Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Orleans, again

So my husband and I took a sort of belated long honeymoon (as compared to the short honeymoon we took after the wedding) to New Orleans. Basically, this was a huge excuse to ignore my pregnancy diet for a week and eat marvelously unhealthy things. Note I didn't go off the wagon completely - some fruit smoothies, cereal, and salads here and there kept me in vitamins and fiber, and I drank oceans of water, pulling my eyes away from the cocktail lists with a defeated whimper.

Notes and observations:

I never get tired of beignets. I could eat them every day. Of course, I would be enormous.

The best fried chicken I ever tasted was at Coop's. I have to work on my fried chicken technique.

Even the places that seem crappy are pretty good. At one point we needed to find a place to sit and eat in mid-afternoon, just because I got suddenly terribly hungry, the way the pregnant do, and it was hot, and I needed to sit down. We walked into the first restaurant we saw. It looked okay, but probably a bit touristy. Whatever- I had a fabulous plate of crawfish cakes and my husband had a huge and delicious muffuletta. The worst place we ate was a pub near the hotel, where we stopped for just a bite mid-afternoon, late enough that we were concerned about ruining dinner. We ordered three side dishes: mac and cheese, alligator sausage and jambalaya. The mac and cheese was pretty bad, the jambalaya just okay, and the alligator sausage pretty good. But the fellow served everyone out, making a plate each for my husband and myself, and after I downed two or three glasses of soda water, he brought me one in a to-go cup to take with me - without my asking.

I often find it's the little things I eat that stick in my mind the most, more than the meals. There was a woman selling fresh-squeezed fruit juices at the farmer's market - non-standard flavors, like watermelon lime. Mine was delicious.

Club soda with two types of bitters is better than club soda with only one. New England lacks bitters options.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is still a work in progress and comes off as a bit thin and probably underfunded. That said, it's got a lot of potential and it makes for an entertaining and very affordable hour or so.

My dream job would be curating a museum like that for New England.

Mandina's has the best fried oysters I've tasted.

I deeply appreciate the waitress there sending us up the block to Brocato's for ice cream, even when I was clearly going to order dessert at Mandina's until she recommended the gelato. That's putting customer service above self-interest, a rare virtue.

I had a scoop each of pistachio and gianduja. Awesome.

The bread is the secret to the po-boy's superiority over the standard sub.

The bacon brownie is interesting and good, but not exactly as delicious as I want it to be. But the Thai chili chocolate chess pie is, indeed, all that. AS were the smoked scallops.

It's hard to eat as much as you want when it's humid and over 90 degrees. That may be what keeps people in New Orleans from all being morbidly obese - no one can bring themselves to eat before sundown.

Also, tourism can get in the way of eating. Sometimes the things you want to see and the things you want to eat are not located right next to each other. This presents an unfortunate dilemma.