Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Birthday in NOLA – Day One

Written by Patti on February 24th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

For my birthday this year, my perfect husband took me to New Orleans for quite the celebration.  Eric booked a sleeper car on Amtrak, so we could try a different mode of travel. Great idea. Our compartment was so big we turned on our iTunes and danced, we watched movies, we played cards and just generally had a ball. It only took a bit longer than driving and we had nothing to do but sit back and enjoy ourselves. It was just like Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest. All aboard!

Our Car Was Just Like This One

Arriving into NOLA earlier than expected, we checked into the International House Hotel – a really gorgeous property in the business district. Dinner reservations at Luke were for 9pm, so we had a drink at the very swanky hotel bar and walked on over.

Luke was chosen specifically for its seafood tower. And as we had just watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we were craving some caviar and vodka.  Our waitress was a lovely young lady who confirmed that there was caviar on the top of the seafood tower.  She brought us the tower and it was topped with….ceviche. Now, if you don’t know, ceviche is seafood marinated in citrus juice, which “cooks” it. It is not caviar.  I’m not sure if Luke just didn’t see fit to train their servers, but that’s a pretty big mix up. She told us she only eats burgers, fast food and breakfast. She hates seafood, so she has no idea what they serve there. That seems weird to me. But by golly, she was nice.  As for the seafood, I regret to say that it was only mediocre at best. Mushy crab, mushy shrimp and bland oysters made up the majority of what was on offer. We ate most of it, but this was not a terrific culinary start to the weekend.  The strawberry topped cake we ordered for dessert was yummy, though.

Some photos for you.

The Aforementioned Seafood Tower

The Open Kitchen at Luke

A Passel of Seafood

Our Tasty Dessert

We took our leave from Luke and walked back toward the hotel. Eric mentioned that it would be swell if we could happen upon a neighborhood bar for a nightcap.  Suddenly, we look up and lo and behold, there stood Chuck’s – Open Nearly 24 Hours. Ask and ye shall receive, I tell you.  We popped into Chuck’s and ordered a couple of beverages and I decided to play the jukebox. At .25 per song. One quarter per song. That’s crazy cheap.  So, we sat in Chuck’s, enjoyed our drinks and our twenty-five cent songs. Much more fun than Luke.

Even though we didn’t do much on the train but lounge, traveling leaves one depleted and at this point, we were done for the day.  We had packed three bottles of champagne and asked the hotel to send up a bucket of ice. We iced down one bottle of the bubbly and hung out in the room for the rest of the night. Perfect end to our fine first day.

Tomorrow I will regale you with tales of beignets and other tasty treats.

xoxo, Patti


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