We were glad we did--the room was huge, making it doable for two adults and two dogs. We stayed in Cottage #2, and loved that there is a coded gate with a courtyard and a fountain which runs all the time, masking some of the noises that might come in from the street or courtyard and make Chloe bark. Other great things about the B&B: There is a park nearby so you can take the dogs for a jaunt. Also, the breakfast is pretty awesome--you can choose a hot breakfast (eggs and grits are on heavy rotation with accompaniments of sometimes potatoes, sometimes sausage, sometimes bacon, sometimes hotcakes). They also had toast, a variety of bagels, juice, fruit, coffee and yogurt out. So, it may not be easy to have a vegan breakfast, but when in Rome. . .
The only disadvantage was that their wifi is spotty to the extreme. So much so that we actually went to Walmart (something I never imagined we would do in New Orleans) to get a mifi. As luck would have it, Walmart just came out with their "Internet to Go" device, so for about $80 we have a permanent prepaid back up option that my work laptop will connect to (no software download) and that can have up to five things connected to it at once. So, with my new toy, I was able to get final grades in while D was in the interview Friday night. So, if you stay there and are virtually employed, make sure you have an air card or mifi handy.
Of course, anytime you talk about New Orleans, you ask people what they ate. We started Wednesday night by having dinner from Stein's Deli on Magazine. We picked up a veggie sandwich for me and a Turkey for D and took them back to the hotel to hang out with the pups.
Thursday, we headed to the Blue Plate for lunch (a block down the street from where we were staying on the corner of Thalia and Prytania). We got there early so we sat and had more coffee until they started doing lunch service. I had the Bello Bowl, which was a green curry sauce with spinach and bits of portabello in it with crispy polenta fingers (my version to come soon on this blog, I suspect), and D had the special which was a chicken breast with a crawfish sauce on top. The best thing on her plate? Mushroom bread pudding. So very good. I'll be working on a vegan version of that, as well. I wound up wandering back down on Friday for a solo lunch of a portabello burger with a side salad. Good tea, too.
On a side note, specifically to Stacy--Thalia is so much different than it was when we used to stay there. The old Domino's is now Green Fork Catering and the neighborhood is really picking up.
Thursday night, we had the meet and greet at a resident's house, which was an apartment in the upper level of an optician's boutique. We staked out parking (the place is on Freret, home to the Freret Market, which was not going on while we were wandering). Because the resident dinners are hit and miss (as in sometimes they aren't dinner at all), we decided to park a bit early and have a drink and bite at Origami across the street. We were not sure the shindig was going to happen, as the lights were all off until about the start time. We wandered over and had a good time and headed back to the hotel.
Friday night was time to have Reveillon dinner at Muriel's. Because there are two options for each course, we just said bring one of each, please. Most excellent food and they also water you well with a variety of specialty cocktails. In fact, the waiter heard us having a debate about eggnog and brought us a free taste of theirs, which D enjoyed greatly (I'm just not a egg nog fan. Just give me the nog). At $45 for four courses, it's a steal.
We wandered down to Frenchmen Street to walk off some of our dinner and found the Art Market where we helped support some local artisans. Then it was home to digest all that food. While we were waiting on the bus (they are running buses to the quarter these days in prep for the Super Bowl crowds that are going to coincide with Mardi Gras crowds--there's no way you could get me anywhere near that mess in February), D got a text from Scott--turns out he and Christy were having dinner at Don Shula's and saw us walk by. We had a drink with them and Scott and D talked about interviews and we all generally visited.
Saturday afternoon included a wander over to the Lush store (No, not a liquor store) and then lunch at Salt N Pepper, which we spotted on the way over. We also stopped by Louisiana Music Factory for a bit, too. Then it was back to the dogs for walkies and to figure out what to do with our evening. We decided to go bowling at the Rock N Bowl, but they had a private party going on, so we headed to Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. I know it's not hoity toity, but the food is consistently good and it doesn't break the bank. We shared grilled artichokes and a four season's pizza and split a 1/2 bottle of Cote du Rhone wine before trying out their bread pudding. Then, more wandering and back to the hotel.
Sunday, we managed to catch the start of the Big Nine Second Line, having an awesome Bloody Mary provided by a fella who had a bar set up on the roof of his truck cab with coolers full of beer and mixers in the bed of the truck. We didn't take pictures because doing that would mean we weren't really just being there. You can find all kinds of previous year's action on YouTube. By the time they got really underway, we decided it was time for lunch and headed to the Marigny for a bite at Sukho Thai. I'm pretty sure we've eaten there before, back when everyone was still only taking cash post-Katrina.
We are the types of travelers who love to go to the grocery store. Having promised Christy some boudin, we headed to Rouses' on Carrollton and not only accomplished that mission, but also managed to snag a chocolate King Cake and some beans that are harder to get in Little Rock (a good bag of field peas and a bag of Camelia red beans).
Sunday night, it was off to Kermit Ruffins' Treme Speakeasy. We had the catfish and red beans and then got to catch the show. I can definitely see the complaints that the place is drawing in people who only know of the city from HBO, but at the same time, there were a good number of locals Sunday, with Kermit's daughters and their friends at the neighboring table to ours, as well as a really drunk white dude with a Treme Brass Band jacket who did some dancing. And, there was the typical wall of white dudes at the back of the room, standing right in the way, but they did move around (in part due to necessity, as dinner service was going on and they were in the way). We were hoping to catch the Art Market again on Sunday, but I think the earlier rain showers must have convinced folks to stay in, as they were not up and running. We did catch a street band and stopped at Faubourg Marigny bookstore before heading in.
So, all in all, an awesome trip, and the dogs did great. Trey was doped up so he didn't shatter any ear drums on the way or on the way home. And, if we wind up in St. Louis for residency this was an excellent last trip for awhile and was certainly a good Christmas present to each other. And, if we wind up in New Orleans that would be ok, too.