|Riding the streetcar to lunch at Commander's Palace!|
Not me! Don't get me wrong: I don't plan to eat nearly as much duck fat as I did in the last week of 2011 - it is unsustainable! - but I'm not kidding myself. Enjoying a good cocktail is one of the profound pleasures of life, one I never intend to give up. And on my recent four-day trip to New Orleans with Poppa Trix I indulged this passion with abandon. No, I don't mean that I guzzled disgusting grenade drinks or sugary, artless, booze filled cups of crap on Bourbon Street. That is a New Orleans drinking experience for people who don't enjoy drinking, but rather crave being drunk. And annoying.
No, instead Poppa and I enjoyed well-crafted cocktails created by skilled mixologists. After all, you cannot get better cocktails in the U.S. - maybe in the world - than you can in New Orleans, Louisiana. (The same goes for the food, and I'll go into that in future posts.) I won't deny that Poppa Trix and I were both in our cups to an astonishing degree, but unlike Bourbon St. tourists we were never obnoxious! And we paced ourselves. And isn't that what civilization is really all about?
Our first drinks, straight off of the plane late Thursday morning, were a pomegranate cocktail and a Bloody Mary at Mr. B's Bistro in the Quarter. Airplane travel leaves one rather thirsty, so we had 2 each:
Next up, a little cocktail to tide us over until dinner. We decided to check out the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, where I had a French 75 and Poppa had - what else? - another Sazerac:
That evening, we stopped in at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone for a before-dinner drink. We have many happy memories of the Monteleone, as this is where we stayed on our first anniversary trip to NOLA, where, as you may recall, we were married in a voodoo temple in 2008. We each ordered a Vieux Carre - rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and Peychaud's and Angostura bitters, a drink which was invented here at the bar:
For dinner we went to the artsy and eccentric Green Goddess - I can't wait to show you what we ate there! - but for now I will tease you with our cocktails, which we paired with our food:
On the right is a "Meantime" cocktail, which I adored. And what's not to love? It's Pig's Nose 5-year Scotch and White Maury from la Coume du Roy, finished with rhubarb bitters.
The next day we had lunch at Commander's Palace, which began, as it always does for us, with cocktails at the bar, where a group of New Orleans restaurant magnates were having their annual holiday party - we're talking owners and managers of Galatoire's, Mr. B's, ACME Oyster House, country clubs and more ... the big guns. And yes, they were all drunk and funny as hell. I'd like to think we were funny too. Certainly anyone would be more amusing after these:
As it turns out, we were seated next to the rowdy table of restaurateurs in the Garden Room, and so we did not have the presence of mind to photograph the 2 martinis, wine, or after-dinner Scotches (I had an 18-year; Poppa had a 15) that we enjoyed. Somehow Poppa managed to snap a shot of these complimentary tipples that were brought to our table:
That evening we dined at Cochon in the Warehouse District. I did not have my favorite meal, experience, or drinks of the trip here, but that may just be because I am comparing everything to the awesomeness that came before. The drinks were quite good, they just didn't wow me like so many other places we went:
I am not gonna lie: I was coming down with something before we left for New Orleans, but as you can see I bravely soldiered on. However, at the close of our epic two days of food and drink, by Saturday my energy reserves were running low, so I actually had nothing to drink with lunch. (Poppa was having no such problem, and he had an Abita beer.) That said, we had a trip to the Swizzle Stick Bar at Cafe Adelaide in the CBD on the agenda, and so I ordered an excellent hot toddy, while Poppa got the house specialty, the rum-based Adelaide Swizzle, which contains a secret ingredient that may or may not be Grenadine. It was soooo smooth and frighteningly drinkable.
|The Adelaide Swizzle (left); A restorative hot toddy (right)|
The next day - sadly our last day in lovely New Orleans - we had brunch at one of my favorite places, Lil Dizzy's in Treme, but they are a BYOB place and I just had coffee. And so for our last drink before heading out, we stopped at Tujague's in the Quarter where we had what Poppa feels were the best Sazeracs of our trip.
So for those of you who have been following along at home, we're up to 40 drinks. Now, that's not counting the 2 Bloody Marys each on the plane ride to NOLA, a couple of unremarkable glasses of wine at Drago's, and some wine on the plane on the way home ... but who's counting?