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On the Road with Garrett and Betsy Busch: Day Five.
Part V: New Orleans continued and Lafayette
This morning we woke up to the sound of rain… a sound that Garrett and I are all too unfamiliar with out in Napa. It was coming down and the weather forecast said that it was not going to let up anytime soon. Thank goodness I brought my rain coat… I haven’t had a chance to wear it in years, so I was maybe secretly excited to have rain!
First thing, we met with Tommy from Paul Bologna Wines in the morning and he took us over to Swirl Sensational Wines, where we had had our Friday night tasting event. It was fun to return to a familiar spot and get to explore the shop a little more with less of a crowd.
One of the owners there, Beth, had been out of town for our event so we were eager to meet her and share some of our new releases with her. While we were tasting through the wines, the power went out! I can’t say that we have ever done a tasting in the dark before, but hey, at least we don’t need electricity to drink wine!
Luckily, the power outage only lasted a few minutes and we enjoyed talking shop with Beth and checking out her collection of wines! We even saw some familiar names from the Valpolicella region, quite the selection.
Since we had a little bit of a late start, our next stop was lunch. Just a few blocks away we stopped at Toups Meatery.
Needless to say, Garrett loved the name and the concept: all things meat. I wasn’t super hungry, so I actually settled on a shrimp salad (feeling a little guilty for not getting one of the delicious meat entrees here) that was quite delicious! We wanted to taste the wines with the owner there but due to the lunch hour timing we decided to come back later.
Next we headed back down to the French Quarter and went to the Pelican Club. A great spot right in the heart of it with some amazing items on their menu and a really neat bar.
Next we headed over to Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar. This was a fun stop for me as their business model is a little different than most restaurants we had been to. Rather than having a wine list at the restaurant, wine is on display all over the restaurant and you are welcome to walk around, explore the selection and pick out wine for your table at a great price!
Our last stop for the day in New Orleans was Mr. John’s Steakhouse. Now we all know Garrett loves a good steak, so what’s not to love about pairing Trinitas with steak, especially U.S. Prime Beef!
We were sad to leave New Orleans and all of the beautiful architecture, history and amazing cuisine, but the road was calling us and we rushed to get out before the rush hour traffic. This time we were heading west! Time to head to Lafayette! We made great time and made it to Lafayette in just under 3 hours, you know how Garrett drives!
We arrived at the beautiful home of our friends, Rusty and Bonnie. Unfortunately due to a last minute work trip, Rusty was out of town, but we were excited to get to spend some time with Bonnie. We were immediately greeted by Buddy, a sweet, fluffy 2-year-old labradoodle!
We spent some time hanging around the kitchen counter, enjoying some Trinitas Pinot Noir, and sharing stories with Bonnie. Garrett was particularly excited to learn that Rusty and Bonnie’s son, Will, also loves Legos. Instant friends! As if the amazing Southern hospitality wasn’t enough, Bonnie gave Garrett and I each a gift.
We had a great laugh when we opened the package to find a few t-shirts each with classic Louisiana expressions and images! I particularly loved the t-shirt that says “I-10” on it… as Garrett and I have spent some serious time this week driving back and forth on Interstate 10! I also love the shirt that says “Cher Bebe” since I am learning my Cajun French! Can’t wait to wear these back in Napa! Thank you, Bonnie!
After some appetizers and wine, we were joined by Bonnie’s friend, Ruthie and we headed over to the restaurant, Ruffino’s on the River, where we were joined by two more friends, Lisa and Scott, who actually have visited us out in Napa before! We enjoyed a round of delicious appetizers including the Crab Cheesecake (yes that actually exists), BBQ shrimp and tuna which we paired with some special wines that Garrett brought with, the 2013 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and the 2012 Family Collection Chardonnay! We probably could have stopped there but of course we didn’t! For my entrée I tried the red snapper after being inspired by learning about the local fishing scene in the gulf and Scott showed me pictures of his own successful spearfishing adventures. The fish was delicious and I also stole a few bites of Garrett’s steak to pair perfectly with the 2009 Meritage and 2012 Martin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon that we brought with! The grand finale was the cotton candy that the waitress brought to the table to end the night… a most unique pairing with the wine!
We realized that we were out of wine and decided it was time to head back to the house for a night cap, or two, or three… We had been talking at dinner about Scott’s favorite type of wine, single varietal Cabernet Francs, and so of course we had to share some Cabernet Francis with the group! Luckily Garrett still had one bottle in his bag so we opened that up and also pulled out our new 2012 Merlot, why not?!
Needless to say, we had a fun night with great friends in Lafayette! I can’t wait to come back!
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
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