Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Orleans Day 2

After we digested the big breakfast we had yesterday morning, the whole gang headed out to the hotel pool to relax for a few hours. Before changing into our swimsuits, though, Nicole and I decided to take advantage of the hotel gym and get in a quick sweaty workout. I had packed my gym clothes but was really debating whether I felt like going, so I was glad to have Nicole there to push me. It really helped to have a buddy there to get me movin'!

The gym was actually quite large and had a lot of machines. We each completed a 30 minute run on the treadmills before doing a mini circuit workout.

Our "mini circuit" looked like this:

- 30 crunches on the stability ball
- 10 squats
- 10 push-ups

We completed the circuit three times before calling it a day. I admit my push-ups were the girly kind, but it's better than nothing and my arms still felt the burn. Nicole and I agreed we felt a lot better after getting a workout in, and we were charged up for the rest of the day!

After a quick change, it was pool time! The whole group was there, and we enjoyed fresh minty mojitos while chatting and letting our legs dangle in the water. 

A group of people hanging out at the pool even sent over a bottle of champagne to congratulate Lindsay on her upcoming wedding, which we happily passed around. So nice!

A few hours of drinking mojitos in the sun and we were all ready for a break and some food. Some of the group went back to Cafe Beignet for lunch and then to the park to see some local artists, but Nicole, Cathleen and I wanted to try a new restaurant, so we went for a long walk down Canal Street to check out  some places near the water. 

Love those palm trees! We eventually ended up at the Riverwalk, which I was pretty excited about since it's the scene of one of my favorite movies of all time, The Pelican Brief with Julia Roberts. An oldie but goodie!

We settled on the first restaurant in the square since it featured fresh seafood, live music and tables right on the water. And a giant lobster.

I am seriously in love with how much live music there is in New Orleans. It makes everything that much more enjoyable.

While we perused the menu, we sipped on some orange screwdrivers. It's vacation after all! ;-) We originally ordered 007s (orange vodka, orange juice and 7-Up), but the bartender was confused and brought us Seagram & 7...big difference. I nearly gagged when I took a sip and realized it was whiskey. Not my thing! Thankfully they brought us a new round right away.

Cathleen was on a mission to try some alligator in New Orleans, so when we spotted Alligator Bites on the appetizer menu, it was a no brainer. 

The alligator was spicy and had a decent texture. It was especially good dipped in the restaurant's homemade spicy remoulade. I wouldn't say it was my favorite thing ever, but I'm glad I tasted it. I'm a pescatarian, but I'm not sure where reptiles fall on the spectrum; since they live most of their lives in the water, I figured I'd give it a pass. ;-)

I really wanted to have an oyster po'boy at some point during the trip, so I ordered that while Nicole and Cath each ordered a bowl of the seafood gumbo and we all tried bites of everything.

How enormous is that sandwich? It was packed with breaded oysters, shredded cabbage, tomatoes and pickles. I ate a little less than half the sandwich before I abandoned the bread and fillings and we just ate the oysters. They were the real stars anyway, and the bread was just making me full. The oysters were super fresh, tender and sweet. Yum!

The gumbo was also really good. It was rich and full of seafood flavor since it was cooked with crawfish and shrimp.

We were pretty full after lunch, so the long walk back to the hotel did us good. I had such a great time hanging out with the girls the whole day; whenever we're together, we laugh nonstop until our bellies hurt and there always ends up being a "vacation catch-phrase" that gets used constantly during the trip. We've been on quite a few vacations together, and we can characterize each of them by a single catch phrase. No matter how old we get or how many responsibilities we have, I think it's really important to take a weekend once in a while just to reconnect and unwind together. I hope we do this for years to come!

Once we got back to the hotel, we had just enough time to relax for a few minutes before it was time to start getting ready for the evening festivities. A perfect day on vacation, for sure!

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