Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I'm just back two full days from a trip to New Orleans it and missing it bad already ! I held off on watching "Treme" till we'd actually been back (it's been over 2 years now) as it'd have been too weird to watch the show and THEN be back there.
As soon as we landed and unpacked I was itching to run down Chartres to the venerable Napoleon House, our customary first stop. This inn was posited as a hiding place for Napoleon Boneparte, once he'd be snuck out of Europe -- but he wouldn't have it. It doesn't seem to have been painted since then, is always rocking stately Classical music. The victuals are so-so but the atmosphere is priceless. We walked off the wine and cheese plate strolling down to the North end of the French Quarter and looked for Coop's (the missus had pulled an article from the NY Times about offbeat places to chow in NOLA and was eager to visit places we'd never been to). Coop's was comfortably grubby in the way that charms folks who don't put too much store on hygiene (me!), the staff were friendly and attentive, the wine, serviceable and the friend chicken pretty damned good. A tad oily, but they managed to get the skin crisp to the point of tasting like bacon - oh yeah! The coleslaw somehow managed to taste of potato salad (a good thing!) and the sausage and rabbit jambalya was pretty damned reet. Afterwards we traipsed into the Marigny to see the "R" Bar which is owned by an acquaintance. A righteous bar. Dark, sorta cluttered but actually very spacious as NOLA dives go. A place you wanna spend hours at. Had a nice glass of red zinfandel there and drunk-texted the owner before walking back to our Canal Street hotel. A healthy walk and good way to burn off all the drinks!
I visited the Bywater for the first time (had breakfast at Satsuma and then walked back to the French Quarter) ; it was one of those sweet neighborhoods that was fully broken in and fulla people that seemed very happy to be there. Every couple blocks you'd spy another funky coffee house or thrift store-decored bistro peopled with lotsa relaxed patrons. Out on the street it was pretty quiet at noon time, most folks away at work. It was sunny and just a might hot which was a treat for an East Coaster still waiting for Spring to finally settle in.
We had fine lunch (really a day's feeding!) at Willie Mae's Scotch House in the Treme: Southern fried chicken with rice and a butter bean puree - heavenly. Low income housing in the surrounding neighborhood been torn down since our last visit and construction crews were running pile drivers putting big ol' beams into the ground for house foundations. On the drive back to the Quarter we were told they were working towards putting up new cottage style low income housing.
More on this stuff later