Dang, I am so far behind on theses posts. My camera cards are bulging with food pics (and travel images) to share.
I'm writing this from Austin, Texas, but let's go back to Louisiana...
First stop: New Orleans!
I'd been there twice before. Once, on Cross Country Road Trip I in 2001, with my sister. We roamed around the French Quarter, ate lunch at NOLA's (oooh, that garlic bisque!), gawked at the street performers/statues, rode a steamboat with a N'awlins band playing. All the touristy charm.
The second time, my friend Carol and I hit up Bourbon Street during spring break in college. We found great blues music in the bars, but I remember being astonished by the literally water-bottle-sized drink that cost $8, in lieu of a cover charge. Minimum one drink per band set. We didn't last very long there.
This time, I bypassed all the tourist lures. I was coming to New Orleans to see my friend Sam, in his neighborhood, where real people and students live.
And I was coming to play Scrabble.
Well, rather, to get beaten in Scrabble. Badly.
We had divine po' boys at Liuzza's By the Track ...
... oyster po' boy ...
... roast beef po' boy ....
... and crispy sweet potato fries, perhaps the best I've ever tasted.
Then we dived into a game at Fair Grinds Coffeehouse. It's a nifty space with art on the wall and cool touches, like this wacky lighting above the cashier:
And homemade lemonade and desserts. I had the spice cake. I loved how the icing wasn't all neat and perfect and manufactured, but looked like a real cook had smoothed it on this morning.
Right, back to Scrabble. What a game!
Check out the board:
The killer play was HERETIC, down the right side, all 7 letters played by Sam, for 95 points.
No, actually, it was the next play by Sam.
FILTERS. The S both makes HERETICS a triple-word score and FILTERS. Plus 50 bonus points for the bingo. For a total of ... 103!
A pretty incredible total, even for him:
That's 492 to 289! FOUR-HUNDRED NINETY-TWO! I could hardly believe it.
Now do you understand why I drove all the way to New Orleans to play Scrabble?