Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Orleans: Day 2

Starting off the second day, on Christmas Eve, we visited the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, where we got to see neat insects in little Christmas-themed habitats.  (OK, some insects had dreidels, too.  I can't figure out how the staff chose insects to be Jews or Christians on a case-by-case basis?)

One of the coolest and most unique things we did at the Insectarium was visit "Bug Appetit," a little kitchen where a local chef is cooking up...you guessed it...bugs.

This man was more excited about cooking insects than I have ever been about almost anything.

Dave tried everything they had to offer:  

  • Peppermint cricket bark
  • Mango chutney with waxworms
  • Chocolate "chirp" cookies (crickets)
  • Apple cricket crepes (Dave's favorite)
  • Southwest-spiced waxworms
  • Crispy Cajun crickets
  • Hoppin' herb dip (crickets)
  • Cinnamon bug crunch (waxworms)

I was a little more reticent; I only had the peppermint cricket bark and the chocolate chirp cookies.  Dave even encouraged a kid to try a cookie by eating one himself.  I was really proud of my adventurous eating husband!

The other really cool thing about the insectarium is the butterfly exhibit, which begins with a look inside the "hatchery" - a collection of butterfly pupae and recently emerged butterflies!

Then you get to go into the butterfly garden and walk among them, hoping one lands on you.

Finally, they toss you into the gift shop, where you get to shop for somewhat unusual stuffed animals:

Aren't they cuddly?

For lunch, we visited Ralph & Kacoo's, a restaurant where the very kind waitress gave Dave and his dad about four samples each of the various beers on tap.  They were obviously in heaven.

In the afternoon, we went over to the Garden District to eat at Sucré, an amazing pastry shop.  We tried gelato, pastries (I had a s'more tart), and chocolates.  It was my favorite stop of the trip so far!

For dinner, we visited Pelican Club, a typical quasi-fancy restaurant in the French Quarter with a tasty wine list and a very nice waiter that let us split our main courses in two.  I was grateful for this, because the heavy New Orleans food was really starting to weigh in on me.  Dave continued his adventurous eating of the day by ordering turtle soup!

The last stop of the day was Maison Bourbon, a tiny jazz club on Bourbon Street.  Dave really wanted to see a live jazz band, and so did I, so we headed out into the night and dodged the drunks.  There were definitely some people who looked as if they lived on Bourbon Street (and I do literally mean IN the street) every night.  I expected to see shady shops and puking people, and I did, so I guess that is all part of the experience.  Anyway, the jazz club was awesome, and we got to experience a full 45 minute set of jazz for nothing but one drink each (and tips to the band, the awesome Loose Change Jazz Band).

That's all for Christmas Eve - onto Christmas and then home!

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