Tuesday, March 05, 2013

New Orleans Day 4

If you made me choose a favorite meal of the trip, I'm afraid it would be a toss up between Cochon (Day 2) and Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130). Both require reservations, which is no surprise considering how good they are. What might tip it slightly in Commander's favor is the live jazz brunch at weekends - the musicians actually walk up to your table and will take requests so you can ask for whatever song you think will go perfectly with your meal. And the service is exemplary - everything that is great and gracious about the South is on display here: charm, comfort and gentle friendliness. On to what we had - for drinks, the waiter cheekily nudged A towards a brandy milk punch and a Sazerac (which was his favorite of the trip) while I had a viciously strong Bloody Mary, which was perfect after a late Saturday night, while C had a glamorous Bellini. When given the option of trying several things instead of one, you can bet I will go for it, so I had a soup sampler with turtle soup, navy bean soup, and gumbo, while A had an oyster & absinth "dome". Then A and C had the winning main of pecan-crusted trout - I don't know how they make the sauce for that dish but we would have licked it off the plate if that wasn't terribly uncouth. My eggs cochon de lait were also wonderful but very rich; if I hadn't shared it with A I'm not sure I would've been able to finish it on my own. And just when we were about to explode, dessert came: a bread pudding soufflĂ© (light as air!), a tasting of Swiss chocolate, and a humongous slice of cheesecake. GO!

Due to the miserable weather, we headed off to the WWII museum (945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130) to catch "Beyond All Boundaries", the 4D movie produced by Tom Hanks. I was pretty conscious of how it glorified US involvement, maybe because I was watching it with two British visitors, but for a film that is attempting to tell the story of WWII in less than an hour, I guess it was pretty good. After that experience though, we were ready for a drink, and thankfully WINO (610 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130) was located close by. They've got banks of Enomatic machines so you can sample dozens of wines by popping in a card loaded with some credit on it. 

After we'd sampled a few tipples, we decided to head home via the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130). It sounds cheesy - a bar that rotates - but in reality it's actually very elegantly done. Alas, there weren't three seats on the carousel so we settled for some chairs close by and watched the lucky few go round slowly while drinking. 
One last stop before we crashed for the evening - Pat O'Briens (718 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116) for a hurricane. I really wasn't fond of the drink - sugary and fruity, it tasted like cheap college alcohol punch, but I suppose it's what some people associate with New Orleans. The bar itself was better than I expected - there are different spaces, including a dueling piano bar and a surprisingly lovely courtyard space. But after all this, we were ready to get back to our leftovers from the previous night's dinner and some good old rest!

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