Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Spring Break Getaway to New Orleans

Heading to New Orleans over Spring Break with the grandchildren has been a tradition for us for about ten years. We love watching them grow and become adults, and at the same time, as their peers become more influential, we know our days of traveling with them are limited, so we are determined to enjoy every minute.

I’m not very good at selfies. We’ve been taking pictures at this rest stop every year, and this is the first year we were able to get all four of us into one photo. Sorry, granddaughter, if I cut off the top of your head. 😒

First stop, our granddaughter chose Origami for lunch, one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans for Japanese food. Lots of small plates, a great variety of fresh made sushi rolls, and always a great experience.

Next stop, the Audubon Zoo, another tradition, where we buy a Krew membership every year so the whole family can go when the spirit moves us. I didn’t think my granddaughter could fit into the monster’s mouth anymore, but she assured me she could.

And then, near the “rolling hill,” a little monkeying around.

The hotel we usually stay in, near the Zoo, was all booked up (The Park View) so we stayed in Metairie, where we have another favorite restaurant with char-grilled oysters: Drago’s.

We all split a platter of the char-grilled oysters, and then N. ordered raw oysters as her entree. LOL, when you travel with the grandparents, you get what you want.

Breakfast was also at a familiar restaurant, La Madeleine, this one located just around the corner from Dragos, where we eat their famous oysters. What is not to love – omelettes, galettes, croissants, pastries and for me, good coffee.

Then, because they are older now, we take them somewhere new – the Mardi Gras Museum. It’s a huge warehouse where floats are stored, restored, and created, and where grand parties are held during Mardi Gras. I wasn’t sure the kids would like it, but they did. We watched a short historical movie, learned a lot, and then had a ball self-touring the collection. You can take a guided tour, but we all have short attention spans and headed out to start in the less populated sections.

You might have mixed feelings about Mardi Gras – I know I do. I never know what drunk people might do; things can get wacky in a hurry. There is a tawdriness in the customs. And yet – I love this museum. I love the creativity of these artists who use styrofoam to create the most amazing images. One of them talked with my granddaughter and I and said “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!” I love the inclusivity of the Mardi Gras Activities, and the care and attention that go into creation of so many of the costumes, particularly the African-American Indian costumes, beaded and feathered.

As we are finishing, drips start coming down through small leaks in the warehouse ceiling, and we know we need to head back to Pensacola. My thought was we would try to keep ahead of the storm, but the reality was, we were on the leading edge for three hours, only escaping as we got close to Pensacola. It caught up with us later in the evening.

March 27, 2023 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, Generational, Geography / Maps, Lent, Local Lore, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Relationships | , , | Leave a comment

Jazzy BBQ, a FAO Adventure in Pensacola

We are driving up Davis, because AdventureMan wants me to see a new Halal Market he has found (you can get some wild ingredients in these specialty stores in Pensacola) when he spots Jazzy Bar-B-Q. We continued on to the market, where I found all the exotic and wonderful spices and legumes I used to find in the LuLu and Family Food Stores in Doha, but AdventureMan was still thinking about Jazzy Bar-B-Q, and so today when it came time to think about lunch, he knew just where he wanted to go, and the adventure began.

AdventureMan was a Foreign Area Officer when we were in the military, and to be that sort, you truly have to have a spirit of adventure.

We got to Jazzy Bar-B-Q around noon, but the door was closed and a lady laden with deliveries was just leaving.

“Don’t leave!” she called out. “He’ll be right back. He’s just making deliveries! He’s my son!”

We drove around the block for a better parking spot and she was just about to leave. “Here!” she said, thrusting one of the delivery sacks in our direction, “I want you to have this to nibble on while you wait.”

“Oh no, oh no,” we said, but this dear woman insisted, gave AdventureMan the container, and drove off saying she was calling her son to tell him we were there.

Ribs, chicken wings, greens and mac ‘n cheese. All very tasty! AdventureMan held off, but I had a wing and a rib while we waited.

Very soon, Phil arrived, unlocked and invited us in. In reality, he is a noted musician, and the restaurant was started by his Mama, who also does some of the cooking. For example, for tonight he has jumbo shrimp in an Alfredo sauce for his dinners. He has a lot of customers who aren’t able to get out anymore, and the food he creates is more of a ministry than a business. He cooks with love.

We were the only ones there, and as Phil fixed our meals, he told us about his family (originally from Pritchard, Alabama, then many years as New Yorkers, then to Pensacola) and his customers. It reminded me of the kind of hospitality we often received in the Middle East, listening to stories as food was created.

Phil sent us out with so much food, and a green pepper that after we eat, we are to salvage the seeds and use them in our garden. We brought it home – it was all delicious. I was especially glad he had greens, and they were amazing.

I ordered the rib plate, and I got enough ribs for a week! AdventureMan ordered the pulled pork sandwich, and got two!

(Sorry, we had already tucked in when I remembered to take a photo.)

Long story short. Jazzy Bar-B-Q is more than just food; it is also about those who prepare it and those who are eating it. We loved this experience, and we will be going back.

March 27, 2023 Posted by | Adventure, Character, Civility, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Pensacola, Restaurant | Leave a comment

For A, Because You Asked 😘

“So where’s your AirTag these days?” asked my friend, A, who knows who she is, so I won’t put her name here and embarrass her.

I don’t know. Guess today would be a good day to check.

And there it is, still in motion, now back for Spring in the Gulf of Valencia, close to where the big adventure started. I’m still not sure what ship it is on, or whether it is with someone who switches ships.

March 27, 2023 Posted by | Adventure, AirTag | | Leave a comment