DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

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Home Again, Home Again...

Back home in the land of cool weather. I actually turned my furnace back on today.

Friday started off pleasantly enough. I got up early, and walked over to the Cafe du Monde for beignets. There were no tables available, so I got some to go. Beignets come three to a serving. If you get them to go, they put them in a little paper bag, and then follow them with about a quarter pound of powdered sugar. I got my stuff just as a table opened up, so I headed for it. I was within four feet of it when a snot-nosed punk of about ten dashed past me and jumped in one of the chairs, exulting that he'd gotten there first. I gave him a death glare. Didn't work. I need more practice. I just kept walking down the sidewalk towards some benches. Behind me I heard his brother berate him for being rude, and the frelling punk said, "I know it wasn't polite, but we got the table."

I sat in the shade eating breakfast and feeding sparrows. I have this theory that sparrows eating all the powdered sugar they find on the ground near the Cafe du Monde is how hummingbirds were created. Walked around the French Quarter a little, then went back to the hotel. After that it was lunch at a Kristal Burger, sort of a southern White Castle. What? It's not like I can get them around here. Spent some time with assorted folks while we waited for the hospitality suite to open, which it finally did late in the afternoon. The best part of that was when aimeejmc and miracleman arrived with six month-old Emeline, who is absolutely adorable, and one of the sweetest babies ever.

Dinner was at the Commander's Palace, my favorite restaurant ever. Seven of us went, Jon B, FAQ Girl, Toddson, Tom S, bruinsfan, debetesse, and me. We took the streetcar. There was a woman sitting behind me who would not shut up. Along the way, we learned that the the "fattest man she'd ever seen" was sitting in a bar next to one of the car stops. Then she pulled out her cell to let her brother know that she was having a wonderful time in NOLA, and that she was dating her ex-boyfriend again. Good luck with that.

Dinner was wonderful. The food is great, and the service always goes the extra mile. When each course arrived, they would gather seven waiters together to ensure that we were all served at exactly the same instant. Although, sometimes it can get a little creepy when waiters carrying trays will back up against the wall to get out of your way. I had a Petite Couchon Baton (brown sugar rubbed pork belly and a croquette of smoked pork rillettes, skewered with a piece of sugar cane, surrounded by wilted onions, cane syrup, Creole mustard, and caramelized bacon renderings) as an appetizer, Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas as the entree, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. To die for.

It took us a while to get back, because the first streetcar that came by was loaded to the gills with Tulane students heading into town to make sure they'd look and feel their best for commencement on Saturday. The driver stopped just long enough to say "We're full," to which Debet replied "Yup." The next car took awhile getting there, but we finally managed to get back to the quarter.

We hooked up with the others for drinks at Jean LaFitte's Old Absinthe House. I'd never been in there before, and I was sort of discomfitted to discover it's now a sports bar. Old Jean was a football fan, apparently, and assorted helmets hang from the ceiling. Oddly enough, I didn't see a helmet for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which might have at least been a little connected to the place.

Saturday morning a few of us headed out for breakfast, but our first choice was packed (stoopid tourists), so we wandered a bit. Luck was with us. We found a little place on Conti, that was not only empty, but air conditioned. The service wasn't great, but the food was pretty good, and it was really inexpensive (four slices of French toast for a buck). Went back to the hotel, and socialized in the finally up and running hospitality suite for awhile.

Went roaming the streets of the Quarter again, this time with nestra, bruinsfan, and Toddson. They stopped at Lush while I examined the statue of Bienville across the street. Next we went to the Central Grocery for true muffuletta. Not being an olive person, I picked up a Lucky Dog for lunch. Afterwards, Nestra took us on ride in her car up to City Park, the shores of Lake Ponchartrain, and then back down to the far end of the Quarter. We even drove past where she grew up.

The party was, as usual, a great time. There was food, drink, music, dancing, boobular containment issues, and a theremin act. Ya can't get much better than that. One high point was -t and her DH waltzing as Jon performed "Rainbow Connection." I took about forty-five minutes of video, but I haven't looked yet to see how it turned out. They turned the lights way down just as I started shooting, so it's probably pretty grainy.

Sunday started with me tramping over to C du M for breakfast, getting there just as Mass was getting out at the cathedral, so the lines were humongous. Went over to the place we ate yesterday, and it was mostly empty. Toddson showed up a minute later, having done the exact same thing I had.

I strolled around the Quarter a bit, and ran into tortoiseshell and her DH. We browsed a used bookstore, and Brendon and I chatted about plastic modeling for awhile. Later I went roaming around another part of the Quarter with Trudy, Matt, Debet, and larisa57. We picked up some alcoholic slushies at one of the many places on Bourbon, then stopped in little shops here and there. My favorite was the Idea Factory, which sells wonderful things made of wood. They have some gorgeous wood boxes. I made a couple of wooden boxes this past Christmas for people, but now I want to try again to attempt to approach what was available there.

We went over to the French Market, where Trudy got some boiled peanuts. There were also a zillion different hot sauces available. The number of hot sauces has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years, so the companies are now trying to outdo themselves by coming up with names for their products that you can't possibly forget. (One of my favorite hot sauce names is Scorned Woman, which I think does a great job of demonstrating the intensity of the heat in just two words.) Back in the first year of SNL, they did a parody of the old Smuckers "With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good jam" commercials, with jam names like Mangled Baby Ducks jam, and Painful Rectal Itch jam. Parody has become reality in the hot sauce business. No name is too gross or impolitic anymore. In addition to such trademarks as Blair's Mega Death Extreme Hot Sauce, we saw bottles of Bin Laden and Saddam Hot Sauce and Sex Lube, Screaming Sphincter Hot Sauce, and Red Rectum Hot Sauce. (There was a worse one, involving sexual functions, but I forget the exact name, except that the word "spunk" was in it.)

Dinner was at the Court of the Two Sisters, which has very good food, but somewhat callous and strange service. I had Braised Breast of Duckling a l'Orange, with Bananas Foster (the world's best banana split) for desert.

The only things to report about the flight home are that the security line at NOLA airport was ridiculously long, and that Terminal G at Dulles reminds me very much of a bus station.

In the end, much fun was had. The weather, although hot, wasn't nearly as bad as expected, which was nice. Some pictures are here.
Tags: f2f, nola, vacation

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