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New Orleans: A Food Photo Journal

Last weekend was the gluttonous celebration of both my birthday and The Terrorist’s birthday, and a luxurious sweltering trip to New Orleans was just what we both needed. To down Hurricanes and Sazeracs and stumble down narrow decrepit streets in a fog, to avoid projectile beads being flung from Bourbon St balconies, and to fall in love with a city that, last time either of us visited it, we were neither of legal drinking age or practical drinking salary.

And fall in love we did. The vibe of random full brass bands playing on street corners or in neighborhood clubs, the pitch-perfect architectural quirkiness of our cozy bed-and-breakfast, the surrounding Marigny neighborhood, or any of the developing-but-not-yet-gentrified future-hipster enclaves in Bywater and the Central Business District. Also, there were lots of flowers, lizards, and house cats the size of golden retrievers.

But you’re not here to read about that. You’re here for the food. Here are four of my favorite photos from the weekend and a brief story about each of them:

Turtle Drink – Our first night. Of *course*, after a long train ride and settling in at our B&B, we grabbed dinner and hit Bourbon street to act like tourists and recapture some of the silly-college-kid-ness we missed out on. We started off classy – a Sazerac and a French 75 – and degenerated slowly from there. An absinthe and a gin and tonic. Maker’s and a Bloody Mary. And then these things. Mine tasted like iced tea and hers like lemonade. The guys publicizing the bar said that if we posted a photo on Facebook holding the drink, we’d get a free shot of peach-ginger vodka. Okay, then. The vodka was not as advertised – it was like chugging cough syrup. We struggled with our party drinks, sipping leisurely at them as we walked past voodoo houses, strip clubs, a World-Famous Love Acts Emporium, and places with even more dangerous drinks. By the time we called it a night, it was 1am. We felt like old fogeys.

We had to get a muffuletta. Provolone, olive salad and various cured pig products, all stuffed in olive-oil-rich bread. We stood in line for 15 minutes at the originator, Central Grocery, at around noon on Saturday, but the wait was made very tolerable by perusing all the odd imported grocery items for sale around the shop (butter, chorizo, harissa paste, even Hurricane mix!) We ordered half-a-sandwich and shared it at the cozy lunch counter seating, but not before encountering the Soup Nazi-ish checkout guy / grocer, who grunted angrily when we asked for a bottle of water to go without our sandwich, and grunted again when we paid. Sandwich was good, though. Really good. We had another one later in our trip from another shop, but it wasn’t nearly as good. We both decided that one of our next trips would be a *pure* muffuletta excursion in an attempt to find *THE* best one in town.

Gratuitous pork product photo from Cochon Butcher. Impressive meat display (including *whole hog* for sale by request, apparently), a list of a dozen specialty sausages, and a slightly less impressive Cuban sandwich. One of their specialty cocktails was called Free Cochon Payton. I couldn’t resist.

Sunday Brunch at Elizabeth’s. Best meal of a weekend filled with great meals. The Terrorist had a Food Baby in her belly afterwards. I felt it kick. Also, if she were to ever leave me for an inanimate object, it would be the above PRALINE BACON.  Holy buckets. And that was just the appetizer. Salty drippy oily chewy with a bit of pecan crunch. Our entrees were the redneck eggs (well-poached with fried green tomatoes and the best home fries I’ve ever had – crunchy, dripping with some magical chili oil), and then the duck waffles. Yup, you read it right. I wish I had a photo. I might need to go back and order it again. Duck and sweet potato hash on top of a crispy waffle, covered with a little bit of maple syrup to keep it juicy. Huge portions, too (hence the Food Baby). As much as we want to have a second round of Bloody Marys, we were glad to leave the room for the fantastic entrees.

Next time: Soreness. Everywhere. Burpees suck. Kettlebells, only slightly less so. And we make gluten-free pesto pizza.

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