E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

Travel Notes

I'm home, arriving from NOLA via Baltimore on Friday night. I slept in and then read all day yesterday, finishing Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear. It was the best book of the trip, and i started it as we landed in Baltimore. It is about many things, but it is also about childhood trauma, coming to terms with identity and managing one's self with psychoactive medications, and choosing community. The space opera is great, as well, taking the scrappy, rough-and-tumble, making-ends-meet point of view. It's a rich universe and Overdrive gives it a series title of "White Space" which leads me to hope for more stories.

Today ... well, we'll see. The mental dump of the past week's dining adventures took a while. I have made some housekeeping efforts and i need to go rake for an hour as exercise in the sun.

Sunday night: walked to Rouses Market, see last entry for details.

Monday night: after the day long meeting of the organization that coordinates higher education identity federations globally (and giving my brief working group update), i had dinner plans. I had enough time to get in a brief walk around a bit of the French Quarter: galleries and such closed up pretty early, leaving me to windowshop after 5 pm. I returned to the hotel to head to Bar Marilou with two other women DC and LP, both who are on the workgroup. DC is an entrepreneur and LP a consultant, both successful but having to keep it up. (I believe both have spouses with jobby jobs like i have.) We had decadent "draft cocktails"

SANS SOUCI: Marigold amaro, Aperol, agricole rum, verjus, cinnamon, mole bitters (far more sweet than i expected, with marigold petals, and "verjus" "a highly acidic juice made by pressing unripe grapes, crab-apples or other sour fruit" has been added to my awareness)
DOUBLE OR NOTHING: Calvados, salted butter caramel (the apple was barely present, a disappointment, but still a pleasant drink)

and small plates

GOUGÈRES AUX ÉPOISSES it’s French for cheese puff (a small basket full of the tiny things)
FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS maitake mushrooms, asian pear, ginger mousseline (a fairly substantial plate, and delicious - the pear just the perfect accetn)
SAINT JACQUES seared scallops (with tangerine, grapes, and olives, with a very mild fennel puree - different from the online menu)
MARY CELESTE L’OEUF DU DIABLE soy, scallion, puffed rice (Deviled eggs, yes!)

Tuesday night i hung around at the reception, had a glass of wine and chatted, but no dinner plans materialized. I headed to Acme Oyster House for oysters. Originally, i was thinking just a Po'boy. The weather was cold, wet, and blustery, so i was delighted to bypass the line out the door and sit at the bar, just inside the door. I was facing a "master shucker" and couldn't resist a half dozen oysters on the half shell and a Abita Andygator (on the shucker's recommendation). The oysters were saltier than i expected - they were from Texas and the shucker noted they were harvested from clay not the mud of Louisiana.

At some point i finished The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu. In chatting with Christine that night the current impeachment news came up and i paused: the depth of immersion in a future where there was a five hundred year wait for aliens to come exterminate humans made the reality of the political moment seem surreal, somehow. I started Elegy for Eddie & Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear -- my hold came available just as the trip began.

Wednesday afternoon i was "stood up" by a colleague in Ohio who "didn't realize i was out of town" indicating a poor reading and memory of the several emails setting up the meeting. I decided to go out and explore. I walked around the French Quarter, heading for the "Crafts Bazaar" at the French Market. I passed The House of Blues and ended up spending so much on gifts in the gift store, i have returned home with a free pint glass and a few other tchotchkes. I was at Jackson Square by sunset and checked out the Dutch Alley Artist's Co-op. I ended up returning to buy wonderful silver oystershell shaped earrings with a small pearl in each. The "Crafts Bazaar" was packing up and seemed mostly resales of stuff bought in bulk, not crafts. I meandered back towards the hotel and stopped at The Governor seafood and oyster bar. Here again, i at more than i needed because i wanted to try so much:

Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade: Crispy fried green tomatoes topped with seasoned, grilled Gulf shrimp, corn relish, creole deviled egg & Louisiana rémoulade dressing

Crawfish Boil Soup: Boil seasoned, corn, potato, trinity

This meal i had an O'Doul's as i don't often drink at meals.

Thursday night was the first night of the LUNA Fête, a light show and small festival on Layfette Square ("New Orleans’ Annual Festival of Light, Art, & Technology"). It was 5 and DC wanted to go to the 7 showing after walking around the French Market. I was tired and wanted to curl up in my room but needed dinner and i did want to see the lights. I went to Cafe on the Square, fearing a press, but finding few eating at the early hour. I had their happy hour Fried green tomatoes, followed by a cup of homemade Creamy Crab and Tomato Soup and a small Flash Fried LA Oysters, baby spinach, hard boiled egg, cucumbers, tomato salad. At that point, i'd missed the 6 pm showing, so i followed with pecan pie. Then (after reading in a hotel lobby for a while) met up with DC for the LUNA Fête on Lafayette Square. The projection on Gallier Hall was delightful, although we twice thought it was over and then were surprised to notice it was still running. The lasers in the fog machine-fog (under a layer of thick weather driven fog) were very fun. I talked about loving fireworks but being concerned about the pollution they cause. We brainstormed drones carrying fog machines and lasers making just as delightful displays.

The conference ended on Friday at noon, and i walked a circuit that included a long stretch of water front. It was grey and cool: i walked fast enough to stay warm without a shawl. My watch said it was over 3 miles. I stopped and got a fish po'boy and a crawfish pie from a fast food place. The small turnover was filled with a delicious crawfish and potato filling. I waited on the sandwich and ate much of it while waiting at the airport. It didn't benefit from the wait, but i suspect it wasn't very good to begin with. Very salty fried fish.

In Baltimore I snapped a photo of the in-airport Silver Diner to send to daisydumont via facebook. I miss her posts, but not quite enough to give into the firehose of facebook.

Abita Andygator®, a creature of the swamp, is a unique, high-gravity brew made with pilsner malt, German lager yeast, and German Perle hops. Unlike other high-gravity brews, Andygator® is fermented to a dry finish with a slightly sweet flavor and subtle fruit aroma. Reaching an alcohol strength of 8% by volume, it is a Helles Doppelbock. You might find it goes well with fried foods. It pairs well with just about anything made with crawfish. Some like it with a robust sandwich. Andygator® is also a good aperitif and easily pairs with Gorgonzola and creamy blue cheeses. Because of the high alcohol content, be cautious — sip it for the most enjoyment.

Tags: eating notes, reading notes, travel

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