2018 Road Trip - Days 17 & 18

Thursday 09.20.18 - New Orleans, Louisiana part Trois

My wife & I had a lofty goal of visiting a multitude of different places in and around the French Quarter of the city they call New Orleans. We finally stripped it down to about twenty spots. Since there are so many, I figured I would just list them all in order, with a quick synopsis. For reasons I can't really explain, I am drawn to historic plaques & older architecture. That being said, I took around forty photos of other interesting things that caught my eye. By end of the day, this fat kid was TIRED from all the damn walking. I was also second guessing myself for dreaming up such a scheme. Here we go....

#1 Criollo (inside Hotel Monteleone)
Our original plan was to dine at Cafe Du Monde, but with them only having outdoor seating & us planning on being outside the rest of the day, we opted to eat breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. This turned out to be a mistake, as we had an awful waitress that should probably find another line of work. She never once offered us refills. Two different people actually brought our food. I ordered an iced tea and she mumbled about it as she walked away. I had to ask about it again after we received our food and she said they were preparing it fresh. My tea finally arrived as I was finishing my meal. Other than the service, the food was overall okay.

These were good especially since it was inside with ac.  The caramel sauce is served on the side.

The biscuits were light but the gravy tasted like red eye

These were decent, but I prefer patties.

#2 Hermann-Grima House
Built in 1831 by a German Jewish immigrant, Samuel Hermann, the Hermann-Grima House is one of the most significant residences in New Orleans.

#3 The Historic New Orleans Collection
From their website, "The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South.
Founded in 1966, THNOC has grown to include 10 historic buildings making up two French Quarter campuses. The Royal Street campus, located at 533 Royal Street, serves as our museum headquarters, housing our main space for rotating exhibitions, the Williams Gallery; our permanent installation, the Louisiana History Galleries; and our house museum, the Williams Residence. The Chartres Street campus, located at 400 and 410 Chartres Street, comprises the Williams Research Center, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art, and our on-site vault for collections items.
Researchers—whether dedicated scholars or casual history buffs—can access THNOC’s materials through the Williams Research Center. THNOC’s holdings comprise 1,000,000 items that document everyday life as well as momentous historical events spanning more than three centuries. The Collection includes 35,000 library items, shelves of documents and manuscripts that extend more than two miles, as well as 350,000 photographs, prints, drawings, paintings, and other artifacts.
The museum’s four exhibition spaces are free of charge and present multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the development of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art. Through docent-led or cell-phone tours, visitors can learn about the architectural styles of the city’s oldest neighborhood, the Vieux Carré, and enter the private residence of THNOC’s founders, General L. Kemper and Leila Williams.  
As a publisher, THNOC produces award-winning original books exploring the history, art, music, culture, and decorative arts of the region. Our magazine, the Historic New Orleans Collection Quarterly, surveys the region's history as it relates to THNOC's projects and programs."

 We stopped here for a cold glass of ice tea & to soak up some A/C. Our waitress, Melody thought we were visiting from college & when I asked for change for $20 (to make it easier to leave her a tip) she thought I needed it for the bus.

Sadly, they were closed at the time of our visit.
It was just our luck that we showed up a day early, or we might been able to watch them during a live taping of the TV show.  

“On the way back to Royal Street, cross over to number 723, virtually unchanged since Antoine Anguė acquired the building from Antoine Faisendieu in 1809. It is now the location of fabled Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop, one of the two shops (the other, Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, on Bourbon and St Ann Streets) which recreate the authentic mysterious ambiance of the old shops in the Quarter which supplied the practitioner’s with their mojo bags, herbs, and talismans. Their admixture of tarot card readers; traditional African art; and Brazilian, Cuban and Haitian artifacts captures the early ethnic and spiritual diversity of the French Quarter. Among its most popular spell kits are “Other Attorney Be Stupid” and “Hex Your Ex.” – Excerpt from A Walking Guide to the Historical French Quarter Andy Peter Antippas, Ph.D

This was another chance to grab a cold drink & enjoy some A/C. Our waitress, Haley, rolled her eyes & huffed when we said we weren't ordering food. While we sat there, I began to read the menu. The title & description of the Bananas Foster Beignet Fries grabbed my attention, so we decided to share some. For some reason my phone decided to delete these photos. These pictures are from their website.
Bananas Foster Beignet Fries
Our twist on two local favorites. Beignet dough cut into fries with sliced bananas and
topped with our rich Foster sauce of dark brown sugar, banana liqueur, and butter.

Shelly really wanted to visit due to the history of the place.
Although Faulkner is identified with Mississippi, he was residing in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldiers' Pay.[5] After being directly influenced by Sherwood Anderson, he made his first attempt at fiction writing. Anderson assisted in the publication of Soldiers' Pay and Mosquitoes, Faulkner's second novel, set in New Orleans, by recommending them to his publisher.[16] The miniature house at 624 Pirate's Alley, just around the corner from St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, is now the site of Faulkner House Books, where it also serves as the headquarters of the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society.[17]

The Cabildo was built under Spanish rule between 1795 and 1799, following the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 that completely destroyed the structure that stood on the property. Designed by Gilberto Guillemard, who also designed the neighboring St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytère, the Cabildo was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1803, which finalized the United States’ acquisition of the Louisiana Territory and doubled the size of the fledgling nation. The Cabildo served as the center of New Orleans government until 1853, when it became the headquarters of the Louisiana State Supreme Court, where the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision originated in 1892. The building was transferred to the Louisiana State Museum in 1908 and has since served to educate the public about Louisiana history. In 1988 the Cabildo was severely damaged in an inferno and, within five years, the landmark was authentically restored with 600-year-old French timber framing techniques. It was reopened to the public in 1994, featuring a comprehensive exhibit on Louisiana’s early history. This remarkable building’s tumultuous past is reason enough to pay it a visit, but the historical treasures within make it an absolute must-see.

The Presbytère was designed in 1791 to match the Cabildo, alongside St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. It stands today as a beautiful reminder of both Louisiana’s singular past and its vibrant present. The Presbytère, originally called Casa Curial or “Ecclesiastical House,” was built on the site of the residence, or presbytère, of the Capuchin monks. The building was used for commercial purposes until 1834 when it became a courthouse. In 1911, it became part of the Louisiana State Museum.

Few places offer the chance to experience the lifestyle of our ancestors of more than 150 years ago. The 1850 House is one of these rare places, offering a glimpse of upper-middle-class life in antebellum New Orleans, the most prosperous period in the city’s history. The 1850 House doesn’t represent any single family’s house, rather, it reflects mid-19th century prosperity, taste and daily life in New Orleans. The house is furnished with art and décor that speak to that era as well, including a set of John Slidell’s china, Old Paris porcelain, New Orleans silver and dozens of notable paintings and furnishings that, taken as a whole, transport you back in time.

Set in the heart of the French Quarter overlooking the Mississippi River, Jackson Square is one of New Orleans' most recognizable landmarks. Also known as the Place d'Armes, Jackson Square occupies 2.5 acres and sees over 2 million tourists and locals each year. It received National Landmark status in 1960.  In 2012 it was chosen by the American Planning Association as one of its “Great Places in America” for beauty, accessibility and being a “place where people want to be.”

We stopped here for a couple of souvenirs & free samples.  We love Pralines and New Orleans is the place to get the best.  One of our must do's when traveling is finding a local hot sauce.  This shop has a multitude of options.

free samples of pralines - a must while visiting

souvenir hot sauce & seasoning mix

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic building within the Vieux Carre Historic District, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum showcases its extensive collection and provides interpretive educational programs to present and preserve the rich history of pharmacy and healthcare in Louisiana; past and present.

Here we bought several different candies, including Pralines of all different flavors.

fruit chews


By this point we had walked up an appetite and needed some cooling off too. We shared the roast beef po'boy & fries. I thought the po'boy was excellent, but the fries were a let down. They were the frozen, Ore-Ida type, and over priced at nearly $4! However, that roast beef was succulent, juicy, and the french bread held up perfectly. One of my favorite hot sauces is Crystal's and I love how many places here have it, adding this to the po'boy added the right amount of heat.

Shower & nap time

Our servers Tristan (M) & Christian (F) took really great care of us.  Here's my thoughts on the food we tried:
  • Stuffed P&J Oysters - only 3 to an order, really? These are delicious. I enjoyed the tasty bits of shrimp and crab.  Next time I would order a dozen of these!
  • Cup of gumbo - nice dark roux. Very meaty, with lots of sausage. I prefer my gumbo with okra, I didn't taste any in this serving. 
  • Cup of matzo ball soup - chunky bits of veggies, very little bit of chicken, and a good size matzo ball.  It was something different but I wouldn't order it again.
  • Burger - This sounded and looked great.  However, the bread fell apart and the patty disintegrated.  Not much flavor and on the dry side.  The fries were thin and crispy.  I liked them more than the burger.
  • Jumbo Louisiana Shrimp "En Cocotte" -  wholesome, stick to your ribs food. Great flavors, rich & creamy. Again very meaty. My only complaint would be that they left the tail shells on the shrimp, making them a little difficult to eat. 

Stuffed P&J Oysters
gulf shrimp and blue crab

Seafood & Sausage Gumbo à La Creole

Matzo Ball & Roast Chicken Soup

Luke Burger
Allan benton's bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, Emmenthaler cheese with house made fries

Jumbo Louisiana Shrimp "En Cocotte"
roasted jalapeño cheese grits, andouille & green onion sausage

After dinner, we returned back to the hotel to pack up for our return trip home.

Friday 09.21.18 - Headed back home to Spring, Texas

There was one more place I wanted to check out before we left New Orleans. For years, I have heard about a dish called BBQ Shrimp. It was supposedly invented at Pascale's Manale Restaurant, so that's where I wanted to eat lunch. There were a few other items on the menu that sounded good as well. Here's what we had:

  • Me: Turtle Soup - Nice thick broth with lots of small tasty meat pieces. Great soup.
  • Shelly: Soup du jour: Broccoli, cheese & potato - I like it cheesier and creamer, but good flavors.
  • Oysters Bienville (served on a sizzling tray) Tasted like they blended all the ingredients & refilled the shells before baking. I never got any big pieces of actual oyster meat. Excellent flavors. I would order this again. 
  • Mozzarella Sticks - Huge glorious thick rectangles with stretchy cheese, Mmmmm.  The marinara was thick and hearty.
  • Original Pascal's Barbecue Shrimp - The Specialty of the house prepared in a spicy and tangy sauce. - whole shrimp, large and suckling the heads are a must.  Some of the shrimp were overcooked. Prepare to get messy, they even put a bib on you to help. I like the flavors of spices and butter, but seemed a bit lackluster.
  • Spaghetti Collins - What a neat recipe! It’s basically spaghetti mixed with a wine butter sauce and lots and lots of scallions.  I would make this at home and serve with shrimp or chicken.
  • Key Lime pie - sadly, it tasted like Marie Callender's

Turtle Soup adding Crystal's hot sauce

Soup du Jour: Broccoli, Cheese & Potato

1/2 Dozen Oysters Bienville

Fried Mozzarella Cheese
Served with Marinara

Original Pascal's Barbeque Shrimp
The Specialty of the house prepared in a spicy and tangy sauce.

Spaghetti Collins

Key Lime Pie

I feel that it is my duty as a loyal Texan, to have Tex-Mex as my first meal, upon returning from a long out of town stay. To that end, we chose to make the 5.5 hour drive to Houston to one of my top three Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurants, El Real Tex-Mex. The menu here is so good, it was hard to make a decision on what to order. After starting off with a large bowl of Coog's Dip, I selected my plate (Leo’s Deluxe Platter) simply because I have not ordered it in a long time. I like how the tamale, with it's perfect ratio of masa to pork filling, is set on top of the fluffy Spanish rice & then covered in a chili con carne gravy. This results in scraps getting mixed into the rice, I really don't know why every place doesn't serve it this way. The chicken puffy tacos are a thing of beauty. It's also nice that they use real lard for the awesome refried beans. Shelly was craving a combo platter that included a crispy taco. The Roosevelt Special hit the spot. This time she decided to leave off the fried egg.
mmmm, chips & salsa

Coog's Dip - our famous chile con queso topped with seasoned ground beef, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and a dollop of sour cream

Leo's Deluxe Platter
2 beef enchiladas, chicken puffy taco, pork tamale

Roosevelt Special (no fried egg)  
2 cheese enchiladas with a fried egg, refried bean chalupa, beef crispy taco

I'm missing my dog, so we drive another hour to pick her up and go home. Make sure to follow this blog to hear about us sailing around the world on an 111 day Pacific Princess cruise.


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