Goodbye, New Orleans

14725458_10207494238130526_4091598610060159939_n-1We slept in our last day, had breakfast at the hotel and had to check out at 11, though our plane did not leave till 8:45 PM.  We stored our bag and decided to ride the trolleys into different areas than we’d been before, walked around a bit, and lost a little money at the casino (Rich)  while killing time, drinking tea and reading magazines (me).  Instead of taking a cab, we thought we’d take the trolley and the bus to the airport, thereby taking up a little more time and saving some money.  We managed just fine and got to the airport early but we were tired by then and it was all okay by us.

I took some photos of people working throughout the time we spent in NOLA. I am always interested in “regular” people and how they spend their days; I kept thinking about how they were busy doing their jobs so that we could have a nice vacation.

After all those years flying in and out of the Aleutians, I was not too worried when the pilot said we’d be experiencing some turbulence on the climb out of New Orleans and the flight attendants would be staying seated for the first 30 minutes.  We’d been warned of turbulence flying into New Orleans earlier in the week and it was NOTHING.  I was smug about it.  I guess that’s why I got my comeuppance on the trip back home.  I was not happy with all the rolling and dipping we did and it seemed to drag on forever. I told Rich I thought we were finished with that kind of flying!

We arrived in Dallas late that night, got a good sleep, and took over for Miles’ mom the next morning, babysitting Sarah and Miles’ kids till they arrived home from their anniversary trip to New York City later that night.  Back to our busy life!

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More Eating and Wandering

We had a brunch reservation at Brennan’s, another well known local restaurant not far from our hotel.  It was a short walk over and we were not disappointed with the fabulous food.  First off, they brought us some delicious bread and sea-salted butter while we waited for our order. Who can resist bread any time?  Not me!  Then I added to my bread intake by ordering the vanilla scented French toast with a cherry-apple compote, pecans, and Steen’s cane syrup.  Rich had the Eggs Hussarde: house-made English muffin, coffee cured Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise, marchand de vin sauce, and chives.  Needless to say, we were stuffed for the walk back to the hotel.  🙂

Later we decided to walk around the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood right next to the French Quarter.  It was very colorful and interesting.  We walked back under a light rainfall but it was warm so no big deal!

We are political nerds so we walked to a deli to get some muffulettas and sides for dinner to eat back in the room while we watched the Presidential debate.  I am not sure why we torture ourselves so, but we just cannot seem to turn away.

We continue eating our way through New Orleans

We slept in a little bit the second day, then walked to Canal Street to catch a trolley to our lunch destination, Shaya.  Seriously, we left our room before 10:30 for an 11:30 reservation but we didn’t realize just how long it would take. First we walked several blocks to the trolley stop and then it took a good little while for the trolley to arrive.  We got on with a whole bunch of other people and it was slow going with all the stops along the way.  We finally got off at Napoleon St. in the Garden District, but then we had to walk 7 more blocks to the restaurant and it was already 11:30 when we exited our ride. Rich called to let the restaurant  know we’d be late and to make sure we could still come; thankfully they said it was no problem and they weren’t super busy.  Whew! We were a little hot and sweaty by the time we got there!

Shaya serves modern Israeli food created by James Beard Award winning chef Alon Shaya.  Not only is he a great chef, he also supports kids in need with his former Home Ec teacher through the Shaya Barnett Initiative.  How cool is that?

Lunch was fabulous–wonderful freshly made pita straight from the wood fired oven, baba ganoush, king trumpet mushroom hummus with braised greens, black harissa and gribenes, pickled veggies, roasted brussels sprouts, and lamb kebobs all shared between us.  So good!

We walked around Magazine Street and the Garden District before catching our trolley back to the hotel.  While Rich rested, I sat out on our balcony enjoying some iced tea and watching the world go by.  Later we walked to a Vietnamese place, 9 Roses Cafe, and had some bahn mi and pho.  Another lovely day in New Orleans!

 

Little Trip to NOLA

Months and months ago, I received an email from Southwest Airlines about a sale they were having. Usually I look and don’t find anything near the sale price they’re quoting on an itinerary we’d like.  But I decided to browse and sure enough, there weren’t too many REALLY good deals but New Orleans was the cheapest at $56 one way from Love Field in Dallas.  I looked at our account with Southwest and I had enough points for three one-way tickets, so between my points and the sale, we purchased four one-ways for $56 plus fees.  Quite the bargain, huh?! (Frugal retirement 101!) I put the dates on the calendar and it seemed very far away at the time but suddenly it was upon us during what turned out to be the super busy month of October.

We flew out yesterday morning–the first time I’ve flown since our last trip out of Unalaska almost a year ago.  I have become more and more nervous about flying and try to avoid it if I can.  Imagine my delight when the flight attendant announced they were taking up trash early and getting seat-belted in because we would have some turbulence approaching NOLA.  I had to laugh afterwards because it was hardly noticeable. Either they expected worse that never materialized or they’ve never flown in the Aleutians.  🙂

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We arrived a little before noon and decided to take the $2 bus to the French Quarter with the regular folks rather than paying a fortune for a taxi (Frugal retirement 101)…we like to take public transit when we can, and we had packed light with that in mind.  We caught the bus, no problem, and had an uneventful ride into town.  I really wanted to take photos of people on the bus and interview them a little bit but I was too intimidated and thought they wouldn’t take too kindly to it.  I really am curious about their lives in a social worker sort of way.  🙂

Then we had a fairly long walk from the bus stop to the hotel–longer than either of us expected.  Rich had the hard part, carrying his backpack and our one bag, but he wasn’t complaining.  We both needed the exercise, of course.  🙂  Eventually we made it to the Place d’Armes Hotel where they nicely allowed us to check in early.  It’s an older hotel on St. Ann St., right in the French Quarter.  Our room is quaint and cute and we’re within walking distance of lots of sights or to the trolley on Canal St. if we want to go elsewhere.

We had reservations for dinner at Restaurant R’Evolution so we didn’t want to fill up too much in the middle of the afternoon.  It was around 2 PM by the time we set out from our room to wander around the streets nearby and the French Market, with a stop at Central Grocery for a yummy muffuletta.  We had eaten there last time and really liked it, plus it claims to be the home of the original muffuletta…who knows how many places make that claim but theirs is definitely a good one!

Later we walked to Restaurant R’Evolution and had the best dinner!  It was our big splurge night and we filled up while sharing a baked pear salad, crab beignets, peaches and cream foie gras, triptych of quail, bread pudding and grapefruit-rosemary sorbet for dessert, plus wine–oh, my.  The service was wonderful and the food was amazing.  Thankfully, we had a Visa gift card from AT&T for signing up for internet at home (Frugal retirement 101).  🙂

One thing that bothers me about New Orleans is that there are lots of homeless people on the street.  I mean it bothers me that they don’t have a place to live.  Walking back to the hotel after dinner, I talked with one guy who had a sign saying he was an Air Force vet–Rich and I are both AF brats and I felt bad for him, wondering if he has PTSD from one of our conflicts.  He said his wallet had been stolen with his ID in it and he can’t get a job without ID.  I gave him some money with hopes it will help him get where he needs to be.

We didn’t return to the hotel till 10 PM and conked out pretty early after a busy, full, fun day.  We’re only here till Thursday night and mostly plan to take it easy, plus lots of eating (that’s what happens when you’re married to a chef).  And, yes, we joined a gym in Dallas and need to get back to working out if we are going to eat so much!!