2000 - The Crescent, Dallas
2001 - The Crescent, Dallas (saw Angie Harmon and Jason Seahorn on their wedding weekend)
2002 - Castle in northern England
2003 - Hotel Zaza, Dallas
2004 - Wildwood Inn, Denton
2005 - The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
2006 - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2007 - Hacienda Las Barrancas, Santa Fe
2008 - W Hotel, Dallas
2009 - W Hotel, New Orleans
We woke up Monday morning, April 27th, to thunder. That is never good when you are planning to go on a plane! We had a perfect plan of dropping off the kids at school, parking the car, greeting mom as she deplaned from Austin, and then getting on our plane to NOLA. However, the thunderstorms threw us for a loop. While our plane left on time, mom's plane arrived 2 hours late and we were not able to give her the car keys. So, we had to leave them in lost and found at the airport. I had to acknowledge that the lost and found people were not liable for my keys numerous times, which was a little scary because it was the keys to a new Honda Pilot that we had purchased 3 days before!
We made it into New Orleans fine and took a taxi to our hotel. The W at the French Quarter was small with an amazing courtyard and was in a great location. Our room was not ready when we arrived so we dropped off our bags and went for our first meal in New Orleans at this great place called Red Fish Grill. This is owned by the Brennan's family and yes, I was starving, but it was really good. We both had shrimp poboys (it was the lunch special), though Lee had seafood gumbo soup and I had a strawberry salad. Then, we had chocolate bread pudding. I do not like bread pudding, but I ate more of it then Lee did. It was so good!
We then wandered all around, I had heard that you could get a great view of the city from the top of the World Trade Center, but when we got there security said that for legal reasons the club was no longer open... The website seems to differ, but oh well... So, instead, we went to Harrah's casino! I am a cautious person financially, but I was willing to play the 25 cent slots. Interesting though, they do not accept $1 bills! So, we put in our $5 and we had lost $2, when we won $4! I told Lee to cash us out and we got now $7 and left!
Our room still wasn't ready when we got back, so they gave us 4 free drink coupons, yeah baby! For dinner that night we walked to Emeril's, it was really good! We got calamari, which was good, though not the best that I have had. I ordered a bacon salad, thinking that it would be a salad with bacon. However, the plate came out with 3 half slabs of bacon... It was good, just not much lettuce! For dinner I had risotto which was okay and Lee had hangar steak which he enjoyed. The best was dessert, I had banana cream pie and Lee had blueberry bread pudding which according to him was not as good as the chocolate. On our way back to the hotel we met a friend from Trinity University who lives in New Orleans. We went to the Hotel Monteleone which has a spinning carousel bar! It was great to catch up with Zee and meet his wife Kacie.
The next morning we woke up at 7am, had room service breakfast, and left for our plantation tours. We visited Oak Alley sugar plantation that has the largest 300 year old oak trees I have ever seen. Their life expectancy is 600 years, so hurry and visit, you only have 300 more years to see these trees!
Then we went to the Laura plantation which was a creole sugar plantation. Our tour was led by the man who purchased the plantation in 1993. His passion was contagious and he made the stories come alive. He did tell us a little about his Katrina experience. Below the clock face on this grandfather clock you might be able to see a water line, the flood waters went that high. However, this clock was stored at his home in New Orleans, on the 2nd floor!
When we got back to New Orleans at about 1:45 pm, we were ravenous and ate lunch at Port of Call which serves hamburgers with a baked potato. It was not the best burger that I have had, but I ate it in 3 seconds (or so). We then walked all around the French Quarter and stopped for dessert at Cafe du Monde (of course!)
When it was time for dinner at August, I was not hungry but I was excited about Chef Besh! Two New Years Eve ago (when I knew that we were old and parents because it was easier to stay home on New Years Eve then try to find a babysitter), Lee and I watched the Next Iron Chef on the Food Network. Yes, we watched the entire season on New Years Eve. Chef Besh was the 1st runner up, and I wanted to eat his food! It was really good, I had the sheep! and Lee had fish. Then, we waddled over to Zee and Kacie's French Quarter apartment. It was just east of Jackson square on Chartres with a balcony. It was a treat to see a real New Orleans residence.
The next morning, we rode the St. Charles trolley over to Commander's Palace, but since they don't open until 11 am, we first had a cemetery tour by a volunteer who had been giving tours since 1981! It was very informative, the plot is your own private property and must be maintained by your family. The marble cover often bows and the best thing is to use granite!
Commander's Palace was very fancy and delicious! The lunch special was 25 cent martinis! The turtle soup was amazing, though we could not figure out why it takes 3 days to make it. I think I had fish and Lee had another meat, but I do remember the dessert! We shared the strawberry shortcake which takes 20 minutes to prepare and was so worth it! The biscuit was fresh from the oven and yummy!
We then rode the trolley back, checked out of the hotel, and made our way to the airport. What a fun trip!