For Memorial Day weekend, Jeremy and I went down to New Orleans. We also brought along two friends of ours from Austin who'd never been there before. Fortunately, we got lucky with the weather and it stayed cool most of the weekend. Apparently it was 97 deg in Austin this weekend, so you can imagine that the weather in N.O. should have been much hotter than the 80-85 that we felt. I would not recommend going down anytime between Memorial Day and the end of September (heck even mid-October), unless you just really, really like the heat.
So, of course, we had a wonderful time. You're in New Orleans, the weather is great, food is wonderful, and there's jazz everywhere. And I quite literally mean, everywhere. The picture above is from Sunday night up on Frenchman Street. These guys just started playing on the corner and before you knew it, there were huge crowds on each street corner and people dancing in the street. In fact there were so many people dancing, including yours truly, that cars could barely get through. It was amazing.
This was actually my first time up to Frenchman Street, and I gotta say, it's worth the walk. Just a short distance up from Jackson Square, there are tons of great jazz clubs and even an awesome new pizza place for those late night cravings. We spent a few hours up here, and heard some of the best music all weekend. One band, playing at the spotted cat, even had a guy playing flute. Yep, that's right, a jazz band with a flute. Who would have known?
We also quite enjoyed Fritzel's European Jazz Club (on Bourbon), Preservation Hall (of course) and Maison Bourbon. You just can't beat New Orleans jazz.
But New Orleans has much more to offer than just jazz and drinking. They also have a great aquarium, which we went to Saturday morning, unique architecture, and great local art all around Jackson Square. I love just walking around the streets during the day, and checking everything out. I bought another piece of art this weekend and I can't wait to frame it. Hopefully I can do it a bit cheaper than the last few pieces!
New Orleans also has great food.
I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Cafe Du Monde is awesome! I went 3 times this weekend and had to exercise great restraint by not going a 4th time on Monday morning. We also checked out a restaurant called Irene's.
First, if you're thinking about going here, make a reservation at least a week in advance. I was lucky to get a spot 3 days in advance. Second, the food is amazing. Very tasty and all delicious. The side picture is a twist on the traditional caprese salad. Instead of tomato, basil, and mozzarella, this is made with tomato, cooked prosciutto, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar served with a side of red onion. I'm not a big goat cheese fan, but this was quite good, and will be going in my recipe book for sure.
We also had lunch at The Court of Two Sisters. While they serve quite the elaborate and tasty buffet, the draw to this place has got to be their outdoor seating area. A lovely terrace with brightly colored umbrellas and lots of natural ivy growing overhead. Unfortunately for us, it was during a short rain storm and so the terrace was closed. I did, however, manage to get a few new recipes for crawfish louise, turtle soup, and their wonderful hollandaise sauce, which seems to be much lighter than any hollandaise sauce that I've had before. Though keep in mind that their brunch is $28/pp here, so you'd better be ready to eat to get your money's worth.
Below are some more pics from the weekend, and the rest are HERE on my flickr page. Also at the bottom I've included the recipe for the Crawfish Louise if you'd like to try it out.
2 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. margarine
2 cups julienned mushrooms
1 lb crawfish (meat)
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 cup seafood stock
1/2 tbs. italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. salt
Heat olive oil and margarine together. Blend in mushrooms, crawfish, and green onions. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add seafood stock and continue to cook, stirring at 30 second intervals. When this is hot, add Italian seasoning, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from stove and add black pepper, bread crumbs, and salt. Pour contents inot a casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes at 350 deg. Serves 4.