Satan’s Hot Sauce and My Streetcar to Happiness…
These were my thoughts exactly as I found myself on the north (?) bound streetcar in the grand old city of New Orleans, the day after Christmas beside hubby and with three nearly adult children in tow – oh the pressure! How confounding! Sure, if you know your way around a public transportation map and the minds of teens, you may think I am being overly dramatic.
“Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.”
And though, brother Thomas, though you prayed this the God of your faith, I was praying this to my kids – so wanting to please them, with the ever increasing revelation that I had no idea what the heck they wanted! In spite of a few blips in our trip planning, like the three hour delay at Newark airport due to a cockpit door malfunction, being one day late for the much anticipated Reveillon dinner, and last minute show cancellations at the Spotted Cat, our family’s holiday trip to the Big Easy really was a delicious one, in every sense of the word.
Though I fell in love with New Orleans during a Basenotes meetup where we visited Bourbon French Parfums and Hove Parfumeurs, this trip was more about food than fragrance, though the two certainly go hand in hand. In the olfactory dimension, it was about experiencing the aromas of the creole spices, sweet pralines, the zing of satanically hot sauces, sipping various cocktails (Zen Garden made with rhubarb bitters, ginger liqueur and vodka with a hotly spiced rim was a favorite) and the effervescence that goes along with it all. I was enthralled by catching the wafting aroma of a fragrant flowering shrub along the neighborhood sidewalk in the garden district …the whiff of fragrant tobacco in the French Quarter and the chicory cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde … incense floating out of the church doors on Christmas Eve…
We stayed at the warm and welcoming Chimes Bed and Breakfast on Constantinople, an easy stroll to amazing eateries on Magazine Street and a hop on the streetcar or bus to the business district or the French Quarter. Our hostess, Jill Abbyad, was a sweet guide and outfitted us with all day passes ($3 per person for unlimited rides) and recommendations for the sights and sounds of the city. I recommend this excellent guesthouse with its charming, pristine rooms and artistic, yet cozy aesthetic without reservation.
Some of the places we ate that were blocks from the Chimes included Ignatius Eatery, where we had our first taste of fried green tomatoes, to which I am now devoted, and Dat Dog, a favorite of the kids, where we were initiated to the joy of alligator sausage dogs and something called white trash fries. Arnaud’s was an unexpected disappointment in logistics only, when I discovered that either by my mistake or theirs, we booked the wrong night for the Reveillon dinner, but Jonny, our gracious waiter, dried my silly tears and salvaged our Christmas Eve with a French 75 cocktail, fried frog legs (Tim couldn’t eat these – too many dear pet frogs in his childhood, apparently) and a personal tour of the Mardi Gras gown museum housed upstairs. (merci, Monsieur!) From the tres chic gourmet cuisine of Arnaud’s we literally RAN to Cafe du Monde for a dessert of powdery, sugary beignets, chickory cafe au lait and hot chocolate.Christmas dinner was spent in the infamous turtle room at Cafe Adelaide, another recommendation from Jill at the Chimes. Cafe Adelaide delivered a great family dining experience with their festive atmosphere, friendly staff and delicious menu. Did I mention the Zen Garden cocktial?
On the morning after Christmas, we were treated to a taste of home with a New Orleans twist by my high school chum, Roseann Roestaker, owner of Red Gravy Cafe. Red Gravy is warm and bright and was the perfect sendoff for our family on our last day in New Orleans. Hubby and I started off with Mimosas at Roseann’s brilliant suggestion and I treated myself to the delicious Sicilian Egg Pie with grits. (my new motto: grits every day!) Another star dish at breakfast was the Pomodoro omelette with fresh tomato, basil and provolone.
On a fragrance note, I wore Aftelier’s Cuir de Gardenia daily. The skin scent was perfect as the lush gardenia beautifully complemented the southern aura without competing with the melange of scents that make up the New Orleans experience. Cuir de Gardenia also has just the right touch of skank and edge (hubby described it akin to cat piss, though I prefer the descriptor, catnip). Antique castoreum absolute and real tiare absolute give a rich dimension to this creation that is not to be missed. Samples are available here. I recommend trying the solid perfume version for amplified dirty (in a good way) effect.
In keeping with the waxy floral theme, I alternately wore a light spritz or two of Heart of Glass by Ava Luxe, with notes of orange flower, tuberose, jasmine and musk.Je t”aime New Orleans…. a bientot!Images: 1)Dat Dog Magazine Street window 2) The Hottest *uckin’ Sauce, (just a drop’ll d ya) purchased along with some delectable Magnolia Pralines 3) Recycling my praline box with perfume samples and an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe ornament by soulful artist Kate Cartwright 4) Chimes garden courtyard, for room views visit their website at above link, please 5) son, Josh at the Turtle Room on Christmas 6) Zen Garden Cocktail 7) French Quarter views 8) Me and hubby in front of the Cornstalk Fence.