We love our trips to New Orleans, and are able to go often, even just on the spur of the moment. Such was our trip last weekend, we needed to pick up some things from our friends at Zito’s, and decided to make it an overnight.
We have never visited the New Orleans Museum of Art, so we looked for restaurants nearby and found Cafe Degas, a French restaurant.
We miss France. Going to France was one of the best parts of living in Germany, not far from the French border. We were in France all the time, and oh, how we miss France.
We found Cafe Degas with no trouble, and were able to find a parking spot within a short walk.
Each table filled almost as soon as it emptied. There were families, people coming in after church, friends meeting up to share their weeks. It had a great vibe.
The bread was wonderful, crispy on the outside, light as a cloud on the inside
We LOVE mussels. These were perfect, and the broth was exquisite.
The mussels come with fries. Normally I will avoid fries, but oh, these were so good. I ate about half, more than I had intended! I had thought “oh one bite won’t hurt!” and twenty fries later, I still had trouble stopping.
3127 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119
Hours of operation
Lunch: Wednesday through Friday 11:00am – 3:00pm.
We are open for drinks, salads and appetizers between lunch and dinner service Wed – Sat.
Dinner: Wednesday through Saturday 5:30pm – 10:00pm.
Sunday: 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 10:30am – 3:00pm
HAPPY HOUR Wednesday and Thursday 3:00pm – 6:00pm
All Major Credit Cards Accepted
Once we discovered how easy it is to go to New Orleans, even just for the day, we are hooked. When Zito’s Metal Polishing & Plating called to tell us our pieces were finished and offered to mail them (free of charge) to us, AdventureMan said “Oh no, we’ll come get them” and set the date. We invited a friend who also has some pieces that need re-tinning to be usable, and off we went.
You may think this is trivial, but for us, it is beautiful:
Gas is so much cheaper in Louisiana. Of course, it takes nearly half a tank to get there, so I don’t suppose we are saving so much, LOL. When I saw my old friends, my copper pots, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I don’t think they looked this good in Damascus, where I bought them, on The Street Called Straight. Who knows if we will ever be able to walk the streets of Damascus again?
Zito’s was able to replace a handle on the brass piece we bought, oh so long ago, in the Khan al Khalili in Cairo.
These pieces are, I believe, more beautiful now than when I bought them! I had the pots re-tinned because I have used them cooking many many times over the last 35 years, but now I am afraid to use them, they are so beautiful!
We stayed out of the tourist areas with Mardi Gras madness in full swing, and found a fabulous Thai restaurant, La Thai, on Prytania, (voted Best Thai in New Orleans,) when our two Ethiopian restaurants were both closed. It was a wonderful happenstance; we had a great meal (scallops!) and we also were able to finish our day in New Orleans with a tour of City Park and ice cream at the Creole Creamery. Oh wow. Flavors like King Cake Ice Cream, and Red Velvet Ice Cream and 5 Spice Ginger. It was a great day.
Poor AdventureMan, I’ve whined and complained through the unusual heat of November and December, when I usually get really happy. Fortunately, we had one good cold snap in October, and I got my Christmas shopping done, and another very short cool time early in December, so I could get the house decorated. If it’s hot and humid, it’s just really hard for me to get motivated. I also hate having to use the air conditioning in December; “it’s just not right!”
AdventureMan laughs and tells me that in the South, you crank the air conditioning up so you can build a big fire in your fireplace. It’s true! Especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can walk the neighborhood and smell the lovely smell of firewood, but it’s a little jarring when the temperatures are close to the eighties (F).
This week has been cold. It’s been wonderful; I can wear my Levis, I can wear a sweater, I can wear silk scarves – all things that can make you sweat at any temperature above 70 (F)
But today, it is a little warmer, maybe hitting 70, and we have a huge storm moving in, which hopefully will expend itself and move on, clearing up and cooling off for the big Mardi Gras parades starting today. AdventueMan is starting his day with a bowl of hot cereal. “It’s down in the 60’s (F) you know” he says, and I grin.
I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a room that could be anywhere, Seattle, Pensacola, Missoula, El Paso. I wanted it to feel like New Orleans, and I wanted tall ceilings and I didn’t want it to cost an arm and a leg. I didn’t want it to be stuffy. I looked and looked, and then I found it, The French Market Inn, on Decatur, in the middle of everything.
Some reviews said it could be a little noisy, but hey, it’s after Christmas, low season, not yet Mardi Gras. There was a great online special. We took a chance.
Immediately, there is one negative; there is no parking. You can pay extra for valet parking, which we did. There may be some places where you don’t pay extra to park in New Orleans, but I don’t know them.
We loved it the minute we walked in. We had talked with the receptionist earlier, and she remembered us. Check in was a breeze. We had to walk through a winding courtyard to get to our room, then up an elevator, but oh WOW.
I kept telling AdventureMan “I love this room! I love this room!” It is not often a room exceeds my expectations, but this room delighted my heart:
Up those two stairs and out the door, we have this huge terrace which we share with the room next door. We each have our own table and chairs, and a view of the river and Decatur street in each direction. We also look directly over some kind of party central, where the New Year’s Eve Parade will pass, and the big pre-Sugar Bowl party will be held. They are setting up now; bands are practicing, it is ear-splitting, but we are assured all the noise will stop at eight p.m.
As dusk fall, the Steamboat Natchez gives us a calliope concert. We sit out on our deck and listen, and watch the crews for the bands setting up and playing with the sound and light displays:
Promptly at eight, the bands all stop. Our room is quiet . . .most of the time. About once an hour, a very very loud car comes by with its booming bass beat and some wanna-be rapper going on down the road. A couple times during the night, emergency vehicles come by. At 3:30 I see odd lights on our wall, and as I peer out the curtains, I see the crews still at work on the stage lights, and they are pulsing colors and bright lights. We have great black out curtains, I close them tightly and snooze away 🙂
The room is gorgeous. The hotel has a fabulous location, close to everywhere. It wasn’t very noisy, but next time, same hotel, and a courtyard room. We had a lot of fun with our balcony, but once was enough and next time we will opt for one of the interior rooms, hoping it is a little more quiet.
The Sunday before Lent started, we were eating our early breakfast at the Shiny Diner when two parties came in. The first was a morning-after-the-wedding party, they grabbed one of the high tops that seat eight and more and more dragged in, and then the bride and groom arrived, still glowing from their wedding the day before.
As they were seated, another party came in, this party all in their pajamas, even the Mom! It was a morning-after-the-pajama-party party, and their fun was still continuing.
Pensacola: Party City!
We love having a grandson, not that we need an excuse, but it’s always more fun to go to a parade when you have a youngster with you. Today was particularly fun, he is four and totally gets the whole parade thing, we found a great parking place with no driving around and we had a great place to watch the parade from. Some kids sitting in front of us knew our grandson, and we were all invited “up front” to be with them.
Parades are always more fun with fun people, and these people were fun. The parade was fun. This is a family parade, lots and lots of children, and the bead throwers and gift givers are most generous to the children. While grown-ups compete to catch the beads, they turn around and give them to the little ones almost immediately. It’s a gentle spirit, and everyone has fun.
Our favored place is very near our church. You can see how crowded it is as the parade begins. It only gets worse; Mardi Gras parades attract more than 50,000 people. Imagine, 50,000 people all behaving themselves, families, children, and when it ends, the street looks normal within an hour or so. Thank God for civility.
Our church and the Mardi Gras revelers waiting for the parade. If you look closely, you can see beads hanging in the tree from the Krewe of Lafitte Parade the night before. Pensacola has LOTS of parades 🙂 :
Everyone has a gimmick to try to get more beads, but it is a FAMILY parade, so there are no drunks (not that I saw anyway) and no one lifting up their shirts for beads. Several people had “targets” for bead throwers:
McGuires throws green beads, and our grandson got one with a medallion, very special 🙂 We’ve hung them all – all this treasures – in his room at our house so his little baby sister doesn’t chew on them by accident and he can visit them every time he stays 🙂 :
As you can see, it was a fabulous day for a parade, maybe 70 degrees F. and a slight breeze. We say “when March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion” so we are expecting that the end of March may be cold and dreary, perfect Lent weather.
From today’s Pensacola News Journal, the best parade street I have ever seen is recognized nationally for parades, restaurants and community spirit.
Palafox named one of Ten Best Streets in America
and Kevin Robinson
Need more proof that Palafox Place has become a thriving thoroughfare? Here it is: Palafox Place is one of 10 “Great Streets in America for 2013,” according to the American Planning Association.
The independent, not-for-profit educational organization — affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Planners — named Palafox Place alongside streets in Philadelphia; Galveston, Texas; Honolulu; and Corning, N.Y., on its 2013 list.
“For hundreds of years, Palafox Street has been at the center of life in our city,” Mayor Ashton Hayward said in a news release. “Over the past three decades, our community has reinvested in Palafox Street and, as a result, Palafox has once again become the anchor to a thriving, vibrant downtown and a city in renaissance.”
The organization recognized the eight-block stretch from Wright Street to Main Street. Locals will note that Palafox Place addresses run from 1 to 400 south of Garden Street, so this honor additionally includes parts of North and South Palafox Street (from Wright Street to Garden Street and from Government Street to Main Street).
The selection cites the historic architecture and character of the street, as well as popular events such as Mardi Gras parades and the annual Pelican Drop on New Year’s Eve; management of public events and street closures by the Downtown Improvement Board; private investment, including the Al Fresco food trailer court; and a variety of planning and preservation achievements.
Or better yet – come for Mardi Gras! See for yourself 🙂
I’ve never lived anywhere with so many parades, and as Pensacola cools down a little and an offshore breeze blows away the heat of the day, a parade sounds like fun. Tonight is the Fiesta of Five Flags Parade. I can’t think of a parade since Lent, so maybe this is the kick off of the new season. Pensacola has an active and lively social scene, with all these Mardi Gras Krewes, and the older our grandson gets, the more of the parade we get to see! I think we got through three quarters of the parade tonight, and oh what fun.
The people on the floats are having a great time. They have these great alter-egos, get to wear elaborate costumes, and there may be some alcohol involved, LOL. The people on the ground are having a great time, you can really get into the waving and trying to catch the beads. Some of the beads are prettier than others, but as AdventureMan says, it’s all plastic. Having said that, you should see him scramble! He is good at catching beads.
And oh my, they are so good to the kids, with stuffed toys, beads, ice cream bars, frisbees, trinkets, including pieces of eight!
Honestly, there are some things in life I will never get tired of – parades and fireworks. I feel so blessed to live in Pensacola.
These photos are not in the right order because I just did a group dump into the photo gallery, and it scrambled them when they were inserted into the blog entry.
The parade always starts with the Pensacola motorcycle police, with flashing lights and roaring engines!
I love that they decorate the horses tails:
So many beads! We got to the parade a mere ten minutes before it began, but it was more lightly attended, and we were able to be right up front. Our little grandson had a great view, and people were so kind giving him beads, throwing him beads, toys, etc.
The Mayoki Indians seemed to be the Krewe having the best time of all, with two floats loaded with beads, and more ‘foot Indians’ handing and throwing beads into the crowds:
The flame throwing baton twirler got lots of applause:
We saw our little grandson rubbing his eyes and asked if he was ready to go home, and he was. One of these days he will be old enough we will see an entire parade. I had a minor concern that Tropical Storm Andrea would blow in bad weather and make the parade unlikely, but nothing of the sort, we had great weather, a lovely evening and a wonderful time making good memories with our little grandson.
A perfect evening. Got there minutes before the one mile runners came by, parking at our church and walking to our favorite spot, meeting up with our son, his wife, and the adorable little boy who truly gets everything that is happening. This is his third parade; he always loved the lights and loud noises, but this year, he GETS it, gets the floats and the bands and the BEADS!
“I love this tradition,” my daughter-in-law says, leaning over to kiss me as we meet up to watch the parade and do a little-boy-transfer. He is coming to spend the night with us. He has his own room in our house.
ZOOOOOMMMMM! the motorcycle police accompany the runners, EEERRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW the fire engine, all lights and noise comes by at the beginning of the parade, and then a high school band from New Orleans with a killer beat leads the parade. Wooooo HOOOOOOOO, shouts Intlxpatr, totally into another cultural experience. 🙂
One of the optical shops had running eyeballs, totally hilarious!
This float was giving out Chobani yoghurt
“Beads! Beads! More beads!” People taller than I were catching beads – and then passing them on to the little children. So kind, so generous.
My favorite, of course, a pirate ship:
This parade is great fun. Here is a thing I love about Pensacola. About 50,000 people attend. Many walk from nearby neighborhoods, others drive down and park – there is still plenty of parking in Pensacola. People gather peacefully. There is no fighting over great spots; there are a lot of great spots from which you can watch the parade. At the end of the parade, everyone disperses peacefully – no fighting. In fifteen – twenty minutes the crowd is GONE, 50,000 people gone home, peacefully. It is a great community, all walks of life, all having a great time watching this home town Christmas parade.
Early this morning, the morning after, we started a new tradition – we got a long stick with a hook, and went after some of the beads stuck up in the trees. AdventureMan and Q got started while I went to church, meeting up with some experts who gave them tips – and beads. Such is the kindness of strangers, and the brotherhood of bead chasers. 🙂