Through a combination of a beloved tv show, an adventurous brother, the organisational skills of two perfect strangers and a best friend with some annual leave to use up, I found myself in New Orleans for almost two weeks over Halloween. It was the trip of a lifetime to a city whose blend of food, culture, music, history, public nudity, street drinking, tragedy, friendliness and cheap plastic tat on a string was everything I never knew I needed in my life.
So on my last day, making to leave with a heavy heart, I asked myself: could I just… save up some money, take a year off, set my business and my life at home on autopilot and come back to New Orleans? Get a job shucking oysters, find a room in a shotgun shack and a beat up old Chevvy to drive around, go out every night, sample the best jazz in the city, eat at the best restaurants and just get drunk and party every night?
No, clearly not. But I can find a hostel, put plane tickets on a credit card, stay three months on a non-working tourist visa and take the bus everywhere. (Eating at the best restaurants is non-negotiable).
February 1st to April 30th I will be in New Orleans. I’ll be blogging here and posting photos on Facebook and Instagram from the great and notable restaurants in the city, as well as all the best places to sample the local falling-down water.
Meanwhile in Oxford, my best friend/top chef Finn Baird will be running the Smoke and Thyme Supper Clubs while I’m away – more about this in a future blog post.
Come the beginning of May, there will be much celebrating and rejoicing of my triumphant return at a supper club with a thoroughly New Orleans inspired menu.
Laissez les bons temps rouler