Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tourist In Your Own Town - 2011

For the 5th year in a row, Carlos and I spent a long weekend (the first weekend in October) playing tourist in the New Orleans French Quarter.

This year's theme was Live Music, though we ignored the theme once we arrived.

As we have the past three years, we stayed at my parent’s bed and breakfast. I keep lobbying for us to stay at a proper hotel as we did the first year, but Carlos likes the family aspect.

I live strolling through the French Market. Carlos loves taking the streetcar. We both love eating out and movies. 

I am definitely not a food writer and I have forgotten most of what we actually ate, but I do remember my general feeling about the food and the restaurant - so here's a description of our weekend guided by our food choices.
Friday Lunch
I had the Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo to see if it was better than what I cook. It wasn’t. We have traditionally started off our Tourist Weekend here, but I think we’ll find a new tradition. If I can cook gumbo better than a place called The Gumbo Shop, it's time for us to move on.

Friday Dinner
Better than we thought it would be. I think we pre-judged the place because it has changed names so many times over the years. The outside courtyard was packed, with everyone listening to the band. We ended up inside, which was sparsely filled. Very nice.
Saturday Breakfast
We arrived a little before 9 am. By 9:15, there was a serious line out the door – and limited seating. If you want to eat here, go early. Carlos, Jason, Brandon and I are going to Paris for a week for Thanksgiving. When I return, I'll re-judge this place against the best Patisseries in the world.

Saturday Lunch
Pie and Slice are my top two pizza places in the city, but Mona Lisa is a close third.

Saturday Dinner
Charbroiled Oysters: A+
Everything else in our meal: C-
Carlos had the Shrimp and Grits with Tasso. I had the Shuckee Duckee: "Blackened duck breast over linguini pasta with oysters and cream sauce". We both ate about 1/4 of our main dishes and later on tossing the To Go boxes. This is another Tourist Weekend tradition that we’re going to change next year.

Sunday Breakfast
A wonderful new tradition. The rating is for the El Gato Negro in the French Quarter, not the one on Harrison Avenue. I have heard that location is terrible.

Our Other Activities


Though I thought it would be more of a comedy. Carlos’s response: “It’s about a guy getting cancer. How funny did you think it would be?”

My thinking is a bit shallow, but I don't follow Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor because I don't think he's cute.

I have to respect his talent, however, because he's starred in some of my favorite movies:
Brick (still one of my all-time favorite movies - I sat Jason and Carlos through it one New Year's Eve a few years ago during our night of "Everyone bring the best movie/TV show right now you want to share".) I still agree with my decision.
Latter Days (one of the best ever gay-themed movies)
A huge selection of spices and teas. 

I bought:
Black Chocolate Tea (my favorite)

Plus the sales guy was cute.

This was Carlos's idea. We both museums. He saw the promotion for this exhibit during last year's trip.

Of course, we both lived through Katrina so it was very moving.We spent nearly three hours watching the videos and looking at the photos. It's definitely a must see!

I bought Purple, Green and Gold ornaments for two people on my Christmas list. This business has been around since the 1980's. With such a niche marketing idea, I don't understand how, but if you're in New Orleans - no matter what season - it's definitely worth the stop.


We also stopped at numerous art galleries on Royal Street. I'm always looking for wall art. But none of their wares struck me. Maybe next year.

We also spent a couple of hours perusing the French Market along Decatur Street - both on Saturday afternoon, before waiting for the Riverfront Streetcar to go to Drago's and then again Sunday morning after breakfast. I bought presents for my cousin Casie - I picked her name in this year's family gift giving - and my brother-in-law Jeff. Casie lives in Austin and Jeff lives in Atlanta. I bought them gifts to remind them of New Orleans.

By the time Carlos and I left Sunday afternoon, our stomachs were full and our wallets were empty.

I feel that's a great way to give back to my city.

New Orleans. Proud To Call It Home.

Carlos wants to move our Tourist Town weekends to the spring so we're going to skip October 2012 and have Tourist In Own Town VI in March 2013.

Stay tuned.

Post Scrips II

Back in June 2011, I updated a few past posts. As I type this, it is Sunday morning and Carlos is still in bed - so I have a few minutes to update some other posts, which I have been meaning to do for awhile.


Update to Gardening: Year Two
Gardening: Year Two, Week Three

The Summer 2011 here in New Orleans was very dry for about two months. Then we had tons of rain for about a month. This year's crop - green bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, jalapenos, and snap beans - shriveled up in the heat. And then were drowned out by the rain.

NOTHING grew this year. Next year, I'll try bell peppers, cucumbers, snap beans (which seemed to do the best this year) and onions - a new choice, that Monica, a friend of mine at work, tells me grows well.


At the end of the post, I wrote, "Once all this is completed, I’ll post before and after pictures". Well, I completed the office remodeling project in February 2008, but never got around to posting pictures. Thanks to a reader (Hey Iona!) for pointing that out. Here are before and after pictures of my office / guest room.

Back wall...

Front Wall...



And an update to a very recent post...

 "The doors open at 6:30 pm." My plan was to pick up Carlos at 5 pm, eat at a restaurant about a block away from the event, and get in line at 6 pm. We altered our plans a bit and ended up getting there about 5:45 pm. This is what we saw:

The entrance was on the other side of the block - meaning that the line snaked around the front of the building, down the entire left side of the block, and back to near the middle of the next side of the block - where we joined it.

By the time, everyone was let in at 6:30 pm, the line almost joined back to itself at the front of the building. In the auditorium, we were in the middle - so the seating wasn't too bad.

We received a free book with our ticket. Only 250 out of 2000 were signed - randomly distributed. I got one!

Since I'm also in the Stephen King Book Club, I will also receive the book within the next month. I'll give that copy to charity.

Carlos and I ate at the newest location of New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company on St. Charles Avenue. New Orleans has many, many great restaurants so there is really no reason to eat at a chain. This chain is the only one I enjoy.