NOLA – Where life is buzzing all around

I do enjoy when academic conferences are held in exciting locations (all part of getting attendance numbers up). The conference this year was in New Orleans! Two of my wonderful girlfriends joined me for a couple days of exploration, food, music, and shenanigans.

Food ReCap

Galliano: By far the best meal/service combination I had the entire trip and in the top 5 of all time. The service from start to finish was impeccable, with everyone from management to waitstaff making sure that the meal was good, dishes were cleared, and drinks were refilled. I had the Crawfish Pasta Monica, a good portion with chunks of crawfish tails – the toasted cheese bread was a bit too toasted otherwise a dish to make the tastebuds tingle. The blackened drum is a must try and the southern fried chicken was most excellent. Dessert changes each night so ask your server for their recommendation.

Cafe du Monde: You can’t go to New Orleans and not dine at this classic establishment. However, if you don’t NEED to wait in line at the main shop then I recommend the location in the Riverwalk mall – shorter lines same great taste. The coffee was excellent but the beignets were a bit more dough-y than I recalled. Still heaven in a bite!

Drago’s: All you need to order is 1 dozen charbroiled oysters – that is all. Use the bread to soak up the buttery, parmesan goodness and enjoy every bite. As my sister said “It’s a religion”. I did have a shrimp po boy – but I really wasn’t all that impressed – the bread was far too crusty.

Mulate’s: Nightly Cajun music – but don’t get there too late because the band will wrap up  on schedule. Good location for a drink and some dessert while indulging in music. Right across the street from Galliano.

Morning Call Coffee Stand: This 24-hour joint serves coffee and beignets with a throwback flare. The beignets were probably my favorite of those tasted on the trip. This joint is located in New Orleans City Park – so make a day out of visiting botanical gardens, museum of art and sculpture garden, boating, biking, and much more.

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Spitfire Coffee: Pay attention or you will walk right past it. I had the cortado and it was lovely.

Adolfo’s: Located on Frenchman street this was the perfect place to have an end of trip dinner. Cash only and limited seating, it is well worth it to get there early. Have some drinks downstairs while you wait, or walk around the Art Market and check out local wares (I did some shopping for myself and for Christmas!).

Other Happenings 

Aside from eating our way to a food coma – which by walking 14 miles over 2.5-3 days we subsequently nulled out the caloric intake – there was also time to discover what the city had to offer. French quarter fest was in full swing for the weekend, so there was plenty of music and festivities to partake in. I’d been to Bourbon Street before, so I skipped that and instead enjoyed the music offerings of Frenchman Street. Club after club with each one having better music than the last – pop in and out and dance yourself to a good time.

We opted for a tour of the city and really learned a lot about the history of New Orleans, the layout of the city, its people, and life outside of tourist-land.

To commemorate the trip…well we all may have stopped into Electric Ladyland...I can only speak for myself when I say that Chris is a great artist and I’m very happy with fresh pineapple inked onto my wrist.

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Overall, I have to say that I left NOLA with a great impression and would absolutely go back. The city has experienced a rebirth since Katrina. The people were friendly and, as a city, I experienced some of the best hospitality overall that I have ever experienced. There is a zest for life that can be tasted in the food and felt in the music…as they say in New Orleans “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

Museum Kas Di Palmi Maishi – a UNESCO Heritage site

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The Museum Kas Di Palmi Maishi is a must see while in Curacao – it presents the island’s history from the Indians to the abolition of slavery. By capturing history, the museum shows the strength of the people who fought and freed themselves from slavery.            

The authentic dining experience – Plasa Bieu

The Plasa Bieu, established in the 1970’s, is a traditional Curacao market found in Punda.

Open Monday – Friday, for lunch only, it is a place where tourists eat alongside locals, the blue collar next to the white collar, and everyone in between. It is about the food and sharing in the culture.

The menu is set from day to day and you eat what is available. There are several different vendors that work out of the market and they arrive at 4am to start prepping for the day’s lunch. I dined on stewed goat with rice and beans (Iguana soup wasn’t available that day). It was truly delicious and truly a taste of the Curacao: the people, the food, and the culture.

A local waits for his meal

A local waits for his meal

A vendor keeps busy filling lunch orders

A vendor keeps busy filling lunch orders

Ladies serving up a taste of the local Curacao

Ladies serving up a taste of Curacao

A tourist watches as lunch is served

A tourist watches as lunch is served

Locals and tourists grab lunch in the Plasa

Locals and tourists grab lunch in the Plasa

Stewed goat with rice/beans and plantains

Stewed goat with rice/beans and plantains

Lunch prep starts at 4am and goes until around 2pm

Lunch prep starts at 4am and goes until around 2pm