October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I did quite a bit of running around this weekend and visiting with my mom and brother. Frank and I also went to the Palms Saturday night to see Louis CK perform at the Pearl.

Years ago, we were big fans of "Lucky Louie" and we currently love "Louie" on FX. This was our first time seeing him live. He had no opening act, "he'd suck anyway," he said. He performed about 90 minutes, coming back for an encore, he said "I'll save myself $20,000 (beating at tables) and give you a few more minutes."

The show was funny. Supposedly, it was new material and it'll be out soon. I'm happy we saw him perform. However, it's doubtful we'd spend the coin to see him again.

The Palms was pretty tame with crowds and costumes. I figured majority of folks must be on the strip or at the Fetish & Fantasy ball. The ball moved from Hard Rock to South Point this year. Mike and my mom went over to people watch. Mike said that too was tame. Between the larger space and strict costume policies - no masks, weapons/ props, nudity, etc. it was pretty lame compared to the chaos at Hard Rock a couple years ago. They spent the rest of the night on Fremont. They enjoyed the crowds better there.

Hopefully, the strip saw their share of characters. Halloween has always been an awesome time in Las Vegas. I'd hate to see that change.

October 28, 2011

Um. Wow.

Baseball has left me speechless this season. Every time I think there can't possibly be a more exciting game, there is another.

I've been completely impartial for the whole post season, but wow. I cannot imagine the excitement Cardinals fans felt last night. I hope they carry that positive energy to tonight's game 7. I'd like to see St Louis win. Have you heard about the guy who bet $250 for the Cards to win the World Series at 999-1 odds, back in September, at MGM Grand? That's who I am rooting for. A win like that will be great for Las Vegas and Nevada sportsbooks (even if MGM takes the hit, it's great publicity).

I hope Texas makes St. Louis work for it. I'd love to see another nail biter to seal this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G season.

October 26, 2011

Are you ready boot? Start walkin'

Tired of this ankle saga yet? Yeah, me too.

In short, I met with the Ortho yesterday. I like that he sat with me and looked at the MRI images. Each one, he pointed to show what was normal and what was not. Based on my symptoms, he was quite pleased with the MRI results. With time and proper treatment, a complete recovery is expected. I have thickening of the achilles tendon, thinning of the ATF ligament and swelling & fluid around the peroneal tendon.

I believed it was my peroneal tendon that was giving me grief. That's where the majority of the pain is. It's where I swell most. It's where it's tender to the touch. The podiatrist completely dismissed it since it was not on the MRI report. I do not believe he ever reviewed the actual images.

After reviewing the images, and an exam, the ortho reccommended 3 weeks in the boot, to start - more depending, to immobolize the tendon. No PT or daily stretches, at most I can cycle with minimal impact. He believes the sprain was traumatic given my lengthy healing process and current symptoms. Also, he thinks PT started too early. He says that's often the case. Tendon issues like mine can swell for 3-4 months on average. They take time, even when treated spot on.

I made mention of the cortisone shot and he said they should be performed in a radiologists office with ultrasound so be certain that the proper injection point is located. If injected into the tendon it can cause tendon weakness. I wish I was informed before having my cortisone injection in the podiatrist's office. Lessoned learned, research before agreeing to most anything.

My boot had enough miles to get around San Diego, let's hope there's more left for San Francisco.

October 25, 2011


How bored does one have to be to wiki Tuesday?

In case you were dying to know, it's the day of the week occurring after Monday and before Wednesday. You're welcome.

There is little to report. I'm feeling stuck in a rut. Frank is back on a weight loss kick. A friendly wager with a co-worker is his motivation. I'm along for the ride. I need to shed ten pounds, eight of which, I've put on in the last 10 weeks while I've been a gimp. I can't get my heart rate high enough to burn any calories. Time on the treadmill and bike has zero resistance and little speed. There isn't much I can do without my ankle feeling like it's going to give out. What I can do usually results in it rebelling with swelling and achiness. Moving more is pretty futile right now, so eating less must be the answer. Today, I see the ortho for a second opinion. I'm hopeful that'll lift my spirits and renew my energy to deal.

Hmmm, what else?

I ordered the Sriracha cookbook. It's a favorite condiment and after a chat with Frank about needing more uses for it, I bought it on Friday. It arrived yesterday. Wicked fast free delivery from Amazon, by the way. One recipe is for sriracha butter, the coinciding tip is to melt the butter over popcorn and top it with parmigiano-reggiano. It sounded so good! Since we're counting calories, we skipped the butter and cheese, but popcorn and sriracha is indeed a winner.

This weekend Frank downloaded the Leroy's Betting Mobile App. It won't work on my phone since I'm with Boost, but apparently it works with every other major carrier. The app puts straight bets, parlays, teasers, in game betting, and more all at your fingertips. Sunday it worked well. He found placing halftime bets to be favorable. Yesterday, he had a parlay that needed the Ravens to cover to win $320. He attempted to hedge it, but the app failed to verify his location, despite dancing around outside, arm held up to sky to better transmit his position; it would not let him place the bet. I thought maybe it was sign he didn't need it. I was wrong. What a poor showing, I'm not sure I've ever seen so many loose balls. Lose.

In hopes to make this day pass a little quicker, humor me. If you could pick one fictional TV show hangout what would it be?

My pick? Paddy's Pub from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

October 21, 2011

"Join Us"

Yesterday while scanning my google reader I came across a blurb from the LV Weekly that Evil Dead The Musical was playing at Onyx Theater. Onyx Theater? Hmmm, I couldn't place it. A quick search revealed it was over on the eastside in the commercial center plaza near the Green Door. The theater is attached to The Rack a fetish clothing store. We bought our tickets, only $15 each, and had a look around. Lots of leather, fetish wear, some gay porn and accessories.

The doors opened and we were able to take our seats. We had no expectations for the show, I hadn't heard a peep about it until reading the review yesterday afternoon. Being big fans of Army of Darkness we had to check it out. It was awesome. Clever, campy, hilarious and absolutely bloody. I thought only the splatter zone was in range of blood but nope, no one in the theater is safe. Of course, I wore white. Not smart. It was completely spattered when we left. It took a whole stain stick when I got home, when I pulled it out of the washer this morning it was brightly white no trace of blood. Best money we've spent in a while. Great production! It can be added to my list of favorite musicals. I needed a fun night out. Evil Dead The Musical delivered.

It wasn't til this morning that I learned that the funds needed to produce the show came from pledges made on Facebook. Once their goal of $3000 was reached director Sirc Michaels was able to bring the cult classic to the intimate 98-seat Onyx theater. The cast is great, especial Ben Stobber as Ash. I loved the transformation from S-Mart employee to superhero. Bruce Campell was channeled. My fond memories for the Sam Raimi trilogy flooded back and I was quoting the lines from Army of Darkness right along with Ash. It was "groovy", so go see who's evil now and check out Evil Dead The Musical. The show runs through October 31. Those of you not in Vegas should check local listings, I've heard other cities are currently running the production as well.

October 20, 2011

The saga continues

Yesterday's appointment with the podiatrist provided me with good news and bad news. The good? He believes there is nothing keeping me from recovering. The bad? He can't "fix" it. It will take time. The MRI showed I have a chronic ankle sprain with thinning of the anterior talofibular ligament (apparently, the tendon is ok. That was thought to be the issue before). He suggests physical therapy. This is after 6 weeks of therapy and being told at the last appointment that he thought I wasn't responding to treatment.

I asked about future sprains. He says they are likely and a rupture is possible. He recommended I wear an ankle brace.

That's that, then? What about the swelling and bruising? "Not sure," he says, then adds "Keep it elevated, iced and continue to take ibruprofen."

Nothing else can be done? "I can give you a cortisone injection." HELL NO!

It is what is. I leave. Today, I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankles. Tomorrow, I pick up Xrays and MRI films. Tuesday, I learn more.

October 19, 2011


So, this lovely ankle of mine is one stubborn pain in my... foot. After New Orleans, I did three more sessions of physical therapy. Swelling and bruising continued. I even started popping more blood vessels, my physical therapist thought it was due to the swelling. I kept up my dose of Ibuprofen 3x/day and I was seeing no improvement.

I had my follow up appointment with my doctor, last I was there was when I got the cortisone injection. I went in knowing something wasn't right. It had been over 8 weeks since my sprain and improvement was minimal. Most sprains heal in 6 weeks. I supposedly had a minor sprain. Yet, here I was, a mess: swollen, bruised and tender to the touch. I haven't made strides in PT, the cortisone shot was no help AT ALL. I wanted a MRI. Before I could even ask for one, my doctor suggested that was the next step. I was relieved. I was concerned I'd have to seek out another doctor at start at square one. He said the MRI will catch whatever he's missing, and we'll go from there. If the MRI comes back normal, all he can do is cast me to give the tendon time to heal. He's avoided doing it so far for obvious reasons, but since I haven't responded to other treatments that would be the next step. He also suggested I go to PT therapy twice a week, because I wasn't benefiting from the 3x/wk routine. I chose to cancel all my appts until I got results back from my MRI.

Swelling has reduced greatly since I stopped Physical Therapy. In turn, the discomfort has been far less. Achiness remains, as does the tenderness, and I still can't walk down stairs normally, but the reduced swelling is welcomed.

I had the MRI done last week. I see my doctor today for the results. I'm nervous, but anxious to find out what's up so I can get back to normal. I'm coming up on 10 weeks of gimpiness and to say I'm over it is an understatement.

I am fearful of what's next. November has shaped up to be extremely busy - San Francisco, Amy and Nicky's visit, Dirty Heads concert, my dad's visit, Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, and the weekend in Oakland/San Francisco. I need to be mobile.

October 18, 2011

Giggles & Chaos

My sister and nephew's trip is less than a month away. For two weeks, my mom will have all three of her kids in the same state. It's been a long time since we've all been together. We've been looking forward to their visit. We miss the giggles and chaos that special little boy brings. It's hard to believe Nicky is going to be five in three short weeks. It does not feel like that long ago he was wee, snuggled on my shoulder in his little turkey outfit for Thanksgiving. I'm guessing this year it'll be hard for him to sit still. I'm betting there is so much going on in that mind of his. I'm anxious to see how much he's grown, and just to have a conversation with him. He's not too chatty on the phone these days. He always seems to have an excuse not to talk... "I'm too busy" or "I'm not in the mood" are what I hear most often. When Amy can wrangle him to talk, I'm lucky to get a few sentences out of him. So, it'll be nice to have face to face time.

It's been great spending time with Mike, it'll be nice to get time with my sister too. There might be seven and nine years between us, but we've always been pretty close despite the age gap. I'm always thankful for the time we can share together.

Next month, my dad is also coming to visit. This will be his second time visiting since I made Vegas home. The first was for our wedding. It was so chaotic, then, his visit was a whirlwind. He'll fly out a week after Amy and Nicky, and he'll be staying for a week. We'll all be together for Thanksgiving. We haven't had a holiday together since 1998. It'll be a first with Frank and Nicky. Hopefully, my dinner will come together as good as previous years. I'll have lots of mouths to feed, especially if Frank's side can join us again.

It's funny how my dad's trip came to be. It's the Raiders vs. Bears that's bringing him out west. Years ago, we had the idea of buying him tickets to see a Bears game, but he'd rather see the Bears at Raiders where it'd be warmer. He's been a Raiders fan as long as I can remember. I'm not sure how that came to be, it just always was. The match up is finally on the schedule Thanksgiving weekend. Mike, Amy, dad and me are going to drive up to San Francisco. See the sights on Saturday and then drive over to Oakland for the game on Sunday. Mom will stay home with Nicky. Frank might join us if we can snag cheap airfare and he can finagle time off, which isn't looking too good right now.

This should be one of those "life's greatest moments" for my dad. He's not one to get terribly excited for much, but Amy tells me he's excited for this. I figure it's the equivalent to when I flew out Mike, Amy and Nicky as a surprise for my mom's 50th. That had her beaming from ear to ear. I'd like to share an experience like that with my dad.

November has much to look forward to.

October 17, 2011

Rock Crawling & Desert Riding

This weekend we got out to enjoy fresh air and desert riding. We met up with old friends (VV4W) for a pre-run for Hump & Bump. We used to do runs with these guys regularly in the Jimmy. They taught me the difference between off-roading and 4-wheeling. We loved rock crawling. Maybe someday we'll be flush with cash and we'll get the Jimmy in tip top shape to start crawling again. In the meantime, we love the RZR, we can't climb rocks like we did, but we make up for it with speed. I missed riding, boy, oh boy, it's gonna be a long winter! I'd like to fast forward football season so we can just get out there and play, but anyway...

The Jeeps ran a couple trails in Logandale, Rock Bottom and The Shredder. We followed taking the bypasses. Watching rock crawlers is nearly as fun as navigating. Adrenaline doesn't pump the same, but there is also no worry about breaking your rig. We enjoyed sitting back and watching them do their thing. I took photos and Frank captured video. In between trails, we'd zip around for our own fun. Then, after the Jeeps went home for the day we hit the dunes and flew through the wash. Good times!

October 12, 2011

October StrEATs

Saturday night we went downtown for StrEATs. This month's food truck collection included trucks we haven't tried. Such as Sausagefest, Tastybunz and Sin City Wings.

We hit up Sausagefest first. With our southside roots, we couldn't help but put the Polish and Hot Italian to the test. Both measured up! I only wish the giardineria that they top the Italian with was hot. The Vietnamese rolls untraditional, but they totally work. It's a great bun to meat ratio. It's soft and chewy yet strong enough to hold all the tasty bites inside. The fries have skins and are fried crisp just like we could get back home, too. Rock on, Sausagefest! We'll be back for more.

Next up was Sin City Wings, I wanted to love it but I didn't. They drew a large crowd. After lengthy wait, we had grub in hand. I don't often like chicken on the bone, so we went with tenders. We couldn't decide on a sauce so we sprung for a second sauce for 50 cents and they left them naked. Armed with Feinberg and Hot Buffalo sauce we dug in.

The Hot Buffalo sauce was not terribly hot or tasty. After one dunk we stuck with the Feinberg, the spicy apricot was the way to go. However, while the breading is crisp is too thick. I prefer I much lighter coating. The homemade ranch is very watery and no better than most bottled versions. The addition of macaroni salad (watery) and bread (dry) seems like carb overkill. It seem like an afterthought, rather than a balanced combo.

Tastybunz was our last stop. We were pretty full but we saved enough room for the hot pig bun with jalapenos and pancetta and an order of the nutty professor with white chocolate and carmel sauce.

There are far more menu items to sample, but first impressions were promising. We liked the bun, it was a tasty snack you don't get every day. The nutty professor? Goodness, I'm in love. Nutter Butters are my favorite store bought cookie, I never once thought about deep frying them, but I'm glad TastyBunz did. I'm hooked.

Tasty Bunz on Urbanspoon

October 11, 2011

The Price of Freedom

Frank’s cousin and girlfriend were picking us up Tuesday morning at 9:30. We had to shower, dress and pack beforehand. We left our luggage with the bell desk. Mel and Jen arrived soon after. They took us to Elizabeth’s for breakfast which is not far from their house in Bywater. Elizabeth’s is known for Praline Bacon, and after one bite it’s easy to understand why. It’s smoky and savory with sweetness from what I believe is brown sugar. We also had grits and sausage biscuits and gravy. It was my first time having grits, there must be a pound of butter melted in there, but they were pretty tasty with Crystal hot sauce. I’ve never been a fan of biscuits and gravy, but I did like their biscuits they were more moist than most.

After breakfast, we went back to Mel & Jen’s place; they’re renting a shotgun home that was built in the 1740’s. Coming from Vegas, that’s hard to wrap my mind around. It was a cute home with a ton of character. The kitchen has reclaimed wood from old tug boats that ran down the Mississippi. Each of the shotgun homes was painted a variety of bright colors. Shutters were all a bit off kilter from weathering a few hundred years’ worth of storms. I’m glad we stopped by to see it.

Jen hung back at the house, while Mel drove us to the WWII museum. On the way, she pointed out the bridge that crosses over to the 9th ward, which was the area most affected by Katrina. Can you believe people are still waiting for FEMA money? Sad. Jen was telling us the school where she teaches is still using temporary trailers for classrooms. They are anticipating FEMA money soon, but rather than build an actual school the talk is they’ll be getting “nicer” trailers instead. Unreal.

We said, “Goodbye” to Mel and bought our tickets for the WWII museum. There is a movie to watch beforehand in a building across the street. This is also where John Besh’s American Sector is located. I wanted to try August, but AS was more convenient. Besh is one of the few celebrity chefs that haven’t hit Las Vegas, so trying one of his restaurants was a must for me.

We ordered crabmeat pies and creole corned beef. The crabmeat pies were best with ground mustard. The mustard helped cut the richness. The corned beef was extremely sweet like it had been cooked in root beer or Coke. Neither dish was bad, but they didn’t wow us either. The house made pickles to start were really good, though.

Timing worked out perfectly, we finished our snack and lined up for the WWII film, Beyond All Boundaries. It’s 4D, between that and the collection of actual accounts it was really well done. We walked over to the museum and walked the exhibits. It’s has a nice layout with a mix of storyboards, short films, audio and artifacts. Towards the end we passed a WWII vet that was visiting, overhearing his accounts was chilling. The museum is great reminder of the challenges our country faced and what we were able to overcome, and all that was sacrificed for the freedoms we have today. We were the youngest visitors by far. That saddened me.

After the museum, we walked over to Cochon Butcher. It was one place that wasn’t Cajun/Creole that I just had to try. It’s located in the Warehouse District, which seems to be one area of NOLA’s undergoing gentrification. We ordered the duck pastrami slider and the Gambino sandwich cotto salami, sopressata, capicola and fresh herb vinaigrette. Our order took forever, but it was worth the wait. Even if I did have to stare at dirty bare feet… One last rant, before I wrap this up, what’s the deal with all the bare feet? There’s no beach! We saw people all over the city without shoes… on Bourbon, Decatur, Jogger on St. Charles, this lady in Cochon Butcher. Gah. Gross. Back to the sandwiches, the sliders were more like grilled cheese. Salty, grilled cheese. The duck on its own was really tasty, I wish it was paired with a less salty cheese because it was overpowering. The Gambino was a yummy Italian mix, the bread was equal to the rest of its parts. I was appreciative.

We left Cochon Butcher and walked back to the Quarter via Tchoupitoulas St. It was an enjoyable stroll.


Couldn't leave without a photo of one of the hundreds of Popeye's in NOLA.

Or some random beads strewn about.

We returned to the hotel, with nothing left that we had to see and bellies too full to eat anymore, we called for a taxi and went to the airport. I didn’t realize the taxi ride was a flat fee of $33, I thought we’d save money by beating rush hour, but it mattered none. Getting back home was a breeze. The flight back had 50 or so people so there was plenty of room. We had a beautiful sunset when leaving MSY the orange glow reflecting off the swamps below was breathtaking. It was a nice send off.

We had heard Vegas had been inundated with storms while we were away, but I didn’t expect the cool air. The day before we left for NOLA it was triple digits, it was 67 degrees when we got home Tuesday night. That’s one helluva swing. Who’s the Grinch that stole summer?

October 10, 2011

Gone Swampin'

Monday we were up early, we wanted to grab breakfast before the tour bus picked us up at 8 o’clock. Frank went off in search of grub while I got ready. He came back with a sausage biscuit and croissant from PJ’s. He thought it’d be better than McDonald’s or Krystal. Sad to say but I think Mickey D’s might have been best.

We went down to wait for our ride to the swamp. We had no idea what to expect, when I made the reservation all I received was a confirmation email of the 9:40am tour with 8am pick up. 15 minutes went by and we were beginning to wonder if someone was coming for us. I called Louisiana Tour Company and I was told “no need to worry, sweet baby girl.”

We watched the water trucks come and go and the sidewalks had been hosed by the time our driver arrived. It was a nice bus, with a/c that worked too well on this cool morning. We made our rounds to the remaining hotels and then we were off to the Bayou.

It was wild to see the swamp people’s homes and piers along the road side. I’ve seen sheds larger than these shacks. It’s definitely a different way of life. I was uncertain what we were in for when it came to the airboat swamp tour. But once we came upon the Barataria swamp, homes were just what you’d expect. It looked like a neighborhood in any other city… only this one is surrounded by swamp.

We waited to board our airboat. There were two groups taken out: five in our boat and four in the other. We had two single ladies that became fast friends because they were both scared of… well, pretty much everything. I shared the row with them, a couple from New Zealand rode in front and Frank was in back with our Captain, Captain Be-bop. Before long we were off on our adventure.

The airboat topped out about 35 mph, you get a nice breeze and surprisingly you don’t get wet. Our first stop was to see Marshmallow Bob. He got his name from a tourist, named Bob, who refused to stay seated and fell overboard and landed on the marshmallow loving alligator.

I love seeing animals in their natural habitat so this was a real treat.

We continued on and enjoyed the ride and Captain Be-bop taught us all about life in the swamp. He’s fourth generation swamper. He spent his youth catching snakes and gators. It was surprising to hear he had a fear of spiders. But when I learned they were camel spiders and brown recluse I understood. He taught us swamp survival skills and about the plants that are native to the area and those that are not.

We came to the marsh and we learned that this is where the alligators come to lay eggs. The alligator farmers – that aid in the keeping the gators from being extinct – hire the swampers to collect the eggs each spring. Captain Be-bop was a wealth of information and welcomed our questions. He brought out his pet baby gator for us to hold. Then, he demonstrated that you can easily lull a gator to sleep by rubbing the top of his head.

Further along the tour we saw a couple more gators, one was a big boy about 12 feet. He wasn’t interested in snacking on marshmallows but he did come over and say hi. Meanwhile, a smaller gator came over for a snack. They are really beautiful creatures. I’m glad we were able to experience close encounters in their natural habitat.

The tour was over much too soon. We really enjoyed our time out. It was a highlight of our trip. If I ever return to NOLA I hope to spend more time swampin’. We waited for the tour bus to take us back to the quarter. Rather than dropping us off at our hotel, we joined others and were dropped off at Jackson Square.

We were in search of lunch. My original plan had us at August or Commander’s Palace, but we didn’t get back early enough to take advantage of the lunch specials. The list of eats I compiled before the trip were scratched when we tired of fried foods and learned we didn’t much care for $10-$15 po-boys. So much for a poor man’s food!? That was really the case across the board. Take red beans and rice for example, can you get much cheaper? These restaurants are making a killing at $15 for an entrée.

But I digress, we needed food, we grew tired of wandering so we went back to Coops Place. We started with the Duck Quesadilla this time, then Frank ordered Red Beans and Rice with two pieces of Fried Chicken. I had the shrimp creole.

Our meal was tasty, we really enjoyed the Duck Quesadilla. It was definitely different and it offered a nice blend of sweet heat. The Red Beans and Rice weren’t as good as Saturday night’s. Different chef, maybe? The Shrimp Creole and Fried Chicken were just as good, however.

We went to Café Du Monde for dessert. I was told it’s an absolute must. It wasn’t clear how to order, we took a seat but no one came. Just as we were about to give up a waiter asked if we had been helped? “No.” He sent a waitress over. We ordered Café Au Lait and beignets.

Thankfully, they brought water too. The coffee was much too hot to drink and it’s much too rich and sugary without something to wash it down. I know it’s probably sacrilege to say, but I didn’t much care for them. But I'm sure there's a great Charlie Sheen joke to be had with all that powdered sugar.

We walked over to Jackson Square next. I took photos and we sat under a gorgeous Oak Tree while Frank drank his coffee. I took a sip, it was too sweet and milky for me. I like coffee black on the rare occasion I drink it.

I wanted to ride the streetcars so we made our way over to the Riverfront line. We saw Satan picnicking while we boarded. Glad to see he was enjoying the weather, too.

The Jazzy pass for unlimited rides is $3 and I don’t understand why more people don’t go that route considering a one-way ride is $1.25. We rode down to the Canal line and took it to its end at the Cemeteries. I wanted to see what it was like to see tombs rather than being buried six feet under. We had a leisurely stroll through the cemetery. Entire families were buried in each plot. I’ve heard of such a thing, but it was the first time I had really seen it.

We took the Canal streetcar back to the quarter to catch the St. Charles line. There it was! That awful stench. You forget how horrid it is until you leave and come back to it. We rode down St. Charles, back Uptown, the part of NOLA I really enjoyed.

I was already hungry, rice just does not keep me full for long. Frank suggested we find something around the college, “there must be good food.” He ran the app to see what’s nearby… a hundred different pizza places. No dice. He then, turned up the St. James Cheese Company. We had a winner. We were missing cheese. We had to get back on the streetcar to get there and then walk a couple blocks, but it was well worth the effort. We came upon a cute little neighborhood with tree lined streets dotted with mom and pop shops. That’s one of the greatest things about NOLA. Corporate chains haven’t taken over the market place – well, except for the Popeye’s on nearly every corner. The little guy is still thriving.

We ordered two sandwiches at St James: the Cuisimano with Italian meats and the Beecher’s Cheddar with turkey, basil, tomato and avocado. I ordered the house salad with mine which was arugula with light vinaigrette and Frank tried the house chips.

I was so happy to bite into green with crunch. Vegetables I had been eating had been cooked down and had no bite left. The chips were good, too. Crunchy, not greasy. The sandwiches were top notch except for the bread. It was too dense and overpowered the tasty fresh toppings. I ate mine open faced and it proved to provide a better balance of ingredients.

We walked back to the St Charles line and rode it down to Bourbon Street. We walked back to the hotel and rested a bit. We had been going non-stop all day. We showered and napped a bit before heading back out. We popped in and out of a few bars looking for the ideal one to enjoy MNF and a couple beers. Monday night football is not a draw in New Orleans. We bellied up to the bar at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. We ordered an Abita Wheat and Amber. I was surprised the Wheat was actually a lager, I liked it quite a bit and switched to it. We stayed until halftime. When the bartender heard we were from Vegas he suggested we go to the Frenchman’s Street for something we can’t get back home. He said Bourbon Street was for frat boys and this was where it was at. It sounded great so we moseyed on over.

We enjoy live music, but the overall vibe was not one we cared for. At the very least it felt like we needed whacky tobacky to fit in. I was hungry yet again and we didn’t see a spot for grub so we bailed and found ourselves back near Jackson’s Square only majority of the places were closed. Including the one spot, I thought we might check out with a shrimp and crab boil, even if it had less than stellar reviews. Frank remembered a Sports Bar we tried to get into on Sunday, but was packed to the gills so we didn’t stay. He suggested we go there, watch the rest of the game and grab a bite. I had no better idea and I was tired of walking. My ankle was screaming for rest.

The place was Huck Finn’s and it was dead. We were the only customers. Probably not a good sign, but they had the game on and the kitchen was serving food. We hadn’t yet tried fried pickles so we got an order of those to start. They didn’t come with a sauce so Frank made his own with ketchup and Tabasco. I gotta say it wasn’t bad.

As for the entrees, Frank had a hankering for Louisiana hot sausage all trip and finally found it on a menu. He got the hot sausage po-boy. It wasn’t hot nor very good sausage.

I wanted to try alligator and I finally found it, too. I had the sautéed alligator in a spicy Cajun sauce with tomatoes, jalapenos, sautéed onions, bell peppers and celery.

The flavor of the medley was fine, but the gator? Holy moly was it dry. It does in fact taste like chicken. Really, really, dry chicken. We paid the tab and wandered back out to the streets of the Quarter.

No bars grabbed us. Frank suggested we get a daiquiri. When in Rome, right? I forget which one we went into but we sampled a couple flavors. It was only the margarita that I could choke down. I just can deal with that hard alcohol mixed with sugary sweetness. He bought the smallest they had which was still $9. We walked Bourbon Street for one last time. The neon reminded me of home, but really it only made me miss it. I did not like the hawkers or the drunks. The talent to bring you in the clubs was laughable. I’ve been in Las Vegas so long, I’m totally jaded when it comes to half naked women. And the smell? I just couldn’t get past it. I cannot even fathom how bad it must be on a hot & humid day. I did learn that Mermaids and La Bayou on Fremont St are pretty authentic. They’ve been able to replicate (albeit to a lesser degree) the rank stench of alcohol induced vomit and bleach found all over Bourbon Street. Frank turned to me and asked, “Where to?” It mattered none to me. I was over it. I wished I could handle getting back out to Magazine Street, because I liked what I saw there and it would’ve been nice to explore. But I couldn’t rely on my feet to get me there. My ankle was simply too pissed. Needless to say we returned to the hotel.