What could be better than an oyster po-boy with an ice cold Abita Amber on tap? Maybe the red beans and rice with Andouille sausage! Joey K’s http://joeyksrestaurant.com/ is my all time favorite local joint in New Orleans and the first place I had to eat when I arrived.
Look at the menu photo from their website and you can see why locals wait in lines round the block to get it. Okay, so you’re looking at fried food, but come on, it’s New Orleans! Besides the fried fare, you can get braised lamb shank with mustard greens and new potatoes, the best homemade meatloaf in town, and Joey K’s famous eggplant Napoleon. And those mustard greens are pure heaven, trust me.
After stuffing ourselves, we had to walk it off and Magazine Street is the best place to walk and take in the sights. From antique shops to high end retail to funky retro dealers, you be disappointed. Magazine Street winds through uptown following the crescent shape of the city from Lafayette Square downtown all the way to Audubon Park uptown near Tulane Univeristy. Miles of fascinating shop windows, restaurants, coffee shops, and iconic New Orleans architecture.
Manon and Andy walked these streets and shopped the boutiques. And they tangoed. So off to tango we went. It’s so easy to find a good milonga in New Orleans – just Google tango in New Orleans and you’ll get a plethora of sites. We wandered over to Oak Street to the Mellow Mushroom https://www.facebook.com/MellowNOLA/ , a typical local bar in the Riverbend area that’s home to the famous Maple Leaf Bar. Upstairs is Fortuna. As you climb the brightly painted stairs with a black and white striped handrail, you get the sense that you’re about to enter an alter universe. The wooden walls were covered with paintings and mixed media art of tarot cards and gypsy wagons and voodoo images. And the bar, well check it out.
Wildly weird. And the blurriness only adds to the mystic. Mellow Mushroom is only one of so many rich venues for tango in this city. Wherever there’s a decent wooden floor, and there are lots of those in NOLA, people will be tempted to start to tango. So we joined the class, oh yes, there’s almost always an hour long class before the milonga begins which encourages newbies to come in and join the fun. So many people out for a drink in town have been converted to tango lovers by innocently taking the class that’s happening in the local bar. Once you get a taste of the sensual, heady, other-worldly atmosphere of tango, you’ve got the fever and you fall under its spell. Last night, there were several young couples trying tango for the first time and by the end of the class, they were hooked. They stayed for the milonga and watched as the dancers swirled around them, lost in the tango moment. And then they tentatively stepped onto the floor to try out their new steps, gingerly at first, trying a cross here, an ocho there, finally bravely dancing round the floor and – smiling, Yes, they caught the tango fever.
We stumbled into our hotel room, exhausted but happy, happy to be back in the Big Easy, the city that stole our hearts so many years ago. Tomorrow – Book Signing at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania Street, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.