New Orleans Is A Bit Different.

I’m staying at the Hotel Provincial here in New Orleans. It’s located in the French Quarter on Chartres Street (pronounced shar-TREZZ by the locals). Angeline, the restaurant next door to this hotel, serves a Sunday brunch and I began my day there yesterday by ordering a Bloody Mary.
When Lindsey, the young woman waiting on my table, took my order, she noted that a Bloody Mary is made a bit differently here: with tomato shrub and mescal.
Tomato shrub is a sirup made of tomatoes that is–are you ready?–acidulated by adding sugar and vinegar. Mescal is made from a very specific variety of the plant used in the distilling of what Lindsey described as “ordinary tequila”.




With reservations, I ordered the New Orleans version of a Bloody Mary and when it arrived–garnished, by the way, with a four-inch piece of okra–one small sip was enough: This was not a Bloody Mary!
There is a right way and a wrong way and–dammit!–a Bloody Mary is made with tomato juice and vodka. Not tequila. The celery stalk is OK, but there should be three or four olives on a toothpick. Most definitely not okra. I mean, just look at that thing!

One other item on the brunch menu caught my attention: fried pickles. Lindsey expressed shock and disbelief that I had never tasted this local favorite. Specifically, these are pickle chips dipped in a batter, deep fried, and served with a Creole mustard sauce.
 I didn’t order the pickles–this was breakfast, after all– and though I offered to pay for it, Lindsey took the Not-Really-a-Bloody-Mary off my bill.
TRIP REPORT: This afternoon I’m taking Amtrak train #58, the City of New Orleans, on the overnight ride to Chicago, connecting there with the California Zephyr to Denver where the NARP meetings will be held. It’s a five-hour connection in Chicago so, hopefully, there will be time for another post while I’m there.