Revenge of the Jalapeno
After brass band Friday came Saturday in New Orleans.
Saturday, Saturday, Gotta Get Gumbo Saturday
We started the day out with coffee, something which has become a sort of mini-exploration for us in cities. Our coffee shop of choice was Zotz, a little caffeine house/informal library where coffee-goers are welcome to choose a book at random, take it home, and either bring that same book back or replace it one another one entirely.
Most of our coffee shop experience consisted of sitting and working except for the part where our host, Hope, showed up a few hours later surprised to see us. Turns out she had completely forgotten telling us all about Zotz, giving us directions and watching us leave earlier that day.
Later in the evening we planned to get authentic New Orleans food and drove out to the Gumbo Shop where Anne tried some assorted fish and I had my first bowl of gumbo.
We then took a stroll around Bourbon Street where we fit in like the tourists we were. We checked out the voodoo shops they had along the streets and bought $4 hurricanes that tasted like they’d been poured by a drunk man. They were strong and we drank SLOW (Anne drank so slow, she stopped).
When we finally decided it was time to head back to the car, we spotted an art exhibit in a shop along the street. Just a peek, we thought. That night an event had gone on at the art gallery and so, although they were closing in just a few minutes they welcomed us in with open arms and glasses of wine!
Art is wild.
My favorite memory of this night is probably when the very thing we’d been warned about by Denise actually happened. It goes like this.
“Hey, nice shoes,” a local comes up and says.
Then they’d add, “I bet I can guess where you got those shoes. I’ll bet you five bucks I can guess the place.”
And if you’re like any tourist you’d be skeptical but probably agree.
They they’d tell you you bought those shoes right there on that street and swindle you out of your money.
If you’re like us and know the secret though (as you now will), you’d say, “I got these right here on the street.” Unfortunately, we’re not quite brave enough to ask him for our $5…
The Much-Bigger-than-a-Jalapeno Sized Mistake
Sunday we finally got to hang out with our host, Hope. The three of us jumped into the car with her dog for an afternoon of Po-boys and the dog park.
We pulled up to a hole-in-the-wall little store that from the outside looked like it only sold soda, chips and cigarettes. Little did we know, in the back of the store they made the most amazing Po-boys we would ever have. Roast beef, shrimp, turkey, you name it and it’ll be good. We ate our meal over at the dog park while Hope’s wolf/husky dog raced around making new friends.
After getting some laundry done, we headed back to the house to make dinner. Now, I always feel a little selfish and spoiled when I realize that the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” comes true for me, but sadly it has. I miss cooking.
I’m not some crazy culinary fiend or anything, but for some reason, from the moment we left home I’ve had a really strong urge to cook stuff.
Arizona was perfect for this. Our host Jessie wanted us to cook dinner for her, so we literally walked in, introduced ourselves, and made dinner. Other than that, cooking hasn’t really occurred much so needless to say, I was excited to experiment.
I knew my meal wouldn’t be elegant since I’m on a budget, but I thought I could make SpaghettiO’s and Meatballs something to savor.
I had bought an onion, green beans, bell pepper and jalapeno to mix in with my SpaghettiO’s. I boiled my green beans, grilled my onion, then mixed them both together with my bell pepper and jalapeno.
The room turned spicy in minutes.
For some reason my non-stop coughing didn’t trigger anything though, so I thought it would be fine to serve Anne (who thinks mild salsa is spicy) one of my green beans. It was not and she swears she almost died.
And still, resistant to obvious warning signs, I also poured my concoction into my SpaghettiO and Meatball mixture. I like my spicy foods, but this was hot and I was sweating. Never again will I cook with an entire jalapeno.
After a long recovery phase, Anne and I ventured out of the house in search of the donut-like pastries we’d heard so much about. We headed over to Café Du Monde, had our first taste of beignets and cafe au lait and they were good!
Our last day in the city we visited Lafayette Cemetery. The cemeteries in New Orleans are above ground because of the city’s high water table. If they built them under ground – the caskets would float! All of the huge tombs make them pretty neat to look at so even though they’re cemeteries, places like Lafayette are also popular tourist spots.
Forever Beaded Trees
Ahh the Mardi Gras beads…I almost forgot.
One of the oddities of New Orleans is that the beads tossed into the trees during Mardi Gras fill their trees year round. It’s beautiful, mystical and I wanted some.
And so, as luck (and my tricky navigation skills) would have it we ran into a tree filled with them our last day in town. Here I can be seen during the selection process.
Here I am with my prize!
And here is Anne looking shamed.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter a man came up to us and told us that picking the beads off the trees was bad luck. So I felt a little cursed for a while after that and every car that drove by looked at me with anger…
On our way back to the car after bead collecting we took a few pictures of the beautiful New Orleans scenery. Check it out!
I bet the sites at Disney World tomorrow might just top New Orleans though…
Until next time.