New Orleans’ French Quarter for the First Time

Well, I finally made it to New Orleans.  For years my friend, Terry Logan Israel, a Louisiana native, has been telling that it is my kind of town.  And he was right, I loved it.

The occasion…okay the excuse, for visiting was the New Orleans Roadfood 2011 Festival.  There cannot be a better reason to be in New Orleans other than for the food.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon hours before my three foodie travelling companions.  I took the shuttle from the airport, highly recommended because you can get from the driver, a local, the “best of” in any city.    After getting situated in my guest house, Hotel Villa Convento, a former convent and a couple of blocks away from the noise of Bourbon Street, I took a walk up the well known Chartres Street.  Having grown up in the mid-west and lived most of my adult years in Los Angeles, I must say that the architecture and old world charm of the French Quarter is like being in another world.  Even the mugginess of the early evening was welcome as I didn’t need the jacket I wrapped around my waist for the expected chill after the sun goes down.  One thing that I really miss is the warm summer nights of my youth in Des Moines, Iowa.  I walked up Chartres Street to Jackson Square where I came upon artists, musicians, and tarot card readers and psychics right across the entry to Saint Louis Cathedral.    An interesting dynamic.   So, now I know, anything goes in New Orleans.

Getting hungry now, I continued up Chartres Street stopping to read the posted menus of the many restaurants.  I really like that.  As my stomach began to growl, I had decided I could eat anywhere in this town and have an authentic, native meal.  So I was very easily enticed by a nice young man who greeted me on the sidewalk outside his restaurant and offered me a seat at the bar right by the open French doors.   Perfect, I’m in.

The restaurant was, The Original Pierre Maspero’s Food & Spirits, and it is there that I had my first Muffaleta Sandwich.  How happy I was to find out that it tasted just like pizza!  That’s a good thing.

The sandwich came with a crunchy cole slaw that much to my liking was not overloaded with mayonnaise.

I had a glass of wine, watched people walk by and knew I would love New Orleans.

More on this trip/adventure to come…stay tuned!