TotC, Day 1

Blew in to New Orleans, La., yesterday morning after a layover in Charlotte, N.C.  Got my luggage and met the Airport Shuttle. The driver was delightful, full of wit and good stories about the city, pre- and post-Katrina. I was happy I was toward the end of his route so I could listen to him a few minutes longer!

Checked in to the hotel without a hitch, and they even had a room ready, even though I arrived about 3 hours before normal check in. Even better, I have a top-floor room with a window view!

A room with a view

(I’m not crazy about this picture, actually, but it’s the best one I have of the view. I want to fix the colors, so it looks more like this picture, from the Riverview Room on the rooftop, but that will have to wait.)

I settled in to the room and then stepped out for a bite to eat. I wanted my first meal in town to be a muffaletta and Pimm’s Cups at the Napolean House, and lo, it shall be done.

Napolean House

It wasn’t until after I got my bearings that I realized I was seated right next to a table with Misty Kalkofen, from Green Street in Cambridge, Mass., and several of her peers from other Boston-area bars. I wanted to say hello, but then again, I didn’t want to interrupt a lively conversation.

I came back to my room after half a muff and two Pimm’s Cups. I wanted to shower the airplane stench off of me and change clothes. I made my way to the rooftop, where the Toast to Tales of the Cocktail kickoff was scheduled. I met up with a Twitter friend, John Martin, and he introduced me to Joe Gendusa, who leads a cocktail tour, year-round, through New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, I heard someone say, “Mike?” I turned, and Blair, from the blog Trader Tiki, introduced himself to me.

I met several of the booze bloggers (and a hanger-on or two), and we made haste to have a drink at the Swizzle Stick Bar, before 4:30′s Booze Blogger Meet and Greet. I had a delicious Mai Tai:

Mai Tai, at the Swizzle Stick Bar

Then, it was back to the Monteleone, for the blogger meetup, sponsored by Cabana Cachaca, which served up two drinks–a Cabana Shrub, with raspberry shrub syrup, and a classic Caiphirina. I met a lot more bloggers there, and then we repaired to the next room, for a Sloe Gin cocktail tasting.

I went up to my room for a bit, to call Jen and rest. Our next stop was the Palace Cafe, for a Beefeater-sponsored reception, with good food and gin cocktails. I ate, drank, and mingled. Ran into Matt Rowley again, who introduced me to author and Esquire columnist David Wondrich, with whom I chatted briefly before Dale DeGroff distracted him. The Beefeater reception was crowded and loud, and the room was warm, so although I was enjoying the food and drink, I was too uncomfortable to stay.

I came back to the hotel and got a couple of Sazeracs at the Carousel Bar. I had apparently just missed Cameron and Anita, so I texted them and arranged to meet at the Carousel. We chatted a little while, but they needed to freshen up a bit, so we parted for half an hour and re-met in the lobby to go to the Daiquiri party at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. I stayed there about an hour, and met Erik Ellestad and his wife, but I was beat, so I came back to the room.

I’m about to head downstairs for the Hemingway panel and the start of Day 2. Salud!

3 thoughts on “TotC, Day 1

  1. Gorgeous. Sounds like you’re already having a blast! I look forward to your impressions of Magazine Street, if you get a chance.

  2. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore a lot away from the French Quarter, so no Magazine St. this time. I did get absinthe at Pirates Alley Cafe, though! That was a great recommendation, thanks.

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