Travel & Food – New Orleans (Part 2)

On Friday morning we woke up and went for a wander around the French Quarter as our hotel was only a block away and we were on a beignet hunt. We were headed for Cafe du Monde. Beignets are basically doughnuts in a square-ish shape with lots of icing sugar on top.

Beignets at Cafe du Monde New OrleansBeignets at Cafe du Monde French Quarter New OrleansThe houses in the French Quarter are absolutely gorgeous. It was lovely and hot so I dressed like Minnie Mouse.

Pretty house in the French Quarter of New OrleansHouse in French Quarter New OrleansPretty houses in French Quarter New OrleansEmma from The Style Box in a red polka dot dress and leopard print sandalsEmma from The Style Box wearing a red polka dot dressWearing:

Sunglasses – Chanel

Dress – Marks & Spencer (similar)

Sandals – Zara (similar)

After a really quick stroll around, I decided that the French Quarter (especially Bourbon Street) was definitely not for me and I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. It’s trashy and touristy and cringy. Which is such a shame because the houses are beautiful but they’ve been filled with cheap bars and tacky gift shops.

Then we went to Parkway Tavern to look for a po’boy. Nick was disappointed as they only had oyster po’boy’s on Monday but we’d been recommended the beef po’boy so we ordered that and a shrimp one instead. They had sweet potato fries on the menu so obviously we ordered those too, because, yum.

Shrimp poboy at Parkway Tavern New OrleansShrimp poboy at Parkway Tavern New OrleansNick had a couple of meetings that day so I just sat in the club lounge and chilled with an endless supply of tea and cookies. (I managed to read No.1 Ladie’s Detective Agency in just over 24 hours – it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time – I strongly recommend it).

The next day was also gloriously hot and sunny and we spent the morning on Magazine Street and in the Garden District. It was amazing. A million times nicer than the French Quarter. Magazine Street is full of little boutiques and I bought an awesome t-shirt from Storyville which I’ll show you soon. The houses in the Garden District are all beautiful big mansions. Even the water covers are pretty.

Pretty house in the Garden Distrcit New OrleansCool house in Garden District New OrleansMagazine Street New OrleansNew Orleans water meterNick had another meeting yesterday lunchtime but after he was finished we got in the car and drove over the bridge to see the lower 9th ward, where Hurricane Katrina really hit. Unfortunately we had failed to Google Map it before we went so we kind of drove straight through it and missed the main bit of it. I’m kind of glad actually, I think it would have been a bit too sad.

Back over the bridge is the Bywater. It was described to us as being a bit like the East Village in New York, but it really wasn’t. It was so laid back and calm. If you’d have dropped me in the middle of it with my eyes shut and then told me to open them and tell you where I was, I would have guessed a town on a Caribbean island. There’s not a great deal there, but as everywhere in New Orleans, the houses are adorable. They also have 2 of the best thrift stores I’ve ever seen. I bought an awesome looking Graham Greene book.

Candy stripe house in Bywater New OrleansPretty house in Bywater New OrleansBargain Center thriftstore Bywater New OrleansThift store in Bywater New OrleansWe had originally gone there to check out Vaughan’s as Kermit Ruffins plays jazz at night after cooking up a BBQ on the street before playing. He’s a regular on the show Treme and has been playing at Vaughan’s for almost 20 years. Unfortunately he wasn’t playing that night and stopped cooking the BBQ a few years previously. We were a bit sad about this but we stopped in for a drink anyway.

Vaughn's bar Bywater New OrleansNick had another meeting last night on Magazine Street so I went for some pizza by myself at Slice and then we just went back to the hotel and chilled out. We certainly pack a lot into a day!

This morning we got up and found Nick an oyster po’boy at Johnny’s, bought a CD for the car and a Muffuletta at Central Grocery. A muffuletta is a sandwich of Sicilian origin which has salami, capicola, mortadella, pepperoni, ham, provolone cheese and olive salad.

Muffuleta Muffaleta from Central Grocery New OrleansThen we got in the car and drove 2.5 hours, through Mississippi, to Mobile, Alabama to visit The Brick Pit. We shared a plate of pulled pork, ribs, potato salad and coleslaw followed by a banana pudding. It was okay. I wasn’t very impressed. I thought the pulled pork was a bit dry and the ribs were nothing to write home about. The banana pudding was nowhere near as good as the one we got a Cozy Corner in Memphis. It tasted quite artificial, like banana Angel Delight.

Brick Pit, Mobile Alabama

Inside the Brick Pit in Mobile AlabamaRibs, pulled pork, potato salad and coleslaw at The Brick Pit in Mobile Alabama That was followed by a 3.5 hour drive to Montgomery, Alabama where I am now. Phewph! That was a long post!

There were a couple of things I’m a bit bummed we missed in New Orleans. I would have liked to have seen some live music. I feel that’s kind of essential New Orleans, but we packed so much into our day times that we were just exhausted at night, and Nick had lots of meetings to squeeze in. Also, I would have quite liked a boat tour of the Bayou to go alligator spotting. I guess we’ll just have to go back!

Footnote: Although our time in New Orleans was enjoyable, and I’m sure lots of people visit with no problem at all, it can be quite a dodgy place. One of Nick’s meetings took place under a flyover and there was a 16 year old kid brazenly walking around in broad daylight with a gun in his hand. It’s safe to say we left pretty quickly. Later that evening, at another meeting with a local, he was told that the gun crime in New Orleans is at it’s highest right now and that the people there are pretty ruthless. Apparently they don’t just hold you up with a gun, they’ll just shoot you and take your stuff.

 

I don’t mean to scare you off going as I’m sure thousands of people visit with no problems but I just wanted to mention it as this post makes it look all happy and shiny and I thought I should put it out there that you do need to be careful visiting places like this.

 

Travel & Food – New Orleans (Part 1)

We arrived in New Orleans at about midday today. It’s only 3pm now but I’m pretty much done for the day, I’m so exhausted! So while in the back of my mind, I’m panicking that I’m wasting the day, I’m also far too tired to do anything so I’m going to read my book and recharge my batteries a bit so that I’ll be full of beans in the morning.

Louisiana state line

We’re staying in the gorgeous Windsor Court Hotel. I fell in love as soon as I spotted the Molton Brown toiletries.

Windsor Court Hotel Junior Suite 1902 New OrleansBedroom in junior suite 1902 at Windsor Court Hotel New OrleansView from balcony in room 1902 Windsor Court Hotel New OrleansWe went for lunch at Willie Mae’s, who do the most incredible slightly spicy fried chicken. I’m pretty sure it was about 10,000 calories a meal but it was worth it. And I’m a big fan of mac’n’cheese as a side dish.

Willie Maes sign New OrleansWillie Maes fried chicken New OrleansWillie Maes fried chicken New Orleans