Sunday, July 22, 2007

smokin' hot n'awlins

I came back from a trip to New Orleans a couple of days ago... while the French Quarters were mostly untouched by Katrina, apparently the suburbs were still under quite extensive damage. In any event, it was a most necessary break from the day to day routine even if we had daily temperatures of 33/34 plus extreme humidity. Add on top of that torrential downpours and thunderstorms that last an hour long and you're talking about taking a walk through a wading pool as you try to cross streets where the water hasn't found the right place to drain. Thank goodness for sports sandals or I'd be one unhappy camper with wet soaks.

The taxi driver who drove me into town asked what I wanted to know about the city and I said "the food". He replied with, "You don't eat meat do you?" I asked him what gave him that idea and he said because I was so small. Hmm. I guess when you compare me to some of the people in the South, or Americans in general...sure. Please bear with me as I recall the delicious seafood I was able to consume: charbroiled oysters, alligator soup, turtle soup, organic Georgia peach (cold) soup, puppy drum (not to worry, a white fish and not an actual dog!), BBQ gulf shrimp, oyster po'boys and hush puppies (again, not a dog!). Muriel's at Jackson Square had a table d'hote menu where I had the turtle soup au sherry, pecan crusted puppy drum, served with oven roasted pecan and crawfish relish; topped with a lemon-butter sauce, and pain perdu bread pudding with candied pecans and rum sauce to finish off my meal. For $27 (price based on entree selected), it was a steal!

Highlights apart from the food were the swamp tour (where I saw huge alligators), the aquarium, the French Quarter (Bourbon St.), the Dungeon (bar) and mardi gras necklaces with beads the size of oranges! Seriously... I have enough beads to last me a lifetime! I was already almost maxed out in terms of checked luggage weight, I was almost afraid I would have to wear a billion beaded necklaces on the plane home!

If you've never been before, I would highly recommend going to see this very historical city. They need our business to help rebuild. I just wouldn't recommend going in July or August unless you enjoy simmering in unbelievable temperatures.