Sunday, May 20, 2012

JazzFest, part II

Corpse Reviver #2 and Bloody Mary

Not looking super awake
Ready for breakfast!

Saturday started with more delicious food.  Mechen and I went to Elizabeth’s, a delicious brunch place in the Bywater.  The highlight was a savory cornmeal waffle with sweet potato and duck hash with jalepeno jelly.  Oh.  my.  It was so delicious and also pretty different.  I’m always a fan when I get something in a restaurant that I can’t necessarily recreate at home.  We also had praline bacon.  Mechen got poached eggs on crabcakes, which were also tasty.  For drinks, we had excellent Bloody Marys (hel-lo horseradish) and Mechen had a corpse reviver #2, which we just recreated in our kitchen today (5/20).  
Near the Art School
Cute house in Bywater
After stuffing ourselves, we walked 3 miles to JazzFest which, while hot, helped with letting the food settle and we got to see more of the city.  We arrived around 1 and saw some of the bigger local acts that had earlier set times.  It was nice to discover new-to-us music.  We saw Big Sam Funky Nation and Irma Thomas.  Then we saw the Eagles for a song or two but headed over to Ne-yo’s great set.  He was so full of energy and has a great voice.  After his set was over, we went back to the Eagles and heard “Desparado” as the last song.  What?!  Debbie Downer.  I’m really not much of an Eagles fan but I was interested in hearing them in concert since they usually command high ticket prices.  
More awake!

After JazzFest, the four of us went to Root, a restaurant we had tried to go to the previous night unsuccessfully.  I’m glad we tried again because it was delicious!  There was a charcuterie plate featuring a Moroccan lamb sausage (Merguez) with amazing pickled vegetables and fruit.  My favorite dish was the “Smoked Cornmeal Encrusted Louisiana Oysters: Andouille Spoon Bread, Manchego foam.”  Yum!  We also had Louisiana Pickled Shrimp with Deviled Eggs, Cohiba Smoked Scallops and Black Lacquered Duck Tortellini.   For dessert, we had the Yorkie which was a peppermint patty meets cocoa puffs and a Strawberry Delight with fizzy rocks.  Dinner was amazing and we were so happy we went.  
Later that night, we headed to the Scotish Rites Temple and saw a late show with Big Sam Funky Nation.  I really wanted to hear their Adele cover one more time but Mechen and I threw in the towel at 3.  We just couldn’t hang anymore!
Jazz Trio at Cafe Atchafalaya
Sunday, Mechen and I dragged ourselves out of bed and headed towards the Magazine District to Cafe Atchafalaya for brunch.  There we got an awesome strawberry French Toast and a special Eggs Rockefeller, which had poached eggs with crab and oysters. There was an amazing make-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar which someone upended while we were there (NOT us!).  The other delicious thing about NOLA Bloody Marys were the spiced green beans.  That’s some spice I can handle!
This is not RodGab

Hi Dave!
After brunch, we headed to JazzFest and saw the Foo Fighters 2 hour set.  The last time I saw FF was in 1998 when it seemed like Dave Grohl was still learning how to play the guitar.  They were awesome in 2012 and I sort of forgot how many hits they’ve had.  It was a great live show and I’m so glad I saw it.  Then we headed over to the Jazz Preservation Hall finale show, which I mostly napped through.
The four trip buddies!
Apart from our brunch eats, Mechen and I ate a lot at JazzFest itself.  Delicious things included Cochon du lait PoBoy, Soft Shell Crab Po-Boy, Crabmeat PoBoy, Fried Chicken, Jumbalaya, Grilled Bread- Crawfish and Sausage, Crawfish Monica
and Strawberry lemonade.  The last was an excellent mixer for Everclear!  
Up next, road trip time!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

JazzFest, Part I

Our recent vacation was so much fun!  It was a vacation in two parts.  The first was our JazzFest experience with Tawnne and Sean and our second was our epic 1830 mile roadtrip in 4 days to visit Mechen’s grandmother.
Queen and Crescent
We flew out Thursday morning and arrived in New Orleans that afternoon.  We stayed at the Queen & Crescent on Camp St, near the French Quarter.  Despite some HORRENDOUS reviews on TripAdvisor, the hotel was quite nice.  It wasn’t a luxury hotel but it was clean and functional.  The only recommendation I would have is that a person bring earplugs.  The doors are rigged to close firmly/borderline slam shut and that can be loud at night.  The insulation is likely not all that great but it also happened at the Bellagio in Vegas.  I think doors are the weak point for sound.  I’m a sound sleeper but sudden noises in a strange place can startle me awake.
After changing, we headed over to the fairgrounds and saw Jimmy Buffet’s acoustic set.  It was awesome!  He rotated through some killer guitars and had hilarious stories between the songs.  We figured out where to catch the bus to head back from the grounds, which we did for the rest of the concert series.   This was an awesome find since public transport was $1.25 one way.  Cabs were about $20 and there was a hotel-sponsored shuttle that was $18/person one way (<--crazy).   In case you ever go, you want buses 47/48 if you’re catching them from Canal St adjacent to the French Quarter.
Jimmy Buffet
Bus friends!  We didn't know the girl but we all helped her finish her fishbowl.
Disgusting, I know.  It made sense at the time.
That evening, we walked up and down Bourbon St and I had my first (and only) hand grenade.  The sugar and alcohol content is ridiculous!  But I had always wondered what they were like so...wonder no more!
Friday was a pretty spectacular day.  We slept in and then walked over to Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee.  Then we walked over to Confederacy of Cruisers, a bike tour we had signed up for a few days prior.  It was awesome!  We cycled through Faubourg Marigny and the Bywater, early 19th century neighborhoods settled mainly by Creoles and Free People of Color.  Then we biked along the pretty, but traffic-heavy, Esplanade Ave and over to the Treme neighborhood.  We biked through the Louis Armstrong park.  We learned a lot about the history of the people who settle New Orleans, jazz/music history and civil rights.   We passed the area of the train tracks where the incident that led to Plessy vs Ferguson occurred.  Although that was actually a setback for civil rights, it was eventually overturned by Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka.  On a lighter note, we also stopped in at Marie’s, a local bar where we had a Bloody Mary.  The Bloody Mary was ok.  It was a classic case of a “spicy” Bloody Mary = lots and lots of hot sauce.  In my mind, a spicy Bloody Mary = lots and lots of horseradish. The latter is delicious, the former is, well, still a Bloody Mary but not as awesome.  
We ended the bike tour with obtaining lots of recommendations from our tour leader, to include what to do later that night.  We headed over to the Fairgrounds and caught the last half of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, whom I loved.  “Medicine” is going to be my new closing music at the end of my cases.  Then, we saw Rodrigo and Gabriela.  That’s when I got a little ridiculous.
Why am I so far back?!?

I was fortified with a little (but not a LOT) of booze and decided that I wanted to get closer to the stage.  People were standing with lots of space in between so I quickly made my way up to the first barrier between general admission and the pricier VIP tickets.  I was pretty stoked.  And, again to clarify, I didn’t push by anyone or slip in between people- there was really tons of space.    At the barrier, I decided that I would try to hop it since there was no security around. 
This is nicer...

Here, I am actually in the photographer pit.  

So, up and over I went.  There was a little seat/step on the other side so I imagine that I looked exceedingly graceful and a cat!  (<-- this is likely debatable).  Then, I saw that there were bleachers on the side of the stage.  So, I walked around the stage, told an older security volunteer that I left my badge up there and walked onto the side bleachers.  I am still not sure how I got by on that one.  It was probably a low threshold of caring and hearing on the part of the volunteer security.  Once up on the bleachers, I noticed that people were in the wings of the stage!  I belonged there too!  (I did not).  So, I went to the front of the bleachers, ducked under the rail and made the two foot jump onto the stage.  I did hesitate before executing this plan but it was flawless!  Cat-like!  Regardless, I did not fall onto the ground. 

I want to be where the blond woman is!
On stage!  Success!
So, then I enjoyed the rest of the concert in the wings.  It was so cool and I took many pictures.  I would have loved to try the stunt again with another band but I think I used up my luck with this escapade so I didn’t try again.  Later that night, we went to the Joint for delicious pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, which was the only thing left on the menu they were serving.  Finally, we ended up at a bar called BJs where we listened to Little Frankie Walker, a trombone player with his bands.  We were happy that we had such a full day with so many sights and sounds, to include a late-night concert after JazzFest, which is sort of the second part of the day for a lot of attendees, both musicians and concert-goers.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

And the weeks go by...

Well, 14 weeks was a good run of keeping track of things.  But alas, it's lapsed quite a bit and I'm not even sure I can recreate some weeks/weekends with a ton of accuracy.  But to sum up April, it was spent winding up Blue Team and waiting for research in May.  In addition, Cat and I had our joint birthday parties on the 21st, which was really fun.  We started at Mission Brewery followed by two hours of bowling at East Village Tavern and Bowl.  Finally, we ended at BASIC for pizza and all in all, had a really fun time.  The group was super big so I didn't hang out with everyone like I wanted to but it was a great party
The next weekend, I went to Amy's bachelorette party at Lips.  It was a drag queen Gospel brunch.  I had higher expectations for the actual show (everything was lip-synched!  Boo!) but it was still fun.  The girls I was with are awesome and there were definitely a few ridiculous moments.  I still want to vomit when I think of what an old guy behind me did, but then again, maybe I shouldn't be so ageist!

Mechen and I went on vacation starting May 3 and had the best time in New Orleans for JazzFest and then on a road trip to visit his Gran(ma).  We also stopped in Nashville coming and going and we really want to go back again.  But more to come...

My flight out to the Mercy is 5/22.  I have a lot to do before then but I'm super-excited.  I may even go on a MEDCAP to an Indonesian village for a few days!