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Published: February 10th 2011
St Charles trolley
from Royal St Charles Hotel
Wed. 9 Feb. New Orleans
Its 2.30pm and expect this to be added to. I am now at the Hotel St Marie which is lovely (old faced and new behind it – but period style furniture) – cheaper than the Royal St Charles (no $9 “facility charge” which at least I used for unlimited free printing in their business centre of Greyhound tix and the Cayamo schedule etc – and the wifi of course).
I am listening to the most amazing New Orleans FM radio station – WWOZ – it streams on the Net so look for it – great mix of blues and jazz and a little talk about the music. I heard a great band called Rising Appalachia before and will try and find their CD. I am still waiting for the IT guy to come back to diagnose problem with both the LAN and wireless net. I made a pot of coffee and if he does not hurry up I will drink it all myself!
Last night I did not get out til after dark due to organizing the new few days to Florida and checking the best means to get there – for some
on Royal St N'Orleans
reason the overnight buses seem to be faster and have less way stops. I was originally gunna go to Tallahassee, which is a university town and also the state capital of Florida, relatively nowhere near anything – as most of these State capitals are (think Canberra!) – then across to Jacksonville so I could hook up with the train down to Miami. But tose times did not really suit to get me to Miami hotel before Tim. And I would have had to exit New Orleans with little chance of getting back across here as it is rather too far – it is 15hrs or so on the bus with break in Mobile, Alabama to get to Tallahassee alone. So will spend 2 full days here, today and tomorrow, then get night bus outa here at 8.45pm to Orlando – which otherwise looks a dump, or the nearest Best Western to the Greyhound is, but I have to break the journey somewhere at a reasonable time – get in there at 12.30pm then get bus outa there to Miami arriving at 3.30pm. You actually spend more hours timetabling all this stuff on a day to day basis rather than getting
out and seeing the sights!
Anyway to last night headed up from St Charles St, where that hotel was almost on Canal St, and over to Royal St (Calle Real to the Spanish when this was a Spanish colony in 1700s-1800s). From there the next one over is Bourbon St which is of course a very touristy bunch of bars and restaurants. There was someone belting a Janis Joplin number there somewhere and varios bar spruikers all over. Decided to head into one restaurant called La Bayou is menu looked interesting and reasonable. Ordered some pan fried (read deep fried) gator with a dipping sauce – then blacked redfish. Trouble was had barely got the gator then the “entrée” fish turned up – sent it back, how dare the kitchen determine what speed I eat at. I think the guys on the next table had the same problem – the waiter said it was “his fault” for calling it on, as the gator took longer than he thought (that aint no excuse tho!). Still think that shows he is not watching what his customers are doing and eating – so relatively stiffed him for the standard tip, which is
Hotel St Marie
cheaper to have 2 beds than one!
listed as a suggestion from 18%-25% of the bill on the check.
I was up all night fiddling around with bookings for this and that and had to set myself an alarm at 11am to try and get out of the hotel. Went over the road to the local Subway outlet – I would never darken their door in Aus. but here it makes sense to broadly have them custom make you a sandwich for brunch, as of course I have brunch and skip lunch here and do not eat til dinner time. Then wheeled my bag along Royal St until I found Toulouse Street – did not see no Doobie Brothers hanging around there though (their classic album from 1975 or whatever).
10.30pm back at the St Marie – after a very wet afternoon/evening. At least I got a chance to use my oilskin hat – from Haddad Bros – world famous in Otorohanga since 1965 (NZ) – bought on my recent trip back. Which was perfect for today – as I finally went to leave the hotel at about 4.30pm discovered it was somewhat p*ssing down with rain. Wondered whether I would retreat for my semi-broken
collapsible umbrella – then decided that as I had “the hat” and the soft shell waterproof jacket it could be essayed for a while – the nylon pants were the only weak link. This meant searching for which side of the street there were more awnings (quite a lot of them fortunately) and shops/galleries to stop and have a look at. There were also quite a few of these – and after this along Royal St which is just wall to wall antique shops of the ornate French type – no doubt some snaps of same now att.
The mission of the day, having read about the history of the one “official” New Orleans cocktail the Sazerac – decided to seek out the Roosevelt Hotel which has the Sazerac Bar named after it. Now it seems (there is a long history) that it had its 75th anniversary in 2010. It all started with the bitters of Antoine Peychaud in 1795 it says here – and in the 1870’s it became Sazerac rye whiskey with a swirl of absinthe in the glass. After absinthe was banned (it rots the brain – I saw almost 90% alcohol Absinthe in Amsterdam!) it
antiques on Royal St
what every bedroom should have
got renamed Herbsaint for this reason. Anyway the Sazerac Bar at the revamped Roosevelt Hotel at 123 Baronne St was located ard 6pm and I sat at the bar for one. Described thus: Sazerac rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar syrup served in a Herbsaint stained glass. This ends up a mildly orangey/pink flavoured drink in an old fashioned glass. I must admit the gorgeous bar nibbles of some roasted nuts and wasabi flavoured things sidetracked me somewhat but if you had 2 Sazerac’s in a row you would be seriously disoriented as you can imagine. The wonderful long foyer of the Roosevelt led me to Domenica (Sunday in Italian), the Italian restaurant of celebrity chef John Besk. A 4 peanut review from the Lousiiana Picayune suggested that as I was here already, why not.?
What a good decision is all I can say! The octopus carpaccio was extraordinary and unless I have tasted anywhere. It was sort of like a brawn dish – but made with octopus jellied up in a roll and very thinly sliced carpaccio styled with a fennel/salad thatch (as they say in them fancy cuisine reviews). Enjoyed with a glass of white wine from Sicily
– Regaliali – composed of Inzolia and other varieties it says). I got a small ($8) portion and could have gone the $12 size (be cautious with American sizings!). Then the main of Mangalitsa pork (neck) braised with borlotti beans, basil and honey – unbelievably tender and melt in mouth ($23). This could do no wrong so far – enjoyed with a glass of Umberto Cesare Sangiovese from Romagna. This was proving to be an absolutely classic Italian meal – forget the food in Italy folks, it’s all happening here in adaptation. Although desserts were interesting after the event on the menu decided I was going to do cheese instead and have the Casarita di buffalo – the mozzarella buffalo milk cheese from Lombardia. This was great but somewhat turned into a dessert American style with sweet stuff also on the board – some marmaladed citrus fruits, some honeyed nut things etc – not to mention some fried sweet salty beignet type bread pillows! All for $8, the same as the “real” desserts. I was happy to tip 20% for this bringing it to $80. One of the best ‘Italian’ meals I have had anywhere and no disappointments anywhere (usually
@ Roosevelt htl
one course falls down somewhere) – well worth 4 peanuts!
And on that note, I had better take my gourmet leave and have a sleep (back listening to ace radio WWOZ). The drizzle continued til I got back to the hotel – forecast to have gone by tomorrow – but it will be colder tomorrow (today max. 13C (55F) – min. 37F – tomorrow 8C (47F) min. 0C/32F.
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