Wednesday, December 12, 2007
New Orleans Rises
Actually, New Orleans is still about the same height it always was from everything I remember, but downtown and the French Quarter never did flood, even during the worst of Katrina. Anyway, just got back from a few days there where I had a great time, but pretty much walked my legs right off. Yep, that's right, I'm walking around on nubs now.
They had Katrina tours you could take, right from the hotel where we stayed, downtown, across the street from Harrah's. I didn't take one because I sorta felt like it was battening on somebody else's misery. Maybe it's not, but I felt that way. And after the four hours of walking we did on Saturday, I was afraid any tour might involve more of that, and I wanted to know exactly how much walking I was going to do and where I was going.
The St. Charles Street streetcar is back in operation, but it only goes out to Napoleon Street, about half as far as its normal route. I didn't think the Garden District was under water, which is mostly past Napoleon, but maybe it did get wet. The route out to Napoleon Street had just recently reopened, but Copeland's, a restaurant on that corner we really liked, was all boarded up and didn't look like anybody had any intentions of re-opening it. We did ride the streetcar, if you couldn't tell. Didn't take my camera out that day, though, and when I did, the streetcars were rather elusive.
The hotel where we stayed was maybe half a mile from the French Quarter. It took us about ten minutes to walk down to the Cafe du Monde on Sunday morning. There was a line waiting to get in at the Cafe du Monde, however, and no line at the little Cafe Beignet across the street, so we--the fella, me and one of his co-workers--crossed the street and had our beignets and coffee there. Except I was the only one who had beignets (the fella being allergic to wheat), and I had milk with mine. The pregnant lady had decaf caffe latte, and the fella had ham and eggs. Which you can't get at Cafe du Monde, so really, the alternate was a better choice for us.
I had beignets every morning we were in New Orleans. Frankly, I pigged out the whole time we were there, though pigging out on fish isn't quite as piggy as pigging out on...well, pigs. Or cows. The hotel backed up to the riverfront mall, and there was a little Cafe du Monde branch office on the first floor of the mall, that opened up an hour before the rest of the mall did. So Monday and Tuesday, I walked over to the mall and had my beignets there. Sat outside and watched the river. (That was the view--the cruise ship wasn't always there leaving port, but that's the bridge over to Algiers...)
The rest of this might as well be a list of what I ate too. Saturday night, we took the college folks to dinner at Carmelo's--corner of Toulouse and Decatur, a couple of blocks from Jackson Square. Italian-style fish. The fella and I shared some calamari (the kind with squiggles included), then had redfish with a fresh tomato-caper sauce, and I had my very first cannelloni, believe it or not. Deelish.
Sunday night, we had dinner with an old friend from the fella's doctoral class who's a bigwig in Kentucky now. Went to Ralph and Kakoo's on Toulouse Street, and--after some fried crawdad tails (aka Cajun popcorn) (our friend got his first taste of crawfish) I dined upon the Shrimp Henry, which the Chef Henry apparently made up that night. It was grilled shrimp stuffed with cheesy spinach stuffing over angel hair pasta with Rockefeller sauce on top. Very yummy.
Then Monday night, we went out with the college folks again, to a place called Tommy's in the warehouse district. On Tchoupitoulas (I may have left a few vowels out of that streetname, or moved them around in the wrong places, but that looks really close...) Street. Tommy's had Italian overtones, but wasn't too, too Italian. At Tommy's, I had a Caesar salad, then had Veal Sorrentina, with eggplant and cheese and Marsala mushroom sauce on top. (I can get fish & shrimp here, but veal is harder to come by.) It came with these really neat matchstick sweet potatoes cooked almost dry--really good, and different. Then the pregnant lady and I each had creme brulee and the other lady in the group had strawberries with homemade ice cream.
This doesn't count the fudge I bought that I snacked on way too much. They had it in New Orleans praline flavor, and it tastes JUST like pralines. I told the fella that the chocolate fudge was for me and the praline was for him...but I'm eating too much of the praline flavor too. There are a couple of candy shops downtown here...good thing I don't go downtown too often, huh?
I did finish my Christmas shopping..."best of the best" Louisiana cookbooks and specialty measuring spoons. And I wandered the French Quarter and took lots of pictures at the perfect time of day to get some good shadows and shots.
I also got a little writing done. Not much, but a few pages. Still working on the SF story, though I need to switch to the WWII story long enough to get my pages done for the month. Don't know if the brain is working that way though. I'm writing stuff, but may have to slash the whole of it. Oh well.
Have one more week before the daughter, s-i-l and grandboy come for the holidays. She's supposed to be bringing the tamale recipe. Need to buy a pork roast to cook for the filling...or maybe brisket. Brisket makes good tamales too... but you GOT to have tamales for Christmas Eve, or it's just not Christmas...
Cold front supposed to be moving in today. It's been hot. Hot in New Orleans (okay, it was mostly just humid, but that made ME hot) and hot at home. I'm ready for that cold front to get here.