Holidays and absences [3]

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Post by Mrs Figg Sat Jan 28, 2023 11:06 pm

Have you lost weight with the Delhi Belly? i think that is the only thing putting me off going one day. I am such a hypochondriac
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Post by halfwise Sun Jan 29, 2023 12:12 pm

Actually I found once I discovered fasting less than a year ago is that much of the fat look people have is just full intestines. Don't eat for a day, let it pass through, and you'll be amazed at the transformation. Delhi Belly just does it a bit faster - but you don't get the full effect because it's often accompanied with inflammation and swelling. Take a day off food when you're healthy and the effect does loads for your self esteem.

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Post by malickfan Sat Jun 03, 2023 6:24 pm

Wave

How is everyone?

...I hadn't realised it had been more than 6 months since I last posted Shocked (I've have made a habit of lurking now and again just been too busy to really drop by)

If anyone was wondering how i've been/what I've been up to...well there's no real exciting excuse, I've just picked up more shifts at work (been on night shift for 2 1/2 years now but still find it rather drainig some weeks), been busy in real life and had a few depressive episodes in recent months (nothing serious, it happens occasionally) so haven't really had the time/energy to stop by...I kept meaning to drop in when I could but hadn't realised it had been quite so long! Hopefully I'll be able to post again more actively now.

Still think rather fondly of you guys/girls/crabbit scotshobbits cheers pub hope everyone is well, and I assume eagerly awaiting Rings of Power series 2 Laughing No Suspect

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Post by halfwise Sun Jun 04, 2023 2:21 am

I was about to smack you before I got halfway through that last line, but the trail of emoticons saved you.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Jun 04, 2023 9:48 am

{{ Malick! cheers Good to see you back in your hole again Nod Its been too long, so must be your round by now Twisted Evil pub }}

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Post by malickfan Mon Jun 05, 2023 6:02 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{ Malick! cheers Good to see you back in your hole again Nod Its been too long, so must be your round by now Twisted Evil pub }}

Hey Petty Smile good to drop in again! Hmm...with the cost of living crisis we all should be more considerate...so would a round of tap waters do? Wink

(I have actually cut back on drinking quite a bit, usually only have the occasional pint or two maybe a couple of times a month, I was never a huge drinking anyway but can't say I miss the hangovers, I've also lost quite a bit of weight in the last year so trying to watch what I eat/drink a bit more)

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I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Jun 05, 2023 6:38 pm

so would a round of tap waters do?- Malick

{{What as a mixer? Suspect }}

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Post by chris63 Wed Jun 07, 2023 8:19 am

Just come back from Brisbane and Cairns. First time I've been to Cairns. What a beautiful place.
Wouldn't recommend swimming in the rivers though.

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Post by halfwise Wed Jun 07, 2023 11:08 am

Likely a good thing that most of australia is infested with bunny rabbits and cane toads. Need a couple things at least that aren't fixing to kill you.

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Post by Lancebloke Fri Jun 16, 2023 6:25 pm

Currently on last day of a spring getaway in Wales.

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Post by chris63 Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:12 am

Looks nice 🙂

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:31 am

{{ Always fancied Wales, the Welsh folk that come to the hotel here are alwasy really nice people. Your dogs look like they enjoyed it too Lance.
But 'spring' holiday? Its midle of June, thats summer surely? Either your international spy jetting about has got you so confuddled you dont know where or when you are, or youre now a time spy agent too and is actually spring still for you? Suspect }}

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Post by Lancebloke Sun Jun 18, 2023 2:34 pm

I think summer officially starts in 3 days....
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Jun 18, 2023 10:09 pm

{{ I think in Scotland summer just ended with the rain tonight Mad }}

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Post by halfwise Wed Jun 21, 2023 2:03 pm

So the parents moved into assisted living a couple weeks ago, and I had gone down to help sort things out between residences.  This gave me an opportunity to revisit places in Austin I haven't been to in years (since covid hit) and also passed by New Orleans again.  Some things have changed, some new things were discovered, so I'm updating my travel guide for Lance's upcoming visit.  I'll pm this to him a few weeks before he leaves, but here it is now.

----

One thing to know about music venues is that they will either have a cover charge (varying widely) or a food/drink minimum per set.  Bars that only have drinks will happily charge you as much as a beer for a simple pepsi.  Think of it as paying for the music.  Sets average about an hour long with length varying by band and venue.

New Orleans

Throughout the French Quarter if you buy a drink and want to take it with you out on the street after a set, ask the bartender for a "go cup" and you'll be handed an empty plastic cup to dump your drink into.  The party on Bourbon street can go late on weekends, but avoid it on weeknights after midnight: only riff-raff is left.

Music

If you take my advice and stay at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, you'll have live blues-leaning music every night in the gloriously designed bar.  And directly across the street from it is Fritzel's, my favorite music venue of all time.  They'll start playing old school music around 6 pm.  After dinner it may get packed so I'd suggest the earlier times.

Bourbon street has a seedy but very active and brightly lit end, and the quieter end down by Fritzel's.  If you continue away from the noise (to the right when exiting the hotel) you'll go through a dark patch, but will see a flickering light down to the left.  This is Lafitte's Blacksmith shop, a piano bar.  Pick up a drink and go straight to the piano - there's stools around it and you put your drink directly on the piano itself.  Music starts at 8 pm I believe and I suggest getting there right around then.  They do pop music and jazz standards, and if you suggest something the piano player doesn't know, they'll listen on the phone for a few minutes then start playing.  The midweek pianists are a bit sketchy, but the weekend players may fly in from around the country and can do anything.

You must go to Pat O'Brien's for the atmosphere.  And you must go at night to catch the fire fountains; it will be packed from about 8 to 10, so make it a late night visit.  It has a dueling piano bar which you want to go to for the vibe, but the ceiling is too low and it muddies the sound.  For that reason Pete's Piano bar in Austin is recommended. They invented the Hurricane, and it's the only place where it's worth drinking. Even if you don't drink, you must walk through.  

Don't miss the Preservation Hall jazz band on St Peter's street half a block down from Bourbon.  There'll be a line and a hefty cover charge, but it's worth it, especially for the weekend band.  Classic New Orleans jazz only.  You can request the big classics (like St James Infirmary) for $10; the Saint's Go Marching In will cost you $20.

Definitely wander through the seedy end of Bourbon street, I'm just pointing out the sure things to you.

MOST definitely walk along Royal street on a nice day (the prettiest street in the French Quarter), especially on weekends for the street musicians in the morning into early afternoon.  Nowhere in the world will you find more amazing street musicians than in New Orleans.  If you see an old Black woman with a clarinet, plant yourself there - she is one of the best in the city and she ONLY plays on the street.

You MUST go to Frenchman street.  Wander the two blocks between Decator and Washington Square, and whenever you hear something you like, go in.  Get there by 8 pm; by 10 it will be packed by locals who steer well clear of Bourbon street. I've been told by a local musician that the best music is in Snug Harbor, but it's second floor in the back or something, so you won't hear it from the street.  Supposed to have excellent food, you may need to make a reservation.  Some of the places on Frenchman street also have food, but get there early to find a place to sit.

Going further afield, the same mucisian recommended Tipitina's in the Garden District.  You'll want reservations, and may want to take your rental car since it's a long walk from the streetcar.  Also in the Garden district is the Ponchatrain hotel, right next to the street car lines.  They'll have a piano player or trio every night, and a great atmosphere.

Food

My first recommendation is to go to the Court of Two Sisters, which has a garden stretching between Bourbon and Royal streets, but they'll close the garden if there's any hint of rain, so check the weather.  At noon they add lunch food to the breakfast buffet; all New Orleans classic cooking, so get there around noon to enjoy a jazz trio under the grapevines with unlimited trips to the buffet.

Near the entry to Bourbon street off Canal street is Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House.  I love the high ceiling ambience, and it's cool to sit at the round bar as oysters are shucked in front of you.  I recommend getting the charbroiled oysters; avoid raw oysters in New Orleans; they're too big!  The milk bourbon punch is sprinkled with cinnamon and is pure heaven.

Cafe Amelia off Royal street used to have a nice garden, but during covid they had to give it up to a cocktail bar and moved around the corner.  They still have a garden (not as magical) and absolutely excellent food.  I suggest an early dinner there to avoid the rush; perhaps get reservations.

Though everyone wants you to get coffee and beignets at Cafe Dumonde, it's only because they've been there 150 years and haven't changed anything.  Cafe Beignet HAS updated and is a big improvement (I recommend the courtyard on Royal street), but don't go in the morning or there's a line out the door.  

Another good place for coffee is Fourth Wall coffee, a few blocks past canal street.

Central Grocery is famous for it's Muffeleta sandwich (cold cuts, cheese, drenched in an olive tapinade) but they won't heat them up; Danny's Po-Boys will.  Have one grilled and take it to a park to eat.  Plenty enough for two.

Antoine's on St Louis St in the French Quarter is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in the US, the inventer of Oyster's Rockefellar.  I haven't been blown away by the food to be honest, it's simply decent.  You can get the same food in the attached bar area as in the restaurant proper, with no need for reservations or dress up. But if you do go in the restaurant proper, the waiter will take notes, and if you come back even years later you'll get the same waiter, or at least his notes on what you liked.  They play the long game here.

If you are up so late that all the kitchens are closed, Three Legged Dog has your back.  The kitchen does close from 11 to midnight (just when you most need it), but they will have done a crawfish boil. Ask and you'll be provided a box and nodded towards a coffin sized ice chest to scoop your own.  The crawfish are babies and it takes about 10 of them for a decent bite, but it's frequented by musicians coming off their gigs and has a totally funky vibe.

Some places I haven't been but are famous are Brennan's and Galatoire's in the French Quarter, and Commander's Palace in the Garden District.  All probably require reservations.

Two of the most memororable meals in my life were at Cochon in the warehouse district, a reasonable walk from the French Quarter.  If there's a large meeting at the conference center this place will be packed for lunch, so go on off hours. Be sure to go to Cochon proper, not Cochon Butcher which is a sandwich shop around the back.  It's not a fancy place, but the food is just incredible.

But Atchafalaya (garden district) is a recent neighborhood gem that hasn't been discovered yet so tourists are welcome.  You will dream about the shrimp and grits for days.

Saint Vincent's Hotel (garden district) has recently been renovated in a jaw dropping manner, and the food as well. Just touching that indescribable bar makes you feel like your life has been elevated.

The Petite Grocery in the Garden District has fabulous food, but if you go during dinner time you'll see empty tables and they'll tell you they are reserved.  I was taken there by the local musician who gave the other recommendations above, and they did that to us; but when he mentioned he was from the neighborhood we were seated immediately.  They are trying to keep the local gems from being overrun with tourists.  I suspect you may have better luck at lunch time.  BTW this place is close to Tipitina's mentioned above.

Cafe Degas is a lovely garden cafe with amazing food which may give you the same treatment above, but worth a try, and there's other garden cafes adjoining.  May want to drive and try your luck.  Again, lunch would be the easiest time to get a table.

Balconies

This gets a special mention because you'll see them and want to go up in them, but only a few of the nice ones are accessible.

On bourbon street across from The Cat's Meow is Cornet, you'll have to go into the bar on the ground floor and look to the left to see directions to the balcony.  I can't vouch for the food (always arrive when kitchen is closing), but you want to be up there around 10 pm when Bourbon street is going bonkers, and you have an excellent bird's eye view of the shenanigans.

The Royal Oyster house has a balcony that looks out over the scenic court house.  Get the char grilled oysters.


Day Trips

The music happens at night (except for street musicians on Royal Street: don't miss!) so what do you do during the day?

I highly recommend taking a street car into the garden district.  When I was there a couple years ago flooding had destroyed the tracks, but they should be repaired by now.  I suggest riding the St Charles Ave car until you see Tacos and Beer; hop off and walk into the neighborhood.  Walk along Magazine street for the cute shops and cafes (a good hour's exercise).  This is where you may give La Petite Grocery a try, or of course Commander's Palace. Atchafalaya is a block or two down. Visit the parks, hop off and on the street car.  Lots of music and food venues if you look for them and wander off the route.

You can rent bikes and ride up to City Park, when you may also check out Cafe Degas mentioned above.  There is a bike trail from the French Quarter that starts along Basin Street.  A street car line also gets you close.

Plenty of tours during the day: choose between ghosts and food.

Of course if you have a car you should go on a bayou/swamp tour, or visit a plantation.

~ Sorry to say that the only beach bar/restaurant I can find between NOLA and Austin is the Tipsy Turtle near Galveston, with reviews equally mixed between hot and freezing cold. ~

Austin

Since half my family lives in or near Austin, I don't treat it as a tourist destination the way I do New Orleans, so this write-up may be a little skimpy in comparison, but not to be missed.  What I refer to as "the river" will be called lake Austin on the maps.  The locals are obviously deluded: that's a damn river.

Music

If you take my suggestion of reserving the Driskill Hotel, it will be the genteel start of your evening, with music in the bar area starting around 7 (or 8?) but most other music venues don't start hopping until 9.  Sit in the finely upholstered chairs surrounded by trophy heads, have a bite to eat and something to sip until it's time to go get crazy.  There are lamps made of pistols; basically they took a high class british pub atmosphere and swung it to western chic.

Exit onto 6th street and turn to your left.  Just walk and when you hear something good, go in.  The density of music is just jaw dropping, mainly blues, country and Texas rock.  You can spend two nights easy on Sixth Street.

Don't miss Pete's Piano bar: I'm not sure if they invented the concept of dueling pianos, but they perfected it.  College will be in session, so it will pack up late.  You want the energy of a nearly full house here, but not so full you can't sit. I suggest 9:30-10 pm as a start time.

You'll also find other venues off 6th street; the city just hums with music.

Food

We are talking BBQ, Mexican, and Southern.

Near 6th street, Stubbs and Iron Works are both decent BBQ, but the star of the show downtown would be Black's: you can take a walk across the river.  I'll talk about Salt Lick in the day trips below.   Franklin's BBQ is perhaps the highest rated BBQ in the WORLD, but it will be a minimum 2 hour wait to get in.  And you have to be there, no reservations.

Moonshine Comfort and Cocktails will give you wonderful southern food.

Mexican is all over, you may find some of the best stuff off a food truck, don't be shy.  But there's too many good ones to name.  Look for outdoor seating as you research: for example Pelon's across from Stubb's BBQ has outdoor seating.

There's some rooftop cocktail and food bars, none of which I've been to.  Zanzibar and Live Oak both look nice online, overlook the river and are highly rated.

If you feel the urge for fast food while driving around, get a Whataburger.  But no reason to prefer this over a local restaurant.  If you need gasoline and see a Buc-ee's, stop for a bit of an experience. By all means go inside for more than the restrooms, you'll find plenty of Texas style snack food and more.

Day Trips

The nearest day trip is renting boats on the river downtown. Since you have a car I suggest you head to the boat rental on Stephen F. Austin Drive.

I *strongly* suggest a drive down to San Antonio to walk around and do lunch on the River Walk.  Get something light on the River Walk (a bit tourist trappy), then go to a nearby Mexican place for the best food (south of river walk there's a mess of them) - if you get 4 star mexican food in San Antonio you'll be blown away. You might even consider getting a one night hotel in San Antonio, there's a couple with balconies overlooking the River Walk. On the way back to Austin stop by Gruene Hall for some music: check the schedule, pick a band, and plan around it.  This will be very Texan feeling: standing room only.  

You'll want to drive around the Hill country - I suggest going to Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, then drive around to the west and south.  Salt Lick has an amazing outdoor area, biggest oak trees you'll ever see.

There's also a Salt Lick in Round Rock, which I've been told is a nice town to walk around in, but I've never been there.  But go to Round Rock for other things; the original Salt Lick location in Driftwood is where you want to eat.

You can do an 1.5-2 hour drive to Enchanted Rock, a huge lava dome and Texas's answer to Australia's Hanging Rock. I don't think photos can convey the feeling you get from being near and hiking up such a massive dome. Eat in Fredericksburg, which believe it or not is known for German food and beer gardens.

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Post by Lancebloke Thu Jun 22, 2023 10:36 am

Thanks Halfy. According to my phone, 86 days until we fly out!

We are staying at the Bourbon in NO and have a few of those things on our list to do.

We also managed to find a nice house on the beach for a few days not far from Galveston. Hopefully no hurricanes!!

We won't really get any time on Austin now but our base in Texas means we can get out in to hill country and possibly visit some of the places you mention too!

Not long!
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Post by halfwise Thu Jun 22, 2023 12:22 pm

Personally I think you're making a mistake skipping a night in Austin if you are on music tour, but it doesn't have the historical links of the other towns and you may have had enough by then. I hope you haven't given up the treehouse!

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Post by Lancebloke Thu Jun 22, 2023 2:01 pm

No, we have the treehouse still... just needed something to break up the New Orleans to Treehouse drove!

We also had to gone up 1 day in Toronto to go see a Bill's game!
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Post by halfwise Thu Jun 22, 2023 6:06 pm

You'll find the Gulf is like bathwater - after a very dirty giant has been in it. Two nights may be a bit much, there's no palm trees and the sand is grey. But I think the break will be appreciated, and Galveston will have some good seafood.

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Post by halfwise Tue Aug 29, 2023 11:37 pm

Thinking of Lance's plan of a couple days on Galveston beach: I really can't stress enough that this is not white sand and palm trees and cute tourist beach stuff. I'm strongly recommending you ditch the last day at the beach and instead get a hotel near San Antonio's River Walk for one night.

Too bad your tree house is so far from Austin. You really do owe yourself a night on Sixth street: get to the Driskill sometime after 8, hang out along the street until 10 pm, be home by midnight.

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Post by Lancebloke Wed Aug 30, 2023 7:23 am

We are just down the road in Gilchrist but yes, not expecting Barbados... just somewhere on the beach where we can relax with a book for a couple of days.

We will have spent quite a lot of time moving about and this is not really about doing any doing.

Only a couple of weeks to go!!!
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Post by halfwise Wed Sep 13, 2023 11:42 am

By my calculations Lance is packing bags for the big trip. Have a great time and please report from time to time!

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Post by Lancebloke Wed Sep 13, 2023 3:43 pm

No bags packed but leaving for the airport at 5am on Friday. Have the day off work tomorrow to get sorted.

Will check in occasionally.
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Post by halfwise Wed Sep 13, 2023 5:31 pm

Looking at the long term forecast your Tennessee weather should be pleasant. New Orleans will be a bit toasty but that's to be expected this time of year.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Sep 13, 2023 11:47 pm

{{ Have a great trip Lance, as Halfy says keep us up to date on your adventures. }}

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