You never know if you can vacation with another family, especially when kids (and protective parents) are involved. Add to this that we are “bottom feeder foodies,” whose vacations are essentially food crawls AND we like to eat across the spectrum from hard to pick shellfish to stranger parts of plants and animals, it is with a bit of trepidation when we go on vacation with others. So it is with great satisfaction that I can say “Success!” to the joint effort between our families in New Orleans (and Slidell).
As with all of our trips, food plays a major role and this was no exception. We ate very, very well. Bernard and Agnes started the trip with a list of foods that they wanted to eat (which was a great sign for vacation compatibility for us). We arrived a day late because of an airplane delay, but Bernard’s family were able to go to ACME Oyster House on our recommendation for some crab bisque, and some po’boys.
The next day we were going to go to the original Cafe du Monde for beignets but the take out line was 40 minutes in very hot and muggy weather. Agnes opted us out and because we both had children on melt down in the heat, we went to the very touristy, overpriced Gumbo Pot for some dark roux gumbo, jambalaya, a gulf shrimp omelet, and a chicken parmesan for the kids. For Albert this did not technically count because he felt the food was too salty, touristy, and expensive.
After going to the aquarium (see respective picture), we went to the Veterans Blvd. Cafe du Monde for beignets, air conditioned, no lines and scrumptious. For dinner, we went to Cajun Persuasion, a small place in a strip mall owned by John and Vi which made the best gumbo we had and in Erin and Bernard’s opinion, the best boil for crawfish (which because of a freak weather change were actually available fresh). The restaurant was going to close in 15 minutes for the rest of the weekend so we got really lucky, and John and Vi were welcoming an gracious. Besides the 8 pounds of crawfish,Albert felt like the pound of boiled shrimp were the unsung heroes of the vacation (oh we also had fried okra, crawfish pie, potatoes, corn, and the twins had chicken fingers and rice. Curie ate a few crawfish but mostly rice and fries, Elia ate fried okra). John and Vi gave the kids crawfish mardi gras beads.
Day two, biscuits and gravy and grits in the breakfast buffet. A drive over Ponchartrain Causeway Bridge (the longest over a body of water in the world) to Slidell for a visit to Keith Seafood Market for a hole in the wall experience. A dozen crab, 5 more pounds of crawfish, another pound of shrimp, fried rice and porkchops for the kids, and as an afterthought after we had eaten, an oyster po’boy and pecan tart. Albert and Agnes liked the crawfish here better and the oyster po’boy was out of this world (the bun sized one had ten oysters in it). Curie discovered that she liked shelling crawfish and crab legs and loved to eat the crawfish. Then back to New Orleans for more beignets and a trip to Little Tokyo for a break from seafood for the kids. Erin asked, is sushi considered seafood and Agnes, Bernard, and Albert all said no, Albert said it was like a salad.
Bernard, Agnes and the kids left the next day after another hotel breakfast, but we had another day and a half so we went to a new place called Harbor Cafe where while waiting we snuck to another branch of Cafe du Monde for beignets. At Harbor Cafe, wehad gumbo, artichoke and oyster soup, another pound of shrimp, a soft shell crab po’boy, buffalo frog legs, and a hamburger and chicken tenders for the kids. We visited the house where Suephy, Albert, and Bernard grew up and then it was dinner time already. We did not go for more New Orleans seafood but instead went to Sushipop which was surprisingly good.
At the aquarium, the highlight was the parakeets you could feed by hand. Kind of like a butterfly museum, where then can land on you but with birds. Erin was freaked out last time we went, but was a trooper this time. Do note her expression in the picture though.
Curie and Elia LOVED being with their cousins with Curie in a bit of hero worship to both Eleanor and Miranda. In addition to learning to say thank you and mine, Elia learned to scream Eleanor when Eleanor had to leave to go to their room at the end of the night. Both kids loved holding hands with the twins.
It wasn’t all eating, just 90%. Miranda got to do the bungee jump thing, we had a blast swimming and playing red light green light with some very creative extra light colors and actions. And the kids had a great time clowning around the hotel room (really the best part of the trip in some ways) including playing with stuffed bunnies, dancing, and everyone gathered around Elia (who loved the attention) to watch Frozen Fever on a Nexus 7 tablet. About beignet eating, apparently eating all that sugar causes Curie, Eleanor, and Miranda to dance every time the eat them. Elia only ate the powdered sugar and was very content with that.
Albert, Erin, and Elia. On the second day there was a cloud burst with torrential rains. Bernard and Albert decided to walk back and get the cars while the rest of the families sheltered at the aquarium. But by the time they got to the cars it had passed, making Erin and Agnes laugh. The only people who got wet were Albert and Bernard. The pictures with the hats were during the winds.
Bernard, Agnes, Eleanor, and Miranda. In addition to our various trips, we went into an H&M in the French Quarter to get out of the heat, where the twins bought their souvenirs for the trip, a cute bunny pillow, a cat pillow, and a cat headband seen in some of Eleanor’s pictures.
Oh yeah, we saw New Orleans too, there was a LGBT parade, some houses not yet repaired after Katrina, and the normal stuff like the Superdome, Andrew Jackson Square, the French Quarter, the bridge, riverboats, and container ships on the Mississippi. We tried to cross the river on the ferry but it had broken down that morning. Albert, Erin, and the kids did go to Chatham Dr. to see the house where their Albert and Bernard’s parents lived.