“The minute you land in New Orleans, something wet and dark leaps on you and starts humping you like a swamp dog in heat, and the only way to get that aspect of New Orleans off you is to eat it off. That means beignets and crayfish bisque and jambalaya, it means shrimp remoulade, pecan pie, and red beans with rice, it means elegant pompano au papillote, funky file z’herbes, and raw oysters by the dozen, it means grillades for breakfast, a po’ boy with chowchow at bedtime, and tubs of gumbo in between. It is not unusual for a visitor to the city to gain fifteen pounds in a week–yet the alternative is a whole lot worse. If you don’t eat day and night, if you don’t constantly funnel the indigenous flavors into your bloodstream, then the mystery beast will go right on humping you, and you will feel its sordid presence rubbing against you long after you have left town. In fact, like any sex offender, it can leave permanent psychological scars.”
― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
When you are on vacation in a city with as varied and variable opportunities as New Orleans there is always a struggle between new experiences and going with what you have known and enjoyed in the past. A balance between the two is best.
I drove from Dallas to New Orleans to stay with my son and attend the 2018 New Orleans Writing Marathon. He lives in a downtown high rise and parking is horribly expensive, so I stashed my car a couple miles away on a side street in the Lower Garden District. It sat there untouched for a week. I took my Xootr Swift folding bike out of the back to ride back to his place on Poydras.
I drive a tiny car – a Toyota Matrix. I always liked it because I could fold the rear seats down and get a bike (barely) into the back of the car (never liked exterior bike racks). I’m always surprised at how small the Xootr Swift folds down. I’m able to fit it easily in the small space behind the rear seat. Now I have a four-passenger car again.
It was hot and I was thirsty and I was hungry so I decided on a stop at one of my favorite and familiar places in the Big Easy – The Avenue Pub.
My folding bike locked up outside of the Avenue Pub in New Orleans
The big black thing on the back of my bike is a Bushwhacker Omaha grocery pannier mounted on a Xootr Crossrack. Very ugly and even more handy.
The beer selection at The Avenue Pub is second to none. It was a hot day and I wanted something cold and lighter and selected an excellent French Saison – Cuvée des Jonquilles from The Baron and Baileux brewery. Really nice on a summer afternoon.
They have a good kitchen in the bar and I ordered something I had before, and will certainly have again – Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade. Delicious.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade
New Orleans is actually a good city to ride bikes around in. It’s flat and the ancient streets slow the traffic down. Once I finished it only took me seven minutes to ride from The Avenue Pub to my son’s place.
I don’t think I could have driven it in that time.