Wednesday, December 29, 2010

See you soon, New Orleans

In the French Quarter, the soul of New Orleans, the smell of last night's whisky and jambalaya and blackened redfish lingers not far above the empty streets until the sun can be seen. An hour or two later, it is replaced with the aroma of French Market coffee and beignets, and around this time the sidewalks reluctantly show signs of life. 
- The Pelican Brief by John Grisham 
As a teen I would encounter passages like this in the John Grisham suspense novels I loved to read—which may explain my fascination with New Orleans. It is a place with all the ingredients of a city to love: a distinct flavor, scrumptious food, great music, a vibrant nightlife and a captivating history. I'm thrilled that my 30 Before 30 list is finally bringing me to this city in just a few months! Plane tickets are booked and the hotel room's reserved for the first weekend of Mardi Gras—#4 you're mine!

We'll be there just in time for the Krewe du Vieux parade on February 19. It is known for its politically satirical and explicit floats, and it is the only parade that still passes through the French Quarter. It is much smaller than all the other parades but it is beloved by locals. All of their music is live and performed by New Orleans' best marching bands.
Although the goal is to party it up during Mardi Gras, I also have a rapidly growing NOLA wish list—almost entirely food-related, of course.
  • A meal at Cochon, dubbed "Momofuku on the Mississippi" by The New York Times' Frank Bruni and listed as #3 of 10 restaurants that count from coast to coast (mind you, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc did not make the cut). Wood-fired roasted oysters, Cajun-style suckling pig, deep fried headcheese, and fried alligator with chili garlic aioli? Hell's to the YES.
  • A po'boy—the soft shell crab version at Johnny's Po'Boys or the shrimp variety at Parkway Bakery & Tavern. If that shrimp was good enough for President Obama to eat during an oil spill, it's good enough for me! 
  • Jazz brunch at Commander's Palace
  • Beignets and chicory-spiked cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde
  • Praline bacon and if needed, the "Hangover Helper" (Carolina shrimp and grits) at Elizabeth's
  • Classic Southern cocktails. The Dark & Stormy isn't one of them but I'd like to try one made at Bar Tonique with fresh ginger juice nevertheless!
Also on my wish list: a swamp tour with my cousin Melissa and her aspiring swamp man Ben. Really looking forward to seeing the bayou and possibly tossing marshmallows to hungry gators.
I wonder how much longer this list will get before February rolls around. I'd best leave it alone and move on to organizing another trip that I need to do pretty soon: Cancun!

Goodbye for now and be seeing you soon enough, N'Awlins!


  1. Hi Celine, You have to go to Preservation Hall for real New Orleans jazz:
    I discovered this accidentally when I saw a snaking line of Japanese tourists outside this super tiny, hole-in-a-wall performance venue and if there's one thing the Japanese know, it's good jazz. And don't leave until they play When The Saints Go Marching In! And please check out the Slow Cooked Roast Duck with Garlic Port or Ginger Peach Sauce at the Upperline Restaurant
    (Simon Majumdar's choice for The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Crazy Good Food) and Antoine's Restaurant, the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller. Enjoy!!! Happy 2011!!! -Aggie

  2. Aggie thank you so much for the recs! I will definitely add those things to my list. Thank you for pointing me towards the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller, in particular. You rock! Have an amazing 2011 as well!

  3. so this is the inspiration for Pia's list! sweet! good times guys, 'twas a pleasure kickin' it down south with ya'll! - Ron

  4. Hey Ron! Really good times in the Dirty South with you guys. Hope to see you all again soon!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...