Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Orleans Vacation Recap

So, the vacation was pretty good. We got out of town around 1:00pm which ended up being a good time since it put us right at dinner time at Gambino's Louisiana Restaurant in Taylorville, Illinois. Unfortunately they don't have a website, the menu is the best I could do and it must be somewhat old because the hours on there are incorrect. They don't open until 4:00pm, unless that's the fall/winter hours and what's on the menu is the summer hours. Hmmm, don't know. I apparently didn't order what I thought I was ordering. I thought I was getting crawfish etouffee which is with rice. What I got was a crawfish pasta dish. It was ok but nowhere near as good as the etouffee would've been. The others felt about the same as me with their food. HDiTty was upset that his fries tasted fishy. Although I think he was just "tasting" it since mine tasted just fine.

After dinner we talked with the owner about places to go and see while in Louisiana and he gave all of us a t-shirt (with his restaurant on the front) that he'd had from a party the town had had during Labor Day Weekend, an end of summer bash shirt. We had a few pictures taken with him and then were on our way again to Tunica, Mississippi. We ended up not going anywhere he mentioned but HDT and I plan on doing so when we'll be there again on our own.

We got there around midnight or so, got a couple rooms, put our stuff away and then headed to the casino. We all played a few video poker games at the bar to be able to get a free drink and we also ordered a shot of Jager for everyone (which we had to pay for of course). Then after that HDT and I found an open $5.00 table for blackjack and proceeded to play. The others said they'd be along soon. HDT and I were up and down and both almost out of chips before Scott showed up. After I made it back to the original $50.00 I started out with I started to put aside my winnings to make sure I'd leave with something. My winnings totaled $85.00 and I gave one $5.00 chip to the dealer so I ended up with $30.00 net winnings. HDT lost all his $50.00 and any winnings he had cause he just wanted to keep playing, so together we were only down $20.00. But we had a good time and that's what matters. I cashed out and we met up with the others and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

We were on the road again around 11:00 or so, can't really remember now exactly what time. But with a few stops for gas and bathroom breaks we made it to the hotel in good time. We put our stuff away and were going to go get something to eat when the two girls asked if we could go by Walgreens because they needed a few items. Since we did also we headed there first and then to CVS because Walgreens didn't have everything they needed. Scott got pissy and took off to find some food when we went to CVS. Rather than speak up and say he really needed to get something to eat he just huffed off. Oh well, whatever.

After we took our things back to the hotel we headed to Crescent City Brewery for our first meal but discovered they were closed until Friday for a private party. HDT and I were very disappointed. But Dana had mentioned she'd like to go to Bubba Gump Shrimp so we headed back there. I got my crawfish etouffee and it was delicious. We all got a mixed drink in a souvenir glass. Our waitress played a trivia game with us and two other tables about the Forrest Gump movie. Which was very fun, all three tables did pretty well. We took a picture with our waitress, who was very good but unfortunately for her from Minnesota so she's sort of a Vikings a fan. She isn't really into football but was rooting for the home team none the less.

After that we headed over to Jackson Square but they were already closing it off because of the NFL parade the next day so we headed to Bourbon Street. Checked out a few shops, got some drinks and then settled in at a bar that had a zydeco band. We stayed there for quite awhile when I started to feel really tired and needed to go. Plus I could tell the girls were getting a little restless. So we headed back to the hotel, those 3 talked about going out again and then someone mentioned Harrah's. So I said if all we'd be doing is sitting at a table playing some blackjack that I could get behind that for awhile. So we went back to the hotel so the girls could freshen up and then headed to the casino. They didn't have any cheap tables, the lowest starting amount was $15.00, there's no way we'd pay that so we all just played some slots for a little while then went back to the hotel.

The next day was game day. We got up and joined Dana for brunch; Jess and Scott had already been up and had breakfast so they weren't interested. We went to
Mother's Restaurant which was just up the street from our hotel. It's a busy place, so much so that they have a doorman that will tell you when you can come in because the line is too long and there aren't any seats yet. But we didn't have to wait very long. The prices were good and the food even better. At least for HDT and I, Dana got an omelet which came with grits and two homemade biscuits, she said the omelet was ok and definitely cheesy like she likes them, but it was still just ok. She didn't care for the grits and since she's watching her carbs didn't eat either of the biscuits. She let us try a pinch though, they were really good. Although my crawfish etouffee wasn't as spicy as the one from Bubba Gump it was still just as good. I could've had more though, it came in a bowl and wasn't quite large enough for my taste; but I was still satisfied. HDT got the Mother's Ferdi special (Po Boy) and was very pleased. We both agreed we'll have to go there again.

Afterward we went to the Riverwalk shopping center. Jess and Scott were supposed to meet us there but decided they'd go to the World War II Museum instead. We three flitted from shop to shop buying stuff here and there and wishing we could buy other things; such as a few gorgeous paintings. But at $600.00 and $1,500.00 they were just a bit outta our price range. Heh

When it was around 3:45 we headed back to the hotel to change into our game day gear. The others met us there. None of them were going to the game; Dana decided to take a nap and the other two decided to go to the Riverwalk to check it out. I wrote about the game in my last post so won't say anything here about it.

By the time we got back to the hotel room and freshened up it was after 11:00 and we were both hungry. The other three met us and we headed over to Krystal's for a couple burgers and fries. After that we went walking down Bourbon Street which of course was crowded as could be. Mostly made up of Saints fans of course but also a few brave Vikings fans still wearing their jerseys. HDT really wanted to head back to the Bayou bar for some more zydeco music. We lost the other three in the throng of people. Eventually Dana made it to us and shortly afterward Jess and Scott did as well. Those two didn't really want to stick around for the music so they went and did their own thing.

We three hung out, got a drink, enjoyed the music and the people dancing for awhile. Then since Dana had been wanting to get her fortune read using tarot cards we headed out to Jackson Square since that's usually we're all the tellers hang out. But unfortunately they were still cleaning up from the parade and concert so we just ended up heading back to the hotel for the night.

Friday morning we got up and texted everyone to see where they all were in the getting ready stages. Both girls said they'd need about 45 minutes to get ready, turned out they needed over 2 hours. They didn't make it down to the hotel lobby until close to 1:30pm. Not long after that before we had left the hotel it started to pour down rain. We sat around waiting for it to blow over but it was taking it's sweet ass time. At one point it looked like it was done so we headed out, but nope, it was still coming down good enough that we didn't want to go walking out in it.

Finally it stopped so we headed over to Crescent City Brewery. We found out from our waitress that the NFL bigwigs were the private party that closed it down. Everyone agreed that the food was good and those three enjoyed the beer sampler and each ordered their favorite. Jess at one point sort of jumped in her seat and then asked HDT if he had touched her on her side. He said no and I let her know no one had walked behind her. She said at the same time she felt the touch she got a huge chill all on that side. So she's kinda freaked that it might have been a ghost. We all got a kick out of that.

After lunch we were going to head out to the St. Louis Cemetery, which houses voodoo queen Marie Laveau. But it looked like rain so we decided to catch a cab there, which ended up a good thing since the cemetery closes down at 3:00pm so we would've walked all that way for nothin. On our way back to the hotel HDT mentioned how he still wanted to get a tattoo while we were down there and Jess piped up that she'd like to as well. I wasn't too keen on the idea of us going since I knew it'd take at least two hours for HDT's tattoo alone. But Dana was interested as well so we four went to a place that HDT had heard about from a guy he had met when he was in Houston last month for the conference he went to. Scott didn't want to get one and didn't want to hang out while they were going on so he opted to go to the casino on his own.

We got HDT's jeep and headed out. He got a gorgeous fleur-de-lis on his right arm. Jess got a tattoo on her back on the right shoulder blade area - the first couple of lines of a song that their grandma sings to all the kids. Dana got a lily on her right foot - mostly on the top but a little of it going down the right side and a little bit going up the ankle. I ended up getting my first and only (and will be the only) of a heart with a fleur-de-lis inside it. Again, once I get pictures downloaded from the camera I plan on putting them up, maybe this weekend.

Sure enough it took hours to do all four of them but we had a good time while it was going on. Afterward we went back to the hotel to freshen up and change to go out. We were hungry again so decided to go to the Market Cafe but by the time we got there (after stopping off and getting three daiquiris and one hurricane for Jess) they were closed. On our way back to try to find a restaurant we were going past Jackson Square again and decided to finally get Dana's fortune read. That was a treat. When the chick started out talking, almost for the first five minutes - maybe even longer, everything she said made Jess, HDT and I all think of Jess and what she's going through. It was quite amusing.

By the time that was done, and I gotta give the chick credit, she took a long time so got her $15.00 worth that Dana gave her, it was around 11:45 and we were all really hungry. The few places that we really wanted to go to were of course closed so we headed to Bourbon Street in hopes of finding a decent place, if not we'd stop and get a hot dog from one of the vendors. But we spotted a couple cops so Dana asked them about a place to go and the only place that they said was still open for food and was a good to go to was
The Alibi so that's were we went. The food was good but the service wasn't the best. We knew about the whole they're "not a restaurant" deal but still, the dude behind the bar could've been better about getting Dana her food.

But at least she got hit on, quite a bit, by a guy that was sitting at the table behind her. Although she wasn't interested at all I could tell she was still flattered. The funniest part was that at the very beginning he shows her a picture on his iphone of the Saints Superbowl ring. She just shook her head and said that she wasn't a fan and couldn't care less about it. His face fell all the way to the floor, was pretty damn funny to see.

After that we went back to the hotel for some sleepy time. We got up the next morning and did our packing and called down for a bellhop and cart. They held all our luggage while we walked down to the riverwalk. We were gonna go to Mother's again but the line was out the door, down the steps and up the sidewalk. So we went to, hmmm, now I can't remember the place. But it was outside the shopping center. Anyway, I got my last crawfish etouffee meal, which was a ton of it and very good, of the trip. Our table was right by the kitchen (which is open) and at one point all of a sudden one of the chefs starts to scream and shout. We couldn't really understand anything he was saying though. We couldn't decide if he'd been fired and was shouting about that or as I thought I heard he was shouting about someone that he didn't want in there and he never wanted to see them again. Either way it was quite exciting, the whole restaurant looked up and over his way as soon as he started.

Jess really wanted to go
Cafe Du Monde so after lunch we headed that way. It was hot as hell and sweat was pouring down our faces but since she wanted to go we obliged. I tried to tell her that she wouldn't miss out on anything by not going, that there was one in the mall where it was air conditioned and if she really wanted to sit outside we could still do that but it'd be on the river where there'd at least be a breeze. But she wanted to go to the "real place" so that's what we did. Sure enough, we get there and it's crowded and hot as all hell. She did admit that I was right, she wouldn't have missed out on anything. And then, she didn't even finish one beignet. Whatever.

We headed back to the hotel taking our time looking at all the artwork along Jackson Square. The two girls ended up buying a painting from one of the artists and HDT and I bought a terrific black and gold fleur-de-lis painting from another one. She said she was actually sad that she was selling it to us since it was her only large painting and it's what brings in the looky-loos. Also, she could paint five of the smaller ones to just one of these. But that's the one HDT really wanted so she agreed, especially since we're actual Saints fans and not just likers of the painting. We had her autograph it for us even though her signature was on the front. She wrote on the back for us to stay Saints fans.

We stopped at some shops along the way back to the hotel to get last minute gifts bought and were finally on the road/highway by 4:40pm. We made it back home some time after 9:00am on Sunday. Gave the cats and the dog a lot of love and then I took a nap for about an hour while HDT stayed up hanging out with some of his friends watching their team's games.

Every time a local heard my name they'd do a double take and say something. Many of them actually laughed. So my media quote will be what our waitress said at Mother's Restaurant.

Media quote of the day:

Hey, hey (while patting the shoulder of another local at the table next to us) meet Katrina, she's right behind you. She's here to say hi again." The whole table looked, there were about 6 of them and the table next to them who were also locals looked as well. I couldn't help but wave and say hi, they smiled and said hi back. Yeah, it was always amusing whenever someone heard my name.

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