Molly Goes to NOLA
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the biggest perks of my job is that AZ is cool with me traveling (as long as I have everything covered from the road). I take advantage of that when I can, and last week, I spent a few days in New Orleans. That city is amazing. The food, the people, the ghost stories, the drinking of Cajun bloody Marys in the street, the music… I could go on forever, but for simplification purposes, I’ll narrow it down to my Top Five.
Our first real dinner in NOLA was at Donald Link’s restaurant, Cochon. Think modern twists on classic Cajun recipes. Highlights included spicy grilled pork ribs with watermelon pickle (the watermelon had just a hint of cloves (?)… just delicious), friend green tomatoes, and the Louisiana cochon (that’s a plate of piggy, people!). I am also happy to report that I conquered my New Year’s resolution: I vowed to start liking bloody Marys and the one they serve here (made with lemon moonshine) is To. Die.For.
On Monday, I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours working at Cochon Butcher. I wasn’t dressed for the experience (Frye boots in a slippery kitchen are a huge no-no), but I did learn a lot about charcuterie… mostly that it’s delicious. One of my tasks included peeling off the casing for the chorizo pictured above. I was thrilled to have a job that couldn’t be screwed up.
I wrapped up my Cochon Butcher experience with this deliciously rich duck pastrami sandwich. It’s one of those things you’re forced to eat quickly because it’s just dripping with grease (in a good way) and messy. Big thanks to Chef Link, Rea, and Ian the Butcher for letting me behind the scenes!
2. Tuba Skinny @ The Spotted Cat
NOLA is famous for its music scene (hello Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton), and the place for live music is Frenchman Street. We stumbled upon the fabulous band Tuba Skinny at a jazz venue named The Spotted Cat. This group was totally charming. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera along that night, but they have a website– listen to some tunes (you can even buy MP3s if you are so inclined).
3. Signs of Ghosts and Supernatural Stuff
Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, something out of the ordinary seems to be going on in the Big Easy. We took a fun and just-spooky-enough night walking tour (we the French Quarter Phantom’s tour, which left from Flanagan’s Pub). A palm reading in Jackson Square was a must. In case you were wondering, I was told that I “need to trust my gut.” How insightful! #sarcasm. Oh well, it was fun.
4. Irene’s Cuisine
Every local we asked had nothing but praise for this Italian-meets-Creole place. Follow your nose down St. Philip Street in the French Quarter– the garlicky scent will hit you a block away. We waited about an hour for a table (the norm unless you show up at 5pm), but didn’t mind. We waited in the small lounge area, drinking wine, listening to a piano player and spying on an over-served lady in a fancy cocktail dress and white sneakers. Here’s a pic of the bruschetta– literally the only dish I took a photo of because we were all too busy devouring our meal. The duck and steak entrees were big winners, and we loved our waiter Joseph and his total lack of an “indoor voice.” Great place to go with friends, probably even better for a romantic dinner for two.
This wine concept is new to me, and brilliant. 120 bottles available to taste by the ounce of by the glass. You serve your self– tracking your pours on an electric card. I was able to try a bunch of different vinos, and even splurged on a $6, one-ounce pour. Once you’re done, the folks at W.I.N.O. (aka Wine Institute of New Orleans) swipe your card and present your bill. Fabulous, fun concept. Wish we had one of these in the Twin Cities. Here’s the lovely Margie Stack posing with a full-bodied Zinfandel (probably).
Okay, I know I only said my top five, but wanted to give a shout out to the St. Philip Apartments (courtyard pictured above). We loved our place, it was centrally located in the French Quarter, and had the nicest bathroom we saw in all of N’awlins, which isn’t really saying much… but it was nice and perfect for our group of five girls. Also, thanks to John and Golden Girl who took us on a carriage ride in the French Quarter. John was chill, informative, and had some very insightful, first-hand stories about the city’s above ground cemeteries.
And last but not least, sending some good juju to the purple bodysuit-clad street performer (he’s got a website: www.enormousface.com) who we watched for no less than 45 minutes. Easily the weirdest puppeteering I’ve ever seen. Here’s a link to his YouTube Channel. My boyfriend watched this and had nightmares. I, on the other hand, think it’s hysterical.