Why isn’t this post writing itself? I may do this in parts so I at least get something done.
We landed in NO Friday night and took a taxi to our hotel, International House. The location of this property was perfect — it turned out to be just a block away from the race start plus it was just a few blocks away from the French Quarter, but on a much quieter street.
We walked down Camp Street, crossed Canal, the street turned into Chartres. We were able to get a table at Kingfish Kitchen, where I ordered smoked rabbit gumbo and the sea bass special. The latter came with fried oysters, but I’m not big into oysters. I would’ve tried them (they looked good) had it not been 2 days before the race; I didn’t think it was a good idea to risk spending Saturday on the toilet if they didn’t agree with me. We also each ordered the bread pudding. Bread pudding happens to be my favorite dessert of all time. (Un)fortunately, it seems to be a specialty of New Orleans.
Stuffed, we walked back to the hotel and went down for the night like the middled-aged old farts we are.
The next morning I had a 2 mile shakeout run that I decided to do on the hotel treadmill. Which sadly was a terrible treadmill, but I guess it did the job. My husband had gone to do yoga, and when he returned we walked the mile to the race Expo to get my race bib.
I bought a RnR NOLA tank top and visor from Brooks and that was it for the expo. The Competitor Group does a slick job of running things, and it was a smooth process to get in and out. I really wanted to try on some of Altra’s Superior 2.0 trail shoes, but they ran out of my size already 😦 The woman working that booth was probably the only sourpuss I encountered the entire trip. It was like asking her to look for my size was a chore for her.
We were starving and used Trip Advisor to find a nearby restaurant that served salads and/or sandwiches and found Carmo, a cafe that had both, plus all sorts of fresh juices. I ordered their Esmerelda salad, which was greens, corn, peppers, black beans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and I added chicken. It was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. I also ordered a fresh young coconut water and it was basically a real coconut that I watched them cut the top off of and stick a straw in. It was so delicious, much better than the usual coconut water I drink. Plus I got to scrape a spoon inside and eat some soft coconut meat.
One of the big goals of the day was to minimize time on my feet. I offered to let my husband roam around while I hung out at the hotel, but we decided instead to go to back-to-back IMAX movies at the aquarium, where I mourned not being able to get popcorn and the smell taunted me. The first film was about Great White sharks, the second was about the animals of Kenya. We witnessed an unintentionally hilarious conversation between family members sitting in front of us who, after viewing the shark movie which was trying to convince people that the sharks shouldn’t be hunted and feared, declared to hell with the sharks cuz Survival of the Fittest. Great Whites should be killed because man is the shit and nature rules. Or something of that logic.
Seriously, the main dude was a poster child for slovenliness and about the last person who should be relying on Darwinism to secure his superiority in the food chain.
After the films, we caught a taxi to dinner at Zea Rotisserie & Grill. I’d done extensive research to find a safe pre-race meal, and they had chicken and sweet potatoes on the menu. I was expecting an ok meal, but it turned out to be really delicious. My roast chicken had a sweet chili sauce on it that I ended up ordering for home. Apparently, Zea is a Chef Prudhomme joint, which I didn’t know until I went to order the sauce online. It really was the perfect pre-race meal, minus the chicken skin that I didn’t eat. Oh, and I got a side of grits too, which was sooooooo gooooood, as were the mashed sweet potatoes.
My husband ordered sweet potato bread pudding for dessert and I stole a couple bites. Under normal circumstances I would’ve ordered my own, but I didn’t want to be carrying a lump of bread pudding through the half marathon. It took a ton of willpower to not eat more than a few tiny bites. The texture on this one was my favorite of all the bread puddings I tried, and the sweet potato flavor made it even better.
Then we took a taxi back to the hotel. Our driver was a friendly, hard-working guy that we ended up calling to take us back to the airport at the end of our trip. Pretty much everyone in New Orleans was friendly and cheerful. It’s a town that knows how to have fun.
Back at the hotel, I took a shower, organized my race stuff and got ready for bed and my husband went searching for green bananas for me. I like my bananas pretty unripe. He was gone for awhile. Not so much because green bananas were an issue, but the first few places he tried didn’t have bananas (and one place he went into he said was a voodoo grocery and it smelled bad so he didn’t want to get me bananas there). He finally found a grocery store, mission accomplished.
And that’s the first day and a half in New Orleans. Please stop yawning.
Next up, race day!
* note: I put in links to some of the places in case anyone wanted to check them out. This is not a sponsored post and I am not affiliated to these places in any way.