NOLA Adventure - Day 2

We began Day 2 with a laundry list (or should I say “grocery list”) of things to see and places to eat. 


HH & I started off at Café du Monde, because you “have too!”  The line did not deter us as we were serenaded by a jazz duo, we were eventually seated in the covered outdoor patio for our beignets with more powered sugar than should be allowed and chicory coffee (milk for HH).  It was a definitely-going-to-be-warm day with the sun shining, the tourists out and about, and the city coming alive in the morning.


Next we found Faulkner’s House book store, Keil’s Antiques, Preservation Hall and walked Royal Street, and the best of all…Kitchen Witch cookbook store.  The Kitchen Witch cookbook store was a fun, no frills, eclectic mostly used book store with…an entire row of Mastering the Art of French Cooking!  So cool!


 And look at all these fun signs HH found on the back of door, how needs “Back in 5 minutes!”


Our next stop was the Riverwalk, which just turned out to be a glorified mall along the Mississippi River, but at the far end was something else we (I) were looking for – The Southern Food and Beverage Museum.  It was pretty cool with lots of interesting things to look at, including the origins of southern food and southern brands.  HH found a DVD on Katrina and the aftermath and found a home there, while I wandered and read and enjoyed.


It was mid-afternoon and our tummies were starting to rumble.  We happened upon a shorter line than last night at the Acme Oyster House.  This was not something on our list but it was certainly popular and HH wanted to try the oysters.  We got a seat at the bar, next to another Charger fan for the weekend’s game, and ended up ordering a dozen chargrilled oysters (HH’s selection) and a soft-shell crab cake with a side of cole slaw and hush puppies (sans the honey – doesn’t everyone have honey for hush puppies?!  Apparently not.)  When our order arrived, HH quickly and eagerly downed a few oysters he said I had to try one.  Well, I was already finished with half my crab cake and saying the same thing.  We shared, and with the taste of one little chargrilled, butter and garlic soaked, parmesan cheese topped oyster, I was suddenly an oyster lover!  Oh my gosh, these were so good and nothing like those that I don’t care for in So Cal.  These were big, gnarly shells that were thick, thick, thick.


We needed a to walk off some of those NOLA delights and started a little geocaching (those adventures are a whole other blog just waiting to happen!)  With stops at K-Paul’s, Pirates Alley, Preservation Hall and more.


That evening, we went back to Bourbon Street and stopped for some a fried shrimp and fries basket with a mojito (and beer for HH), oh and some jazz on the side.  This was the Café Beignet patio and was wonderful. 

Then we continued down Bourbon Street past some familiar and new characters, more people (it was a Friday night) and stopped again at Maison Bourbon.


Maison Bourbon.


Maison Bourbon.  It’s hard to explain what this place meant to me, what it felt like, what was found, but I’ll try.  I have wanted to go to NOLA for at least 15 if not 20 years and have never made it, for whatever reason.  That’s why when I saw the Chargers were playing the Saints in New Orleans I thought this might be my chance.  I love jazz music.  I love the history of jazz and the roots of jazz and the home of jazz as an American art form.  I wanted to see, hear, feel what I thought all of this meant…to me.  Then we found Maison Bourbon, which it turns out was just about a half block away from Preservation Hall - what is believed to be the actual spot that jazz started.


HH &I stepped into Maison Bourbon early enough to hear the first band, and have a pretty good choice of seats.  The stage was small, the bar was dimly lite, the tables were crowded, the doors and window were open to the street and the music was flowing.  I had a mojito, and I want to say, this was The Best Mojito Ever!  The fluted glass, all the crushed mint leaves, the atmosphere and music all made it the best ever.  As we enjoyed our evening, the couple at a few tables over was smoking with the smoke lingering in the dimly lite bar through the stage lighting.  Normally I would not be very happy about a smoker in close proximity, but this night it just seemed to add to the atmosphere I have always envisioned.  Then the second band came on, the same one as the previous night and the vibe got even better.


After a couple hours, I told HH I was ready to go.  I could have stayed all night, but I just wanted to preserve all that was so good, so much of what I had imaged for so long.  I just didn’t want the lateness of the evening to bring anything or anyone who would spoil this perfect picture of the birth of jazz and the best mojito I had ever had.


I got the bands CD just to help preserve the “moment,” now every time I listen to it I will be transported to Maison Bourbon and our visit to NOLA.


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