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...