|Outdoor breakfast Hotel Le Marais|
|National WWII Museum|
|Creole Queen on the Mississippi|
|Cafe du Monde beignets|
|Setting up for Mardi Gras, NOLA|
Many of the city’s icon’s were being adapted not only for mardi-gras but also the Super Bowl. Large decorated footballs popped up in the oddest places representing each year of the Super Bowl and its location. Our wanderings found us down on the Mississippi where the Creole Queen Riverboat was setting off for a run up the river. A huge storm had swept through the Gulf region so the river was churning and brown, but the sky was blue and the sun was glowing and it made for a beautiful backdrop for the paddle steamer. By this time my stomach was demanding a taste of something from the famous cusine of New Orleans, so we found the Café du Monde. All they serve are café au lait and beignets. Beignets are fluffy globs of dough deep fried and absolutely smothered in powdered sugar. I was delighted! New Orleans are also famous for the po-boy and a well-known deli specialising in all versions of po-boys was not far from Café du Monde – Johnny’s Po-Boy’s. Along the way we stopped in at a record shop called Peaches which is a local institution specialising in the music of Louisiana – Zydeco, Local New Orleans Rap, Blues and of course Jazz. Continuing to Johnny’s, Justyn ordered the roast beef po-boy and went with the more traditional fried oyster po-boy. And both were ‘dressed’. What a taste sensation! For those who are asking “but what is a po-boy”, it is a traditional submarine sandwich almost always consisting of meat, usually roast beef, or fried seafood.
|Fried oyster po-boy from Johnny's, NOLA|
|Buskers on Bourbon St, NOLA|
Too soon it the sun was setting and the winter chill was moving in signalling time to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had booked into Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant for another exceptional New Orleans dining experience. Justyn and I became familiar with Emeril through various cooking shows such as Top Chef that we regularly watch. Emeril initially gained fame in the culinary world as executive chef of Commander’s Palace which is a famous New Orleans restaurant. After leaving Commander’s he opened his first restaurant, Emeril’s, with an emphasis on Creole and Cajun cooking styles. And the dining experience more than lived up to expectations. We had three people waiting on us (plus a sommelier) and they were all engaging, professional and very knowledgeable; we felt like VIP’s! For appetisers, mum, dad and Justyn all went with the gumbo and I had the special of the day which was Sweet and Sour pigs tail. We all went in different directions for our entrees (main course) with Justyn enjoying the "Mac N’ Cheese" which was sautéed gulf shrimp with artisanal pasta, vermouth cream, guanciale and brioche crumbs, mum decided on the Sweet Barbecue Glazed Salmon with andouille potato hash, crispy onions and house made Worcestershire, dad hit the gamier side with the veal special and I had one of items that have been on Emeril’s menu since opening the restaurant in 1990, the Andouille Crusted Drum (a local fish) with grilled vegetables, shoestring potatoes, glazed pecans and creole meunière sauce. There wasn’t much talking at the table while we were all in our own little rapturous worlds. And then there was dessert. With not much room to fit it in, we managed to share two of his well-known desserts - Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie with a graham cracker crust, caramel sauce, chocolate shavings and his Key Lime Ice Box Pie with torched cinnamon meringue and tequila gingersnap crust – heavenly bites of deliciousness each one!
We were all very full from our fantastic meal so we decided to amble back to our hotel. Emeril’s was in the Warehouse District so it wasn’t far to wander. Before long we came across Harrah’s Casino and instead of going around, we headed in to put a few pennies through the slot machines. Justyn was the only one to come out the other side a winner. We knew when we were getting close to our hotel as Bourbon Street became louder and louder. Another Nawlins institution we felt we needed to experience, we dodged the hordes stumbling around the street clutching their hurricane cocktails in fish bowls, the spruikers toting ‘It’s go-time for ho-time’ strip clubs and the bachelor/bachelorette groups covered in beads and swinging from the lamp posts. All quite entertaining through my slightly tipsy eyes (well I had had a couple of cocktails and glasses of wine with dinner!)