Up before dawn
Cafe du Monde
Found out to my woe
Beignets to go
We shelled out the $3 for the all-day street car pass and rattled and rolled our way to Tulane in Uptown (upriver from Canal Street as opposed to Downtown which is downriver from same). Had fate not stepped in, this is where TP would have gone to law school and we might never have met (but then again, had fate not stepped in, I would have grown up in birth-of-grunge Seattle instead of Bluegrass country).
We crossed St. Charles to sit-n-soak near a pond at Audubon Park. Our eyes glazed over in happiness as we watched the lazy bees float from clover to clover while we sat on a bench listening to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” (featuring Carrie Brownstein!) without any interruptions or demands to play a tune from Alvin and the Chipmunks.
With a final goodbye bite from the lone mosquito in the entire park, we boarded the street car and strolled down Magazine St. while the shops were actually open for business. The antique stores kept us occupied for a good long while. Too long, actually, so that by the time we reached Commander’s Palace for our rain-date lunch, there were no seats available until nearly two hours later. We decided to forgo the frippery and opted to hop back on the street car to return to an Indian restaurant we noticed the day before: Nirvana. Despite the gigantic flapping sign outside that shouted “OPEN!”, the joint was closed. DENIED! Reminding TP that we could get Indian food any day of the week and make it ourselves but that there is only one Commander’s Palace and that was in NOLA so we really should try it, we double-backed our way there and by that time, we only had a half hour wait. To soothe my by-now-grumble-cakes-tummy-and-mood, I stopped at La Divinia Gelateria to sample some of their goodies before browsing through another antique store.
We were warmly greeted by the staff at Commander’s and why not? We were old friends by now. Our waitress was very animated and displayed her stage-worthy acting skills by feigning shock at our polite declination of any alcoholic beverages, particularly the “famous” “secret” $0.25 martini. To assuage her grief, I promised to try out their dessert, the angry ice cream cone.
Sated with fancy white-people-food (TP’s words, not mine), we squeezed our way into a packed street car and headed back to the French Quarter. We braved our way through a few sincerely atrocious and gaudy and vulgar souvenir shops searching for something to bring home to the kids and my parents but three stores later we threw up our hands before we threw up our (pricey) food. Relying on a friend’s recommendation, I stepped into Southern Candymakers to sample their pralines (pronounced “prahhh-leeens”). When I say I was plied with sugar, I was PLIED with sugar. Just waiting in line to order a gift box for my parents and my sister netted me at least three helpings of free samples without a single request. In the end, I had to purchase a bottle of water too (aha! the nefarious plot is revealed!) because I had so much sugar coating my mouth.
In an attempt to balance the sugar intake with an equally outrageous salt intake, we searched and searched for a place that would cater to our non-ham-hock diet so that we could experience the traditional New Orleans Monday fare of (veggie) red beans and rice. We decided to wing it and asked the super friendly staff at The Camellia Grill if they served it without ham/sausage/pork chops/etc. After a moment of disbelief, they kindly informed us that we were crazy and sent us on our way. We wandered around, stopping at a few galleries, enjoying the sweet light of dusk, and decided to go back and just have fries and sodas for dinner at Camellia’s anyway because we liked the staff. They seemed genuinely pleased to see us again, perhaps because we were such a bizarre anomaly in their minds, and our guy said that if we could stand to wait a little while, he could give us the red beans and rice we wanted before they added any of the hammy stuff to the pot. SCORE!
Despite the fact that it was a Monday night, we decided to check out the glare and cacophony of Bourbon Street. Yikes. That is all.