I’m finally back from New Orleans. Although the Tales of the Cocktail ended on Monday, I stayed to visit with friends and take a quick side trip to Austin to visit some relatives. It’s good to be back in the cooler weather of Portland.
A few more observations: Absinthe is all over the place this year, and my tour of the forthcoming Absinthe Museum of America on Royal St. was fun, as were the absinthe tastings. Although I missed the major rum education panel on the 18th, I got to meet and chat with enough rum enthusiasts (they were everywhere), rum distillers and the like. I never realized how many varieties still exist. I went to Jeff Barry’s “potions of the Caribbean” tasting on the 19th, which should have been called “Potent of the Caribbean.” That stuff was powerful. I sampled several Navy Grogs, and a drink called the Sidewinder’s Fang. I there is going to be a big trend in quality rums in the next year or so; I haven’t seen so many rum drinks in years.
Outside of Tales, there was lot of interesting stuff going on in New Orleans. The food, was generally excellent. I think I mentioned Cochon, which I liked so much I ate there twice. Patois, on Laurel street, was a standout lunch; some of the best sweetbreads I’ve had in a long time sautéed with beluga lentils. Otherwise, I enjoyed exploring. Chuck Taggart from the Gumbo Pages, put together a good food guide on the Tales of the Cocktail blog. I pretty much followed his recommendations: Coop’s Place on Decatur for Jambalaya, Mother’s across the street from the W Hotel for really good ham, and great fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Overall, it was really a great trip, though rather exhausting. Tales of the Cocktail is something I could see myself going to every five years, but not every year. My liver couldn’t take it!