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!
(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.
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:
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!