13 Things on Thursday That I Already Miss from our Trip to Fat City!
One: Lump crab and alligator cheescake from Jaques Imo's. Holy. Mother. Of. God. This was by far the most bizarre and delicious thing I've ever eaten. Ever. ever.
Two: Sweetbread Appetizer at Bayona's. I saw God. God said You think this is something? Try Jaque's Imos!
Three: Pravda. The hip-ass literati lounge decorated in prewar commy art, and Absinthe curia. They played the Cocteau Twins and served us Absinthe with no prattle or disdain. Arty yet homey. Loved it. And they made the best dirty martini in the quarter. This was a martini so dirty it was served with a pair of panties and a call from your wife. Absinthe, by the way, is . . . drifty.
Four: Koops. If you're a waitress or a bartender and your joint is closed and you just want some good food, a beer, and no bullshizzy, go to Koops. Two of the bartenders who'd served us at other places walked in while we we there after the quarter had shut down. It was cool. And rabbit and oyster gumbo? God.
Five: The infinite jukebox. I'm hanging with my girl arguing tequila with a dishwasher from the Marriot listening to Filipino Box Spring Hog, then Cake, then Waterboys, then . . . the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars? It's like a giant iPod that plays any song you want but also tries to get you to play video poker.
Six:Soul Rebels. They pointed their trombones at my wife and sang Getcha Booty Down Low. For that alone, I adore them. They are a HIGH ENERGY BAND. They could make baptists dance.
Seven: Rebirth Brass band. I've wanted to see this band for so long I almost cried when they got on stage. The ultimate New Orleans band (with Soul Rebels on their heels). They own the Maple Leaf, they shake the roofbeams, THEY MAKE STUFFY WHITE PEOPLE DANCE LIKE JAMES BROWN! You got to understand how to see Rebirth. At 10:30 at night they were just getting the barbeque going in front of the club. Around 11:30 they finally got started and just blew the roof off the place. By 11:35 the little hall where they play had gone from maybe thirty people evenly dispersed like a checker board and enjoying the odd cool breeze to A FRIKKIN VIBRATING DRUNKEN MOB 300 STRONG, SWEATING, MAKIN' OUT, GETTING IT ON. It was divine.
Eight: Pat O'Brien's. I know it's a cheesy tourist thing and is pretty much the Space Mountain of New Orleans but damn is it fun. I'm such a music snob that when Phil Collin's comes on the car radio I'll kick it out of the dash board. You couldn't PAY me to play a Billy Joel song. But three minutes and four Margaritas into Pat O'Brien's and I'm scream-singing Piano Man and throwing money. But beware: They will keep serving you booze until you die. NOBODY GETS THROWN OUT OF Pat O'Brien's! I got so drunk I started requesting Gilligan's Island Incidental Music, Mutant Ninja Turtle Fight Song, and Mendelssohn's Concerto in G Minor which did not make the real-estate-saleswoman-cum-lounge-singer laugh.
Nine: Alvin, the professional drink tray soloist. Look. It's impossible to explain. Pat O'Brien's has two great big copper clad dueling pianos between which a man stands with a drink tray covered in quarters. He has huge thimbles on all his fingers and at some point the piano players say Take it away Alvin! and he DOES A SOLO on a DRINK TRAY. It's just stupid and insipid and clearly a gimmick for generating tips. Here's how you tip him: You roll up a dollar (I saw a guy throw a 20) then get his attention then throw the dollar-ball which he catches on the tray and the room goes crazy. It's just. . .stupid. I know it's silly as all get out but I had the most fun tossing money at this guy and just digging on the fact that somewhere in the world there's a guy making a living playing a drink tray. And, here's the weird part, HE'S NOT THE FIRST ONE! THIS GUY did it first (We saw him in 2003).
Ten: The Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches every night at 10pm at LaPavillon where we stayed, dripping in splendor. The place is ornate, gilded, and flush with Louis 14th antiques. They treat you like landed gentry, turn your bed down at night, wear those safari hats and open the door for you and it's just rock star luxurious. But every night at ten oclock they have a tiny buffet table with cold milk, hot chocolate, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Old men in sear sucker suits and little old ladies in chiffon dresses and trust-fund leveling diamond necklaces were elbowing me out of the way to stack these free sandwiches in their arms and go back to their room. But, after a night of professional Margaritavilling, those sandwiches hit the spot.
Eleven: Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Another silly tourist trap. Whatever. They make KILLER margs and Brint Trenor plays there twice a week and he frikking smokes a slide guitar.
Twelve: All the naked chicks. I can't say enough about the importance of high quality public nudity as a means to boosting tourism.
Thirteen: Drunks touring Bourbon street at two in the morning--with their kids. Here I am smoking a cigar and drinking a MaiTai on the street at 2 in the morning giggling uncontrollably at the collection of nearly nekkid wimmin hanging out the door of a strippers club and I'm looking at the pictures on the facade of the place which are lurid and pornographic and I hear 'Daddy, I'm tired' and I turn to my right and there's a guy AND HIS WIFE AND KIDS looking at the very same damn porn I am. And people question MY parenting skills!
Please save me: my children are trying to kill me.
Christopher Garlington is currently weaning himself from his obsession with do-rags in order to appear more like a grown-up in the presence of his children. As soon as he opens his mouth or tells a story you know, pretty much, everything’s going to end up as a fart joke or a story about puke. His Christmas tree is currently in the running for longest standing post-holiday decoration in the posh, Northside Chicago neighborhood where he lives with his wife and two kids. Mr. Garlington was born in Birmingham, AL and raised briefly in the hills of Shelby County and then for a seemingly unendurable enternity among the lakes and groves of Lake County, FL. He considers himself a southern writer. He has one tattoo. He has no college education. He makes perfect gumbo.