North to Alaska, Day 2 (NO LA, Day I)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018:

I awoke to light in my room (in New Orleans – NOLA), as the courtyard was lit all the time, and Lily’s snout on the bed. She usually does that when she wants something, be it food, out, or attention. I was still suffering from a cold I had the week before, which also contributed to me not doing anything productive, and was in need of tissues. The room did not have any. All I could get my hands on were one-ply toilet paper. Deciding that was a bust, I took a shower. The door to the bathroom was folding and didn’t have a handle. I tried pushing it closed, but Lily wanted to be in there with me. Only kinda, so I showered with the door partially closed.

After showering, I went downstairs to partake in the breakfast the front desk clerk, I made my reservation with, raved about. As we entered from the back, the ladies in the kitchen saw Lily and said she could not come in. Prior to doing anything, I read the paperwork for the room and one of the things that were mentioned was dogs could not be left in rooms unattended. Based on that, I wasn’t sure what to do. I was told I could eat on the patio and was asked for my order. They had eggs (I asked for over easy), turkey bacon, and French toast. The meal came out quickly and was tasty and not over filling.

Lily and I returned to the room for a few so I could gain my bearings. I didn’t realize where I was but knew I wasn’t in the French Quarter where I had intended to be. At this point, I was overwhelmed and not sure where anything was, so rather than go out and randomly find things, we went to the front office. Robin was there, and I asked her about dog-friendly things I could do. She mentioned two dog parks and a restaurant. One of the parks was right around the corner and we headed that way.

To say this place was a dog park was being generous. It was not fenced like I’m used to. I’m used to places that have a large dog and separate small dog areas. This was one big park. A nice park, for a grassed area in the middle of town, but lacking what I was used to. There were two fountains and several benches. The lighting was probably good during the night as there were lamp posts all over. The only indication, other than the dogs, that this was a dog park, was the single stand with dog cleanup bags. Our smallest parks, that this was much larger than, had at least two of them. So, Lily and I walked the park and saw other dogs. While there, a friend called, and we chatted for about an hour while I circled and waited for Lily to do her thing. She wanted to play with the other dogs, several unleashed, but the best I would let her do is sniff and we walked on in larger circles. We passed a film crew that seemed interested in the house I looked at earlier. There didn’t seem to be anything of note about it, but I liked the architecture and took a picture of it prior to them arriving.

Lily and I headed back to the room and I started looking into where we were. From the maps I looked at, we seemed further from the French Quarter than I was willing to go with Lily. I saw we were 24 minutes by trolley, but they did not allow dogs, so I was put off by what the distance would have been if we walked. I really wanted to do a ghost tour while I was in the city as well. I spent most of my time doing research and most of it was not very fruitful. I did find a Groupon for the ghost tour that was pet-friendly, and purchased it, but it required a phone call to get the actual tour booked. I called and left a message.

Robin called and said that there was a misunderstanding that morning when it came to leaving the dog in the room. She said that no one was around from 6 to 6 and I could leave Lily if I wanted to. This was encouraging, as I was going to drive to the French Quarter tomorrow.

Lunchtime rolled around, and we went to a place that was around the corner. As I was not sure what was or wasn’t pet-friendly after doing my research and seeing everything was either out of date or just plain depressing, the place across the street seemed fine as they had outdoor seating. The name of the place is Seed and it sounded like it was vegetarian or vegan. Being an omnivore with strong carnivorous tendencies, I wasn’t sure about this. My sister is a vegan and I find it very difficult to eat out with her. Between her preference and my tomato allergy, it seemed like a difficult endeavor in the past. Now that I was at this place, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I like to try different things when it comes to food, and their motto was, “Garden based, NOLA taste.” I let them know I was there and grabbed a table outside. Lily crashed on the street next to me, taking up as much space as possible.

The waitress came out and gave me a water and Lily wanted some of it. The table was wobbly and the fact that she is pretty strong-willed, she assisted in getting the table wet. I was left a menu and a few minutes to decide what I wanted. Most things sounded good, but not necessarily edible for me. I really wanted to try something that was on the brunch menu, but it was only available on the weekends. Not sure what to try, I asked the waitress for assistance, specifically for something without tomatoes and a NOLA taste. She recommended the eggplant poboy, but I’m still hesitant to eat eggplant because I don’t know how I will react as it is closely related to tomatoes. I really need to try some when I get back home to figure out once and for all what it will do to me. Her second suggestion was the southern fried poboy and I asked for it without the tomato. It consisted of fried tofu, light chickpea flour breading, lettuce, vegan mayo, and poboy bread. I took the suggested side of a seasonal slaw and drizzle. I also asked for a hot chai because it was a bit chilly and quite windy.

Lily was trying to get to the sun, while I was completely cast in shade. This made the tea all that more desirable. It was sweet, without me adding sweetener, and it was flavorfully-spiced. What was even better, it kept my hands warm.

The sandwich arrived and looked tasty. The slaw, on the other hand, was not what I was expecting. It was curried, which I was happy about, but it consisted of yellow squash and chickpeas. I’m not the biggest chickpea fan, but it tasted just fine. I asked for hot sauce to go with the poboy, not realizing that the container in the center was of a seasoned drizzle. I added that and ate. It was a mess, as poboys are, but fit the criteria of different, spiced – but not hot, and garden based with a NOLA taste. I ordered beignets to go because the wind was picking up and it would have been a bigger mess than usual. The waitress filled my cup with hot water and had my beignets out pretty quick. Although the food was good, and it was super busy inside, the server was super slow. I understand why and am not offended by it, but if I were in a rush, this would have been an issue.

I took my dessert back to the room and tried one. I was like eating the best funnel cake ever. I’ve had beignets before and in NOLA, so this wasn’t a surprise. They can be ruined, but these were fine.

Shortly after returning, Lily started to freak out in the room. There was no reason for it and the only thing I could think of was she saw a ghost.

I spent the rest of the afternoon writing and looked for other things to do tomorrow. I wanted to see the gravesite of Marie Laveau so that was on the agenda. The rest of the time I was going in circles again. I had not heard back from the tour and wanted to go that evening. I called and mentioned the Groupon and was informed that I had to do a tour tomorrow at the earliest because they need a 24-hour period per the item. When I asked what times were available, they said 5 only. I had planned on doing the 8 p.m. so I could eat with Lily and then go there, but that was not in the cards. They said there were other openings on Friday, but as I was leaving Friday, I didn’t see that happening. I agreed on the 5 p.m. and looked for my next adventure, dinner.

There were so many places that were ambiguous with being pet-friendly, but not. I found myself on the map and started looking at what places had AAA discount and were also listed as pet-friendly. Nothing fit the bill for both. I started getting closer to places that looked familiar. I knew St. Charles was a big place, but I only knew about the French Quarter side of it. On my walks with Lily, we passed a few places that looked promising, but I wanted something I could eat, and was local. A friend of mine mentioned Acme, but that was in the French Quarter.

I went to the place around the corner from where I stayed. Mr. Ed’s Seafood & Oyster House was a bit fancier than I expected, but I read they were pet-friendly, and didn’t require me to tie my dog outside while I ordered like VooDoo BBQ did across the street. We started to walk in, as a couple and I feigned fighting over the door. I opened it and a hostess and server came out to look at Lily, and probably stop us from going in. I asked about one of the seats outside and they were happy to give it to me. They shook the tablecloth off and gave me a menu. Charles came out and took my drink order. I mentioned his name was Charles and we were on St. Charles because he mentioned his name several times as if I might forget it. I ordered a hurricane and checked the food menu. He came back with the drink and I told him what I was interested in but mentioned my allergy. He said the gumbo, jambalaya, and etouffee were all out of the question. As those were my three favorite Cajun meals, I was a bit disappointed but expected it. I asked about the Pasta Orleans and another dish, with the redfish as a last resort. He came back and said the Pasta Orleans would work.

Lily was popular with the passersby and was even friendly towards some. She was in a general chill mood and just wanted to lay there. She did want attention from me, and then alternately, after making noise and I tried to calm her, not wanting to be near me and backed into the walkway traffic. She saw a few birds that made her perk up, but I did not want her pulling so put an end to it faster than she wanted. A couple that was from Texas sat at the table next to me and Lily wanted to say high, but they were indifferent to her the whole time we sat. After a bit, Lily got sick and made a mess on the ground. I tried to keep her away as best I could.

The meal came out and it was a huge bowl of pasta with blackened shrimp, roasted garlic cloves, crawfish, and anduoite. The cream sauce on it was thick and refreshing. It did not taste like something I would get at an Italian restaurant chain. It had a little kick and was extremely filling.

My sister called to give me an update on my house. It was intact, and nothing seemed further damaged than from Matthew. She sent pictures at my request and they seemed about the same.

While I ate, Lily got a little restless and tried to clean up her mess. She got about half of it as the other table’s order of alligator showed. Although they were from Texas, they didn’t have a clue about the local cuisine. They were not fans and the next item that arrived seemed more to their liking.

Charles came back and took my plate and my order for praline bread pudding. I was quite full but had to have part of the experience. As Lily and I left, the people at the other table complimented her. By the time I crossed the street and turned the corner, the pasta had filled me past capacity. When I got back to the room, I placed the pudding to the side and rolled on to the bed and collapsed.

When I got back to the room, I wrote some more and read a bit. Walked Lily a few times and called it a night.

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