tailgate tidbits – Dawgs in the bayou

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09.23.2012 by Andrea

GOOOOOO HUSSKIESSSS!!! GOOOOOO HUSSKIESSSS!!! Whose house? Dawgs House! Whose house? Dawgs House! H-U-S-K-I-E-S! Huskies! Huskies! Huskies! Hearing these words were like a sweet elixir to my ears as a gaggle of friends and I strolled down Bourbon St. just two short weeks ago. Unfortunately the syrupy high of seeing purple and gold everywhere [yes, I am aware that LSU also sports similar colors], and the tossing of fingers crossed into W’s was shortlived about 2 quarters into this highly anticipated game. I found myself re-aligning my goals as the game progressed … “play aggressive, stay within a touchdown or two” slowly became a quiet plea of “at least put one touchdown up on the board.” Finally it was, “please announcers I can’t handle hearing “Keith Price intended pass ..” one more time.” If you watched the entire game you know what happened, even if you didn’t watch the game, you can imagine the dejectedness of the over 6,000 plus Husky fans that came to give the ferocious Tigers a rough and tumble game, not just have them bat at us like we were pre-mature kittens. Regardless of the the final score, and boy did it hurt, I could not have asked for a better trip down South. Had I not been cheering for the Huskies, the fans at LSU are so friendly you almost want to root for the host team. I imagine that this has to be one of the most well traveled stadiums for away teams because it is so easy to pair a trip in New Orleans with a dip in Baton Rouge. While the “tiger bait” moniker was thrown our direction quite a few times [to the point of the home team quieting their tailgate music and then the rising din of those two words being chanted] I don’t think there is any other place I wished to be at on that Saturday. Tailgaters were neighborly, offering up cold brews, thanking us for traveling down to watch the game, inviting us over for some jambalaya, and then frequently inquiring if everyone had taken care of us throughout the trip. Top that! I don’t think many schools can. it was true Southern hospitality and the purple and gold carpet was rolled out!

Of course you know that it wouldn’t have been a trip if we hadn’t jumped feet first into all of the flavors and southern-centric foods. It was a tasting frenzy and I’m thankful that friends were more than willing to order a smorgasbord of foods. From the minute our feet touched the ground we were off and running. I don’t think that RD, AK, the P family, and I said “no” too much that weekend and let me tell you I paid for it in the gym the following week. No regrets though. Rather, when I was on a plane last week bound for Atlanta I saw a couple planning a trip to New Orleans I couldn’t help but pause in the aisle and send them on their merry way to some classics, Cafe Du Monde for beignets, of which I didn’t visit this trip, Mother’s for a fantastic breakfast and a few places we stumbled upon along the way.

Our first stop was The Bourbon House. The hostess seated us next to their big street facing picture windows. It was a jolly good time to see several Husky fans walk about and throw up the W or nod when they saw purple and gold through the windows.

oysters rockefeller- style

escargot with hearty chunks of thick sliced bacon

alligator

charcuterie board – a combination of tasty duck and pork products

veal and crab

shrimp creole

any dessert that features bacon can’t be half bad!

Having been in New Orleans before, I had walked through the commercial touristy districts a few times, so I was pretty psyched when we decided to venture outside of our comforts zone and don some headphone for an airboat adventure. I think it was the best investment I made the entire trip. Hurricane Isaac had touched down the week before. It was sombering to see standing water in some of the roadways, and other visual reminders still present as we rode the bus to the launch site. Our guide, Captain Sam, was so knowledgeable, gut-wrenchingly honest, and just about the kindest man you ever did meet. He made this tour a highlight for every person on the boat.

boys will be boys … crocadilly hunters

Capt’n Sam
photo credit: j.cats

Two hours on the water and my stomach was fixin’ to put a foot up in it, so we went to the Acme Oyster House for lunch. We bellied up to the bar, had fantastic service and ate our way into a food coma.

couldn’t say no to a cold brew that had UW stamped all over it

Honey Boo Boo move out of the way, these Boo fries were here first!

boo fries, for starters

we never lacked for hot sauce options.

fried oysters & shrimp po’ boy. the best po’ boy of the trip.

fried fish platter with hushpuppies

new orleans medley :: jambalaya, red beans and rice, andouille sausage, and gumbo

As you can well imagine a heavy meal like that hit my stomach like a ton of bricks, a power nap was in store before we hit Bourbon St. for dinner. Crab cakes, a friendly bartender, and great people watching made this final dinner, at Oceana Grill a hit.

crab cakes with crawfish on top

I almost licked the crab cake platter when we finished.

blackened catfish

cajun jambalaya pasta

rich & delish redfish

hot tips on how to hang with the locals

stayin’ classy at Hotel Monteleone

The dawn of game day brought us down to our hotel restaurant, 5fifty5, for a breakfast filled with protein and tasty flavors.

eggs with a lump crab hash

brioche egg and bacon sammy

A quick bus ride to Baton Rouge and we saw the Husky flag erected, tailgate games going on, and tasted jambalaya two ways.

photo credit : TO

some LSU fans couldn’t take the heat.

As we streamed into Death Valley aka Tiger Stadium, it seemed as if everything was in our favor. After sweating it out all afternoon [while the LSU fans looked cool as cucumbers], there was a slight breeze as we kicked off and then I donned my jacket towards the end. Sark had brought in a tiger, Sheena, to practice the week before so Mike VI wasn’t too intimidating, the crowd colors lent itself to feel like a home game. It wasn’t a daunting sea of red like at Ohio State or Nebraska, and the electricity in the air made it feel like we were going to have a true ball game on our hands.

Mike the Tiger

Dawgs streaming onto the field

You know how the story ends, but all in all it doesn’t diminish the fantastic time I had down in NOLA. It was a great trip with friends who have become family and new friendships were forged. I had saved the date for two years, and the trip exceeded expectations, I would have regretted not going. A big thanks to my cohorts for not diving in to all the food before I angled my phone into the heart of our meals.

We are now in the full swing of the football season. I have pics from last weeks brunch, before we stomped on Portland State, coming up in a post or two.

Until the next bite, cheers.

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