Tues. Aug. 27, 2019:
Toronto flight to New Orleans, Louisiana:
Even with taking a Lyft from work to the airport and cutting it close, I still beat Brent to the check-in gate. Thankfully security and customs were quick and I had time to grab lunch. I decided to try out Wahlburgers. Brent had gotten lunch before getting to the airport so I was on my own. I got the BBQ bacon burger with guacamole. I was not impressed, the burger was mediocre and the bun terrible. The sweet potato tots on the side were alright.
There’s always a certain level of stress involved when you have a layover. We had a 50-minute connection in Washington-Dulles airport and the whole time in Toronto there was a sense of unease. Thankfully our flight was on time and we made the connection. I even had time to pop by Dunkin’ Donuts for a fix. I caved and had the cinnamon sugar pumpkin spice latte- EVEN THOUGH it was still only August, way too soon. It was a whole mess of confusion when I tried to order. They guy said they were sold out of small. So, I said, fine make a small in a medium cup, I don’t care. He conferred with his co-worker and repeated that small was sold out. I ended up getting a medium and only drinking half. It was alright, not very pumpkin-y or very cinnamon-y, just sweet.
Both of our flights didn’t have TV’s in the seatbacks. The only option was to download United Airlines app and watch on my tablet, pass. Instead I read “Devil in the White City” and got from 30% to a solid 75% of the way through it. We got snacks on both flights. Not just any snacks: stroopwafel and Biscoff cookies! The first time Brent went for the pretzels and I was shocked, those didn’t even register for me as viable snack options. I wavered between the two but in the end opted for the stroopwafel. Partly due to my love of Stuff You Should Know but also the fact that Biscoff cookies are now in Canada. On our flight out of Toronto we had a great flight attendant, she was very efficient ensuring everything ran smoothly and directing everyone. I wish she could be on all my flights. We watched as a man struggled to understand that 1) his luggage didn’t fit into the overhead bin and 2) it would have to be checked. The saga continued during the flight when he reached into the overhead bin, expecting to find his luggage.
I was mad at the Dulles airport. We had to switch terminals but to get there we had to take what at first seemed like a tram. Except it was an 8-minute (!!!) wait, I was just imaging what would have happened had our first flight been delayed. When we boarded, we realized it was more a giant room on wheels. It was really weird.
LOUISIANA!!!! State #35!! It was so hot and muggy when we landed. We took a taxi to our hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans. I loved that Soniat House had a hotel cat named Claire. The guy told us that if we ever saw her meowing outside his door to let her in, he also said he talks to her. This was my kind of place. We walked to dinner at Bon Ton Café, passing by Jackson Square. The buildings in the French Quarter were all so pretty with balconies overlooking the street and gaslit lamps by the doors. We lucked out, Bon Ton Café had a special price fixe menu for August and it was both cheaper than a la carte and it had all the things we wanted to try. Plus, we didn’t both have to get the same things. It was perfect. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi cabernet because there was no cocktail menu and we had just been to California. It was only as we looked at the dinner menu, that I noticed in the bottom corner a small text box with info about their house cocktail. Guess I would be having a second. We started with fried freshwater catfish bites and gumbo. Both were really good, but Brent won round one with the gumbo. I had the shrimp creole and Brent had some kind of local fish (it may have been called Wayne something? The lady was unclear). Both were excellent. The cocktail was so good! I wish I had known about it, I would’ve happily had two given how much I had disliked the wine. For dessert we actually both ordered the same thing (a rarity). Bon Ton was known for their bread pudding with whisky sauce. It was written about in Brent’s 1001 Foods book and the Toronto Star travel section featured it. The dessert arrived on Bon Ton branded plates. It was delicious but oh man was the whisky sauce strong. It was not baked along with the bread pudding, just poured on top after. I never imagined it was possible to get drunk off a dessert.
On the way back we stopped at a 24-hour liquor store on Canal St. because you can open-carry alcoholic drinks in New Orleans. We had seen people on our way to dinner and now we felt like we had to partake. The selection in the mart was subpar. Brent ended up getting a Dixie beer but he didn’t realize it was light. I sipped a Jack Daniel’s cocktail. Yes, the selection was that bad. My other option had been a small bottle of sangria but it had an ugly bottle cap that listed the 13% alc/vol, which after that whisky sauce I was not sure I could handle. It was a slow bloated walk back. We passed by so many haunted tours but none of them had the right ambiance. Where were the black cloaks? The lanterns? On the way back we saw Claire by the office, as a I bent down to pet her, Carlos opened the door to let her in. I was going to do that! I just wanted to pet her first. Our hotel had an honour bar where you could mix your own drinks but I was too tired and had already had quite enough. We checked out the hotel patio and the upstairs veranda. Down below was another ghost tour. I joked about going to our room and getting some sheets and pretending to be ghosts. I was really looking forward to showering, I was drenched in sweat and so tired and my allergies were kicking into high gear. I needed sleep.