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An Easy Weekend, part 1
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jducoeur

Kate and I are taking a long weekend down in New Orleans -- intentionally lightly planned, which turned out to be good, since she's still fighting off the remains of a nasty cold.  A few observations to start off with...

On the downside: wow, Bourbon Street has managed to hit the point of self-parody.  I mean, I remember it being a place of booze and boobs, but it appears to have actually hit an average of three strip clubs per block, and at 1:30 pm on a fairly unremarkable Friday it was already packed with twenty-something carrying cups of Huge Ass Beer.  We managed about three blocks before deciding that it was not only kind of tasteless, it was *boringly* tasteless, a sort of blandly uniform debauch, and found a different street to wander on.

We've noticed that we are in a sort of demographic gap in this city's tourists, at least the French Quarter.  Bourbon Street is full of 20-somethings looking for beer (or big frozen drinks); Chartres and Decatur are full of 60-somethings seeking decent restaurants (for their individual definitions of "decent").  Not so many right around our age -- I can only assume this is because N'awlins isn't viewed as a place to bring the family.  (But plenty of *locals* around our age, of course, since people still live here.)

One big positive: Kate and I are still good at judging restaurants from their menus.  Dinner tonight was at Tableau, and was exactly what we were looking for.  We pulled up a table in their courtyard -- not so much people-watching as the balcony, but relatively quiet and relaxing, pulled out our Kindles, and had our kind of date, working our way through small plates and cocktails at a leisurely pace while we read for a couple of hours.

We split the Redfish Beignets -- basically a nicely batter-fried fish with a remoulade that somehow cut the grease.  Then she had the citrus-glazed yellowtail bites, each with a tiny wedge of orange and a slice of jalepeno (on big toothpicks), while I had the Crispy Pork Belly in some kind of fabulous pepper sauce, a meatier and less fatty interpretation than I've usually found (on big toothpicks).  She finished with the "hot" chocolate, a pot de creme of Mexican-spiced pudding under a layer of soft marshmallow, while I had the Bourbon Pecan Monkey Bread, a small ball of wonderful.

Overall, a lovely, relaxing evening.  Highly recommended if you find yourself down here.  Note that the small plates aren't available in the main dining room, but the courtyard is beautiful anyway.

Tomorrow: brunch at Commander's Palace, and hopefully not getting drowned in the expected thunderstorms...

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Yes, Bourbon Street is avoidable. I think Kes and I only dipped in there deliberately once, to see Marie Laveau's place, and even that was pretty tacky.

Kes and I were there at the same time of year, so our advice regarding rain is mostly to ignore it; when the sun comes back it should steam off surprisingly quickly (at least, surprising to us northerners).

Our first meal was at the unassumingly-named "Frank's" on Decatur Street, and it was quite good. They claim to be Italian food, but it's definitely got a N'awlins spin to it.

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