NEWBIE AT THE TALES
When you go to the Tales for the first time you sort of have a vague picture of how it may be based on what you read and hear from others. The reality is much more overwhelming because its so much of everything and so intense during a short time. So much people, so many sessions, the heat, the food… the beauty of the city, the drinks…its all just wow.
Another quite overwhelming experience during the Tales is the Monteleone lobby – a bit chaotic…a good thing is that you don`t need to be there for very long before you meet someone you know. And the Carousel bar is there to rotate your senses.
To me Tales is all about the people, meeting everybody is what i will remember the most and its from all these fantastic people you learn. It was great to meet so many great people in the industry, all cocktail geeks, bloggers and bartenders all gathered in one place. I have learnt a lot of things and had more fun than i probably deserve.
As for New Orleans i think its a fantastic city, i knew i would love it and be right at home! As the Tales is located at Monteleone in the french quarter that`s what you`ll see most of unless you can get away for a while or stay longer than the Tales week (will definetily do that next time). But really the quarter has a unique athmosphere with many funny smells, music, cocktails and food everywhere, beautiful houses with their wrought iron balconies so full of tropical plants and flowers, lovely shotgun houses colorfully painted – as well as all the tourist traps that adorns the one and only Bourbon Street which is very touristy. Its the mix of everything that makes this place so magical. Its a long time i wanted to get myself over here and finally i did.
And the food is amazing, the best i`ve had anywhere, everything from poboys to the beignets and chickory coffee at Café du Monde – is not to be missed!
As a member of the CSOWG i found myself living in the Mixohouse located on N Rampart right opposite the Armstrong park – and living there was wonderful and quite an experience, one of the best bars in New Orleans right in our living room and another good one a few steps away, Bar Tonique, plus good friends all over.
It was fantastic and the ambiance in the house was very special. I fell asleep to the sound of shakers and woke up to the sound of laughter (and one morning – shakers.. ) Of course having a bar in the livingroom didn´t prevent us from visiting bars in New Orleans like for instance Attiki where i had a fantastic Gin Bloody Mary with okra and olive garnish.
Before i left i read those survival guides for the Tales written by other cocktailbloggers and even though you pace, drink water, eat, try to sleep at least 5 hrs a night – its very intense – and there`s a reason Cocktailnerd wrote a stumbling-guide for us.
There are a few things though that i`ve learnt and which i will try to remember the next time i attend the Tales.
1 – Bring a very sturdy suitcase and big enough. My too small and too soft suitcase broke on arrival in DC, survived to PA where it was fixed MacGywer style by Rick but it finally died in NYC.
2 – Bring a fan, mine was my best friend during my stay because its seriously hot and humid during the summer . Always carry at least 2 bottles of water with you everywhere you go. They provide tons of waterbottles at the sessions at Tales.
3 – Dont drink everything that is handed to you just because its free, i actually didn´t or i would have passed out so its a good point worth mentioning.
4 – Take more notes during the sessions than you think you need, i wish i had written down more info than i did, that would have made me able to write better blog posts. Unfortunately the only laptop in the house at home broke down shortly before my departure so i had to travel without one which made my blogging more difficult, so bring a laptop.
5 – Cocktails and drinks – try the worst and compare with the best, there you will see what enourmous difference it is between a well crafted cocktail and a….hm..Handgrenade?
6 – Don´t try to go to as many sessions as possible, i choosed those i really wanted not to miss and you will miss out on something anyway, its impossible to keep up with everything.
8 – Don´t miss the Museum of the American Cocktail.
9 – Pearl made me one of the best little gumbos i`ve ever had. Pearl is a little place just 2 blocks from the Roosevelt hotel (where you also will find the Sazerac bar) Pearl maybe isn`t the most well known place and i`ve read so-so reviews of it but the gumbo i got was delicious.
10 – And by all means – DO NOT miss the charbroiled oysters from Drago’s !! – i could go back all the way to Nola only for those! they are a charcoal smoky, cheesy, garlicky, spicy, juicy heaven on a plate! they are the best single dish i´ve eaten in my life.
11 – There´s a big chance that you´ll bring a hat from Nola home with you;-)
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant is located at:
3232 N Arnoult Rd
Metairie, LA 70002-4738
It has been an experience for sure. The tales of the Cocktail was fantastic. Finally, all you people who i met – it was fun and lovely to meet you — hope to see you again next time.
Aperol dinner at Iris.