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Notes on New Orleans
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jducoeur
It occurs to me that folks might be interested in Kate's observations about our vacation -- as usual, she goes into a lot more detail than I about, eg, the food. (She does play-by-play, whereas I provide color commentary.)
Day 1 (Thursday): woke up still feeling very tired with a cold and pain from sleeping weird (in my neck). Plane was around 1pm, and flight was pretty smooth, as was getting a cab and checking in. But I was still a basket case and not really in the mood to explore, but we wandered the length of the quarter on one of the streets farthest from the river and thus fairly residential. Eventually we got to the far side and visited the area of jazz clubs, and found one with seats outside in the twilight (threatened by imminent rain clouds) and had a decent (if uninspiring) dinner of Cajun Alfredo pasta for J and pulled pork and very good sweet potato fries for me. We then walked more directly back as I was a zombie, and I tried to fall asleep but was thwarted by coughing for 90 minutes.

Day 2: after an unprepossesing beginning to the night I slept fairly well and didn't get up until 8 (9 eastern) and head downstairs for breakfast and tea. All in all we had a lazy day, heading out around 11 to walk along the waterfront to the French Market where we perused the tourist stuff (I found sunglasses which was on my list, and J the hat on his) and got sandwiches (J got a muffuletta he thought very good). I tried a praline and was unimpressed (and generally we don't get the praline thing, but Scott says that any made for sale are terrible because they use corn syrup and not enough pecans). Then we headed to the heart of the quarter. Generally we enjoyed wandering and window shopping and people watching, except bourbon street which was horrifying. When we were tired we returned to the center and found a table at cafe du monde for beignets and cafe which was good, and then back to the hotel for a rest. During our wanders we had found a likely restaurant for dinner and around 6 made our way back there. Tableau is very close to the cabildo/Jackson Square on Chartres and had a lovely menu. We stuck to the small plates, and started with the redfish beignets with remoulade and then he had the pork belly and I had the raw tuna (with orange and jalapeño) both of which were good. He had decent cocktails and I had quite excellent wine, and then we finished with a pair of very tasty desserts, with me having a spicy chocolate pot de creme finished with marshmallow topping, and J having a praline pecan monkey bread. Then back to the hotel in hopes of getting to sleep better than the prior night.

Day 3 commanders palace for lunch: this was incredible. I met J's old friend argyle who is a floor captain here and he led us through a sumptuous brunch.
Started with a cognac Sazerac for J and a peach Bellini for me plus amuse Bouche of a chili corn soup and some decadent garlic toast. For appetizer, J got the turtle soup which was lovely and decadent and flavorful, and I got the carrot cake with foie gras frosting which was interesting. With mains J had a half glass grand cru Pinot Gris from Alsace and I had a Loire Sauvignon blanc with our food which was the pecan crusted white fish for J and the lamb belly on top of a lamb sausage/sweet potato/pepper/onion/tomato hash which was incredible and flavorful and yummy. Dessert was pecan pie and a milk punch for J and a half glass of Bourgogne blanc, a raspberry hibiscus tea, and a divine strawberry shortcake for me. Then we were fat and happy and went and looked at the Lafayette cemetery and a little bit of the garden district before heading back to the hotel.

For the rest of the day we mostly hung out and read (we were both exhausted from my coughing at night), with a walk to Armstrong park in the afternoon. Then we went for sushi for dinner (pretty good sushi too) then a drink and more reading before bed.

Today was a lazy morning where both of us finally managed to get a full nights sleep. We started with a walk through the warehouse district on a beautiful day. Then we touched base with Argyll and met up with him and Sondra at a new place that was doing some decent jazz, creole food, and bottomless mimosas. I had the caramelized Brussels sprouts and red beans and rice with andouille but was mostly still too full from the day before. J tried the fried green tomatoes (quite good) and the bbq shrimp. We also got to sample the crawfish cheesecake, green beans and andouille and pulled pork napoleon. Everything was tasty. Then a walk into the French quarter and the New Orleans museum in the cabildo which was interesting but we didn't have much time with it as it closed at 4:30pm. For dinner that night we went back to Tableau and waited for a seat on the terrace overlooking Jackson Square. There we ate lightly (including J's lovely dessert which was pecan pie filling in a puff pastry) and had a few drinks.

Monday we checked out of the room, and then wandered to the French Market for lunch (same place as Friday), then Cafe de Monde for beignets and coffee, then Rouse's for dinner makings to eat on the plane. Then off to the airport to find our flight delayed due to weather in the Appalachians, so we didn't get home until quite late.

We stayed at Country Inn & Suites, which was very friendly and welcoming and generally a win. Commander's Palace was obviously a win (but with a price to match) but we also really enjoyed Tableau and would recommend that to anybody looking for pretty good food with excellent service and a chance to relax.
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