DON’T EAT THE PADDLE WHEEL

New Orleans was a gastronomic delight. Every place we ate was better than the last, including the breakfast bar on the corner and the hamburgers in the gin joint down the street.

From the moment we got on the airplane and headed south, we focused on where we’d eat as well as trying to figure out where to drink and listen to music. Everyone on our flight was doing the same thing. Reservations are competitive.

Turned out to be simpler than we expected. We handed our list to the concierge. He worked out the schedule and made the reservations. Nice!.

This is the Hotel De La Poste in which we stayed. It wasn't this ritzy when we were there. I guess it has been "upgraded." I liked it fine the way it was.

This is the Hotel De La Poste in which we stayed. It wasn’t ritzy when we were there. I guess it has been “upgraded.” I liked it fine the way it was.

One event would not take place at a restaurant, though dinner was included. The trip down the Mississippi on a paddle wheeler which we were going to do on my birthday. It was my 50th and our official excuse for being in New Orleans. We had planned the boat trip for The Big Day.

Let me get right to the point. It was the only experience in the whole week that wasn’t great. Every other thing we did — from the tour of the swamps where we met the alligators, to each meal we ate — met or exceeded our expectations. The cuisine was exquisite, the service was warm, friendly, and efficient.

There was music in the air everywhere. The drinks were big, strong, and delicious. Unlike the real world, you could walk around the streets with a tall drink in your hands and no one would care. Probably because they were clutching similar beverages.

It turned out, the paddle wheeler wasn’t a paddle wheeler. In the sense that it didn’t have a paddle wheel. When I asked where the paddle wheel was, the “guy” explained that there weren’t enough people booked this trip to bring out one of the big boats that had paddle wheels, but this was a steam boat. So what was my problem?

creole queen paddle wheeler

I wanted the paddle wheel. I felt cheated, but I was coping like an adult. Until they lined us up — just like kids in a school trip — and marched us to the steam trays. Where they had the limp vegetables, mystery meat, jello (take your pick, red or green), and a few other anonymous items that invited me to move on.

If your future plans include a trip to New Orleans — and it should — make sure your paddle wheeler has a paddle wheel. Bring a picnic lunch. Or eat before (or after) your excursion. Don’t eat their food, even if you are hungry. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you.

DEEP WITHIN THE CASTLE WALLS – Blacklight Candelabra



Categories: Anecdote, Food, Humor, Travel

Tags: , , , ,

35 replies

  1. What a shame. False advertising. I would love to try the authentic cuisine there one day but that is only a dream. I am getting int NCI New Orleans – love the opening music for that

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    • You have to take it in context. Every other place we ate, visited, in New Orleans was great. I don’t know about authentic. I suspect you will find more authentic in less touristy areas, but we were tourists and what we got — except for this one single experience — was wonderful.

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  2. If I ever got to the USA New Orleans would be on my list but I would certainly want my paddle wheeler to have a wheel. I agree with you and with Dennis too that it’s better not to try and see too much. You can get to a point on a big trip where your brain is so full of impressions that you just can’t take any more in and at that point the trip ceases to be fun.

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    • I’ve always been a leisurely traveler. I like taking my time and having lots of unstructured, unscheduled time. If I like a place, I want to be able to stay a while and not have to hurry off We went through Ireland like that. We had originally planned to stay in Dublin a couple of nights, but fell in love and stayed 5 days. I could have stayed forever. We didn’t make it to a lot of “must sees,” but we came home feeling we’d seen much more than we’d even hoped.

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  3. I have no desire to see New Orleans (remember, I’m the one who stayed in the hotel the entire time I was in NYC), but I’ll keep your advice in mind should I ever end up down there. My parents planned a trip down there for their anniversary in 2005. Same week Hurricane Katrina hit. I think that was an omen. Needless to say, because of that, they have never been to New Orleans either…

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  4. That sounded like so much fun! Then there’s the music of New Orleans !
    Leslie

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  5. Do they play a lot of blues in the bars there? I remember a documentary where they said that New Orleans is all about blues music. I really love blues music and listen to it often on YouTube. Also I heard they eat spicy stuff in the south of the USA? 🙂

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    • Blues, dixieland, jazz … everything. Sometimes with singers, sometimes just instrumental. But there is music everywhere and much of it is free, just go on in.

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      • I think I would enjoy this place pretty much. Too sad that it is so far away 🙂

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        • It is a wonderful city for tourists. If you get to this country for a visit, it’s worth your time.

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          • It’s on my bucket list, as quite a lot of other cities and areas in the USA. Who knows, maybe someday 🙂 I like the fact that you have so much variety and different cities, with a limited budget it would be very hard to decide where to go 🙂

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            • Just remember that the US is a very big country, so it’s quite a ride or flight from New York to New Orleans … Most people try to concentrate on one region at a time.

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            • I saw the video of a friends trip to the US. They drove through the US in 3 weeks and saw a lot of cities on the east and west coast. They basically flew over there and rented a caravan there to travel to all the cities.

              I was impressed about the video because you could literary see tons of cities with it’s own cultures put in a video of a 3 hour length.

              At the end of the video my friend saw my excitement, and then he said “Would I do it again?” and I replied “You probably would?” and he answered “No I wouldn’t do it again, although it was fun to see all this, the stress to see that much in a short period killed it, it is probably better to stay at one place and to enjoy the impression with much more time”. But he enjoyed the US, he just would do it different if budget is there for holidays.

              So, I think he would agree with you and I do get your point 🙂 It’s not even possible to see everything of Germany if you live here, and then Germany is pretty much smaller. I agree with you that it is better to concentrate on one region and to take the full impressions and to relax the time you are there.

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  6. Thanks for the heads up. 😉 G-uno

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  7. Man, those boats are always tourist traps. Nashville has one of them, and it is not much.

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  8. I love the way you caught the reflections in that first picture – it looks so festive!

    Too bad about the boat. I agree that if you book a “paddle wheeler”, it should have a paddle. Seems like they could have done a better job on the food, too – don’t they care about their image?

    Like

  9. I’m glad the rest of the trip was good.

    My only problem there: when I’m in New Orleans, I end up eating five meals a day. The food is that good.

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    • If you’ve been to the Court of the Two Sisters? That gigantic buffet where there must be 200 dishes on the table, each better than the last? AND there’s live music? I think we ate continuously from about 10 in the morning until we shuffled home, gasping. The next day, we canceled our dinner plans and grabbed a burger at a local watering hole. We still hadn’t finished digesting the previous day’s meal! New Orleans really is the total immersion food experience.

      Liked by 1 person

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