Saturday, March 19, 2005

Crawlins in N'awlins

Hellooooo!! Yeah, yeah... I've been bad and nasty 'bout not telling you all what fun you missed out on. Truth be told, I've been suspended in this mellow haze since getting back on Monday, and just haven't felt like trying to put the trip to words. Sigh... now I'm back in my world and nothing seems normal. It's odd. I forgot that this is what vacations do to me. Part of my mind is still crawlin' around on Bourbon Street looking for the sweet nectar of a Hand Grenade, another part is flying above the clouds reflecting on everything I did and felt and ate and drank, and yet another is simply sitting on the front porch of the Elysian Fields Inn drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette and writing haiku while soaking up that lovely southern warmth. Alas and alack, this is Iowa and my head needs to be back here now...

But... for the purposes of this post, here is a most abbreviated version of my trip: DAY 1: Napoleon House for a Muffuletta and jambalaya; shopping, shopping, shopping; Delmonico's for one helluva dining experience!!; sitting at the piano at John LaFitte's drinking Pimm's cups and having the piano player taunt me; decking a police horse before the stroll back to the inn; DAY 2: late lunch at Muriel's for crabcakes and grilled tilapia... not to mention GREAT bloody Mary's; the aquarium where I petted a baby nurse shark, a skink and some starfish; the Marigny Brasserie for a most decadent salmon topped with Boursin cheese and salmon roe AND the best damn cosmopolitan of my life... it was a *cucumber* cosmo; twisting ankle #1 while walking back to the inn (and NO, I was not drunk); DAY 3: brunch at Brennan's **ohmigawdhowfilling**; meeting Seven and getting incredibly intoxicated (the only time I did so, by the by); eating caviar-topped raw oysters somewhere I can't remember whilst spouting off what I'm sure was a great deal of nonsense; stealing a rubber shark, dancing at Oz, and really wrenching ankle #2 on the drunken zag home; DAY 4: skipping brunch at Arnaud's because I was too hungover and the jacuzzi was calling; finally able to drag ass down to the Quarter to meet the guys; walking to a cemetary only to find it was closed for the rest of the day (drat!!); much strolling about which included a brief stop in Harrah's where I promptly gave them $10 and called it a wash; more strolling about; swamp tour!!; final dinner at a restaurant called SukhoThai that had some of the best tom yum soup; home to bed in order to get up at 3:30 a.m. to catch flight home.

Now then, I could go into some pretty serious detail about most anything listed above (except anything in Day 3 that follows 'meeting Seven'), but I'll simply bore you with a few choice stories:

Story #1: Delmonico's
I've eaten in some very fine restaurants. I cannot say that any compared to the service at Emeril's Delmonico. I like being waited on hand and foot (who doesn't?), but this was amazing. Ok, I understand putting the napkin in your lap for you after you are seated, but to be johnny-on-the-spot (no pun intended) to remove and replace when you get up to use the lavatory? Um... whoa. And, of course, not one person at our table came close to even touching the bottle of wine Victor ordered; there was someone there to fill up your glass every time it got to an indiscernable level of 'just-below-acceptable-fullness'. I was curious if they would chew my food for me should I ask, because the food... oh my. I gained a ton o' weight that night. I discovered that 'wedge' salads are big thing there... a 1/4 or 1/8 of a head of iceberg lettuce (I wrote a haiku about this that I will share at the end of this post). Confronted with this wedge o' lettuce, at first I was unsure how to attack. But once I got a taste of that bacon bleu cheese dressing, that leafy pie was demolished. I also had the Veal Marcelle, a delectable concoction of veal medallions with saute of jumbo lump crabmeat, field mushrooms, asparagus and sauce Hollandaise. Um, yeah, right?!! No such thing as room for dessert, but I did try the ice wine Victor ordered. Instead of tellin' y'all about it, look it up. The grapes are only grown in one place in the world (as far as my limited knowledge goes) and if you can find a small bottle of it, IT'S WORTH IT. Ice wine now ranks right up there with mead in my book of favorite beverages.

Story #2: Meeting that Dawg, Seven
After an explosively large brunch at Brennan's, Mark, Victor and I parted ways. They headed to zoo and I headed off my first lone adventure. I had about an hour to kill before we were to meet at the Cat's Meow on Bourbon Street, so I just meandered about soaking up the sights and sounds of the French Quarter. I actually found the old guy who plays water goblets somewhere on Royal. Twitch and I had first heard him two years prior when we had been there, and that time the man moved me to tears. Phenomenal. I moved on to listen to a hillbilly band playing on the street a few blocks up. One guy I remember in the crowd looked like a nice corporate fellow: cropped hair, suit, tie, etc. BUT. He had this very long, thin beard that, when he walked, flowed over his shoulders like some commercial for Tresemme conditioner commercial. Wish I'd taken a picture... Anyway, on with the story...

I found the Cat's Meow, but they weren't quite open yet, so I sat on the curb and hung out. Got to watch some young slip of a gal puking her guts up in a trash can. Yep, that made my brunch sit all the better. Did I mention that I was uncomfortably full? Anyhoo, the doors opened to the bar and I went inside, seated myself at the bar and ordered a club soda (with just a smidgen of vodka) to help ease my troubled innards. This thing came in a quart cup, but who am I to turn it away in all its grandiose largesse? Seven arrived about 10 minutes later and I spotted him right away. He may have been a little surprised to see me as I told him I'd be the fat girl in a blue shirt. Yeah, I was feeling extraordinarily large when I called him. We sat at the bar for a bit and were sort of nervously conversing about blogging, life and the like, but decided to head for quieter pastures when two somewhat exhuberant gals got up to sing Joan Jett's I Love Rock 'N Roll. Maybe I forgot to mention the Cat's Meow is a karaoke joint. When my eardrums started to bleed, I suggested we head to my favorite bar, the Chart Room (on the corner of Chartres and Bienville for those of you who make it down to New Orleans in the future).

Now, the Chart Room is really mostly a dive. Don't judge me. But they have a good jukebox (played at a reasonable decibal level for all the old farts who hang out there in the afternoon) and drinks are cheap. Yes. I said cheap. You can get a vodka soda or domestic beer at the Chart Room cheaper than you can at George's in Iowa City. In a matter of a few hours, our table became Drunken Bloggers Central. Ok... maybe 'Bloggers' should be singular. I had an absolute BLAST!! Seven is amazingly easy to talk with and I may have spilled my entire life story to him in one of those 20 minute segments I don't remember. I took lotsa pics that I'll post somewhere when a) I figure out how to do it, and b) when I load them onto my computer.

Somewhere around 6:30 or so, Mark and Victor met us after their zoo adventure, whereupon we drank even MORE. Then we apparently went to an oyster house somewhere (no, I don't remember the name OR where it was located). I kind of remember a two-tiered dish that was piled with all sorts of oysters and other edibles, and for some reason, drank someone's Coca Cola that was the best coke I'd ever had. I think it was sometime after feasting that we all parted ways (sorry Seven!!). I don't remember saying goodbye, but I do remember bits 'n pieces of the walk back to the inn. I remember dancing at Oz with Victor while sucking down a hand grenade; I do NOT remember swiping a plastic shark from some girl's drink. I remember crossing Esplanade, but do NOT remember twisting my ankle or getting home. Like I said, Cooter was the epitome of persona intoxicata.

Anyhoo, in a nutshell, that's wee bit of a rundown of my not-so-nefarious activities in the Crescent City. And now, for a few haiku that capture, for me, the essence of particular moments:

Dinner at Delmonico's
A wedge of iceberg
treading in bleu cheese dressing;
'Twas simply divine.

The John
Got bombed at the John.
Strong drinks and terlets lined up
flush against the wall.
**This was a bar close to the inn where we went one night. And yes, they really did have 'toilet chairs' lined up against one wall. But I didn't really get bombed...

Seven on Saturday
Seven and I met
and came straight to the Chart Room.
Yes, drinking ensued.

Well, my peeps, there you have it. Some of it. Sorry it took me all this time to get it scribbled down... sometimes putting things into words takes away some of the nuance, and I kind of wanted to hoard my thoughts for awhile. Anyhoo, happy Saturday everybody!!

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