The more times I turn 21, the more difficult the morning after becomes. Luckily New Orleans is well-equipped to deal with hangovers. Not wanting to miss out on the local cuisine, we went to SoBou, another Trip Advisor recommended spot in the French Quarter. Despite the whackadoodles who often frequent those review sites, the food was as good as promised, if a little rich and spicy for Bourbon-battered tummies. We ordered the crispy masa stuffed with bacon fat charred chilies, a truffled goat cheese crepe, poached eggs, a bloody mary and a chilli crayfish egg white omelette. I’ve no idea why restaurants in the US are so obsessed with removing the yolk before cooking omelettes. It seems a mildly pointless exercise in the pursuit of good health, given that the very same country is responsible for the concept of chilli cheese fries and deep fried reconstituted meat products.
The afternoon was spent shopping in little boutiques and sunbathing at the rooftop pool before heading out to consume yet more nice stuff. This time we went for Revolution, just off Bourbon. My starter (caviar and Burrata) was flawless, but it’s not exactly difficult to fuck up. Vikki’s choice of sweetbreads was less appetising, but that’s what happens when you voluntarily order a calf’s throat gland. The lobster and wild mushroom pastas were also great, though probably not worth the (eye-watering) price tag. After dinner we ended up out with some new friends on Frenchman Street, Bourbon’s hipster cousin. Full of jazz, live music and street art, this is like America’s answer to Dalston. Only much prettier, much less wet and (slightly) less packed with pretentious wankers.
After I’d sufficiently battered my credit card in the shops (and successfully resisted the urge to spend $3000 on a vintage Chanel handbag), I convinced Vikki to break free from her hangover pit and try some activities.
First up was The New Orleans School of Cooking. Something of a local institution, this place offers daily cookery demonstrations of traditional cuisine. For $29 it’s a pretty good bargain as you’ll get to eat everything that’s cooked, including Gumbo, Jambalaya and Pralines. I fully intend to recreate everything at home just as soon as I can find some reasonably-priced chicken in Dubai that hasn’t been reared in a 10cm black hovel of steroid-injected animal rights’ abuse. Let’s just say they’re not big on saving the planet in this part of the world.
Armed with our (hopefully more ethically sourced) chicken, we dined next to some very enthusiastic Texans, who spent the entire meal thanking Vikki for her role in the Royal Air Force and services to society. Turns out Americans get very excited about people who work in the military and less excited about people who write pointless blogs about shoes and the quality of poultry in the Middle East. Their loss really.
In the afternoon we ventured out of town for the $30 bayou tour. Around a third of the price of an airboat trip, our little covered boat spent two hours trawling the swamps for alligators and other local wildlife. Like the cookery class this tour came complete with history lessons, so my inner geek was satisfied.
The good news is that all Vikki’s pre-boat trip child safety concerns turned out to be unfounded. I didn’t fall in and the iPad (despite a few hairy moments) survived its swamp photography adventure completely unscathed.