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Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

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Rancho Santa...
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Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Wednesday started off early. We had a plantation tour scheduled to pick us up @ 7:30. Went downstairs hoping to grab a bite to eat when we found out the continental breakfast doesn't start until 8am. Buzzkiller! Finally got to meet Sherlane and what a sweetie she is! I gave her my cell and I wrote a note and asked her to pass the message to you coworkers to see if we could connect. The bus picked us up and off we went.

We used Old River Road Plantation Tour since I used them last time with good success. Our driver Richard was as sweet as could be. So knowledgeable about the area and a ger kind gentleman. He narrated the hour long drive with a weather of interesting information. I have taken this tour before (12 yrs ago) and I loved the contrast between Oak Alley and Laura plantations so I wanted DH to see it too. Our first stop was Oak Alley.

Such beautiful grounds and amazing oaks. Being a tree hugger I absolutely love the trees. More so than the tour. We took the 40 minute house tour and enjoyed seeing the grand rooms. I took snapshots of the master bedroom ceiling in hopes to paint mine the same color. Grabbed a mint julip before it was time to go. I love their mint julips. I've been thinking about them for years. They use a mint simple syrup instead of straight Bourbon and mint leaves. I like it that way much, much better than straight.

From there we went to Laura plantation. We both really enjoyed this plantation and tour. Our tour guide was Bryan a young Creole man from the area. He was outstanding! He made the people and their stories come to life. You get a better feel for the history here and it is not "disney-fied" the way it is at Oak Alley. Touring the slave quarters and hearing their story heartbreaking. It's not something we haven't heard but it just brings it home when you are sitting in their home (shack) and seeing where they were forced to work and live. The tour was 70 minutes. At this point, time was on our side (we had 6:45 dinner reservations) so we decided to purchase the add on lunch and swamp tour.

I knew there would not be as many animals out do to the cold but was hoping to catch some. On our way from the plantation to the swamp our bus died. All electrical stopped. The driver pulled over and TURNED OFF the engine. Tom & I looked at each other knowing that was a bad move. Sure enough, it wouldn't turn back on. We are thinking battery died. The woman in front of us thought it was the alternator because she saw the speedometer stop working. The two young gals from New York started to freakout. Hahahaha! One of them grabbed her cell and wanted to call 911 because we were in a "wierdo area" as she put it. Really we were in a pastoral plantation land setting on the side of the road by the freeway on ramp. Anyway, 911 girl jumps out of her seat and says "I can't take it! I can't stay in here! I'm NOT riding in this bus! It's not safe!" Tom and I just roll our eyes and laugh. We chat with the woman in front of us (I forgot her name but she was great) and just hang tight. Richard gets on the phone and calls the tour company to send another bus to pick us up. Eventually the bus comes and we're off again. Since we were so delayed, our lunch stop was converted to box lunches to go instead of a sit down meal. Works for me. So we pick up the food and head to Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour. We ate at the picnic tables before heading on the tour.

Our tour guide Tom was a crack up! He was fascinating to listen to. Between the beautiful accent, the strange words that he used and his stories and knowledge of the land and animals, we had a great time. While I didn't see as many animals or alligators as large as I did in the summer I was still glad to get Tom out there. He got to see some gators come up to the boat for the chicken wings, saw raccoon's eat marshmallows, the knees of the trees and the moss, and the birds. He held a baby alligator too. Now I grew up with iguanas so to me they're similar. But for Tom it was strange. He didn't know what yo expect and was surprised at how soft they are. So that was the end of the swamp tour. Back home to our last night at the Provincial.

We cleaned up and walked to Arnaud's Jazz Bistro for dinner. There are two sides to Arnaud's. The Jazz Bistro is business casual and offers live music. The regular side is more elegant and jackets are required. I chose the jazz bistro. The service is impeccable and the music makes it. Small 3 piece band: banjo, bass, and trumpet. They play in a corner for a while then go table to table for requests. Now, the food is outstanding. We both started with a simple salad. For my meal I ordered the crab and mushroom baked in puff pastry with a cream and white wine sauce. It has all of my favorites and it's got my name: Crabmeat Karen. It was meant to be. And damn was it good! The meal is served ala carte. I ordered asparagus w/hollandaise. They also offer a 3 course menu. Tom ordered duck breasted cooked medium rare infused with blueberries and served with a blueberry port reduction sauce. Oh man was it good. He said it was so good he wanted to lick his plate. When we return next trip I'm ordering it. It's a dish we will dream about until we return. He ordered potatoes brabarant for his side, which he called square French fries and he was a happy man. For dessert he ordered the flourless chocolate cake and I ordered the pecan praline crepes. So yummy! We also ordered the cafe' brulot. Flaming coffee with brandy, orange Curacao, something else, orange rind, lemon rind, cinnamon stick, cloves and sugar. He peeps the orange to create a funnel twist with the rind then pours the flaming drink on the orange so it is like a flaming waterfall. How awesome is that!

After dinner we went back to Frenchman Street and caught a fricken great blues band at BMC called Blues For Sale. We stayed till his set ended and bought a CD. The perfect end to another perfect day in New Orleans!

Rancho Santa...
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1. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Sorry about all the typos. I really need a keyboard instead of the kindle but I wanted to capture the info before I forget some of it. I'll post Thursday's report later tonight. By the way, we are at PDA now and while it is absolutely beautiful the bed is terrible. I ache from sleeping and feel like I slept on a sheet of plywood w/a blanket. The pillows are flat too.

Huntingdon Valley...
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2. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Hello going to NOLA during Christmas with son and planning on doing the plantation tour. Do they give you a choice while you are on the tour to see if you want to add on the swamp tour? How does that work? I thought you had to either purchase the plantation tour or the combo. Would you suggest the swamp tour in late December? I really wanted to do it, but I was reading reviews where people say there is really nothing to see on the swamp in December.

Orlando, Florida
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3. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Just for a clarification..Arnaud's does not require jackets since Hurricane Katrina although they may 'prefer' it and when we have been there its been about 50-50.

New Orleans...
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4. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

I'm not surprised your hubby wanted to lick the plate. I just about licked the monitor! And promptly put Arnaud's on my list for next trip. Showed the pictures to Mr Rodent, too, and he agreed as well.

In the future, if you find yourself in need of quick breakfast in the Provincial-ish area, remember that Croissant d'Or is just around the corner (closed Tuesdays) and I'm pretty sure it's open before 8 (not that I've ever been up early enough to have experienced it ;) ). I'm not sure I could do two plantation tours on an empty stomach, though the Mint Julep must have helped. ;)

Hope you do make it to Red Gravy today. :)

Edited: 10:57 am, November 09, 2012
Kansas City
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5. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Great TR!. Love BMC, (on Decatur not Frenchmen). Sounds like you guys are making the most of your trip.

Bossier City, LA
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6. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Thank you so much for your live trip reports. I love the Laura Plantation tour and when I went the guide was Bryan as well. It is so interesting and he is really good.

Greenwood, Louisiana
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7. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Lovin your trip report-so glad you had a great time!

Blenheim, Canada
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8. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Glad you got to meet Sherlane! She is a sweetheart for sure! Your plantation/swamp tours sounded great too! At least you got the mint julip you have been dreaming about! The 911 chick on the bus was just toooooo funny! People!

Sorry your bed is so crappy at The PDA! I have heard that their beds weren't the best and after testing a couple I figured that I wouldn't want to sleep on them! At least you're trying out different places to see what you like best!

Thanks for the wonderful reports! I do thoroughly enjoy reading each new day and adventure!!!!! So much FUN!!!!!

Blenheim, Canada
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9. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

Ah, Sequoia...another GREAT report! Glad you met and loved Sherlane (she is the nicest of ANY hotel staff I've ever met in NOLA! Malcolm at the Sonesta is a close second!) I, too, enjoyed the trees at Oak Alley more than the house, which is nice, but those trees are AMAZING! I still haven't been to Laura and really want to go! Old River Road did our nighttime haunted swamp tour. Angelo and Maria were also amazing! The chicks on the bus were too funny! Glad you're exposing Tom to all this and baby alligators too!

I knew Rodent would be sitting straight up at the mention of duck! LOL! Rodent--Croissant D'or actually opens at 6 am. We do get up that early, and one time, we were the first customers in! LOVELY place! All is made freash that morning and the cafe au lait is served in the correct HUGE cups!

Did you get to meet my coworkers? They got back last night and sent me a quick e-mail that they LOVED New Orleans and details would follow! They want to be Flokers next year! Can't wait to read what they did and saw!

I agree with PDA's beds (altho I hear they also have nice ones in some rooms?) Last Flok, we went to cinnimin and her mom's room--I could feel the springs in the bed and it squeaked when moved. I could never sleep there! I need my comfy bed!!!

Hope you made it to Red Gravy and I'm so looking forward to Thursdays report (get crackin'!:) Don't worry about the typos! I think enough people post on phones and kindles that we all know it happens!

Long Beach...
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10. Re: Live Trip Report: Day 5 Recap

As much as I love PDA, the beds there are pretty crummy. Too soft for my bad back and I would wake up every morning in excruciating pain.