t’s taken me a solid week to recover from what was truly one of the most entertaining weekends of my life. You see, last weekend a group of handsome individuals (and me) arrived in the great city of New Orleans to fulfill our bachelor party duties for our man LoafersSansSocks. What happened there after is between me, the crew, and a higher power…and please don’t ask for details, some things are better left untold. What I can give you is a full account of all tasty edibles enjoyed from beignets and watermelon to gator and crawfish. Let the flashbacks begin:
Our first morning began with beignets from Cafe Du Monde, a tourist hub for sho, but a NOLA must. They reminded me of Zeppole, light Italian doughnuts my Ma used to make for our birthdays. I may have polished off a cool dozen myself over the weekend…don’t judge me.
Moving through the early afternoon crowds around Jackson Square we scored a table at Stanley to sample some local hits like boudin sausage eggs benedict and the sinisterly dark gumbo above with shrimp, oysters, andouille, and chicken. Toss in a couple manmosas and double shot of espresso and I’m greased up like a circus monkey!
Next stop was Pat O’Bryans, a famous watering hole known for it’s Hurricanes. Bright red drinks scare me so I introduced our friends and the Patty O’s staff to Tequila Mojitos. The courtyard was filled to the brim within hours and soon everyone was slurping along to the tune of booze, mint, and lime.
Red Fish Grill was our dinner choice. It’s location at the very end of Bourbon Street keeps the dreaded smell of hand grenades and death at bay, and for that I’m thankful. The whole fried Red Fish was an awesome decision but the grilled Red Fish stole the show, good thinking Sven.
Bourbon Street in full fling. Keep in mind: there was no event, no holiday, no reunion or biker weekend driving these crowds into the street. This is just what happens here, and it’s the craziest shit I’ve ever seen. SB ’03-’07 have got nothing on this clusterf*ck of a block party. If anyone finds my dignity or pride begging for cash on the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter tell them they’re not welcome home…
The next afternoon we made our way out of the French Quarter to take in the sites and track down Butcher, a lunch spot devoted to the art of Salumi and Charcuterie (tube meat). All options are made in house from the duck prosciutto above to the salumi, pickles, sausages, and mustards.
I started things off with warmed Boudin, a silky-smooth french sausage stuffed with pork and rice, as well as the Gambino stacked high with salami cotto, sopressata, coppa and arugula. The boys found other hits like the muffaletta and cubano.
Smothered in pork fat and crusty bits we decided hanging with some live gators was the next logical decision. A short ride outside of NOLA brought us to Bayou Self in Lafitte, LA aboard an aluminum fan boat heading deep into the swamp. If it the scenery didn’t resemble Jurassic Park to a tee the 14′ powerhouse that is Vicki polished it off! That’s one large mambajamba, but she’s got a soft spot for marshmallows…women and their sweets…
We also got to chill with Floyd, a 2 year old gator who came along for the ride.
The crew later dined at John Besh’s Besh Steaks which was the only Besh establishment that could seat a group of 12 on Saturday night. While I still admire and respect everything that Chef Besh does and stands for I’ve got to admit the dinner was unremarkable and the service was piss poor. Had I known it was in the casino…my bust fellas.
The evening that followed was historic, and it showed the next morning with the majority of our crew flying out in terrible shape. A few brave souls (namely myself and Nemo) remained behind awaiting later flights and decided to soak up our last bit of NOLA culture.
The FQ was alive and well, unlike ourselves, and we began walking as far as our feeble feet could take us. More beignets, much coffee, a street show or two…miles and miles later we settled in an outdoor cafe off Dacatur Street wrestling thru a $3 bucket of cold Crawfish (best deal of the weekend I’ll add). Soft, sweet, and smothered in cajun seasoning the tiny crustaceans shocked us back into reality and had us hungry for more.
Our last NOLA fix came from Royal Street Deli, a hole in the wall establishment with a cheerful staff, inspiring playlist, and local menu items like my red beans and rice with alligator sausage. Sweet, salty, and pan-seared to a crisp the gator in tube form was the perfect farewell flavor.
I’m exhausted just reliving the trip thru photos, and a little tipsy. While Bourbon Street is exciting and disturbing in all the right ways, I found the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown streets hold the real NOLA goods. NOTE: Do NOT wear flip flops at night if you can help it and steer clear of slushy drinks…Katrina in a cup…