(An old-timey car at Parkway Bakery, New Orleans — i.e., not my ride. I drive a Prius, y’all. #dontjudge)
Hey homefries! After a rather involuntary hiatus due to some technical issues on our end, the SB is back — with a new look! What do you think of our new website?! We are really hoping it will manage traffic and facilitate comments better than the old site.
While we were offline, Manny and I had ourselves a lil’ vaycay, southern style, and I’m keen to share with you some pics. So grab a coffee (or a gin fizz) and let’s have a look. Shall we?
I have always wanted to see the Gulf Coast — Pensacola in particular. The beaches are ridiculously, ridiculously lovely…
And not only are the beaches the bomb-diggity (people still say that, right?), the nightlife was pretty much up our alley. If you’ve been to Pensacola before, I don’t doubt you know of Seville Quarter.
Manny and I are old people, so we don’t exactly go to “night clubs” (<– the fact that I tend to put the phrase “night clubs” in scare quotes attests to that, I’m sure). But Seville Quarter has garden bars in this incredible courtyard in the back and, once the sun goes down, dueling pianos.
Next stop: The Big Easy, aka the Main Event! Alyssum, my brother’s LTLIG (‘long-term-live-in-girlfriend,’ for those recently joining us here), celebrated a birthday that rhymes with schmirty. A lady never tells her age (or her friend’s), so I’ll leave it at that. But the whole trip was a long-planned celebration weekend in New Orleans to honor her milestone bday!
Manny and I arrived a little ahead of Blake and Alyssum, so we made haste to one of the city’s real gems:
What Pat’s and Geno’s are to Philly, Parkway is to Nawlins. It’s an institution. I love me some shrimp po’boys so we actually ended up eating here TWICE in one weekend, but let’s all agree not to judge me, mmkay?
How ’bout this little guy across the street from Parkway? Isn’t he handsome? I will not bog you down with my million pics of shotgun houses, so let the record show that I dig these bad boys.
We also went to the zoo! Audubon Zoo is located near Tulane and Loyola, at the end of a gorgeous, gorgeous park. I, like a lot of people I’m sure, have a love-hate relationship with zoos. I loved them as a kid, and a part of me always will, but I’ve been to some that leave me feeling icky or sad — Berlin Zoo, I’m looking at you. But the New Orleans Audubon is a gem. Blessedly, you won’t find penguins and polar bears here. All of the animals are suited to the climate (good thing as it was A HUNDRED DEGREES when we were there), and seemed well taken care of. They were also really active during our afternoon visit. I’ll spare you again — but trust me, I have a lot of pics of elephants taking baths and primates doing somersaults.
That night, we went to Toups’ Meatery for Alyssum’s bday dinner. That she picked this place is pretty interesting, since she’s a semi-vegetarian. But she was a big fan of Isaac Toups during his turn on Top Chef, so there you go.
The food was *outstanding* — and hearty. I ordered a chicken dish, not realizing they planned to give me ALL OF THE CHICKEN. Good thing I wore my horse dress. Lots of breathing room.
We ventured into the French Quarter after dinner, keeping it classy with a drink at the Hotel Monteleone, at their Carousel Bar.
Why is it called the ‘Carousel Bar,’ you ask? Because…
…it has a carousel inside of it. That slowly turns while you enjoy your drinks. If that sounds like a bad combination, let me kindly recommend you only stay for a single tipple.
Let me also suggest you steer clear of the gin fizzes. Don’t get me wrong, they are tasty frasty! But the poor bartender seemed to want to punch us for ordering them. “Are you sure you don’t want a gin and soda instead?” he asked. I guess it’s, in general, good etiquette to not order complicated drinks at very busy establishments.
The next day it was RAIN CITY. We woke up to a deluge, so we had no recourse but to get our art museum on! (I may or may not have done a rain-dance the night before to cajole my cohort into going for this. “Oh, gee, guys — it’s raining? Blah! Guess we have to… go to the ART MUSEUM!”)
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is well worth a visit, even if you aren’t a professional art historian or even much of an art person in general.
(Thornton Dial, Sr., Man Got it Made, Sitting in the Shade, 1991)
My favs were works by Clementine Hunter, Benny Andrews, and Seymour Fogel. They also had a great Raymond Smith photo exhibition.
After that, it was time for some fun on Magazine Street — a hipster hangout in the Garden District, near where we stayed.
I was looking forward to some antiques-shopping and vintage goodness, but Savannah has totally spoiled me and I ended up mostly marveling at the curiosities. For the record, Manny did not let me buy the metal snowman. Womp womp.
That night we went for dinner at the Court of the Two Sisters in the French Quarter…
It’s an enormous courtyard covered in ivy and vines and cafe lights. Think: all kinds of romantic-y. And the food was lovely.
On our last morning there, we all headed to French Truck, a coffee hotspot in the Garden District. It happens to be right next to Courtyard Brewery, so there are options in the area if coffee is not your preferred poison…
(My bro, Blake, at Courtyard Brewery. #shadefordays)
I was so sad to leave the Pittsburgh homies afterwards. But as they say: veni, vidi, vici.
Besides, the fun wasn’t over yet. I had the enviable task of digesting a second shrimp po’boy and napping while Manny ferried us away to Montgomery, Alabama. She is one pretty lady, you guys.
The downtown has undergone a ton of revitalization and is post-card ready. I wish we would have had more time there for antiquing and food-eating, but alas, it was just an afternoon (with the NBA finals playing, no less…), and the next morning we had to head back to Savannah so I could teach the kiddos in my summer art history class.
Any fun Southern road trips you’ve recently taken? Any hidden gems we should know about?