Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Orleans, LA: Lagniappe Thanksgiving!

We had such a great time during last year's Thanksgiving in SF/Napa that the family decided to take Turkey Day on the road again to a new destination: New Orleans. It was a true vote of confidence for my upcoming move. I flew in on Wednesday evening, a couple of days after the New Yorkers' arrival. We enjoyed a multi-course meal at Commander's Palace in the Garden District. The menu not only included turtle soup (which I ordered at my first visit to CP in '97) but also antelope steak! My dad ordered it but the dish 86ed only seconds earlier. Dang.

On Thanksgiving Day my sister and I spent way too much time in the petting zoo at the Ritz-Carlton then took a long walk from the French Quarter to the Bywater. We tried to creep on Diné but she was too preoccupied with meal preparations to see our sneaky messages. We walked back to the hotel and met my parents for cocktails and dinner at Arnaud's back in the Quarter. Dinner was tasty but the restaurant lacked the ambiance of a place that my mother or I would have picked (my dad chose it!).

On Friday we took a tour around the city and walked across Audubon Park to Magazine Street. We window shopped and I bought a beautiful skirt at Lili Vintage. Diné joined us for a late lunch at Ignatius Eatery. Hillary and I parted ways with my parents and went with Diné to Fifi Mahony's, the most epic drag queen supply store, back in the French Quarter. We drove to Diné's home turf and had a few drinks at Markey's Bar with Davitt before Hillary and I took a ghost tour of the French Quarter lead by Diné's neighbor, Mark. The tour was packed with the bloody history of the famous neighborhood. Hillary loved the tour but I objected parts of it. I don't like the idea of making a spectacle of victims of torture, femicide, etc. No thanks! We met Diné and Stella after snagging a bag of bignets from Cafe du Monde. We first met up with some of DeeDee's crowd at the Hi Ho Lounge in the Bywater. Then we stayed the night at Kajun's Pub down the street for a very good effort at karaoke. My sister has the pipes in the family so she took the lead while I held down backup. All kinds of characters joined in for the sing-along.

My family flew back north on Saturday afternoon so we shared a leisurely brunch at Cafe Bignet on Royal. Diné and I hung around her neighborhood and ate a delicious leftovers dinner at the Butler Rathke home. We then met some friends at Bachanal Wine Bar for St. Andrew's Festival. We rounded out the night down the street at the home of Diné's friend Blythe's house.

My noontime flight on Sunday gave us just enough time for breakfast at Cake Cafe before zipping to MSY to take me back home. It's always a delight to stay at Hotel Burgundy! Be back soon!

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