New Orleans Day 4: Gumbo, Po’boys, and Voodoo Daiquiris

Beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, LA
Beignets at Café du Monde!

After doing the hotel breakfast yesterday I was not going to be denied, so off we went back to Café du Monde. Did we sneak in one more trip later that night? You know we did.

After breakfast we quickly poked our heads in the Pepper Palace, a must-stop shop for anyone interested in the spicier side of New Orleans. Kathleen picked up some po’boy sauce she found to her liking, while I sampled and purchased a fantastic honey habanero barbeque sauce. Kathleen was brave enough to sample their hottest sauce, but, as I am a wimp, I passed.

We decided to take a walk down Royal Street and peak in a few of the many art galleries. Obviously, as a blind person, this did little for me. I did enjoy the many street performers that frequent Royal during lunch hours. One performer, known as the human transformer, was particularly amazing. He’s a man who folds himself into and out of an actual moving, battery-operated car suit. He’s quite the YouTube sensation, so look him up.

We skipped lunch so as to arrive hungry at our next activity, a cooking demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking. This turned out to be a lot of fun, not to mention delicious. We watched our chef (Kevin) make gumbo, jambalaya, and pralines. The demonstration was very entertaining, with interesting New Orleans history and stories sprinkled in between some excellent cooking tips. And, of course, the best part: eating all the food at the end of the demonstration! I would absolutely recommend this outing for anyone visiting New Orleans.

Inside of the New Orleans School of Cooking in New Orleans, LA
Always! Make! Gumbo! With! White! Rice!

The most memorable part of the class though, and something we laugh about to this day, were all the insane questions thrown at our chef-instructor throughout the class. Chef Kevin made it quite clear that gumbo should be prepared using white rice, so as to allow the rice to soak up the flavor of the gumbo. Did this stop one woman from repeatedly asking whether other types of rice could be used? It did not.

Lady: “How about brown rice, is that okay?”
Kevin: “No, you want to use white rice.”
Lady: “Okay, what about jasmine rice?”
Kevin: /Drowns self in gumbo pot.

Yet, this somehow pales in comparison to the questions asked by the Mensa member sitting at our table. “What’s this bayou I keep hearing about? Can you tell me what that is?” Kevin had no idea how to answer this one. He followed that up with “what’s that thing, I think it’s called a muffellester?” We think he was referring to a muffuletta, but we’re still not sure even to this day.

It was 4:00 by the time we left the cooking class and we felt the time was right to begin our last night party. MIL and FIL decided to go do their own thing, as they aren’t much for bar hopping, so we bid them farewell and set course for Bourbon Street one last time.

During our afternoon break the day before, we attempted to find some reviews of the bars on Bourbon. We wanted to hit a couple less-frequented (i.e. less insane) or more interesting spots on our last night in town. We found a fantastic rundown of all the bars on Bourbon which can be found right here.

Our first stop was at Rita’s Tequila House. The margaritas were average, but a short walk through the bar took us to an empty courtyard where we were able to enjoy a couple rounds in the very comfortable evening air.

We took a longer walk down to the less inhabited section of Bourbon to have a drink at the famous Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest structure that’s served as a bar in America. Again, we had a couple rounds under the stars, which is a popular option with a lot of French Quarter bars. I fell in love with the Voodoo Daiquiri, an amazing (and potent) grape slushy drink with a lot of alcohol in it.

Not far from Lafitte’s, on the less-traveled side of Bourbon, we found what might have been my favorite meal of the trip (note: this may be due to the Voodoo Daiquiri consumption mentioned above). NOLA Po’boys was absolutely amazing. Do not pass up on the debris style roast beef, or the BBQ shrimp po’boy. I still have dreams about these sandwiches, seriously.

Re-energized, we took another long walk back to the opposite end of Bourbon. We stopped along the way to enjoy another set of jazz (and a drink) at Maison Bourbon. Our last stop for the evening was at the Old Absinthe House. The bar was packed, so we grabbed our drinks to go and headed back toward our hotel…

But first, one last stop for beignets before bed. Yes, I was stupidly full from liquor and po’boys, but I made a tiny bit of room for a couple more sugary delights.

Up next in cruise day 1: second vacation commences as we board the Serenade of the Seas.


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