Dear Diary, New Orleans January 2010

Billy and I planned a weekend getaway to New Orleans, I started getting very excited about my trip and scoured the internet on where to eat.  New Orleans certainly has plenty of places to choose from.  It’s a Mecca of food and booze, my kind of place.

I wanted to arrive a day earlier and zip up to Baton Rouge to meet one of my friends, but Mr. Billy wanted in on the party train, so we both arrived on Thursday.  We wanted to grab something quick before we hit the highway for the quick drive to Baton Rouge.  Baton Rouge is not even an hour drive, highly recommended for a day trip out of New Orleans.

First stop Eat Well Foods.  I jotted this down in my notebook, I love to keep Moleskin paperback notebooks in my purse.  Mainly because I can’t remember shit.  Eat Well Foods, I knew it was a counter, but when we drove up it is in a convenient store, I looked at it skeptically, but each customer was walking out with a bag with sandwiches wrapped in white paper. Good sign.  When we walked to the back of the store, it was a normal deli, but they also offered Banh Mi sandwiches, this is why it made it to the book.  Great sandwich, great adventure, $6.99 for a twelve-inch sandwich, coke included. On to Baton Rouge.

When I spoke to my friend, Daphne, about my visit, she picked out a fancy restaurant, I sent her message back asking, isn’t there some dive, off the beaten path kind of restaurant we could go to instead?  She replied quickly with, Roberto’s River Road Restaurant. If I could spell out angels singing and the sky parting, I would insert this here. 

We decided to meet in Darrow, LA at the Houmas House Plantation, it’s about 20 minute drive away from Roberto’s.  I normally am not a walk around the grounds type of person, but it is beautiful scenery, gift shop, restaurant and the Turtle Bar!  You have to go to the tiny Turtle Bar, four bar stools and two chairs. Even if the door is locked, go to the gift shop and ask someone to send the bartender.  If I ever were to return, I might smuggle a little vino and glasses in my purse.  If you know anyone planning a wedding in Louisiana, go check out the Houmas House.  Perfect setting for a wedding and hey, call me too. Poprock Photography!  I am a flat rate anywhere in the U.S.


We spend a couple of hours at Houmas House, now it is time to venture off to Roberto’s River Road, we drive the desolate road, you are better off to have a GPS, it might be a little daunting without one.  Isn’t life in general daunting these days without a GPS?  We drive up and it looks dark and closed.  I am notorious for choosing closed restaurants.  Luckily it was open, the sign outside wasn’t turned on.  Billy would have teased me if it were closed, we really were in the middle of nowhere.

We walk into Roberto’s and I am instantly in love.  An old wooden house, with simple tables and old restaurant chairs, with white paper on the tables. Simple and inviting.  We sit down, order some wine, shrimp and grit cake and black drum in papillote.  I think I would have enjoyed catfish Billy or a huge seafood platter more, live and learn.  We part ways with Daphne and head back to New Orleans.  Ready to start our official weekend.  All in all a very fun Thursday.

Friday morning, we get a text from one of our friends meeting us, he will arrive for lunch, don’t eat without him.  He knows, I have places planned out!  Billy and I head up Canal Street to return our rental car.  A couple of blocks down the road is Betsy’s Pancake House.  Betsy’s has mixed reviews on Yelp, everyone loves it, perfect  hangover cure and friendly staff, but they said the food wasn’t the greatest. 

I ordered a redundant breakfast of potato, onion & swiss omelet with a side of french fries, I have never ordered this in my life, but it just sounded so damn good.  Billy ordered a standard two eggs, bacon, grits and pancakes.  We pigged.  I loved my breakfast.  The grits were perfect, I love Betsy!

Everyone arrives, so there are three couples total.  My first pick was Willie Mae’s Scotch House, I do not know why it’s called Scotch House, all I know it is known for its fried chicken.  People rave about this chicken, I have to say it was delicious.  They were out of sweet tea and cornbread.  I hate when restaurants run out of main items, they have been in business for thirty years, they shouldn’t run out of sweet tea or cornbread. Especially sweet tea, you want me to go back there and make some?  But hey, I will gladly return, fried chicken and butterbeans.  It was a hit with the group.  I gained everyone’s trust so they let me pick all of our meals.

After lunch we wandered around the French Quarter, you can find many bars around the Quarter.  You will be amazed how you can walk by a bar and hear live music and like what you hear.  We wandered into Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, I took one look at the band and knew I would like them, The Jumbo Shrimp Jazz Band and like, I did.  Great little bar and a band worth seeking.

There are many bars that serve up frozen drinks and all kinds of signs to lure you into bars. Big Ass Beers, handgrenades & hurricanes. You have to have one or two frou frou drinks, it’s fun.  Legendary Pat O’Briens for hurricanes, I ordered a Category Five, it was a fruity, tequilla cocktail and one of the frozen places, I ordered a 190 Orange something something.  I didn’t drink all of it, but I had to have one, just to say I did.

We had been drinking since lunch and we ate lunch pretty late, so everyone just wanted a little snack or something.  So, we hit up Clover Grill.  Clover Grill is an institution in New Orleans, it’s gaycentric, but they are really nice to the straights.  Our evening was a highlight of the trip, our server was really pleasant and funny.  He welcomed us but I wouldn’t want to cross him.  A crazy man, I sized this man up by the large duffel bag he was carrying, you know how crazy people always seem to be lugging something with them.  He called our waiter, Robbie, Miss Thang, this was not the right thing to do.  The ended up having heated words.  Something about french fries coming with a burger a Robbie, saying something to effect of this ain’t McDonald’s and the man saying, something like Miss Thang, the man getting up leaving and Robbie yelling, “fuck you, motherfucker!”  The restaurant clapped, I guess, we all have times when we wanted to yell that, but never had the nerve.  Here’s to ya, Miss Thang!

We wake up Saturday morning, I look up my breakfast list and decide on Surrey’s Juice Bar, I read a review on Yelp and I didn’t care that it was five miles away.  We get there before 10a, good thing, a lined formed immediately after our arrival.  I love Surrey’s it was a cute little wooden house, complete with local art and cute young people working and delicious food.  Really my favorite kind of restaurant, affordable food, good with a healthy edge and fresh ingredients.  Also, fresh squeezed juice and hot coffee.  Just what the doctor ordered.

If you are into Banksy, there is one on Kerlerec St. and N. Rampart, there were more, but we found an article saying they were all painted over, so we didn’t search for more.  I was happy to see one.  If you don’t know who Banksy is, go rent Exit through the Gift Shop. A great film.

I broke away from the group and wandered around New Orleans, I like to get in my own little world and take photos and not have an agenda, just wander around a city.  One of my favorite things to do.  I get on the Red Line Trolley, $1.25 exact amount needed.  This is a great way to get around the city and just explore a little bit.  You don’t even have to get off the trolley, but it is fun if you do. 

We were going down Canal St. and I passed by a little restaurant that I wanted to go have a bloody mary, then on the way back, I was getting close to the restaurant and I saw another bar, I wanted to go to and a thrift store that was on my list, Rebirth.  I had to hop off.  I walked into Rebirth, I was so excited that it was on my list and I accidentally find it.  What are the chances?  I find a cute little dress from H&M for $12 and a t-shirt for one of my friends for $5.  Now it’s time for a bloody mary.  Hubs texts me and it is time for me to join the group, back on the trolley and head towards the Quarter. 

We decide to meet at Stanley, I chose Stanley simply because this is my brother’s name and he needs a t-shirt! Of course they were out, but they weren’t out of vodka.  Bloody mary it is then.  I split a sandwich with my hubby, a great little spot to grab a snack.  Beautiful restaurant and bar, right on the Square in the Quarter.

Around New Orleans, especially around the Square you can buy art from local artist.  I try to buy something every trip, either art or a tacky Christmas ornament.  It’s fun either way.  I like having something to remember my visits.  I found a cute little square with a lion holding some lipstick, we agreed on that one and bought it from a doe eyed young artist from Michigan named Nathaniel.  This reminds me, maybe it’s time to open my suitcase and do some laundry and get my lion out.  Or I could keep writing…..

After we meet at Stanley, we are a stone throw away from Cafe Du Monde, one of the couples we were with, hadn’t been before, I think they were a little baffled on why we were willing to wait in line at this madhouse.  But it is so delicious.  I want some of their coffee and beignets, now. I think they understand after we scarfed down a couple of beignets!

That evening we went to Jacques Imo’s, It is way off the path and it cost $25 in a cab, but it is worth it.  You can take the green trolley to the end and walk to it.  That would have been a better way, but we were in the cab when we realized we could do this! Jacques Imo’s is a crazy wait, but they accommodated us and they were super sweet.  Two thumbs up for nice service.  They have an extensive menu, we had fried whole snapper and alligator cheesecake.

You cannot go to Jacques Imo’s without having a little libations at the Maple Leaf Bar.  It is a beautiful old bar, just a little neighborhood dive bar filled with locals.  The kind if you lived there, you would want to be near this bar.

Our final, one stop before we hit the airport, I looked up on Yelp for breakfast and found the Ruby Slipper, I had no clue it had just opened a month ago, we went in for a quick bite and we had a standard, two egg, bacon, grits & biscuit and delicious coffee.  A perfect ending for our weekend.  Billy likes to go to new places instead of visiting cities that we have already been too, but New Orleans, there is always something new going on and still some of the same, same ole, same ole.  But it is always a great time.


About poprockphotography

I'm a globe trottin' Southern gal residing in Charlotte, NC, who will hit the road to document your wedding. My photography style is offbeat and colorful. I like to capture people in their own element and most importantly, have them like what they see. Poprock Photography, modern photography for the budget minded.
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