Monday, February 8, 2010

A Quintessential New Orleans Evening

You start out with a Sazerac.  We had ours at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone.  The bar is, you guessed it, under a carousel canopy.  The bartender performs his magic in the center, and the floor under the stools slowly circumnavigates him.  It takes about three rotations to drink one Sazerac.  In case you were wondering.  Who knows? You could find yourself on Jeopardy one day, with Alex asking just that. 

Sazeracs are often very sweet, too sweet for some.  I'm generally open to any Sazerac, as there's both rye whiskey and some sort of anise flavor going on in the glass.  In New Orleans, they use Herbsaint for the anise flavor.  A few drops of Peychaud's bitters give the drink a garish red glow, and supply some of the sweetness.  Funny, I've never been able to bear the artificial red in Red Velvet Cake, but I find it cheering in a Sazerac. The Carousel Bar's Sazeracs are the less sweet, slightly bitter (some say Herbsaint is more bitter than other absinthe substitutes, such as Pernod), and colder variety--that would be the variety I prefer. 

One time around the bar for ordering and watching the drink being made, three to drink it, one more to linger, and a half turn (a twist?) to settle the tab.  And then we're off to the next obvious site:  Preservation Hall.

We were there just for the last set.  The Saints, as always this week in New Orleans, figured heavily--lyrics incorporated 'who dat', and the bass player sang "Back Home Again in Indiana'--with tongue firmly in cheek. (for those out of the know, when I was in New Orleans week before last the Saints were getting ready to go to the Super Bowl--where they beat the Indianapolis Colts last night).  There was one musician who wasn't credited--odd, since he played the drums, piano, considered blowing the trumpet, and even sang.

He was the trumpet players son.  Between sets he sat on his dad's lap at the piano, first resting his hands on his fathers, and then playing by himself, while his father looked on patiently.

Last stop, Cafe du Monde, for beignets and coffee.  If you walk by the cafe during the day, it's jammed, seemingly only with tourists.  But late at night (they're open 24 hours) there are plenty of seats.  The waiters are lined up in chairs, waiting to take their turns. 


At the table next to us, four college students enjoyed their beignets before heading back to write the inevitable paper on The Great Gatsby.  In another corner, a man napped. A woman waited for customers at the to-go window.


Beneath the tables, the floor was dusted with powdered sugar.

And this was why:

I won't show you a picture of my black sweater after eating all of my three beignets (Pavel thought we should split an order; I held firm), but I bet you can imagine.  At least I didn't sneeze.


Thérèse said...

Wonderful photos of Preservation Hall and Café du Monde. Thanks!

lshere said...

Gotta go!

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