For this Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I wanted to avoid the crowded scenes in destinations such as Las Vegas or New York. We had an amazing time in Austin only a few months before after going down the Texas BBQ trail and since then, the South has left us yearning for a return. But I had been told that to truly experience southern comfort, one must immerse himself in the allure of one of America’s oldest, food/booze-obsessed cities, New Orleans. Jeni had been there nearly a decade ago but this would be a much different trip because our tastes and interests have changed as we’ve grown older. And as we always do on our travels, we enjoy seeking only the tastiest food and most delicious cocktails.
We drove into the French Quarters from the airport and I’ll admit that I wasn’t so excited once I saw the bead-wearing tourists drinking out of tall plastic cups that held over 32 oz. of an anonymous concoction. One that would promise them a night of memorable shenanigans and a painful throbbing in the head the next morning.
But we thankfully drove past Bourbon Street into a more residential sector of the French Quarters and arrived at a beautiful hotel known as the Soniat House. Built in the 1830s by a plantation farmer, this property became the Soniat House only 20 years ago once three of the houses were combined. The result is a comforting, quaint hideout from New Orleans cake-like humidity, hot sun and screaming drunkards.
In addition to the comforting property, we were most impressed by the service staff, who were extremely helpful and kind. As we head upstairs to our room, we are kindly reminded by the front desk person that we MUST not leave the Soniat House before having their biscuits for breakfast – widely acclaimed as some of New Orleans best. Give us 20 minutes advance, she says, as they must be served hot. The rooms were beautiful, with classic double front doors and high ceilings. The balcony opened up into the quiet streets, devoid of any naked, bead-wearing college people.
On the day we checked out of the Soniat House, we heard a light rapping on the door. A young man named Jamal in a white coat and bow tie smiled at us and brought up our biscuits on a silver platter with fragrant coffee and tea. He opened the basket of biscuits and we were hit with a waft of pleasant butteriness. The biscuits themselves were quite small and set upon a heating stone. Crispy, hot and soft in the middle – they were divine. You only need two to feel content.
This is where we stayed, now get ready to see what we ate and drank real soon. You may find yourself booking a ticket to New Orleans sooner than later. Thanks for reading.
See our piece on New Orleans at tablettalk.com.