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Friday, March 6, 2009

nola, part 2c

So, we had a huge lunch. We might have overeaten. We went for a walk. We decided to check out Butcher - the meat market/wine bar connected with Cochon. What kind of city has a meat market/wine bar? Only in New Orleans...(shakes head) So it's in the warehouse district. I admit, we got a little lost. We wandered by Grand Isle. It looked nice enough. It's like a french quarter type of restaurant, but it's not in the quarter. I'm sure it does well during conventions. So we found Butcher.

It's very sparse, clean - and did I mention it has a wine bar? Not a huge selection, but enough. It was around 1pm or so, and there were some people sitting at the bar having some wine.

Here's some pics of the place:

The guy with his back turned to the camera under the hanging meat is Rik Slave. So that's not one of my nicknames. I figure public figures can have their real names mentioned in this here blog. He's the vocalist for this band, Rock City Morgue. They are fairly successful. Here's their myspace page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=5248960

If I lived in New Orleans, I'd be here - every once in a while. You know this kind of fancy butchery isn't cheap. Of course, I would be making more money than I am now, because I would have been at the same place for years and years. But I kid. They do have sandwiches for sale. But, well, we didn't save anymore sandwich space in our digestive systems.

Cochon Butcher,
930 Tchoupitoulas,
New Orleans LA 70130
mon-thu 10–10, fr+sat 10-11, sun 10-5

But we did have room for oysters. Whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
Oystas. Raw.

So what did we do? The Food Pimp said we could go to Acme or Felix's. But I didn't want that. I wanted Cooter's. So we decided to catch the streetcar. We went to the stop on the corner. We speculated on how much it costed. I figured, it must be almost $2 by now. The FP said $2 - $2.25. So I asked a metermaid. $1.25. The price hasn't gone up since we left. Don't they need more money? Oh well, we were happy. We had that much cash.

So we got on the streetcar. That was nice. Sitting semi-comfortably in the streetcar watching our past lives stand still and we chugged by. There were a big group of tourist on the streetcar. They seemed kind of confused. Didn't know where they were going. So they asked the driver where Commander's was. So he told them, Washington. So when he got to Washington, he yelled "Washington." No one made a move. So he yelled, louder this time, "Washington." And they were like, oh, is this our stop, duh? So they filed off. The driver warned them, "go left. If you go right, you'll end up on a milk carton." Good shit. Good shit. It's funny cause it's true.

Anyhoo, it made me sad to look at these grand old mansions and apartment houses on St. Charles. We had looked at several of these places over the years whenever we were looking to lease. There was one particular place that we really wanted. The bottom floor of a 2 story double. They never called us back or something. There was a for rent sign in one of the windows.

So we got to the river bend. There was good old Cooter's. It was a pretty day, so it was weird to be going into a dark smoky bar, but the oysters were calling.

So we walked in. No one at the door to ID us. The FP ordered a draft beer. I ordered a bottle. We had just had a discussion with Hipster Redneck about how so many bars in town had dirty taps. So I wasn't feeling up to testing that theory, even though Cooter Brown's sells a lot of draft beer and is known for their selection. I was still kind of sleep deprived and maybe a tad hungover. I didn't even really want a beer, but it was Cooter's. What was I gonna do, order a water?

So we sat at one of the long communal tables that they had. I was kind of panicky, because I didn't see the oyster guy, Vince. (Once again, I'm using Vince's real name. That's because if you go to New Orleans, I want you to go to Cooter Brown's and ask for Vince.) But FP was confident. Vince had been there shucking oysters since before we started frequenting Cooter Brown's. Tuesday night $5 oysters. A crowd of us would go and get like 4 dozen. You would see the look on his face as we ordered the first 2, then the growing disgruntlement as we ordered the next 2. But he was a good mothershucker.

After a while, Vince came around. The FP asked for 2 dozen. I had to go get batteries for my antique digital camera, so I went across the way to Walgreens. When I got back, the oysters had been waiting for several minutes, and they were turning room temperature. But they looked beautiful.

Look at them.

Just look!!!!

Oh baby!!!!!

FH thought - how come foods that are suggestive of female anatomy are aphrodisiacs (this is more in western culture), but foods that are suggestive of male anatomy are to be snickered at like they make people regress to 7th grade?

Anyway, they were gorgeous. They were exquisite. They were sublime. They were ecstasy. They were consummate. They were transcendent. They were ethereal. They were celestial. They were divine. They were unearthly. They were incorporeal. They were okay.

Here's the thing. Maybe if we still lived in Nola, we would have thought these were average. Maybe. Maybe we would have been disappointed. But we don't live there anymore. What do we have. Briny, clean oysters. They are nice. But it's like comparing Ella Fitzgerald to Beethoven.

These oysters at Cooter Brown's were plump, voluptuous. Meaty, sweet, luscious. Not really briny at all. These oysters come from some nasty ass brackish waters. But that's the flavor, baby!

I had wished I hadn't eaten so much at lunch. These were filling. Not like the anemic Carlsbad Aquafarm oysters we get at work. I was slowly working my way through my dozen, but the FP had been long finished with his. I saw the scavenger in his eye. Sated and happy, but still looking to feed. I ate mine all, though. This was a rare chance. Usually, back in the day, he always got one or two of mine. Not this time, bucko. No way Jose. Back off Jackoff. Hands off my tray, Ray.

So we sat there with our trays of empty shells. The FP was having an internal struggle. A few minutes later, he got up and ordered another dozen. Obviously, he talked himself into it. When was he going to get to eat another oyster this good? It might be a year? It might be 2? 3, 4, 5? So he went for it. He was full, but he put them away. Then it was time to head back down to the hotel. Rest up before dinner. Hopefully make space for dinner. What a great city!

Cooter Brown's Tavern
& Oyster Bar
509 S. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, LA
phone: 504-866-9104

oyster shucker: Vince. Ask for him. Here's his picture:

BTW, this place also has great prepared food - cheese fries, po boys, wings, burgers. They have one ridiculous sandwich called the "coonass special" It's a po boy with a meat pie, provolone and gravy. For real. We had it once. It was ridiculous. But you gotta try it once!

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