Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 2 Collard greens and grit fries

Day 2  New Orleans, thank you locals!

Our day started late thanks to late night reveling on Frenchmen’s Street and we missed breakfast all together!

We decided to leave the French Quarter and take the tram to Magazine Street.  These trams are amazing, same car still operating for 100 years, you need some power to get out the doors though, those ancient hinges are strong!  We got off at Washington and walked through a gorgeous neighbourhood part of the Garden District.  What we would call “Plantation Houses” and amazing architecture was to be seen everywhere, we passed the Lafayette Cemetery and tourists on ghost tours to arrive at Joey’s Bar and Grill for our first meal of the day.  The sing of the front door was pretty funny “sorry we’re open.” James tried their special Creole jambalaya with chicken and shrimp and I went with our waitress’s recommendation of Shrimp Magazine.  A hearty and rich dish that they are known for consisting of butter flied, floured and pan fried shrimp, with ham, and fried artichoke hearts, over pasta and served with cheese. . . How many times did I write fried in the last sentence. .. . Exactly, a little rich for the first meal of the day, delicious although I only got though about 1/3.  And thank goodness we were outside and the table was on an angle, forced all the melted butter and olive oil, at least 1/3 of a cup to pool on the on side of the  plate.. . .hmm how can I make this lighter at home?  Will need to be inspired.

Magazine street is over 5 miles of shops and restaurants, unique one of a kind businesses are up and down the street and you can spend days going through interesting boutiques and antique shops. . .and REAL antiques, I guess that comes with being in a place that began in 1718. . . I saw a certificate for land issued for serving in the war of 1812 signed by the president of the time.  So very cool!  We also spent some time in Adam Gill, a men's barber and shave shop with all sorts of men's only products and vintage men's grooming stuff.  My favourite display was a vintage “ army barber supply kit”  A suitcase that no doubt contained some shears to get those guys down to a Number 1!  LOL.  The businesses on Magazine are mostly in old converted houses, some large and some small but overall the mix was absolutely amazing and we could have spent so much time there.

Abigail, bless her, from Three Muses on Frenchmen Street the night before had given me the name of her favourite place for amazing Southern fusion local food, “Boucherie” on Jeannette Street, she told us to ask for Michael and order a Brer Rabbit. . . Which I did, a cocktail of his own making with bourbon, Kona vodka, molasses and garnished with a green onion stem you are supposed to eat while you drink.  Boucherie when we googled it was named “inexpensive gourmet” and it was. . . Our bill came to $80, with 2 drinks for each of us and 4 small plates and one large one and our King Cake for desert.  The meal was absolutely amazing!  We started with a lovely amuse bouche which was  a delightful mixture of asparagus and smoked salmon.  Our heirloom tomato and arugula salad quickly arrived (we are really really trying to make a point of eating vegetables on this  pork tour!) followed by the Boudin Balls, a ridiculously amazing fried ball with pulled pork and rice with some sort of mayonnaise like dipping sauce. . . There were 3 for $5. . . I could have eaten them all night.  Wow.  And then they blew my brains out. . . With Collard Greens and grit fries. . . What is that. . I don’t know either but I almost licked the bowl!  The collard greens we found out later were cooked in duck fat. . . Hmm maybe that explains my fascination and the grit fries were salty and delicious, grits I have found out are nothing to be afraid of, just corn in a new way.  Our next small plate was duck confit with a kimchi omelet and a remoulade of beets. . . Read: wicked crisp duck leg on top of perfectly cooked omelet with kimchi inside and beets to rub on everything.  Yes that was delicious too.  I grabbed a glass of Barrel Monkeys, one of my fav wines, the wine prices were amazing, no bottle over $40!  Boucherie also allows corkage and BYOB for  $5 charge.  Our large plate arrived next, a squared off stack of pulled pork on top of potato slices and piled high with purple cabbage pickled slaw.  Also delightful.  I finished off the meal with a slice of King Cake which I had been told was a NOLA must.  Luckily is was homemade and looked nothing like the yellow, purple, and green dyed versions we had seen around.  It really was a chocolate croissant in disguise.  Obviously we HIGHLY recommend that you check out this local favourite, it is a 45 min tram ride from the French Quarter but worth every tooth shaking moment.

James and I took the tram all the way back to Canal Street and decided to walk down Bourbon street to see what the fuss was all about.  EEK, we were lucky to have been directed to Frenchmen by the locals as this is much more our speed.  The street was full of people already walking sideways and it was only 8pm!  My rule is, if it comes in a 3 Gallon vessel. . Don’t drink it!  We saw people with neck straps on their ridiculous drinks and lunatics, painted statue people everywhere.  Someone tried to lasso me with some beads from a balcony and we quickly made it out of there to hang with the locals on Frenchmen Street and listen to a few bands before we headed back to our hotel down Dectaur where we saw more madness ensue.

These people are here to party. . .we are here to eat!!

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