Thursday, October 1, 2015

On the road again: CONtraflow, New Orleans, day 0

As unhappy circumstance would have it, the exit row seats on USAirways flights offer no extra leg room, so my two flights today left me feeling more than a bit cramped.  Still, I reached New Orleans without incident, so I really can't complain much.

My rental car is a Chevy Sonic with nearly 42,000 miles on it.  It's not the worst vehicle I've ever rented--that honor goes to the horrible Fiat I had once in Austin--but it's in the top five.  With no power, weird instrumentation, poor seat adjustment options, a glove compartment so small it can barely hold a rental agreement, and one of the world's loudest turn signals, this car is some kind of special.  When you put on the directional and start to turn, the car sounds like a little child screaming, "Look at me!  Look at me!  I'm turning!"

I had some work to do and thus missed the con's staff meal, for which I am sorry.

I compensated, however, by eating a late dinner at a place I've long wanted to try, Chef John Besh's August.  The dining room was lovely.

Click an image to see a larger version.  

The food was consistently tasty, good but not great, and so I left a bit disappointed, given the restaurant's reputation.

One dish, however, showed the greatness I've heard August was capable of delivering:  the shrimp "Etouffee."  (I put the word in quotes because the menu did.)

With soft dumplings full of perfect bites of shrimp, a delicate squid ink crackling (think one of the best shrimp crackers you've ever tasted, only better), and a sauce that used lemongrass and other ingredients that perfectly evoked Vietnamese food, this bowl was simply amazing.  A blend of traditional New Orleans food and the Vietnamese cuisine that is available everywhere here, this small bowl was so good I will remember it for a very long time.

Tomorrow, the con cranks up in earnest.

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