August 26, 2013

New Orleans, Days 3 & 4

Since everyone and their mother will most likely be talking about how uncomfortable and confusing Miley Cyrus' performance was last night at the VMAs, I think I'll steer clear of all that and leave it at this. Miley, go home, you're drunk.

Instead, let's try to erase those disturbing images of her and her foam finger from our minds with pretty pictures of New Orleans. I present you with days three and four.
Day three of our trip began with a visit to Croissant D'Or, a lovely little French bakery located on Ursulines Street. Our friend Jen highly recommended it and suggested that we try the almond croissants. They did not disappoint, nor did the brioche, chocolate croissants, espresso, or chocolate cappuccino. This little place could give Claude (of Patisserie Claude on W 4th) a run for his money. After thoroughly enjoying our pastries we walked to back towards our hotel to attend the jazz brunch at The Court of the Two Sisters. We sat in the grand dining room as that is where the musicians were. It was too hot to sit outside in their lovely courtyard. The brunch was set up as a buffet so we got to sample a wonderful amount of creole style food that we otherwise would have not gotten to try. JD very much enjoyed his first taste of turtle soup, I could not bring myself to try it, and a giant plate of desserts. My favorite dish was the creole corn salad, it was spicy, but not overly so. The cayenne peppers created a slow burn that didn't linger too long after or overpower the rest of the flavors. I told our server how much I enjoyed it and he brought out the recipe with our bill. Everyone in New Orleans was so sweet.

After brunch we walked over to Saint Louis Cemetery #1 to visit the famous tomb of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. We arrived some time after 1pm and the sun was hot. It didn't take long to find her tomb for it is decorated with X's, scrawled on the white cement by visitors in exchange for good luck and wishes. I felt that we should leave something. The experience of visiting a cemetery for sightseeing made me feel uncomfortable so we left her two nickels, my favorite American coin, one for each of us. We continued to wander around the cemetery, feeling somber and reading the names on the tombs. We looked for the tomb of Homer Plessy but couldn't find it. Though the photos JD took while there are beautiful, I do not feel it is appropriate to post them.

We were nearly soaked by the time made it back to Bourbon Street and stopped in one of the many bars to get a hurricane in one of the tall styrofoam cups. It came out as slush, full of sugar and difficult to drink. We carried them back to the hotel but I couldn't stand the taste and stashed mine in the fridge incase I had a change of heart later. I did not. We went up to the pool to enjoy the afternoon sun before our big dinner.

Before we left for New Orleans my mother, cousin, and uncle all insisted that we have dinner at Commander's Palace and I'm so happy that they did. We arrived for our seven o'clock reservation and were greeted at the door by a staff of six or seven. We were then lead through doors marked "yes" and "no", across the kitchen where a happy group sat in a booth, drinking wine and watching their dinner be prepared, through the courtyard garden and to our table in the enclosed dining room. For dinner JD ordered the pecan encrusted gulf fish with a creamy corn sauce and I the fig braised quail with bacon and jalepeno cornbread stuffing. My meal was part of a price fixed menu that included a salad and dessert of my choosing. My salad came at the same time as our appetizer, oysters and absinthe nestled inside a puff pastry dome. JD offered me an oyster in the beginning and the next time I looked up he was on the last one. We were supposed to share the dish but he had quickly forgotten and consumed the entire thing on his own. I reminded him of this and we laughed. He blamed my salad for the confusion but really, anything with a puff pastry is not safe when left in his hands. For dessert we both had the creole bread pudding souffle, which needs to be ordered twenty minutes in advance. Everything was so unbelievably delicious. We highly recommend paying a visit to Commander's Palace.

The next morning, day four, we went back to Croissant D'Or for a late breakfast. They were out of brioche by the time we arrived so I opted for turkey, lettuce, and tomato on a croissant instead and tried some of JD's raspberry and almond croissants too. After breakfast we walked down the street to explore the French Market. On our way back to the hotel the sky opened up. We ducked into shops here and there to stay dry, one of them being the Goorin Brothers Hat Shop. We have been to the one on Bleecker St. and since Julian had been so excited when we told him that there were now shops in New York, we wanted to have a look around. While there the power went out for a few minutes. The workers got nervous and locked the doors but said that the power shouldn't be out for long, the city was on top of the power outages, and they were right. The lights flickered back on minutes later and we continued making our way back to the hotel. Most of the walk was covered but the last stretch to the door was not and by then it was a full downpour. We ran through the doors and went to the room where we had checked our bags at the hotel to dry off and change. We then sat at the storied Carousel Bar until the time came to leave for the airport. The Carousel Bar was so lovely. It was one of the reasons why we wanted to stay at the Hotel Monteleone. It was nice to have a place away from Bourbon Street where people were drawn to, and always a plus to need only to go downstairs to access it. After walking all day, it was nice to be lazy. We met a quite few interesting people there over the course of our stay. My favorite cocktail was the Hemingway daiquiri, JD preferred the Monteleone cocktail.

We both really enjoyed our visit to New Orleans and would like to go back again some day.

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