I am finally afforded the unheard of luxury of sleeping in: no kids, no garbage trucks, no sunlight. Do I take advantage of this miracle? No. I yawn and stretch and, despite my reluctance and efforts to the contrary, come to life at 430am (which, in my defense, was really 530am but, in my offense, was still ungodly). Not begrudging TP the decadence of pre-dawn slumber, I quietly surfed the internets, crept around to wash and dress, and whispered promises of cafe au lait in bed before venturing out.
The streets were blessedly empty and freshly washed clean of the previous night’s debauchery. I had forgotten that it was Easter Sunday. Yesterday, Cafe du Monde was teeming with people and noise; today it had only a single snoozing body slumped over on a chair in the center of the cafe. With no line at the to-go window, I swiftly picked up my cafe au lait, doctored it with proper sugar rather than the overflow powdered sugar from a beignet, and found a bench near the river to watch the sun rise, a few boats drift lazily past, and a handful of dedicated health freaks getting their morning exercise. Bliss.
I checked in with the family, checked in with my hyperbole-loving and NOLA adoring buddy (see post below), and soaked in the morning quiet (well, as quiet as it could be with the chattering seagulls around). I walked along the river, circled back, and picked up a fresh cup of coffee for TP before returning.
We decided to give Cafe Beignet a try because several friends insisted that their beignets were better than Cafe du Monde. The still-early-morning line was surprising long and slow and the tables were filled. We sat on a bench nearby waiting for our number to be called when a considerate Swedish lady invited us to share her table with her husband and baby. We fell into an easy conversation which ended abruptly when the beginets arrived. TP liked them better (less sugar, denser, like parathas) but I preferred du Monde’s (more sugar, lighter, like puris).
Sugared up, we caught the St. Charles street car to Lafayette Cemetery Number 1 in the Garden District. Among the sea of crosses, TP created his own scavenger hunt to find Jewish tombs while I searched for the oldest dates. We both won.
We had planned on attending the famous Commander’s Palace’s jazz brunch just across the street but with no inclination to stand in the rapidly-growing line or to pay $29 for pancakes, we walked down to Magazine Street for some window browsing. Over a mile later, we finally arrived at Le Petite Grocery where, with no reservation, we were politely but firmly seated outside for lunch.
Knowing full well how full we were, we meandered through the Garden District’s neighborhoods, ogling the architecture and avoiding stepping on the caterpillars, before reaching the Creole Creamery. Alas, all we could do was feast with our eyes because the nearly mile walk was not enough to overcome the fullness of our lunch. We boarded the street car back to the French Quarter just in time to watch yet another (Palestinian?) wedding and catch an Easter parade. TP has come to the conclusion that the French Quarter is the Epcot of New Orleans: a parade or wedding or spontaneous jazz marching band appears every hour. He’s not wrong.
Thanks to Yelp, we easily found Tout de Suite Cafe. No thanks to Easter, we found out that they were closing early. Undaunted, we ordered some coffee and, upon spying a sign touting “famous green tomato pie,” TP informed the clerk that if they had had any (the tray was empty), he would have loved to have tried that. The clerk assured him that they could accommodate his wish and whisked to the back of the store to fetch a slice. SO. GOOD.
During the ferry ride back across, we debated where to go for dinner or even whether we should have dinner at all. We considered Luke’s (Chef John Besh’s brasserie) but the splatter of vomit in front of the place turned us off (not the fault of the establishment but still earning them the nickname of Puke’s in our book). By the time we hoofed it around and around, we finally settled on Mr. B’s (omg, while finding the website to link it here, I was nearly knocked out of my chair not only from the volume of the song but from the lyrics as well. It rivals my very own beloved Super Taco’s theme song!). Salad, seafood, an appetizer of “1-1-1” (duck springrolls, fried oysters, panko crusted Gulf shrimp), gumbo, and dessert were had. Not many pictures to share because the lights were dim but here’s one:
On the walk back to the hotel to sit on the balcony and to catch “Mad Men” we passed by these lovelies. Police Vespas! COME ON! I wonder who I can talk to around here to get a similar setup.