Friday, November 9, 2012

New Orleans, Day 3

On day 3, we drove east of New Orleans, first for a swamp tour (Cajun Encounters, they're great), and then to go to the Abita brewpub. Perhaps I'm spoiled by such great brewpubs as Founders' and Schlafly, but I didn't find this brewpub anything to write home about (and yet here I am...). The food was average, and they had a broad selection of Abita beers, but the special brews, like the pecan harvest my wife had and the Roggen I had didn't seem all that special.

The brewery tour, on the other hand, was great, and was everything the Tabasco tour was not. They were very generous with the free samples -- visitors formed a line, and could just go around and around collecting glasses of beer. The video they showed us was genuinely informative, and the tour was pretty interesting. Abita doesn't really wow me with any of their beers, but the beers are generally well made, and I'm always fine drinking an S.O.S. or a Restoration.

When we got back, we walked over to the French Quarter for dinner. The proprietor of the bed and breakfast we were staying at suggested we get oysters at Market Cafe. On our way, we thought we'd stop at Bar Tonique, which came very highly recommended. And for good reason! They have an extensive cocktail menu, with highlights up on a chalkboard, and a $5 happy hour for several of them. Every cocktail I had there was excellently made. It's odd, though, how used I've become to smoke-free bars.

We then took our innkeepers recommendation and went to Market Cafe for oysters. We should have listened when he said he doesn't eat oysters, but his friends all went there. Outside, it smelled like fish, and not in a fun way. The oysters themselves lacked flavor, and were poorly shucked. On the plus side, this inspired us to do an oyster crawl later in the trip, which was a lot of fun.

We went to dinner at Evangeline. We had gone here last year, and really enjoyed it, so we had high expectations. Sadly, our expectations let us down. My wife had the Shrimp and Grits, and I had the Pasta Evangeline. Both were good, and I was especially impressed by the size of the shrimp in my wife's grits. But they weren't great; my pasta in particular was bland, and the grits weren't very creamy.

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