Good afternoon, friends! It has been a while since I last wrote. Early November to be exact.
To say I have been busy would be an understatement. My husband and I took a week off and headed to New Orleans, then we stumbled through a few weeks at work, prepping for the holidays, and preparing to send the middle kid off to college, to my taking two weeks off to host family for Christmas. And let me not forget to mention, I’m working on a new project!
Let’s play catch up, shall we?
As far as reading goes, I’ve been a busy girl! I recently finished Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser and Opium & Absinthe by Lydia Kang. I’m currently reading: Sold On Monday by Kristina McMorris. I promise to work on some book reviews in the coming weeks and post accordingly. I HIGHLY recommend each one of these fantastic novels. I don’t want to give too much away, as it will spoil what I will share later.
One of my New Year resolutions was to try to read the Bible cover-to-cover until I actually finish it. However, like many other times, trudging through the Old Testament is enough to make you cringe, so I have decided to take a different approach. I am reading as much as I can from the Old Testament, then stopping and reading as much of the New Testament – per day. Needless to say, I don’t get very far, but I am going through it slowly and making notes and committing those old stories back into my memory. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What else has been happening?
We did actually have a Christmas Open House at the Americus Visitor Center. Small crowds, but it was well-received. We took all precautions in order to stay safe, and yes, I made all of us get festive.
I also tried to make sure we were festive when the SAM Shortline Excursion Train came by! The theme I had in the center was “The Grinch.” I figured with such a crap-tastic year, why not?
The next big thing we did was take off for New Orleans. I actually got a Christmas bonus (and it was a nice one,) so we decided to use that money and actually go somewhere – just the two of us. Since Tim had never been to New Orleans (as an adult,) I thought it was about time. We got up and left for The Big Easy around 8 am. Here I am being silly in front of the Georgia/Florida sign!
We stopped off at one of my favorite places to lunch – McGuire’s Pub in Pensacola. If you have been following me since the former blog, you remember this place!
My first taste of carbs since Memorial day!!!! We split the Fish n Chips and Beer & Blue Burger.
We made our way to the historic The Roosevelt, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel right on the corner of the CBD and French Quarter. We freshened up and headed down to the hotel’s bar – the famous, Sazerac!
Named after what many consider to be the world’s first mixed drink, The Sazerac carries as much history as its potable namesake. Just gazing at the famous Paul Ninas murals flanking the African walnut bar takes you back to the grandeur of old New Orleans – a time when Huey P. Long would stroll in, order a Ramos Gin Fizz, and spend the next couple of hours talking to his constituents.
Restored to reflect the spirit of the original establishment, elegant bar stools and plush banquettes invite locals and visitors alike to enjoy hand-crafted cocktails and free-flowing conversations. We were feeling all types of hip at this New Orleans institution recently named the #1 Hotel Bar in the U.S. by thousands of voters in the 2019 and 2020 USA Today 10Best poll – also name CNN Travel’s #1 Hotel Bar in the Americas.
After our cocktails, we headed down Bourbon Street and made our way to Antoine’s on Saint Louis Street. We had a 7 pm reservation, and this was supposed to be the highlight of the trip! (And it was!!!)
Antoine’s was established in 1840 and is the oldest family-owned restaurant in the United States. It is also home to the Oysters Rockefeller!
We started off with a little appetizer – the Creole Andouille Au Gratin, which is seared local Manda Andouille sausage, Antoine’s creole sauce, broiled 3-cheese topping.
I opted for the Chicken Rochambeau, which is herb-roasted chicken breast with drumette, shaved smoked ham nest, savory onion rice, twin sauces of sweet Rochambeau and tangy bearnaise, pineapple confit. Tim ordered the Pompano Pontchartrain, which is grilled delicate pompano filet, butter poached jumbo lump crabmeat, white wine sauce, onion rice, and seasonal vegetables.
After dinner we indulged in one of my bucket-list dessert items: The Baked Alaska.
If you aren’t sure what that is – it is the house specialty buttery pound cake shell, vanilla ice cream core, delicate meringue crust, and hot chocolate fudge sauce. It says it serves two, more like eight!
We left Antoine’s and headed to the Hotel Monteleone and visited the famous Carousel Bar! The famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone is a long-time favorite New Orleans hotspot. The classic New Orleans hotel bar is the city’s only revolving bar. For decades, it has lured guests in to take a spin on the 25-seat, bright, circus-clad Merry-Go-Round. Recently, Vogue Living named the bar one of the Top 20 Bars in the World, due in equal parts to the whimsical revolving carousel and comprehensive list of cocktails.
The next day we got up and enjoyed a nice stroll down Bourbon over to The Court of the Two Sisters.
Since at least 1726, the property where the Court of Two Sisters restaurant is now located has been a significant cultural presence in New Orleans. During that year, Sieur Etienne de Perier, the second French royal governor of colonial Louisiana, became the original resident of 613 Rue Royale. Originally known as “Governor’s Row”, the 600 block of Royal Street was home to five governors, two State Supreme Court Justices and one future Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (Edward Douglas White). Zachary Taylor, who later became the twelfth president of the U.S., also resided for a time at 621 Royal. It has also been rumored that the outrageous Marquis de Vaudreil, another early French governor and the one responsible for transforming New Orleans from a marshland village into a petit Paris, was once a resident of 613 Royal. He was so aristocratic and theatrical that he was known as the “Grand Marquis.” The second floor dining room at the Court of Two Sisters is now called the Grand Marquis Room in his honor.
The property changed hands twice before 1886 when Emile Angaud purchased the building and the street level store at 613 Royal. This is when Bertha, who was married to Emile’s son Baldomero Angaud, and Emma Camors set up their “rabais” or notions shop they called “The Shop of the Two Sisters.” The two sisters, born in 1858 and 1860 respectively, belonged to a proud and aristocratic Creole family. It was for these sisters that “The Court” was named. Their shop outfitted many of the city’s finest women with Mardi Gras costumes, formal gowns of the “Gay Nineties”, lace and perfumes imported from Paris. It’s said that occasionally the sisters would serve tea and cakes to their favorite customers in the large courtyard beginning the tradition continued today.
In 1963, the late Mr. Joe Fein, Jr., an established local restaurateur, acquired the restaurant and immediately began steps to preserve the building’s historical integrity. Mr. Fein’s sons, Joe III and the late Jerry Fein, continued with their father’s dedication to The Court of Two Sisters and now their children, the third generation, are directing the day-to-day operations and maintaining the legacy of the property’s history and reputation. With the Fein family’s expertise, The Court of Two Sisters has become known worldwide for its live Jazz Brunch, romantic Creole dinners, friendly service and beautiful, open-air courtyard. In 2013, the Fein Family celebrated 50 years at The Court of Two Sisters and according to their website, are looking forward to many more years. It truly is magical and very romantic.
I ordered the Glazed Ham Steak with scrambled eggs and buttermilk biscuit.
While Tim ordered the Shrimp and Grits: domestic shrimp poached in creole meuniere reduction; served over andouille grits.
Later that night, after a dog of shopping and coffee, we had dinner at The Napoléon House, which happens to be a 200 year old landmark that’s as casual and unique as its French Quarter surroundings.
The building’s first occupant, Nicholas Girod, was mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815. He offered his residence to Napoleon in 1821 as a refuge during his exile.
Napoleon never made it, but the name stuck, and since then, the Napoleon House has become one of the most famous bars in America, a haunt for artists and writers throughout most of the 20th century.
Owned and operated by the Impastato family since 1914 and Ralph Brennan since May of 2015, it’s a place that suspends you in time, where you can hear Beethoven’s Eroiqua, which he composed for Napoleon, and the music of other classical masters, while sipping a Pimm’s Cup, and basking in an ambiance that could only be New Orleans.
I ordered the Roast Beef Po Boy with a side of red beans and rice, which Tim ordered the Italian Muffuletta with a side of seafood gumbo & jambalaya.
Afterwards, we took an awesome ghost tour with the group: Haunted History Tours.
As many of you already know, I’ve taken a tour with this company, just about every time I have been to New Orleans. I have taken the Vampire Tour 3 times and the Voodoo Tour… but this was my first time taking the 5-in-1 tour, and I hate to say it, but it was my least favorite. Not because of the guide – he was awesome. It was the trying to cram a lot of different things into one. I wouldn’t recommend that one.
For the rest of the trip we did a lot of shopping and a little bit of drinking and a whole lot of eating. One of my favorite spots was Del Fuego on Magazine Street near the Garden District.
We took the St. Charles Street Car down and walked about 6 blocks to Del Fuego.
When I tell you the food was phenomenal… I mean… the food was PHENOMENAL.
We started out with the the Salsas Trio: the fresca, the verde, and the salsa negra. And these homemade tortillas that were to die for. We also ordered the queso. (Because, like… when have I ever turned down queso?)
Tim had the Egg Roll – a monster size egg roll fried like a chimichanga. Stuffed w/ shrimp & carnitas fried rice & seasoned cabbage. Drizzled w/ habanero duck sauce & hot mustard crema. It was HUGE.
I ordered the New Mexico Style Stacked Enchiladas: Chicken tinga, mezcal poblano cream, cheese, crema, side of refried beans & mexican rice.
We rolled ourselves back to the hotel.
There were other yummy surprises and delicious drinks:
But at the end of the day – the most important piece, we relaxed together and had an awesometime!
Our hotel was absolutely gorgeous and decked out for the holidays!
And sure, we spent a small fortune, but it was well worth the trip.
I’ll end right there and pick up next time and share with you all about our Thanksgiving (which we got back home the night before Thanksgiving.)
Until next time…