This past weekend was awesome. Kyle flew in from Tucson for part of Spring break and I took a few days off from paper writing to visit New Orleans. Colby hates cities and didn't want to spend 18 hours in a car for 36 hours in a city, so he stayed home and watched the babydog. Kyle and I, on the other hand, took the opportunity to explore creole cooking and meet up with my college friend Traci.
We left on Friday mourning (not a typo) at 7:30 AM and made it to Sulphur, LA by lunch time. We found a Wendy's because we just wanted something fast and cheap. This might have been a mistake because it was overrun with a large group of middle school kids, most of whom were girls. At the register the cashier asked me if I was part of the middle school group... I apparently still look 12 (I'm 25!). We ended up in New Orleans at around 5:00 PM at the Bywater Bed & Breakfast. As per usual, the sight of a man and woman together implies marriage or togetherness and so the innkeeper asked if we actually wanted two separate beds. Yes, yes we did.
We went out the first night and went to Luke, a brasserie-style restaurant. One of my motivations to go to New Orleans in the first place is my major crush on John Besh. This restaurant did not disappoint. We started by sharing the pate of Louisiana rabbit and duck livers topped with a muscato gelee, which was served with whole grain mustard, fennel relish, something that was pickled that we never did figure out, and sweet pickles.
The muscato gelee wasn't so much to our liking, but once you get around that, it was awesome. The pate was incredibly rich and the whole grain mustard and fennel relish helped to cut through it and made it a wonderful appetizer. This was really way too much for two people, but it was definitely a really great choice.
Kyle ordered drum meuniere, which was served with roasted vegetables. I don't remember if I tried it. I think I did. It didn't matter, though, because in terms of this dinner, I totally won.
I ordered the moules et frites. These were Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with garlic, thyme, butter, and wine and served with fries. The fries were delicious, but this was all about the mussels. So. freaking. good. Once I ate a layer or so off, I was able to get to the delicious sauce in the bottom of the vessel. Dipping the mussels in it was divine. Dipping the fries in it was even better. Dipping the bread in it? I don't even have words to describe how delicious. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
Afterward, we wandered around the French Quarter for a bit, but mostly we stayed on Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street has been described like Sixth Street, but longer and filthier. I knew this in the back of my head, but I just wasn't prepared. Bourbon Street-style drinking involves things called "hand grenades" and "hurricanes" and some other concoction that's served in a fish bowl. The bars don't have to close at 2 AM, unlike everywhere else I've ever lived and patrons are allowed to wander out of the bars as long as they have "to go" vessels (i.e. not glass bottles). Not that anyone cares whether or not there are glass bottles. Kyle and I walked up and down and eventually got to Tropical Isle and we each had a hand grenade. I have no idea what's in it, but holy crap it had a lot of alcohol.
After finishing ~3/4 of our drinks, we found ourselves at Pat O'Brien, home of the hurricane and a dueling piano bar. I love dueling piano bars more than is reasonable for someone my age. I think part of it has to do with watching old people get crazy drunk... and then singing. The place was packed and we were seated next to a gay couple from Houston. I decided that I needed something slightly less alcoholic than the hand grenade, so I opted for a beer. Kyle wanted to try the signature hurricane. After making it through about half of the beer and half of the hurricane, the couple decided that we looked thirsty and ordered us one. At that point I knew I was in trouble. The next morning was rough, but well worth the night before. But this is a story for another post.