I woke up feeling well rested, having had the perfect sleep thanks to Benadryl and the white noise of the fan. We went out to the original Cafe du Monde location by the river. On the way we walked through the market as the vendors were just setting up. There were lots of tourist-y tchotchkes but no sign of creole cream cheese. It was on the list of must-eats but Commander’s Palace didn’t have it on the menu. We stopped in at a few ice cream parlours (it can also be an ice cream flavour) and shops but no luck.
I knew to expect a line at Cafe du Monde. I just didn’t expect it to be that long. I guess on a Sunday morning of a long holiday weekend it would be extra busy. Thankfully my co-worker had told me that there is an express line for a takeout window. Even still, the line was long. But the menu was limited so it moved fast. We got three beignets and a cafe au lait (mix of regular and chicory coffee) each. We ate by the riverfront on a bench, powdered sugar spilling all down my front. The beignets were so good and pillowy and soft and made the perfect breakfast. There was a big steamboat cruise ship docked by the river. We could see the other ports across the river. There was a hungover guy sitting by the fountain talking to his dad on skype and saying he was “all drinked out.” He had the perfect spot to be sitting at, the mist and cool breeze from the water fountain were a welcome relief.
We walked along the Riverwalk to the outlets. I needed more cool breeze off the river or to go back to that fountain. So early in the day and it was already so hot out. I had some shopping successes, getting Brent a pair of Nike shorts from Nordstrom Rack for 25% off the clearance price. Although they forgot to take the security tag off so I had to go back. The line at the Riverwalk Cafe du Monde was equally ridiculous, so my plans to see if we could get creole cream cheese there was a flop. I got a watch from Fossil and had it engraved with my nickname. For my family I got fudge-caramel covered pralines as a souvenir and for us to snack on some cajun chips.
We stopped in at a “voodoo/liquor shop for some later-in-the-afternoon hotel drinks. The selection was surprisingly bad, I ended up getting an Abita strawberry beer (which Brent assured me I would like) and another Buzz Ball. We walked to the Carousel Bar which was in a hotel. There were no seats at the carousel itself and it wasn’t even going around! I had pictured small booths and music and it spinning. It was only as we were leaving that we saw it was oh-so-slowly turning. BORING. We went to the Gumbo Shop for lunch, it had been recommended in the 1001 Foods book. There was a huge line of people waiting. There were maybe 30 people ahead of us? And the internet said they don’t do takeout. But other than 7pm dinner plans we had nothing else planned for the day. While I held our place in line, Brent went up the street to a shop that the internet said sold creole cream cheese (had we become obsessed?). The line was moving pretty quickly. It was funny to see people stop, assess what the line was for and then do a calculation of whether or not it was worth waiting for.
Luckily, we were seated indoors. I was dripping with sweat. While waiting in line, we were able to see the menu and the specials board and decide on our order ahead of time. The gator sausage appetizer was so good, according to my notes it was the mustard that really stole the show. Brent had red beans and rice with sausage and I of course had the seafood okra gumbo (you gotta). At this point in our vacation, Brent had a cold so we didn’t trade halfway, I stole a bite of his dish before he dug in though. It was good, but the gumbo was better. The specials board had advertised a fresh fruit daiquiri and it was so good and refreshing (as lemons tend to be) but it got icy towards the middle but then it melted and was good again towards the end.
After lunch we tried to walk to Absinthe House which was about 2 blocks away (one up and one over) but we were cut off by the pride parade. We had to run across in between groups. When we turned north and up another street, we had to cross the parade again. Absinthe House was great. It was easily one of my favourite places in all of New Orleans. Just a low-key laid-back bar with football helmets hanging from the ceiling that wasn’t very busy. And they made a very good Sazerac cocktail. I could see the bartender pouring green liquid in it, that and the name assured me that most likely my drink actually had absinthe in it. It was also sweeter than the rye version that Brent had at Commander’s Palace. We sat at the bar, looking out the open window-doors at all the revellers.
Up next we went to Tropical Isle. We had passed by three of them on our way earlier. The shark attack drink was more than just a drink. She poured some vodka over the ice cubes and then put a small plastic gator on top. I was a bit worried, thinking was this it? But then she grabbed a plastic shark, filled it with grenadine. Then she rang a captain’s bell (like on a ship) and shouted “SHARK ATTACK!!!” and made some noises as the shark was plunged nose first into the cup, spilling grenadine down the ice cubes. It made my day. Brent’s drink was in a long funnel with a little plastic grenade in the top. It was citrus-y and strong as heck and much bigger. While walking along Bourbon St. among the dispersed pride revellers a lady noticed my drink and I told her the whole story. She asked where I had gotten it. I am proud to say I gave her way better directions. As I was explaining to her, someone threw a plastic rat into the street and she jumped away screaming and I had a clean getaway. The lady was very chatty and I feared she wanted my shark.
We walked down by the courts to Jackson Square then down to the waterfront. We walked along Decatur St. back to our hotel. We stopped by the French Market restaurant and looked at the menu on the outside. The internet was right! They did have creole cream cheese! I was the hero of the day! Except we needed a break first. I polished off the rest of Brent’s hand grenade, sans-straw, dribbling it down my chin. In the hotel we settled in, watching The Office. The strawberry Abita was too beer-y for me, I passed it on to Brent. I had foreseen this happening, it was why I finished off the hand grenade. The peach vodka Buzz Ball was so good and it really hit the spot. A little too well. Soon I was nice and day drunk. Just after 5pm, Brent noticed the time and we went out for French Market for some before-dinner dessert. The creole cream cheese was in the 1001 Foods book and we were finally going to cross it off the list in cheesecake form. I was tempted by the drinks menu, even in my current state. Then it dawned on me: this was New Orleans! I could probably get it in a plastic cup! The Gingeroo had New Orleans rum and ginger beer and Louisiana sugar cane syrup. I had it get it! Except, even though I had asked, it was served to me not in a plastic cup (which I could see a stack of at the bar!) but in an actual glass. Sigh. I guess there was no stretching this drink out for the rest of the afternoon. I had ⅘ of it and let Brent finish it (I have zero memory of this, I’m going by what the notebook says here). The cheesecake was really good, it had whipped cream and caramel sauce. On the way back to the hotel we stopped in at a souvenir shop and I bought a tank top with a giant crawfish on it as a pajama top.
Back in the hotel room, The Office marathon on Comedy had ended. Now there was nothing on. Or as my notebook says: “nothing is on 😦 and nothing else good 😦 :(“ , you can guess the state I was in when writing in my notebook. We walked to dinner at Galatoire’s on Bourbon St., once again weaving our way through the partying masses- except this time I was in heels and sobering up. Brent had promised me a line-up of suckers waiting for tables in the main dining area, that we would awkwardly go around because we had reservations upstairs. No such line existed because there was so much else going on.
As we went upstairs it legit seemed like we may be the only ones in the restaurant. There were a few other people at tables. This was rather unfortunate, as there was the most insufferable man at the table next to ours. Of the 4 people, he dominated the conversation with his dumb work stories. We started by splitting a shrimp remoulade and crab maison (a rarity, two apps!). Both were served on a bed of lettuce. The shrimp was amazing. The crab was meh and I dare say, the lettuce made it better. Brent had the pompano fish (another from the 1001 Foods book) and I stole a bite. It was very good and surprisingly meaty. I had the seafood bouillabaisse. For a soup it was surprisingly filling and so comforting and delicious. I stole a sip of Brent’s cocktail but it was too much for me. I had completely sobered up by the time we were seated and I was done for the day. All I wanted was water. Obviously, we were too full for dessert.
It was so much fun to walk back via Bourbon St. There were so many drunk revellers contained to the sidewalks when we first left. All because a little bit of rain. No sooner had we stepped out it let up. We stopped in at a souvenir shop so I could get a soda, the Sunkist really hit the spot after a day of drinking. There were cops on horses and on cherry-pickers, keeping watch over Bourbon St. I overheard some Polish people complaining that the streets smelled and I started giggling. When i told Brent, he shouted “dobranoc!” at them as we parted ways. In their surprise they half-muttered it back.
We laid in bed watching Friends. Brent’s cold had gotten worse. There was another jazz show at a nearby bar but we were both too tired, plus it was at 10pm which in our tired state seemed way too late.