Sunday, February 8, 2015

Missing Mardi Gras

It's another blindingly sunny day in Dallas, and while the weather is fine ... I can't help but think of another place I'd rather be. Since I can't join in the Mardi Gras frenzy, I'll pretend and fantasize about where I'd hang in New Orleans right now.

Caveat: I'm not hip. This is not going to be the list of the coolest, latest places to be seen. This is just a list of things I'd do or see, if I could wave a magic wand and fly to the Crescent City on a moment's notice. Sigh.

1. It's 9:30 as I write this, so might as well start with a Mimosa at The Carousel bar at the Hotel Montelone. I'd watch the scene on Royal Street through the windows, remembering this gorgeous diamond ring I spotted in the window of an antique shop. It was one of those "by appointment only" places and I wasn't in the market for jewelry at the time, so I never made it past the window. I'll sip my Mimosa and imagine where that ring might have gone...

2. Next I'll pick up a cafe au lait to go and stroll over to Jackson Square. I'll sit on one of the benches around the monument and read a book, the trees a soft curtain between me and the noise of the street performers. (Truth be told, despite my Mardi Gras reference, I'm not such a fan of crowds. Hence the book). I might consider getting my palm read after I've finished my book, although every time I get sucked in, it's a waste of $30. Ah well. I like to believe in a little of the unbelievable, so I'll probably do it again.

3. If I'm hungry, I'll walk over to Napoleon House for a muffaletta (hot) and a Pimm's cup (cold). It's my favorite spot for that sandwich, and I love the idea of a cocktail with cucumbers. Like salad in a cup, except not a Bloody Mary which always tastes like something I should dip tortilla chips into instead of drinking.

4. Maybe I'll walk down Decatur Street and see if I can peek inside a gallery or shop selling funky artwork I wouldn't find anywhere else. Once I bought a Haitian bottle that was supposedly made by a powerful voodoo priest. Or maybe it's just a wine bottle lavishly decorated with sequins and the Virgin Mary, but I'm pretty convinced there's some magic in there somewhere.

5. Speaking of magic, channeling my inner Tennessee Williams (STELLA!) I'll take a ride on a streetcar. I don't care how touristy that is, it's also magical. How many cities still have that? Ok, technically Dallas does have one on McKinney Avenue, and it still thrills me to ride it as much as it does my kids. But the McKinney Ave trolley doesn't hold a candle to the St Charles streetcar. Stepping aboard makes me feel like I might be just riding down to the Garden District, or I might be embarking on an amazing adventure from which I will never return. Unlike my heroines in The Getaway Girls, I hope not to be pursued by ravenous monsters as I feel every bump in the road. But who knows?

6. I'll need some dinner. Or lunch. Whatever. I'll eat something amazing, no matter the meal. My favorite dinners have been at Palace Cafe (could marry their crawfish cheesecake), Bayona and Praline Connection. Either way, it's pretty tough to get a bad meal in this city. Maybe I'll pay tribute to Ignatius P Reilly with a Lucky Dog. Which I happen to love. It's a foot of tasty mustard-coating nitrates.

7. Regardless of where I eat, or whether I go listen to music at The Spotted Cat, I'll end the evening on the porch of the Columns Hotel. It's a place for ending the night, see, because you can't sit on that porch and then want to go somewhere else. That porch was meant for sitting for hours, sipping cocktails and looking out at the trees and the twinkling of car lights. Or, if you're a character in my book, it's the perfect place to get hit on by flesh-eating scavengers and narrowly avert a gruesome death.

But hopefully, that won't happen to me.