Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Streetcar Named St. Charles

It was only our second full day in New Orleans and we were already realizing that time was running out. Merlot Boy and Margarita wanted to go on a swamp and gator tour while Boo and I wanted to take a streetcar ride down to the Garden District. We weren't going to be able to do both; so, our little gang decided to split up for the day.

But first, we had to wander a bit to get to our respective starting points. On the way, we passed yet another shop full of crazy goods and wares. The first things that attracted us to the shop in the accompanying picture were the garden ornaments and furniture that had been made from reclaimed flotsam and jetsam from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Five years on and you can still see something to remind you of the catastrophe without any effort whatsoever. The inside of the shop was even crazier though. It looked like the shop was also a bit of a warehouse for bits and pieces of Mardi Gras floats. If anyone wants an oversized puppet of George Dubya, I've got just the shop for you.

Once Boo and I were on our way riding the St. Charles streetcar, I realized that the other two probably weren't so desirous of our plan since Melbourne has a full blown trolley system as well. They can ride a streetcar any day they want to. Not so much the gators and swamp. It was novel for Boo and I though. We boarded our streetcar and rode it right to the other end, getting a decent look at the city en route.

The end of the line found us more than a little hungry. So, we located a bakery/restaurant that sold take-out as well and we put together a bit of picnic. At first we thought lunch on the levee of the Mississippi might be nice since we were right there. Not so scenic though. As an alternative, we wandered back along the streetcar track to a park we saw on the way out.

982. 2009 Apothic Red - William's Blend (California)

I'd never heard of this wine before but the label - and its take on wine lore with a mystical history - looked like it might fit in with the Garden District, home of Anne Rice and Lestat of Interview With A Vampire lore. The only information that I could gather from the bottle was that it was a California wine and it was a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah. There wasn't a whole lot more information available online afterwards either, but I gather Apothic is a fairly new label from the Gallo folks as they continue to try and leave their jug wine past in the dust. It turns out the wine has even been introduced to the Vancouver market. Guess I wasn't invited to the launch.

The wine appears to be geared to newer red wine drinkers. Lots of fruit, a bit of residual sugar, it's primarily an easy drinker - and not out of place on a picnic.

Little did we know that our picnic spot was Audubon Park - turns out we were lunching al fresco in what was once a plantation in colonial days and has been a big part of New Orlean's history ever since. Boo loves live oaks - particularly when they're laden with Spanish Moss - as they remind him of his youth. So, our picnic spot couldn't have been better for him.

But, time passed quickly and we had to jump back onto the streetcar and make our way back to the Quarter. During our tour, I wanted to locate what was supposed to be a wine shop to beat all in NOLA. We found it alright. Closed. Seems not everything that's booze related in the city is open 24/7. Too bad. This whole selection of 30-40 bottles at the corner grocer is getting a little old.

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