I think I left off with a note about plans to go to Antoine's and then Irving Mayfield's Playhouse with a colleague and her husband. Antoine's was very quiet- three quarters empty on a weeknight. It was fun to read abut the history of the restaurant-and my shrimp remoulade was very good. The waiters were courtly and down to earth at the same time. Overall, not the best meal of my trip food-wise, but I am glad that we went. Afterwards, we walked over to Irvin Mayfield's-we got seats right in front of the stage. Wow! We caught Irvin himself with the New Orleans Jazz All-Stars-they were all great!
The next day was a long conference day-first meeting started at 7 AM. I grabbed a quick dinner over at Herbsaint-walked in and the hostess recognized me from when I had eaten at Bayona-apparently, she works at both restaurants! I had the gumbo, a very tender short ribs appetizer, a delicious side of roasted Brussel sprouts, and a most ethereal chocolate pudding/salted caramel cake with cashew ice cream and cocoa nib caramel corn. A great meal and the best dessert of the trip. After dinner, I went back to the hotel and waited for my husband's arrival.
On Friday, I had a conference half day and my husband did the French Quarter Free Tours By Foot, which he enjoyed. At 1:00, we high tailed it out of the Sheraton and took the streetcar to Commander's Palace. They gave us a lovely table by the window upstairs. Our table had balloons in honor of my birthday (and I got a birthday hat). We each knocked back 3 of those 25 cent martinis all too easily :) My husband decided to order 2 soups (turtle and gumbo) and a salad. I tasted the turtle soup and tried not to think about the turtle :) I went with the 3 course lunch and loved the lacquered quail, the gumbo and the bread pudding. Our lunch was really special and would have been special even without the martinis!
After our lunch, we relaxed at the hotel and then headed out to the Blue Nile to catch Kermit Ruffins. Another great show-and he had the same musicians making guest appearances (Nayo Jones, James Whitmore and a great female trombone player) as I had seen at the House of Blues. We had a great time-and I got up on stage and danced when Kermit invited the ladies in the audience to join him. My kids would have been mortified :) I think that he just bought Ernie K.Doe's Mother In Law Lounge. I wanted to continue on to the Spotted Cat to catch the Cottonmouth Kings, but they were on a break when we wandered over there, so we decided to do a quick peruse of the small night art market off of Frenchman and then called it a night.
On Saturday, we hit Cafe Du Monde for breakfast (loved the warm sugar laden beignets!) and then wandered around in the French Quarter for a bit. We decided to hit Central Grocery for lunch-great muffeleta which we enjoyed on a bench overlooking the Mississippi. After lunch, we took the streetcar to the World War II Museum-well worth an afternoon or even a full day. Loved the 4D Tom Hanks movie and found the numerous personal stories and exhibits to be very moving. We left the museum and walked down to W.I.N.O.-a wine bar where they have over 100 wines that you can sample via wine dispensing machines-lots of good choices and a worthwhile Happy Hour stop. Our last New Orleans dinner was at Mr. B's-I am still dreaming about the barbecued shrimp that I had there even though I needed many napkins to clean my messy hands! We finished up with a stop at the Davenport Lounge at the Ritz Carlton-nice atmosphere and more good music. A good place if you want to stop by and have a drink and listen to music for an hour or so.
On Sunday, we speed-walked over to Johnny's when they opened at 8 AM to grab a po boy for the flight home-so glad that we did, as that and Starbucks for breakfast became our only food of the day due to flight delays home.
We were sad to leave New Orleans, but we had one more treat before we left. As we waited to check our bag at the airport, we heard music from down the terminal. It turned out to be members of Zulu, complete with tuba and drums! My husband had been hoping to see a second line parade, and he got his wish-a perfect end to a perfect first visit to New Orleans!