Summertime Adventure in New Orleans
Visiting New Orleans with my friend Andy
Background - Friday, July 15, 2022
While coworking with my friend Andy at EQ a coffee shop in the Heights he was telling me about a trip to Chicago he was planning to calm some mental turbulence.
With a craving for wanderlust, I inquired about joining the journey. It was decided to leave the next morning, the departure took place after lunch at Govinda's.
Getting Into New Orleans - Saturday, July 16, 2022
The trip was uneventful with the only notable stop being Lake Charles. We found our way to an AirBnB we booked unloaded the car, put on some fabcuer clothes and went on the hunt for dinner.
Dinner at Cafe Carmo
Cafe Carmo had a nice mix of vegan (Andy is vegan) and non-vegan options. The menu was comprised of all sorts of Latin American drinks and dishes.
I had the Rico which had boar (pulled pork almost) on top of grilled plantains. We also shared a vegan flatbread with cheese and other goodies. For cocktails Andy ordered a Cajarita which felt like a bit of a play on a margarita and I believe I had a Caipirinhas, both very refreshing drinks perfect for the summer or a beach.
After the meal, we talked with the bartender and the two other waitresses. The bartender had just moved from Portland and one of the other waitresses was from Turkey!
I jokingly asked had the Portlander already made questionable decisions in Heras and the Turkish lady laughed and told us how she was super up and then lost a bit of money.
We enjoyed our jib on the way back to the car and did a bit of driving to get to the Allways Lounge which we couldn't get into because we where missing one of our wallets.
initially, the plan was to keep driving but quickly realized we had a ton of stuff (and work) left to see and booked another day
Sunday we started the day by getting lunch at Ital Garden which was proper vegan soul food. We ordered just about everything on the menu.
- Cajun Pasta
- Quona Jumbala
- Fried Cauliflower
- Golden Potatoes
- Jackfruit Ribs
French Quarter and Jackson Square
After lunch, we were on the hunt for coffee and a place to work. CC's coffee house on Royal street is where we had originally planned to visit.
I mentioned that Andy had to do a bit of walking around the French Quarter and more specifically Jackson Square .
Quickly though we found the heat to become unbearable as we both wore jeans and button-ups (which I suggested against, but became appreciated later).
We had hoped to find a nice place to get a coffee and do some work but eventually, the original destination CC's Coffee house seemed like a better idea.
Coffee Shop, Hookah, Locals and The Argentinans
While in CC's I offered a dad who had been mentioning his phone was dead while his daughter used the bathroom. This is when two beautiful ladies walked in and sat at the same table as me.
I asked them had they already done all the touristy things which they had and were relaxing until their plane ride home that night? Turns out they are both from Argentina and met through an agency that places young women with families in need of live-in help.
Three more women walk up to the table and start a conversation (and they also were in need of phone charging).
After learning they are locals, we ask about Hookah places and they suggest Haifa. We all decided to go, we get a bucket of beer, and snacks while enjoying some hookah.
We then ask if they smoke at lake Pontchartrain near our Airbnb.
The walk along the river has us admiring the people fishing, baby ducks, throwing fish back in the water, and even had Andy show us how to dance Salsa to one of the fishers boomboxes.
Afterward, we go to a bar near their hostel and they split and I notice a guy with chef knives. We split after this
Again we decide to stay in New Orleans and do some work.
Breakfast at the The Vintage in the Garden District
The local ladies we met previously recommended Beignets from the Vintage.
We ordered a traditional and a raspberry-filled beignet which both were amazing. I also ordered some egg bites. Andy amusingly couldn't take a bite without inhaling powdered sugar.
The espresso machine stopped working after our first order of coffee, I always wonder if this happens to stop people from spending all day working. I saw they had cucumber dill gimlet (I love gimlets) and ordered one with Ahi tuna which was an amazing protein snack.
Lunch Killer Po Boys
After this Andy had not eaten and I had to make sure he had a Po Boy before leaving New Orleans. He had a Thai BBQ po boy and I had the beef which had pickled green beans and horseradish and was quite tasty.
Then we had to get a Po Boy for Andy and Killer Poboys had three vegan options.
Mid Afternoon - Working at the Irish Cultural Museum
Andy found a coffee shop inside the Irish Cultural Museum. Fun fact in 1800s New Orleans the Irish population was 1 in 5. The Irish coffees are said to be great, though we didn't want to start drinking so early.
I chatted with the bartender about tasting a reasonable whisky. My friend Chuck said he wanted to try Red Breast but they only had 123 and 173 a glass.
After he listened to my preferences (less sweet, no fancy barrels) he recommended a Prowlers John's Lane Pot still and a pint of Guinness. He told me this pairing of flavors was something they would be drinking 150 years ago in Ireland. I spoke a bit about my Mexican Irish heritage and he told me all about the name Irish Mexicans.
While I was waiting for him to finish I walked next door and ordered a double well whisky at the Three-Legged Dog, a much seedier local bar that had quite the cast of characters in it.
Dinner Sneaky Pickle
Almost everyone we asked for vegan options recommended Sneaky Pickle and finally got to try it. We talked to two ladies at a neighboring table who were from Seatle for one of their weddings.
- Smoked tempeh Reuben (with a gorgeous red cabbage saukrat) with fries
- A sort of Trumpet Mushrooms on grits
- Mac n Cheese
The lady next door left a whole half sandwich which we grabbed and ate without shame.
Evening Frenchman Street
At this point, Andy still wanted to see some Jazz. And to be honest, at this the point I don't think I've taken full advantage of the music scene in my previous excursions.
Tuesday I started the morning and walked to Waffle House .7 miles away as Andy is a breakfast person.
Morning Downtown NOLA
After that, we went ahead and being our working day at Breads on Oak, which was sort of an entertaining place to work as it's downtown surrounded by hotels so lots of opportunities to do people watching.
For lunch, we walked over to Shangia Thai Lunch, Garlic Softshell Crab and pad la.
Afternoon Old World Coffee
At Old World, I met a fellow Houstonian Mark who now lives in NOLA. He wrote two books that I skimmed and were quite poetic. He mentioned two art shoes which were also going to be giving away bags full of art supplies to youth who need them the most.
A long drive home
At this point, Andy had to get back to Houston and we decided to start the journey home.
On the way we stopped for a quick bite at a Lousianin/Mexican restaurant called Mestizo. The Server recommended guac which had grilled peaches and feta, quite the odd combo but was pretty tasty. They mentioned that they also do it with pomegranate arils which I think would be quite visually stunning.