Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Orleans Day 3

Seeing as how we were staying in the Treme neighborhood, it made sense to visit the Backstreet Museum before Saturday lunch at Lil’ Dizzy’s. The museum is incredible - the intricate details that go into creating an Indian costume are all on display, and the people that work there are happy to tell you as many stories as you can stomach about the chiefs and the history of the area. Definitely make time to go - it'll make the rest of your experience in New Orleans more meaningful. They're also very helpful with when Second Lines are happening around the city (sadly it rained heavily on the day we wanted to go see one).

The first restaurant on the list of recommendations at the Muse Suite is Lil' Dizzy's (1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116), and with good reason. The entire menu looked wonderful so it was hard to limit our choices down to a manageable amount of food. A cup of gumbo came first, followed by a fried oyster po'boy and one piece of fried chicken. C wanted breakfast food so had scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits, and A tacked on an order of French toast as well. And then we had to order some bread pudding (which by the way might be my new favorite dessert. Don't worry, a recipe will be posted soon!) We were so stuffed after this brunch that the only solution was to go on a city tour.

We booked a city tour through Cajun Encounters, and while it was not cheap, I think it was money well spent as we got so much background and history that added depth to what we were seeing. Our tour guide was excellent and generous with his recommendations for things he loves. Since we had decided to go car-free for this trip, it was a good chance to see parts of New Orleans that weren't as accessible by foot.

After getting dropped off in the French Quarter again, we headed to one of J's recommendations, Muriel's. The wraparound balcony on Jackson Square makes it an ideal location to drink and people-watch, but it was still a bit too brisk for that so we went back indoors after a peek outside. Since it was early the waitress told us about a bordello-like area upstairs that is usually used for private parties, but since it was empty it was fine for us to hang out there while drinking some superbly mixed  cocktails. A's choice was a Burnt Sage Margarita, with Herradura Reposado, muddled sage, Johnny Walker Black and house-made sour - the speed at which he drank it is a testament to its loveliness, I think. I had a NOjito made with muddled tarragon, lemons, Tabasco and New Orleans Spiced Cajun Rum. And C had her favorite, the French 75.

We'd done a little research about some jazz acts that were playing while we were in New Orleans and booked tickets to see Dr. Michael White at Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116), so we picked a restaurant close by for dinner - Marigny Brasserie (640 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116). I hadn't quite realized how hungry I was until the bread rolls came out with the most mind-numbingly awesome apple butter. The waiter emphasized the need for us to try the apple butter and he was right - I tore through two rolls in no time at all. This was a dumb move, as portions are absolutely enormous, and even though three of us shared a starter of fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, I was defeated before my main even arrived. My jambalaya was so large I managed what seemed like a quarter of it (though you couldn't tell I had eaten any at all) before surrendering. A's fried chicken with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese and C's blackened catfish with collard greens and sweet potato fries were similarly boat-sized, so we had them packed up for another meal.

After the fantastic concert at Snug Harbor, we popped into The Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116) as well, seeing the last tune by a six-piece band before The Davis Rogan Band appeared. Prior to our New Orleans trip, A and I had been watching Treme and saw an episode where the character named Davis was writing a song about the gentrification of his neighborhood. Of course, that song came on and A and I looked at each other quizzically, and of course discovered afterwards that the character is based on Davis Rogan and the real Davis makes quite a few cameo appearances. So there's our "celebrity" sighting of the trip.

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