Day Seven: Mardi Gras Day! (Part Two)

We left the parade route with beads dripping from our neck and piled high in our “bead bag” along with other throw treasures.  As we returned to our hotel, we stopped by a store to pick up King Cake, a Mardi Gras tradition.  The coffee cake comes in a variety of flavors – we got cinnamon – and is covered with purple, green and yellow icing.  Inside the cake is a tiny plastic baby doll.  Tradition dictates that whoever gets the doll must host next year’s Mardi Gras party.  We’ll be having it at Linda’s house!

We enjoyed a brief wine respite on the balcony to recharge our batteries and thoroughly enjoyed looking at the costumed merrymakers parading down our street.  After a hat and mask change for myself, we headed to the far end of Bourbon Street to see a family friend who owns a house there.  We were in seventh heaven!  Not only did we enjoy the entertaining walk, but when we got to our destination we were blown away by how gorgeous the house was.  It was one of the few times I had seen a front yard at a house on Bourbon Street (or anywhere in the French Quarter for that matter).  A huge magnolia (my favorite flower) was growing here.  Our hosts and their friends were all in the Mardi Gras spirit and could not have been more gracious.  Drinks were poured and we sat on the front porch watching people pass – everyone shouting “Happy Mardi Gras” to one another.  It was such a happy atmosphere! 

During our stay, our host made me a sazerac, the traditional drink of New Orleans and some say America’s first cocktail.  It was made famous at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans and I had planned on stopping there for a nightcap later so I could try one.  I don’t particularly like mixed drinks, but when I travel, I make an effort to try food and drinks that are traditional to the area.  This is one strong drink!  It’s made with rye whiskey and herbsaint (absinthe can also be used).  No wonder people in New Orleans are so happy!

I didn’t want to overstay our welcome, so we left around 5 p.m. to head back to our hotel and change for dinner.  We took Bourbon Street on the walk back and were quickly swept up in the Mardi Gras spirit.  Music flowed from every bar while people drank and danced in the streets, and beads rained from the balconies.  People, including us, were just having a fantastic time, possessed by the party spirit and letting go of inhibitions (which can be safely done when masked!).

By the time we got to our room, that party spirit had taken over so we poured some wine and hit the balcony to toss our own beads, which was just as much fun as catching them!  We were so swept up in that that we nearly missed our 6 p.m. dinner reservation.  A quick change of clothes and a rapid two block walk, and we arrived at The Bombay Club about 15 minutes late, but they were very accommodating as they led us to our table.  The restaurant is beautiful, warm and cozy with tables in the bar area as well as tall-backed booths if you prefer romance and quiet.  Scallops are the specialty of the house, so I went with Pan Seared Maine Diver Scallops with Potato-Corn Hash and Sauce Chimichurri for the entrée, along with Louisiana Crab Cake for an appetizer and praline crème brulee for dessert.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed the sounds of live jazz and laughter coming from the street as the clock approached midnight and Mardi Gras would officially be over for another year.  I didn’t make it until then – I fell asleep somewhere around 11:15 – but I did wake up about an hour later to the sounds of the sirens clearing the streets.  I’ve been told the policemen on horseback line the streets shortly before midnight to make sure the party stops on time.  Now Lent begins . . .


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