New Orleans: Day 4 (Final): A streetcar, a local lunch spot, more beignet, and back to that awesome Tiki bar.

Elizabeth’s in Bywater, New Orleans.

Our final day: After a morning stroll, we all met up on Canal Street and rode the no.12 St. Charles streetcar through the Garden District, past my hotel, towards the universities. We stepped off at Audubon Park and strolled among the trees and greenery, but did not making into the park too far. Well, we had lunch plans and one of our travel members was set to fly out soon after. So, we hopped in a car and headed across town to the Bywater neighborhood. “Why there?” you ask. Well, because she was given a nice food-tip: to have lunch at Elizabeth’s. And so we did.

The car crossed back through the Garden District, passed the French Quarter, through Marigny, passing an industrial side of Faubourg to reach Bywater. Elizabeth’s is a white building on the corner of Charles and Gallier streets. Its exterior is covered in colorful paintings advertising their array of foods – including the scrumptious pecan bacon. And holy crap they were delicious – too delicious to even take time to photograph – sorry.

For my main meal, I ordered the Shrimp Po’ Boy with a side of Grit Fries. The fries, were actually grits made into a sheet, then sliced and baked; similar to how one would make polenta fries. And yes, they were yummy.

After lunch, we walked back through Faubourg Marigny to Frenchman Street. Along the walk, we came upon a film crew. Which, we found out later, when seeing them again in French Quarter, that they were filming an untitled Navy Seals TV pilot for CBS. Not an episode of NCIS as we had assumed.

When we got to Frenchman Street, we said our goodbye to the departing travel member and popped into the Louisiana Music Factory store. I really wanted to take home some Louisiana jazz, but I was overwhelmed by the offerings and by the friendly clerk’s suggestions, and I decided not to purchase anything. Hearing all the music was another reminder that we did not make it to experience a real full-on New Orleans music experience: I added it to the must-do list for when I someday will return.

But that regret soon dwindled. Because after some discussion and no arm-twisting at all, we decided it was another day, for another beignet. It’s O.K. to have beignet on a daily basis right? I will answer this for you: No, it’s not. Thankfully, it was our final day, because I don’t know if any of us would be able to resist those fluffy, sweet pillows of goodness. Especially since they were easy to come by with no line to get into Café du Monde – it was a weekday.

Our final dinner wasn’t set until much later. So, we decided to go for a pre-dinner sip back at that awesome Tiki bar Latitude 29. Again, the place was quiet. It seems as though they try to maintain a peaceful, paradise-like atmosphere, with just the sound of the music coming from the speakers. And, again, we loved it.

We sat at the bar again, and this time I ordered the Banshee – a coconut, banana, rum drink, blended with ice then topped with an iced coconut milk Tiki head [pictured below]. Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds. Unfortunately, they were out of the souvenir coconut cup, but it was probably best as my small carry-on was already stuffed as it was.

At some point, a couple sat next to us and starting chatting. They were very friendly, slightly tipsy and almost too loud for the place. He wore a Hawaiian shirt (as did I, may I add), which explained their fascination for the Tiki culture. I was intrigued. The couple did belong in the bar, but their loud brashness didn’t fit with the peaceful paradise of Latitude 29. Kind as they were, the couple offered us a second round. We were not planning to have a second round, but we were rather fuzzy from our first round at that point. So, after some slight protestation, we took the drinks anyway. I just didn’t know what to order. We all didn’t want anything too strong, as we already felt the effects of our first round. Yes, we seem to be light-weights.

I asked the bartender for suggestions, and she pointed to the Mississippi Mermaid. I didn’t really want a drink with the name Mermaid, but I couldn’t resist after reading it’s description: “A siren’s call of vodka, tamarind, allspice, lemon and banana.” The inclusion of tamarind won me instantly – I love spices in drinks.

Soon, the couple got a little rowdier, and finally, thankfully, paid their tab and drifted out. We waited until they had time to make some distance from the area before we took our leave and headed to our final dinner.

Back to the Central Business District, we had reservations at Herbsaint – by James Beard award-wining Chef Donald Link. The restaurant is known to offer modern and seasonal dishes of French-Southern cuisine. We enjoyed salad, gumbo, our final crispy oysters, followed by an entrée of roasted shrimp. I’d like to note here that we only drank waters with our meal. You see? We’re not drunks.

-The End. Sadly.-

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