Music playing on Frenchmen st.
So much to to in New Orleans, so little time to blog…and i think i`m not the only one who found it difficult to find time to write. Its the people, the sessions, the parties, the music, the food, the sights..but now i`m back home so i`ll try to recap what i didn´t write for a while. First i wanna say – i do recommend that you go to New Orleans and the Tales next year if possible. And before i start to write about the Tales sessions i went to i have a little bit more to say about the city of New Orleans.
There´s so much to see and do there that its incredible and there´s an atmosphere in the city that is truly unique, the feel in the air… All i need to do to get loads of inspiration is actually to just take a stroll around the neighbourhood and look at the fantastic architecture (the Marigny this time)
LET THE MUSIC PLAY!
Shamarr Allen – Paul Sanchez – just awesome!
When you are here whether you like it or not (and how could you NOT?) you`ll be surrounded by music and that this city is the birthplace of jazz is something you sure`ll be reminded of wherever you go because there`s music in almost every street corner.
There`s many music venues to go to if you wanna hear good music (I have seen John Boutté, Paul Sanchez, Shamarr Allen, Rebirth brassband, Kermit Ruffins, Glen David Andrews, Cowboymouth, Panorama jazzband and more) and it has all been very very good. Its like the food – its outstanding – and part of the vibrant soul of this city which is so incredibly ALIVE.
Rebirth Brassband a New Orlean institution
If you wanna hear some great music while you`re here you should definetily head over to Frenchmen and all the music venues that lines the street – among them the one i like the most – which is d.b.a You find d.b.a on 618 Frenchmen st. They have a very good beer selection as well.
Another place worth visiting is the Maple Leaf bar where Rebith plays on tuesdays. Also next door you have the Jacques-Imos cafe where you REALLY will find good Nola food, i can´t enough recommend this place. You find Maple Leaf and Jacques-Imos on 8316 and 8324 Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans.
John Boutte – voice like honey
One of my favorite singers – John Boutté is a man with a BIG voice…not to be missed! – that man could sing me to sleep with some of his songs and he gets everybody to dance when he sings the Tremè song which also is the intro song to the HBO TV series Treme which is the best TV show ever made about New Orleans.
Do yourself a favor folks and go out and hear the music whenever you visit Nola. There`s much much more than what i have written about here. Sadly Chuck (Gumbopages) wasn`t here this time and we really missed him, but he wrote a music guide – here`s a link.
FOOD, FOOD, FOOD…we live to eat
Charbroiled gulf oysters at Acme
Fried crab claws, redfish, trout, catfish, shrimp, alligator and roast beef poboys, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, fried sweet potato, charbroiled oysters, gator on a stick, hush puppies, muffalettas, seafood platter, softshell crab, shrimp and alligator cheesecake, andouille, boudin, corn, red beans and rice, Louisiana watermelons, snoballs, beignets and chickory coffee..just a few of the wondrous things i had to eat – the food in Nola is the best i´ve had anywhere – i said that before and i say it again.
There so many restaurants – apart from Jacques-Imos and Coop`s that i already have mentioned – and i can`t talk about them all – there`s LOTS of good eating places..but here`s two others i went to and which i can recommend – Antoines and Acme. These are located in the french quarter. We wanted to also go and have Drago`s charbroiled oysters but they were out due to the oil-disaster so we went to see if there was any luck at Acme and we were lucky…
At Acme we actually got charbroiled gulf oysters..my favorite dish of all dishes you can have in this world. I consider myself lucky as most oysters are gone due to BP`s oil disaster. Another little delicacy i had was fried crab claws..OMG! and to wash this down nothing is better than a cold Abita beer.
At Antoines we went on a dinner sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon (Tom Bulleit) where we were treated to a first class dinner and cocktail experience including an impeccable combination of an awesome cake and cafe brulot finished with a history tour of the restaurant which is a fantastic place to see.
Tom Bulleit, his daughter Hollie and the bartenders.
But don´t forget the streetfood, there`s a lot of tasty things to try that also aren´t expensive. Gator on a stick for example. Gator on a stick is simply a spicy sausage made with alligator meat wrapped in foil and thread on a wooden stick.
We also were very lucky to live right beside Gene’s Po’boys – and believe me, their Hot Sausage Poboy is VERY GOOD. You find Gene`s on the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields.
And if its in season – try boiled crawfish. In july the season is almost over but we found some and even though small they were tasty. And since i come from a crawfish eating country i had to have them. I must say that i prefer the Louisiana way to cook and spice up the crawfish.
COCKTAILS AND SPIRITS
During the Tales chances are that you`ll even have cocktails for breakfast or brunch. In the media room i had a brunch containing a plate with sausages, red beans, scrambled eggs, vanilla cake and whipped cream – all on the same plate washed down with 2 gin cocktails, fresh pressed orange juice and coffee..not a bad start of the day if you ask me.
Its very nice to have that room to get away from the crowd, go and relax, eat, drink and work (they have free wifi) and finally i learnt which one of the elevators to use to go all the way up…had forgotten that since last year and its very easy to be trapped in Monteleone`s labyrinth of corridors.
I`ve had great cocktails here both in Nola bars, in the Mixoloseum house, at Tales sessions and in private home bars. My first drink at all in Nola this time was a refreshing Abita strawberry or Strawbita Beer in a friends kitchen – ice cold..very refreshing after a long trip and especially if you have to spend the night in Atlanta airport. Next place to have a drink was the good Olde Absinthe House where i had a very good Sazerac and after that i had a nice Martinez at the Bombay Club.
I really like Abita beer and we bought bunches of them, i will really miss them when those i brought home are finished. Their Amber, Purple Haze and Strawberry are my favorites. I would recommend anyone who comes to Nola to try every Abita there is and then bring home a few of the favorites.
We also went to the Cure and i had a few cocktails with Smith & Cross rum which is a very good Jamaican rum, my new (old) favorite. The Cure is located at 4905 Freret Street. Well worth a visit.
There`s also another bar i would like to recommend, not only because a friend works there but because its really a little pearl. Bar Tonique is located at 820 N Rampart street just a few doors away from our old Mixohouse right across the Armstrong Park.
Their Witchdoctor is a very tasty and potent cocktail – (invented by Jeffrey and Nathan actually) – its Smith & Cross, Batavia arrak, basil syrup, lime juice and soda Try it the next time!
I went there on the hot lazy sunday afternoon and my witchdoctor must have been very strong…and in a potent mood i later stumbled into the mezcal tasting at Monteleone starting with the Ilegal mezcal`s (very good mezcal) ending up with all the wonderful Del Magueys. They have released a new one called Vida, made for mixing. Will review it later.
After that we had a last round in the Carousel bar before heading out to stay by friends outside of the city with go cups in our hands – one of the best inventions ever! That was the last of Tales for me this time..
There´s a lot of bars in Nola and i haven´t yet visited them all – there´s simply not enough time and besides – there must be some left for my next visit right? I have quite a few more to go to.
Three of the best cocktails i had in Nola was made by a friend and blogger, Meade Kincke living in Nola. He made the best Sazerac i ever had with Thomas H Handy rye (don`t remember which bottling it was) and then an outstanding Mai Tai with a 60s vintage Lemon Hart 151. And then cold tasty Herbsaint.
Oh all these great cocktails..and rums! been trying out both the new Black Tot rum at the Full Sail session and i was lucky enough to get to try out a range of very old vintage rums, among them a pre WW2 , pre Castro Cuban at a private tasting. Actually anything can happen at the Tales! just get yourself over next time and magic will follow..
And that`s the point – come down to New Orleans and the Tales and anything can happen!
LH151 Mai Tai
I would recommend anyone to take some time off from Tales and go and look at the architecture here. The houses are totally awesome and there`s so many different styles – from the charming little shotguns and creole townhouses to the garden district mansions and more. Many of these old houses also has a very interesting history.
Take the St Charles streetcar through the beautiful garden district, walk around in the quarter, the Marigny and Bywater or move beyond if you have the time- uptown is also very nice. I never get bored of looking at these houses, they`re amazing – there´s so much character and creativity.
The wrought or cast iron balconies – galleries really, are not French but Spanish. I think they are lovely and the reason why the French quarter is so beautiful.
My favorite house type though is the charming little shotguns with all the various and colorful painted details. These houses are SO Nola. Originally i believe the basic style of shotgun type of houses actually came from west Africa or so i´ve read somewhere.
Lovely balconies on Royal st.
Next post – Tales sessions, tastings and dinners. Thanks to Tony for some of the pictures.