing so well. I needed food (note that it was encroaching upon midnight and I had only eaten a late lunch). We ended up hitting a Krystal because I was getting desperate (which is fast food… note that I have not eaten a fast food meal in about 3 years). While Zliten was standing in line I started feeling really rough and started towards the bathroom to pray to the porcelian god, and three sorrority sisters cut in front of me and ran in. I then decided it was time to go back to the hotel RIGHT THEN. I power walked back and made it to the room and removed the offending elements from my
Evil, evil little man-drink...
body. Food then came. I enjoyed the hell out of it, full fat mayonaise, nasty fast food beef-like burger, and greasy salty frozen-from a package fries and all.
I was done. I sat on the bed for quite a while. Zliten decided he was going back out and I decided that even though I was done drinking, I was on vacation and I was going to hang out. So I rose from the dead and we got him another jester (in a souvenier jester glass this time) and then some blue death drink which ended HIS night. Sleep was imminent.
Zliten, waiting for the trolley that never came...
We slept in pretty late. Combined with about 8 hours sleep in the last 2 days and the curious events of the night before, it was about 10:30 before I got out of bed and close to 11:30 before I got Zliten up. We decided it was the day to hit Emeril’s restaurant for lunch. We walked the 3 miles down there, and enjoyed seeing a different part of the city we hadn’t yet traversed. And… we got there and it was closed on the weekends until dinner. Boo! We were pretty hungry (and both were craving something including freaking VEGETABLES) and had wanted to hit the casino, so the buffet it was.
Pretty much the OPPOSITE of our plans for lunch – instead of gourmet, we were all about the big troughs. It did give us a chance to eat the biggest salad ever and then sample some regional fare (though I’m sure it was crappy regional faire, I got to taste jambalya and seafood gumbo). We ended up gambling for a while after – up, down, up, down…though we were only playing penny slots, so it was like wooo! up 3 dollars, noooo down 4 dollars. Just fun to play. I think we spent 10 bucks to be amused for 2 hours. Then, it was back to the hotel. I think it was to change shoes, but really… just to visit the comfy bed and tv for a bit.
One thing on my list was riding the trolley around to see the sights. Being that it was nearing late afternoon on our last
Me, waiting for Godot. Or the trolley. Both had the same outcome.
day, we decided it was time. On the way back to the hotel from lunch, it had passed by us. No one on it, no one waiting. Now, it was totally packed on the street waiting and after about 20 mins we gave up on it. I wasn’t sure we would make it on the trolley the first time, and I didn’t want to spend our last day of vacation waiting in line. So instead, we hoofed it.
We decided to head back down to the water and see if we could find somewhere to eat overlooking the river. We happened into a mall and walked through soaking up the AC. This thing was a freaking half a mile long. At the end, we found a place called the History of Food and Drink Museum. We were intrigued, it was only 5 bucks, so that’s how we spent our early evening. It was really cool to see the history of the regional food (like po boys, red beans and rice, crawfish, etc), and though we rushed through the bar exhibit, it was neat to see the first bar bottles of booze, stuff on prohibition (they showed a book with the title “Four Swallows”, and it had 4 test tube size shots inside) and some of the historic bars around the area, one of which was at the hotel where we were staying. We resolved to have at least ONE drink there that night.
After they shooed us out because they were closing, we were ready to eat
I give this museum 2 thumbs up!
inanimate objects, so we headed to a place we saw just outside the mall called the Crazy Lobster. It was on the water, had some fun live music playing, and sounded yummy. I know not what possessed me, but this was the place I got the crazy meal I talked about during the intro, sharing an appetizer of fried pickles (seriously, try this once in your life… it sounds gross but it’s AWESOME), and an entree of a crab cake po boy (which was HUGE, I could only eat half the sandwich, I ate the crab cake out of the other half and left the bread) and cajun fries (which I didn’t finish but could have finished a lot LESS). Our stomachs settled as we walked back and we hit the pool one more time, marvelling at the pretty lights and wishing we could take it home with us.
Then we got all swankified and headed down to the hotel bar. Unfortunately, it was WAY too crowded, so we walked up and down looking for some of the dive bars on my list. They were all either crowded or further than we wanted to go. The
At the Alibi.
last one we hit, called the Alibi, was perfect. Not too crowded, really close to the hotel, cheap drinks, and Mad TV playing! We hung out there for a while and talked to some of the red lingerie-clad runners, one who said he had been up and drinking since yesterday afternoon. He was looking pretty ragged.
After a bit, we headed back to the hotel, and success! We got seats. The rest of the night was summed up with my facebook status update from my phone:
Went back to the hotel bar and got a sauzerac which was <3 and is now enjoying the dive bar across the street. Do not want to go home tomorrow. Considering draining my savings taking up residence in the roosevelt hotel and drinking in nola. Will surely reconsider tomorrow.
So yeah. Also, there were cheese fries. We got to bed somewhere around 2-3ish and planned to be up bright and shiny to leave at 9am.
We bolted out of bed just after 10am. Oops. One more shower in the awesome bathroom, packed up our stuff, and
Just before the horizontal rain...
waved bye bye to the pretty pretty room. We checked out, got the car from valet, and then went in search of a gas station. Half of them were still closed. Just outside the French Quarter, things looked way different. Buildings collapsing, windows boarded up… very sad. We drove back through all the cool bridges and shared a turkey sandwich for lunch got stuck in a very SCARY rainstorm. Seriously, it was almost horizontal rain and we could barely see the car in front of us. I was so very happy I wasn’t driving.
After getting back under sunny skies, we decided to take a different route home and skipped Houston in favor of a more direct route through little towns and smaller roads. We had a BBQ pit stop for dinner and saw it fit to have more turkey. Was delicious! Had to convince Zliten to stop instead of driving straight through, but it was for the good of everyone involved as we were getting cranky.
We got through months of podcasts on the way there and back. Zliten drove the whole time so I let him pick what he wanted to listen to. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful (we attempted to stop at the Blue Bell factory about an
Hey there, bbq (to be)...
hour outside town and it was sadly closed), except we ran out of gas RIGHT as we were pulling into the gas station 7 miles from home. Yay for hybrids, as all it did was go into straight electric mode. If you’re curious, we made it there and (essentially) back on a 10 gallon tank of gas each way, and it was about 525 miles. Do I love my Prius? Yes I do!
We got home, hugged the couch, watched a movie, and then hit the bed. Great vacation, would definitely do it again. I’d probably consider flying instead of driving and maybe giving myself one more day either ON vacation or after I got home.
Damage done: gained about 5 lbs (as of this morning). I’m going to guess about 1.5 is actual calorie overage, and the rest is bloat due to weird eating. I got all huffy about it today but I will give myself another week before I panic. Miles walked – 15 (Zliten kept track). Different bars hit – 12. Number of different fried food items I ate – 12. Number of awesome vacations had: 1.