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Quick trip: December 14-16

New Brunswick, New...
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Quick trip: December 14-16

I just got back from a quick 2 day trip – this is the shortest trip I've ever taken and after this, I don’t think I will do less than 3 nights again! We did a lot but there was still so much I wanted to do. I missed some of the old standbys and my list of things to do next time has just continued to grow!

For this trip, I met up with my cousin, who lives in MA. She’s never been before so I was nervous and excited to show her all of my favorite spots! We both had connecting flights (never again!) in Charlotte, so we arrived at the same time & grabbed a cab straight to Villa Convento to check in. We got situated (had to switch rooms, which was done with much ease), changed clothes and headed out. Unfortunately, it was raining and navigating the crowds with an umbrella was a challenge. We were starving so we went to El Gato Negro to kick things off with some pineapple cilantro margaritas, a stuffed poblano and a couple tacos. That was a tasty start & the margaritas were delicious, of course! From there we went into the French Market and I accidentally bought a $12 bar of soap. So, I have this minor obsession with handmade soaps. Sometimes they can be a little pricey so usually I ask the price. This time I didn't, thinking even if it was like $7, I could deal because it smelled really good. Paid with a $20, got back $8 and stared at my change in shock. It was too late to back out then but I was just completely incredulous!

We stopped off at Molly’s for a Frozen Irish, then went to see what was happening on Royal Street. Unfortunately, the rain was picking up so the answer was “not much”. We stopped into the Alex Beard gallery because I have some of his stuff & we chatted with the gallery manager for a bit. Once we were back outside, we realized the rain was too much so we were off to Pat O’Brien’s for the piano bar before it got too crazy with the bachelor & bachelorette parties. We got a Hurricane and a Cyclone…the Cyclone is my favorite but I keep forgetting to try the Rain Storm!! We stayed for several songs and admired all the holiday decorations. They also did a lot of Christmas songs, which was nice. From there we went back to the room to change & regroup for a bit (translation: sober up a bit).

On the way out, we stopped at the front desk to say hello to Rodent11! We talked for a bit & it was great to meet her. : ) We headed over to Frenchmen Street. I wanted to see Washboard Chaz but he was going on an hour later than I thought, so we went to the Spotted Cat & saw the Panorama Jazz Band, which was great, then we went back to Blue Nile for Washboard Chaz. It was shockingly empty in there. After awhile, we realized we hadn't eaten so we ended up at the taco truck in Café Negril…not sure how we had Mexican twice in one day but there you go. We shared a pineapple & jalapeno quesadilla. Afterwards, we went to dba for Tuba Skinny, then back to the Spotted Cat. After leaving there, we headed back up Decatur and stopped at Café du Monde. Since it was late, there was no line. Shared some beignets and then walked on Bourbon for a bit. There were a lot of very bad Santas out. So… during all this, we were also taking pictures of a large wooden hashtag I had with me. You see, my friend and I have an instagram account called “traveling_hashtag” and we take pictures of this hashtag doing various things. I spotted a man wearing a Christmas onsie and asked him to pose with it. I think that might be one of hashtag’s best pictures, hahaha.

We were wiped out at this point because we’d both gotten up early for our flights so we went back to the room and promptly fell asleep.

The next morning, we had a Confederacy of Cruisers tour booked so we got up at 8. I went on this tour back in June & thought it was great so I wanted us to do it this time too. We stopped into Café Rose Nicaud for coffee & a quick breakfast (vegetable quiche) beforehand. Then we met up with the tour group and it was fantastic. I love it that they customize it so it was fairly different than the first time. We went to Treme and Congo Square, then back into the Marigny and over into the Bywater. Our guide even took us into his house, which was great! We also climbed up on one of the levees and looked at the Lower Ninth, while he explained the whole concept of uptown/downtown/riverside/lakeside rather than north/south/east/west. For a break, we went to Marie’s for a Bloody Mary and THEN we caught up with the Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club for a second line. It was so much fun! There were mini floats that threw beads & stuffed animals at us and I bought a beer from a guy with a cooler on wheels. I had really wanted to participate in a second line so this was such a treat for me!

After the tour, we stopped into my favorite dive, the Abbey, and had a hot tea toddy. Did I mention that it was very cold? It was very cold. This is the first time I’ve needed a hat, gloves, and a scarf. I’m glad I packed wisely!! After our toddies, we went over to Jackson Square because Rodent had told us that there was going to be a second line for Nelson Mandela starting at 2pm. We arrived just as it was getting underway so it was great to see it getting started. Two second lines in one day!! We were also able to say hi to Rodent again, which was great! We followed it over to Congo Square and even though it was going to keep going, we decided to drop off. We stopped into Bar Tonique for some classic cocktails that were just perfect. I often go to a classic cocktail bar here in NJ and this place was spot on. We had a Last Word and an Aviation that were just perfect. We also chatted with some people about the Violin Monster. I’m not sure how well known he is because he’s new to New Orleans. Basically, he’s a guy from Ann Arbor who wears a werewolf head while playing the violin. These people were from AA so they asked us about him since they see him at home all the time. I had no idea who he was, but oddly, my cousin lives across the street from the VM’s father in MA. Truly bizarre intersection…

After we finished our drinks, we went over to Erin Rose/Killer Po’Boys. I had the gulf shrimp & she had the eggplant/chickpea. Both were delicious. We hung out there for a bit & had a few drinks while watching the Saints…that was sort of painful though so we didn't watch for too long. After that, we wandered Bourbon a bit, sat on the Krazy Korner balcony, etc. It was early evening by this point so went made our way toward Frenchmen. We ate at Marigny Brassiere and it was good enough but certainly not one of the best meals I've had in New Orleans. This was a really weird food trip for me this time but that’s ok, it was still a lot of fun. We had some nice pineapple orange sangria, fried pickles, red beans & rice, and a salad. After that, we went to the art market where I bought more reasonably priced soap. I was surprised to see that the $12 soap was also there. I ended up with 4 for $20 soap which seems a lot better and the bars are HUGE. Then, we went to Spotted Cat for Kristina Morales & the Bayou Shufflers. There was a verrry drunk woman there who was dancing all over the place, including rolling around on the floor and dancing with people as they came in the door. She looked like she was having fun and it made for interesting people watching…but I hope she made it home safely. Yikes! Once we moved on, we unsuccessfully looked for hot buttered rum. I felt like I had seen signs for it all day but once I wanted it, no luck! We were wiped out at this point so we called it a night.

Yesterday morning we got up early enough for breakfast at Stanley before we had to go to the airport. This was a really fun trip, but like I said, I feel like there were so many things that I had in mind that just didn’t happen. It’s always the way but this trip was so short that it seemed even more magnified. As usual…next time!! Thanks for reading! : )

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1. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

It was wonderful to meet you and your cousin, Fleur (oops, I'm just realizing I called her your "friend" on Facebook, but hey, it's obvious you guys are good friends as well as cousins).

I'm amazed at how much you guys packed in just two days. It was fun to connect with you at the Nelson Mandela Second Line before I had to run to work (I'm still shivering thinking of the doves they let out of the box, this was such a special moment!). But yeah, definitely come for longer next time, and not when I'm working 90% of your stay. As I said, I'd love to take you to Bacchanal and other places in my neighborhood. Next time, promised! :)

Moncton, Canada
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2. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

Holly cow! That's a lot done in 2 days. I'm exhausted just reading about it. Glad you had such a good time. What did your cousin think of our beloved NOLA?

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New Brunswick, New...
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3. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

Now that it's all written out, it DOES look like quite a bit! She really enjoyed it. She's really into music so that was definitely her favorite part.

Orland Park...
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4. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

What a fun 2 days!! Thanks for the report!!

Blenheim, Canada
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5. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

I echo porelly! Holy Christ did you get a LOT packed into two days! So much fun reading it, and I was also exhausted by the time I finished! Mexican twice in one day is a good thing! (esp. with margaritas!!!) and I LOVE the way you "accidently" bought the soap! cerelife's homemade soaps have TOTALLY spoiled me...I like hers better than Lush...and for those who know how much I love Lush, that says a LOT!

Orlando, Florida
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6. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

You did good...real good.

Point Pleasant, NJ
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7. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

I agree, you did a lot in such a short time. Thanks for sharing your report! I followed your Instagram account - the traveling hashtag idea is so fun and ironic.

Ottawa
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8. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

I just love trip reports and yours was great .... putting me right in the mood for my visit next week...Thanks for sharing.

Karen

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

Good Stuff. Shows how much can be done in 2 days and also added to new spots for others to visit as well. Never heard of El Gato Negro and in fact there is only 1 review about the place on Tripadvisor.

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El Gato Negro Mexican Restaurant
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600 Reviews
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New Brunswick, New...
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10. Re: Quick trip: December 14-16

El Gato Negro is a huge favorite in this forum! I'm on a phone so I'm not sure if I can link properly but the one I went to has over 200 reviews. It's on French Market Place.

El Gato Negro Mexican Restaurant

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