What can I say that hasn't been said before? I went to New Orleans and I fell in love. I wasn't expecting to, but I did. I'm back at my desk in New York now and all I keep thinking about is how much I want to be back there again, smelling that sweet, soft air. It got me, wrapped itself around me, and now I don't want it to let me go. When can I go back? I have so much more to see and do.
Okay, a quick report. It turns out that while Central Grocery may indeed have the city's best muffaletta, I simply don't like muffaletta. I did, however, like sitting by the Mississippi eating said sandwich and thinking about Mark Twain and Italy and you, dear readers. It also turns out that if you think you are above some old tradition of eating fried dough squares with coffee, you should get over yourself right quick, because revered traditions exist for a good reason. (Ninny.) So yes, I loved Cafe du Monde. It really is worth the whopping $1.82 you'll spend to get three puffy beignets covered in what seems like an excessive amount of powdered sugar. You'll discover that they're yeasty and delicious and chewy and crisp and, improbably, not too sweet at all. Huh.
Dinner at Cochon was indeed fantastic, so thank you all for the recommendation (I loved the pork cheeks and the pickled green tomatoes). I also have it on good authority from Russ Parsons that if you go to Cochon, you should not leave before ordering the Catdaddy Moonshine to end the meal (sadly, I didn't know about it until after my meal there).
If you go to New Orleans, get up early on a Saturday morning and get yourself over to the corner of Girod and Magazine Streets to the Crescent City Farmer's Market. It's small and cozy - contained in just one little parking lot - but making a loop or two around the market, smelling fresh, bright shrimp and seeing strawberries glow in their pint baskets, is an absolutely lovely way to spend the morning. Plus, you have to eat breakfast, right? Well, some genius set up a couple of hot griddles there and cooks sweet and savory pancakes, so once you've had enough produce fondling, you can sit down, listen to gypsy jazz and tuck in. If you aren't so charmed that you have to wipe the grin off your face in order to speak, I will be very surprised.
A shrimp po' boy at Parkway, foie-stuffed rabbit at Bayona, and an old-fashioned meal at Antoine's - I'm ready for a week of salads and early-morning gym visits. But I'm also ready to start planning a return trip. All I want to do is sit by the open window on a streetcar as it rumbles down the street, feel that gentle New Orleans air brush my face and hair, and ride, ride, ride.
To see more of the photos that I took there, click here.