I felt defeated yesterday in New Orleans, since we didn't arrive to our hotel room last night in time to watch Dia's performance on "The Voice". Nick let me out of the van in front of the lobby entrance before he parked, handing me room keys in an olympic hand-off as I zoomed past him, suitcase in tow toward the elevators. I slammed the hotel door shut, surfed the channels at lightning speed until I found Carson Daly's familiar grin and heard that obnoxious over-the-top jingle, "This is THE VOICE! Dun, Dun, Dun, DUN!" The God's did not favor me on this fateful night. Twitter informed me, as I gloomily stared at Vikki's performance that I had missed her moment.
To cheer me up I needed some beignets from Cafe Dumound stat! Jonathan, Nick, and I stumbled out into what seemed like a dirty, loud, circus. We found ourselves unprepared for the insanity of a city called New Orleans. We explored the city on a regular Tuesday night in May. I can't imagine what Burbon Street looks like during Mardi Gras. I imagine one wouldn't even be able to see two feet ahead of them due to the flashy colorful beads being thrown around like confetti.
I really enjoy seeking out the quaint mom and pop cafes offering their homemade healthy menus, but lately Yelp has led us astray. Maybe Vegetarian restaurants aren't the main focus of chefs in the deep south where Cajun Jumbalaya and a pound of seasoned crawfish reign supreme. Maybe I should have followed Jonathan's "When in Rome" mantra, and consumed a boat full of oysters along with a tall bubbly glass of Nola Blonde to wash them down. Nick bravely took a nibble of an oyster and immediately passed the remaining morsel of the exotic seafood back to Jonathan. While dabbing a napkin to his lips he soberly let Jonathan know that he could have his "salty booger" back.
Austin spoiled us silly. The first day we dined at East Side Cafe on the north end of town. While we stuffed our faces with cheese grits, vegetarian crepes, and summer squash, our local, long-time friend interrupted our meal to clink his water glass and announce that he felt inclined to share how "fortunate he was to spend time with such great friends." He had just spent the night at the emergency room with an IV stuck in his arm. The verdict? He coughed with too much might. He watches 4-5 free movies a week at The Alamo Drafthouse (my all time favorite theater). He refuses to see any "chick flicks" as part of those free movies, not for the normal reasons a dude avoids them, but because he dreams of finding his soulmate (which he deserves more than any person I know), and he doesn't like to be reminded of his not having crossed paths with her yet. So to conclude the meal, I clinked my glass and toasted to "finding true love."
I convinced Jonathan to attend Black Swan Yoga with me on 5th Street next to Whole Foods Headquarters. We had our asses handed to us during that very ADVANCED class, but that's the reason why I go. We ate yucca chip tuna at Uchi, fried avocado tacos at Torchy's Tacos, and I surprised myself by refraining from ordering a vanilla sprinkled cupcake from the Hey Cupcake trailer on South Congress.
Today we are driving from New Orleans to Orlando where our tour with The Fray continues with a performance at The Hard Rock Cafe. Poor Rob. Watching the only "meat-eater" of our crew try to keep down a black bean, gluten-free burger pained me just as much as I am pained watching my little sisters at home, during an attack of the flu, attempt to swallow the nasty apple-cider vinegar tonic my parents pour down their throats. To be fair, I didn't enjoy the vegetarian options at this particular restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida either, and usually I love me a black bean burger.
I have already read two books during our crazy-long drives. I've listened to multiple Dave Ramsey episodes, slept way too much, and I believe Nick, Jonathan, and I have covered every topic there is to talk about from philosophy to the music industry to the effects of smoking marijuana on dreams.
Now, all we have left to do is stare at the drab scenery out of the van windows and listen to "Alabama Shakes". At Least We've got chocolate chip cookies waiting for us at the DoubleTree Inn in Orlando.