New Orleans: Day 3, Part 2 – Tiki Time, a Vending Machine, and the Literary Carousel

Tiki idol sitting on the bar at Latitude 29

Yup, we finally moseyed on over to Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 – a fairly new and nationally renowned tiki bar by legendary and influential tiki expert Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry.

Lately, I’ve been diving into the world of cocktails; teaching myself to mix classic drinks here and there. And my personal love for Tiki has made this specific locale one of my must-see spot in New Orleans. So, yes, I was ecstatic to actually go to the establishment of Jeff Berry – one of the people, if not the person that is leading the resurgence of the Tiki cocktails.

Where do I begin? Walking into the place was like walking into paradise. Immediately you know this was the real deal. Wood paneling, straw wall hangings, Tiki idols scattered about – Latitude 29 was like my dream come true. It was still quite early, so the place was fairly empty; which only added to the paradise of quietness. We sat at the bar, perused the menu of Tiki concoctions, while our eyes wandered about the décor surrounding us. We ordered one round and all slowly sipped with pure satisfaction.

I ordered the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver; which is described as an iced buttered rum: “honey-butter-spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime and Jamaica rum” as detailed on the menu. The cocktail came in a specialty glass revived from the Tiki bars of the day. It made me think: I could not leave without purchasing some type of souvenir, so I decided to purchase a cool gun-metal colored mixing spoon that had a skull head with ruby jewel eyes. A nice quirky addition to my growing collection bar tools at home. But I do think I need those Pearl Diver glasses too… maybe.

After the Tiki bar, it was time for dinner. We strolled to the Central Business District where I stumbled upon an Art-O-mat: which is a retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. These machines are located in various locations across the country. So, be sure to look for one or check out the website for location near you.

For dinner, we went to some Cajun-style restaurant where there was a band that performed Cajun music. Here we tried fried alligator and grilled frogs legs; which I realized I did not photograph – oops. Honestly, other than that, there really wasn’t anything special about the place. Moving on to more important things…

I probably failed to mention that when I travel, I always seek out something related to literature. In Day 2, I mentioned my finds related to Anne Rice and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But there was a place that I had read was a hot spot for many more authors: The Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone.

Yes, we ended the night with a spin and a classic Vieux Carré cocktail at the Carousel Bar. This unique bar had once been visited by many literary greats like Capote, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Williams and more. It was book-nerd fulfilling to be in a place like this – unfortunately, I could not finish that potent Vieux Carré – damn sh*t was strong.

-Final Day 4 coming next.-

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