Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cajun Christmas

This Christmas was a little out of the ordinary. I have always spent Christmas in Maine with my family, but this year my husband and I spent our Christmas in New Orleans. I love the feeling of Christmas in Maine; the cold weather, the snow, the lights, and just the overall cozy, magical feeling. I had no idea what to expect Christmas in New Orleans to be like, except that there would not be any snow, and that it would be warmer then the typical 20 or so degrees.

When we arrived at our hotel, (Hotel Monteleone), I got a little bit of the Christmasy vibe. The lobby was beautiful and featured a Christmas tree display. The hallways were lined with lights and decorations, and there were cute plants outside with red bows and lights on them. I will admit that I was a little nervous about staying at the Hotel Monteleone. My husband told me it was a beautiful, historic hotel in the heart of the French Quarter, but it also said to be haunted. I do not do well with haunted things, scary movies, etc. After huffing and puffing about not wanting to see a ghost I did some research on the hauntings. I did not learn much, just that floors 7 and 14 are where the most "paranomal activity" takes place. I was more than happy to be staying on the 8th floor.

Shortly after settling into the room we went straight to Bourbon Street. I was bound and determined to try a Hurricane. Cameron had a place in mind, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar. The building was built in the 1700s and is said to be the oldest building in the U.S. to be used as a bar. We stayed there long enough for Cameron to finish his drink, but since you are allowed to have open containers on the street, I took mine to go. 

As a big-time food lover, one thing I was really looking forward to trying was the New Orleans French Reveillon dinner. There were a lot of restaurants that offered these meals, so it was not easy to choose where to go. We chose the Court of Two Sisters, partially because the courtyard was decorated with lights and caught our eye. My meal consisted of turtle soup au sherry, a salad with fried green tomatoes, lump crabmeat and shrimp remoulade, trout almondine, and egg nog creme brulee with a sugar cookie. I had no idea what to expect the turtle soup and fried green tomatoes to taste like, but I loved them both. For some reason I pictured the fried green tomatoes to basically be pan fried green cherry tomatoes. Instead, they were deep fried slices of green tomatoes (I was very pleasantly surprised).

We spent most of Christmas day exploring the French Quarter, and enjoying looking at the Christmas decorations. Cameron and I were both looking forward to eating as much Cajun food as possible while in New Orleans, so lunch time could not come soon enough. After looking at menu after menu trying where to decide to have lunch (when given several options I am a horrible decision maker) we finally decided on a place. I was glad we chose that restuarant, because I finally got to try crawfish and it was excellent! 

For Christmas dinner, we made the mistake of not making a dinner reservation. We failed miserably at our attempt to find a restaurant where we did not need a reservation or where we would not have to wait an hour. After searching around for about an hour and a half, we decided to do room service. Room service is one of my favorite parts of staying at a fancy hotel, so I was happy with the decision. When the food arrived, I was even happier. I had no choice but to eat my chocolate lava cake first, because I did not want the white chocolate gelato that it came with to melt. For my meal I ordered off of the appetizer menu. I had charbroiled shrimp and scallops with garlic Parmesan risotto. It was amazing.

The next morning, we had the breakfast that I had been not so patiently waiting for....beignets! A beignet is like a cross between a doughnut and a doughboy. As a lover of both, I am sure you can imagine my excitement. To get our beignet fix we went to Cafe du Monde, one of the most popular places to get beignets in New Orleans. The place was packed, and there was a long line outside, but we did not have to wait very long. The beignets were everything I had hoped for, and I cannot wait to eat them again! 

Overall, I really enjoyed New Orleans. It did not really feel like Christmas at all, and it was busier than I expected, but it is a beautiful city full of history, and I look forward to going back. Below are a few pictures of the trip. I wish I had taken pictures of all of my meals, but I guess I was too excited to eat and was not thinking clearly. Sorry. 

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