So if you like to think of yourself as a bit of a party animal, food connoisseur, cocktail buff, architecture expert, jazz lover, swamp advocate- then New Orleans is the place for you.
No matter how hard one might try, it is virtually impossible to have a bad time there, because either everyone is either drunk or is in the process of getting there. Now I love to eat, and I think there have been times when some of my friends have been astounded by just how much I can shovel down – but in this city- it’s what you just gotta do. There are so many local delish dishes that still makes my mouth water and pants expand just remembering them. Lewy and I even went as far as to do a cooking class so maybe I’ll attempt some of the dishes when we return…..but here’s a run down of delicacies you just have to try if ever you venture to the city of great tunes, booze and yummy food:
Oyster Rockefeller, gumbo, BBQ shrimp, pecan pie, fried anything (even alligator), poboy ( oh yummmm as many diff kinds), blackened fish, bread pudding, lobster bisque, jambalaya, étouffée…… Ok we did do other things than eat, I promise – but my lord did we eat good. But we also walked a lot too as we stayed in Treme- so thankfully my waist line has only moved a little.
So next : the cocktails! I have always been a fairly good drinker, probably a little too good at times. But wow, those bar tenders just don’t care about shot glass limits- they are all about the free pour and free pour they do. There would be maybe a Bloody Mary, a bayou bash ( kinda like a sangria but with southern comfort), pimms cup, grasshopper, Moscow mule, Sazerac….the list could just go on, you are not spoiled for choice. But then I was wondering why oh why was I getting very merry very quickly…..that old drinking rule of don’t mix your drinks is there for a reason. Needless to say, it was certainly a way to enhance checking out the next awesome and my favourite bit about New Orleans – the music…..
There are some amazing musicians out there and a lot of them are on the Main Street corners and sidewalks. Our preference was to stay mostly clear of Bourbon street ( I’ve done my really trashy days, it was a bit like Surfers paradise if it was spring break.). Don’t get me wrong it is lots of fun in that section, but we were there for New Years, the playoffs for the Super Bowl ( and woo hoo the saints won- now that was a very fun night partying with the locals) and sugar bowl ( the college playoffs) so it was filled with many, many booze hounds who started to get a little gross by the end of the night (I mean I am a picture of beauty at the end of my big nights out). We did do a few local bars there and loved the Bombay club.
But by far Frenchmen st is the best for good quality jazz and alike. The spotted cat, Blue Nile and d.b.a were awesome…saw a washboard trio, harmonica/ electric guitar soloist, big brass band, a lady who could have been Billie Holiday reincarnated and more.
Now I want to point out there are so many things to do because this place is full to the brim with history- there are cemetery walks, ghost and voodoo tours, steamboat rides, swamp visits ( that was fun), cocktail tours ( again fun), architecture talks (amazing buildings wow)…….and lots more.
Part of the charm of New Orleans is the people too, they love their city and are very proud of it too! They also know how to make fun of the fact that a lot of the locals love their drinks too. So can you tell I loved it there ?
But another thing it did was made me realise that Melbourne can be a like a lil NOLA too. It has so many little bars and clubs and restaurants to offer and us locals often only touch the surface of places to go. So in this new year, appreciate the fact that most of us are lucky enough to eat, drink and be merry some of the time. But to do it with recognition that there are many who can’t and to maybe stop and help them out. In 2014, appreciate your friends and family and even that drunk dude on the street cause he probably has a pretty great story.