Big Eats and Big Fun in the Big Easy!
Apr 04, 2011
Jun 14, 2011
Where I stayed
Fountainbleu State Park
Friday it was get up, get dressed and get in the car to head to Mother's for breakfast and then to the French Quarter after that. Derek had looked up a lot to park in just off Canal St. that was more than reasonable and we found it easily. The garage was a gauntlet of twists and turns and Liz and I agreed that after squeezing into the spot that we did Derek should have no problem maneuvering a fire truck in the future. We made the short walk to Mother's in the midmorning heat and humidity. Liz seems even more effected by warmth and I cant say it's not amusing to watch her seek out shade or exclaim her delight when the slightest whisper of a breeze would start. There was a small line out side of Mother's but it went quickly and soon we found ourselves given menus and ushered to the inside line. We had warned Liz of the atmosphere and the food but I'm not sure she was fully prepared. For those not familiar Mother's Restaurant is a NOLA staple, it's been an establishment since 1938 and used to cater to all kinds of working locals. Following WWII it became exceedingly popular with those in the Marine Corps, a feeling you can still get for many of the old posters and pictures on the brick walls. Its been a staple in most of my parents and relatives trips to NOLA and we more than enjoyed it when we were here for our honeymoon...Derek might have forced us to go twice and I'm pretty sure I didn't protest. Needless to say Derek couldn't wait to order his egg and meat biscuit, choosing baked ham, which they are known for. You wouldn't think a vegetarian would be so excited about a menu brimming with New Orleans staples such as jambalaya and crawfish étouffée omelets but she heard the biscuits calling her name as well as some eggs and grits, being curious as I explained what they were. Everyone fully enjoyed themselves and it was the perfect start to our downtown adventure. From Poydras St we walked back to the quarter commenting on the architecture, sidewalk performances, horse drawn carriage tours, and the huge numbers of people already waiting in lines to bars or walking down the street cocktail in hand. We found ourselves on Jackson Square and took our time walking about looking at the local artwork as we made our way to the St. Louise Cathedral. We made it inside the oldest Catholic church in continual use (established 1720) just in time to check it out before an usher let us know we could take a seat as they were just about to start 12:00 mass. Choosing not to stay for the service we head back out and finished out walk along the square on our way to The French Market. Along with window shopping along the way we stopped and grabbed a a Louisiana Lemonade. This drink including citrus rum, fresh lemonade and something pink (possibly grenadine) was the perfect addition to our stroll among all the market stands selling everything from handmade jewelry to Mardi gras mask to natural healing products and voodoo beads. After thoroughly perusing all there was to offer at the market we set off to hop on the streetcar on our way to lunch. Initially the streetcar was packed but as we made it further away from the downtown area it seemed like more and more tourists were hoping off and it was just us and the locals that were headed out to the Garden district and beyond. We were on the St. Charles line which opened in 1835 and today ranks as the oldest continuously operated street railway in the world! We hopped off near the end of the line right in front of our next food conquest, the Camellia Grill. While the food here is simple, diner style food it tastes good and the atmosphere sets it apart from anything else you're used to. The only seating is at the counter and the greeting is a fist bump from the super friendly staff. We couldn't help but smile as we listened to him call our order to the cook a few feet away at the grill, the catfish on a bun (not to be confused with the numerous other ways of getting it) was reduced to traditional diner slang. That was almost as awesome as the sandwich itself, to Liz's fried Mac and cheese triangles!! We also indulged in their famous freezes, a blended ice cream drink that uses crushed ice instead of milk...oh Camellia Grill, now Liz understand why there is a picture of you and the St. Charles Street car hanging in my parents home. After a little stroll along the street car line checking out some of the beautiful, enormous homes that once belonged to the New Orleans elite, some of which are probably broken up to house Tulane and Loyola University students we were back on the streetcar and then back downtown. One very successful taco dinner later completes our Good Friday and then it was time to rest of for the adventures to come.