Well, I suppose it's time I got around to telling you all about our glorious trip down South.
Friday: We left Buffalo in 13 degree weather and arrived in New Orleans in 40 degree weather. A huge improvement already. After checking into our hotel, we proceeded down Canal Street to go to the Audubon Aquarium. On our way, we were accosted by a man (had a valid permit) and convinced to do a "survey" of a new hotel in the area. In turned out to be a timeshare presentation, but we ended up with free tickets to the Aquarium and a coupon book out of the deal. The Aquarium is super cool. I especially loved the otters, Buck and Emma. Matt ended up buying a little beany otter for me later on. After getting our fill of sea creatures, we headed over to the IMAX theatre to catch a 3D film there. It was ok (The Haunted Castle). It's the first museum IMAX I've been in where you can buy popcorn, soda, beer, etc. and eat it in the theatre. Guess I'm just used to the Smithsonian set up. After the film, we walked in the brisk, evening air along the Mississippi River. I had made dinner reservations at the Crescent City Brewhouse for 8pm, and we still had almost an hour to kill. We took that time to walk along Decatur and see where some of the sites were. I was happy to see that Cafe DuMonde was close by. We ate dinner (I had filet mignon, Matt had spareribs that were excellent) and tried some of the microbrews. I wasn't overly impressed with any of the beer selections, so I had Pepsi instead. I guess I'll always love Rohrbachs. After dinner I made Matt walk around some more and we eventually ended up at Cafe DuMonde where I consumed an order of beignets and cafe au lait. We would go back Saturday night for this treat as well.
Saturday: We started out by heading on over to the French Market. I bought some jewelry there since they had great selections. The prices were good in my opinion as well. I still wish I had bought some hot sauce there along with chickory coffee or beignet mix. That's what online shopping is for I guess! This was our first walking tour day. We basically took three tours from Haunted History Tours since they had been recommended by a few sites. Saturday was the cemetery tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1. Our guide, Midge, was great. He even has a plot bought in the cemetery for the future. The other cool thing about the tour (since it was in the French Quarter area) was that I could bring along a hurricane from Pat O'Briens. It was pretty novel to me that you could have an open container in the middle of the street during the day, or at all! Plus, I wanted a hurricane. After the tour, Matt and I went back and crashed for an hour or two before dinner. Here's where the story gets interesting (I think at least). Remember the stuffed animal version of Emma the Otter? Well, Matt had told me her lost her or accidentally left her somewhere at least twice by this time (he reneged after the first time he said he lost her). I believed him. So while we were getting ready to go to dinner, Matt comes out of the bathroom saying, "You'll never guess what I found!" I looked and saw Emma and responded, "Oh.. ok. So you didn't lose her." I kept giving him this "And your point is" look until he opened the flippers on the otter, and there was the ring. He didn't get a chance to really ask the question since I had tackled him in a hug, falling over onto the bed. He gasped out, "Does this mean yes?" It was all good at that point. We then walked from the west end of the French Quarter to the East End to eat at Marisol. I had a Gulf Shrimp dish and Matt ate a pork chop on top of cannelloni filled with duck liver (I think that's right). We also had minestrone soup that had basil pesto in it. Very yummy. After dinner we headed up Frenchmen Street to find some good live music. We ended up at The Spotted Cat which reminded me of the bar-version of what Java Joe's in Rochester, NY used to be like in the early 1990's. It's a small place with lots of locals, no cover, cool glasses for drinks, and very good music. We stayed to listen to two groups and decided we were beat and had to head back. I sidetracked Matt with our second stop at Cafe DuMonde, where we ended up talking to a family at a table next to us for a half hour. Good times.
Sunday: I intentionally did not set the alarm. I know this sounds nuts to most people that I even set an alarm on vacation, but I'm anal like that. We eventually got up and made plans to head over to the Garden District to take our second walking tour (of said District). We ate lunch at a forgettable place. I had grilled cheese that was way too salty. Bleh. The tour was very cool. It included Anne Rice, Trent Reznor, and several historical houses. Eventually I'll finish my roll of film and give you all a link to the pictures. Of course I said that about Orlando too, didn't I? Hmm. After we finished the tour, we got back on the St. Charles Street Car and rode back into town. We went back and rested again and then made our way over to Mothers Restaurant. I had jambalaya and Matt had a po'boy. It vaguely reminded me of Nick Tahoe's and the Soup Nazi in some ways. You have to experience it to understand. My jambalaya was very tasty and plentiful. We then took off back into the French Quarter to meet up for our third, and last, walking tour which was the Ghost Tour. That wasn't as long (in terms of stories) as we hoped, but we got to see more of the Quarter. At the end of the evening, we went to Krispy Kremes since the hot doughnut sign was on, and you know I'm not going to pass that up!
Monday: Was all flying and traveling. I got to have sushi while on layover at JFK. That was a happy moment. A good trip all in all. Plus, Matt pulled a nice surprise on me by proposing (although I did have a feeling...).
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