We broke camp Thursday morning, beating an incoming rain storm with just enough time to pack our equipment dry, then sat in the car to read and get caught up on email. At the appointed time we checked out of the KOA and drove to the French Quarter to pick up Lyndsay and begin a few days of sightseeing in town with her.
We’d decided to spent our afternoon in that area so parked the car at the Marriott, then walked a few blocks into the Quarter on Chartres St. to our breakfast stop, Café Fluer de Leis, Lyndsay’s selection based on a positive visit earlier in the week. After ordering the house Bloody Mary, Lyndsay and Joanna split the Seafood Benedict (homemade biscuit topped with crispy seafood cakes, poached eggs and house-made hollandaise sauce) while I continued my vegetarian omelet campaign with the Farmers Omelet (Sautéed onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach, melted cheddar topped with fresh-diced tomatoes).
This was delightfully good food, hearty but expertly spiced and cooked, just what we needed for fuel for what would be a somewhat grueling afternoon at the National World War II Museum. Within walking distance down Magazine Street, this is a monumental property, so full of exhibits and displays that in the three hours we spent there I was only able to see about a third of it, spending the bulk of my time in the “Road to Tokyo” wing. Adding to the ordeal factor was how incredibly crowded it was with wall to wall people clogging the exhibit pathways. It reminded me in a way of our visit to Versailles in 2014, when the crush of people meant you stood the whole time and walked very, very slowly.
We finished our visit in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, a large multi-story open air building housing various land and air war machines, from tanks to a B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell. Running out of gas and it being around 4pm, we left the museum, walked back up the Marriott to pick up the car and drove about three miles to our lodging for the next three nights, a two-bedroom house rented through Airbnb in the Bywater neighborhood.
Our host Theresa was out of town and couldn’t greet us as we arrived, but her boyfriend Jonathan performed the job admirably. We opened the bottle of Riesling that Theresa had left for us and after a glass or so and a bit of relaxing, drove back over towards the Quarter to Tchoupitoulas St. for our reservation at Emeril’s New Orleans. We’d figured we would eat one really nice meal during this stretch of the trip and had long wanted to visit this flagship destination of the Emeril empire.
As we would come to observe from our experience, what sets an Emeril’s apart from other fine dining outlets is the service; we had at least three servers seamlessly address our needs, from the initial draping of the napkin on the lap to the constant refilling of water glasses. This was readily apparent when we ordered the Lamb Rib Tacos (Louisiana Blueberry Slaw, Chilis, Queso Fresco) to split. Normally the order comes with two tacos; without asking us they gave us three, a nice way to ensure that each of us would have the full experience and as an added bonus, didn’t up-charge us for the additional taco.
For entrée’s Joanna went with the Shellfish Bucatini Nero (Lobster, Grand Isle Shrimp, Blue Crab, Scampi Butter, and Pancetta Crumbs), Lyndsay the Duo of Beef (Char Grilled Petit Filet, Short Rib, Local Broccoli, Vermouth Mushrooms, Roasted Shallots, Potato – Cheese Curd Croquette, Worcestershire Jus, Tomato Preserves), and I went for the Andouille Crusted Drum (Grilled Local Vegetables, Shoestring Potatoes, Glazed Pecans, and Creole Meunière). Food of this nature at this type of establishment is as good as you would expect; not the best meal I’ve ever had but when combined with the service and ambience, it was a truly memorable time.
For dessert we split a J.K.’s Chocolate Soufflé, ordered partway through the meal so that it would arrive in time. We’ve had this type of dessert a number of times in Charlotte at Bonterra and delight in its taste and presentation, the server bringing it out, dipping a spoon through the top to break the crust, then pouring whatever additional flavor is featured at the time, in this case more chocolate.
It had been a long day after a busy week at conference so we were content to return to the house and spend a quiet evening. It helped that it was the second week of the NCAA men’s basketball tourney and the night passed pleasantly, relaxing on the couch, and talking about what to do the next couple of days, a good way to start our post conference time in New Orleans.
Café Fluer de Leis: http://www.cafefleurdelis.com/
National WWII Museum: http://www.nationalww2museum.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/
Cozy By-Water: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4875454