Monday, December 29, 2014

The best hamburger in New Orleans?

The menu board at Bud's Broiler, City Park Ave.
Some our fellow innkeepers read this blog, believe it or not.  Not just in New Orleans, but all over the country.  They sometimes ask me why I often feel compelled to dwell on topics that many tourists aren't going to see.  If you read a lot of B&B blogs (I've read a few, not many) you'll see reprinted recipes and reprinted festival schedules, and links to restaurant reviews, and whatnot.  All well and good, but those things don't really interest me much.

Frau Schmitt and I live in New Orleans.  We do go to the French Quarter.  We do go to Frenchmen Street.  We go to plenty of other places, too.  Plenty of them; the kind of places the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) doesn't like to discuss.  Don't ask me why.

If you get a map from the CVB, it shows the Quarter and the Garden District.  It even shows Freret Street for some reason.  It doesn't show our neighborhood.  Off the top of my head, I can think of four museums in our neighborhood and, oh, maybe 20 restaurants, all of them very good.  There are also five B&Bs just on Esplanade Avenue.  Yet, our neighborhood doesn't rate a mention on the official map.  Oh well.  More for us.

Bud's Broiler is located on the City Park Avenue side of City Park.  It's about a mile and a half from our house and it's open 24 hours.  A 24-hour hamburger stand that sells beer---and I don't mean just root beer.  New Orleans is like that.  It's full of surprises.  

The last time I went to Bud's Broiler, I noticed the prices had gone up.  A Number 1 costs $3.05.  Try getting a charcoal grilled hamburger for three bucks in the French Quarter.  

Hey, look!  Here's a link to a review of Bud's Broiler!  I'm not saying it's great.  I'm only saying I like it.  Frau Schmitt is a little less enamored with the place.  I always say I want to go to Bud's for my birthday and she gently suggests I choose somewhere else.  You might wonder where I choose instead.  For that, you'll have to ask me over breakfast.  It will give us something else to talk about.

Until that morning,
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in New Orleans

A festive view
I noticed this morning that our neighbor in the green house put some garland and bows on her balcony.  It looks nice.  We'll be doing something similar next year.  We haven't been decorating for the season, but that's going to change.  

Mardi Gras is the biggest holiday in New Orleans, celebrated by people of all faiths and none at all.  Christmas comes in second as the most visible holiday in the city.  Why not?
Not your typical Christmas picture
It's a very Catholic city.  It has been since it was founded.  Don't let appearances fool you.  Christmas is a big deal.  Even on Bourbon Street where the Devil pretty much has the run of the place.

Just a short entry today because I have things to do.  I know content has been a bit skimpy the past two weeks and I apologize to our regular readers.  Fear not.  I'll be back on schedule next week.

What's a post about Christmas without mention of toys?  You know what I always say about New Orleans, that you never know what you'll find when you turn a corner.  Frau Schmitt and I had a late breakfast a few days ago at Biscuits and Buns on Banks.  We parked our scooters on South Alexander Street, and this is what I saw as we left:
Prince Charming doll on a piece of cinder block
Who knows why?  It's just one of those things.

Happy Christmas from your humble narrator, Frau Schmitt and, of course, from Tammie the Housekeeper, your friends at La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

À votre santé.
Tammy the Housekeeper
La Belle Esplanade

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Voodoo Fest 2015

What happens when you worship the music
Another reservation arrived this morning for the last weekend during next October.  The inn is filling up.  From what I can gather, the folks who made the reservation aren't coming to New Orleans for Voodoo Fest or for Hallowe'en, but for something more special.  

As our inn becomes more famous (if I can call it that) and more popular (if I can call it that, too), I come to realize that people need to plan more and more in advance for the busy times of year.  I'm not saying that you need to plan your trip a year in advance, but I am saying you shouldn't wait for two weeks before.  

In case you're interested in coming to Voodoo Fest next year, here's the link.  We have two suites left.  Each suite has one bed that sleeps two people.  Please don't write to ask about renting out the house, or about piling in a suite with all your pals like a slumber party.  We don't do that.

What we do offer, is a peaceful respite in a real neighborhood within walking distance of many major tourist attractions as well as some off the beating path.  New Orleans is a magical city.

We are already full for Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, but I think we have availability for everything else I can think of at the moment.  Please visit our website if you're interested.  If you can't find the information you're looking for there, please write.  

Our online calendar is accurate and the best way to make a reservation.  We offer all our available suites on our website.  We do not offer them all on other sites.

À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Look at New Orleans Past

Like the Creoles always say, "Plus ça change, plus chest la même chose."  New Orleans remains the largest coffee port in the country.  The banana trade is moving back to the city after a few decade hiatus.  

Of course, everything in New Orleans is still in color.  It's not a black and white kind of town.

À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Prices at the Original Bud's Broiler

The menu board at Bud's Broiler
Bud's Broiler is a local franchise of hamburger stands in New Orleans.  The original one is just outside City Park, across from the Delgado Community College campus.  The original Bud's is open 24 hours a day, the way it should be in a city that is open 24 hours a day.  

I don't have a picture of the outside because the neon is always burned out in places so it looks less impressive in photos than it does in person.  It's a magical place, like many places in New Orleans.  It's low-key, but that doesn't make it any less magical.  Can you get a charcoal broiled hamburger and a Heineken at 4:00 in the morning where you live?  I have to admit, though I have the opportunity to do so, I never opt for the Heineken that early in the AM.

When I was in Bud's Broiler the other day, I noticed that the prices have changed.  Here's a close up of the menu board:
Meat and hot dog prices at Bud's Broiler
You order by number here, and you have to specify if you want onions on that.  Prices have gone up about a quarter (25 cents to our non-American readers) for most things.  Meat refers to hamburgers.  Notice that hot dog prices haven't changed.  You can still get a #9 (my personal favorite) for $1.90.  It's a frankfurter smothered in house made BBQ sauce, cut into thirds and placed on a hamburger bun.  It's delish.

Wheat buns still cost an extra 25 cents.

Your humble narrator's New Orleans Face
Someone recently asked to see a picture of me in my new cowboy hat.  Here you go.  I wear my cowboy hat when we have people from out west.  It's a three gallon hat.  I don't really like to wear it around town, but around the property, I think it's pretty flattering.  It's certainly a conversation piece.  This is my New Orleans face.

You know how I always say the nicest people live in Iowa?  Well, I would like to add Kansas to that list.  Do you know the second-most populous city in Kansas?  I didn't either until we had guests stay with us from Overland Park, pop. 173,372 according to the 2010 U.S. census.  The most populous city in Kansas is Wichita.  Overland Park is above and beyond Wichita, by design.

Our guest was describing the Christmas lights in Overland Park.  "Have you ever been?" she asked.  "How many people have you met outside Kansas who have been to Overland Park?" I countered.  

I think Frau Schmitt and I are going to schedule an Overland Park vacation.  We have to visit Nebraska first, though, before we go to Kansas.  I promised her that years ago.  It was during our honeymoon.
City seal of Overland Park, KS
Overland Park was founded in 1905, a blink of an eye, historically speaking.  New Orleans was founded in 1718.  Our tricentennial is coming up.  Naturally, it's seen as a reason to get more tourists to visit the city.  None of this interests your humble narrator too much.  He comes from a state that celebrated it's 350th anniversary years ago.  Frau Schmitt, well, she comes from a country that predates the Romans.  Still, we'd like to visit the OP, as they call it in Kansas.

Speaking of history, how did New Orleans become a part of the United States?  You can find out at the New Orleans Wax Museum.
Great moments in history
1803 was the year Napoleon decided to divest the French Empire's colonial holdings and to deal with the United States, making both America and Louisiana better places.  It was a momentous decision.  Emperor Bonaparte didn't take it lightly.  He soaked in the bathtub awhile before deciding his course of action.  He was Churchillian in some ways.  According to the wax museum, this is what his bath suite looked like:
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Did I mention we recently had some guests who arrived from Kansas?  Ah! Kansas!  The way they described it, it sounds like God's country.  Living in New Orleans, the way we do, it's hard to imagine someplace better.  I asked Tammie the Housekeeper what she thought about our Kansas guests.
Tammy the Housekeeper
Tammy the Housekeeper had only this to say: "They were very tidy and neat."

I'm not going to say I'm going to offer a discount for Kansas guests any more than I offer one to guests from Iowa (i.e. none) but we welcome people from all over the world.  The more the merrier.  We have yet to host guests from Nebraska.  I have no idea why.

À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Another New Orleans Experiment Goes Awry

You can do this at home, too.
While looking at an old lithograph in an auction gallery on St. Charles Avenue, I got the idea that I could hang frog legs on the bannisters of the balconies in front of our house.  I don't know why the gentleman in the print was doing it, perhaps he was drying them for jerky.  My first thought was that he was a kind of Creole Benjamin Franklin.  

If you follow my line of thinking, the lightning would hit the decorative cast iron banister and this would set the frog's legs twitching, thus proving the existence of electricity!  I've included a diagram to demonstrate the principle:
The current in the needle causes the frog muscles to abduct like a ballerina's
Here's a picture of the balcony I have in mind for recreating this experiment:
It's the Clio Suite balcony
Needless to say, Frau Schmitt didn't follow my line of thinking, or rather, she followed it just fine and advised against it.  She pointed out the tall oak trees in front of our house are more likely to attract lightning than our banisters.  "And it's a good thing, too." she added.  She had some other things to say about my idea.  She is usually right about these things so I moved on to another project.

A new website you might be interested in
There's a new website you might be interested in.  It's called Find Everything Historic.  It's very interesting.  If you do happen to be interested, and I've piqued your interest just by repeating variations of the word interesting six times in this paragraph, look at this hotel in West Baden Springs, Indiana.  If you think that place is a showstopper, check out the what they've got in Louisiana.
It was a very good year
And now, the moment we've all been waiting for, the resumption of our exhibit-by-exhibit tour of the New Orleans Wax Museum.  It's back by popular demand.  

I can tell you the story of the Casket Girls, a part of New Orleans lore that goes back to right after the colony's founding.  It's a tangled tale, however and since a picture tells a thousand words, let's just look at the display.  Remember, it's dark in the wax museum and I didn't use a flash.
A historical recreation
It's not often that you see a drunken pirate and a laughing nun standing next to each other.  
Everyone had a good time
I'm not saying it's impossible.  In fact, I have seen a laughing nun and a drunken pirate within spitting distance of each other.  The first time was during Mardi Gras, of course.  The second time was on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar.  Both times, they were both laughing.  New Orleans is that kind of a city.

I had other things to talk about, but time is getting away from us.  I have to go to Tujagues tonight for a meeting of the Tour Guide Association.  Frau Schmitt and I went to Tujagues for Thanksgiving, so I'm not as excited as I normally would be.  It's always good there, even with their recent renovations.  It's the second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans, probably in all of Louisiana.  

À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.
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