Day 9 – Good Voodoo

Mobile, AL – New Orleans, LA

189 miles

I’m headed to New Orleans today. I could take I-10 as a straight shot and save some time, but I’ve always wanted to explore the Gulf region, especially after the devastation of Katrina and the oil spill.

Mostly I rode on Rt. 90 West which ran about 2 miles in from the coast. But I kept veering south on smaller roads to find some mythical beach road that might hug the coast. What I did find was a lot of frustrating dead ends, but at one point I did finally find a road to the beach which made me feel somewhat triumphant.

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Soon I crossed into Mississippi and found a road that ran along the beaches near Biloxi. I have to say that I was surprised both how nice the beaches were, but also how deserted. Now for all I know, there were hypodermic needles all over the place or maybe some Cajun sea monster had been recently reported, but very few people were on the beach.

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I was also amazed to see so much beachfront real estate laying vacant, abandoned or for sale. It was a little sad, despite being scenic and getting to ride along the beach.

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Things changed when I crossed over into Louisiana. There was an instant sense of being in the bayou, and shrimping boats could be seen from the road departing through the tributaries. Being surrounded by nature was a lot more comforting than the urban decline in Mississippi. There were some really beautiful stretches coming into New Orleans.

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I ended my day by hunting for Mosca’s Restaurant. This was another place in New York Magazine’s 50 State Dinners and was located on a particularly deserted stretch of industrial highway 30 minutes outside New Orleans.

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I pulled in, removed my helmet and tank bag and started to walk to the entrance. There was already an awkward crowd that had congregated outside the door.

“Do you have a reservation?” one of the men gruffly asked me.

“Ummm…No.”

“Well, they’re only letting people in with a reservation.”

“But I drove my motorcycle all the way from New York to try this place.”

“Yeah, well…so did we.”

I wasn’t going to be deterred by a group of sarcastic disgruntled suburbanites that didn’t understand the epic nature of my journey, and how hungry I was. Just as I walked in, the waitress was carrying a sign to post on the door saying there were ONLY taking people in with reservations.

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I proceeded to beg the waitress to let me sit at the bar, sit in the bathroom, sit anywhere that I could have dinner at their lovely restaurant that I had heard so much about and travelled so far to see. Maybe it was the vaguely pathetic look on my red, overheated face. Maybe it was fact that I was literally dripping sweat in her foyer, but she finally relented.

“I can’t let you eat at the bar, but…”

“I’ll take anything.”

“I could make you like a makeshift table, but it would be really crappy.”

“I’ll take crappy!”

“Okayyyy.”

The kind waitress then proceeded to take the table that was being used to hold napkins and silverware, threw a tablecloth over it, and stuck it against the wall. “Perfect!” I said. That being said, the table looked like something the Lollypop Gang might use for Thankgiving Dinner. The undersized dimensions make me look like I’m an overgrown fat giant feasting in the Land of the Little People. But giants can’t be choosers.

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Mosca’s is a blend of Italian & Cajun food. Their speciality is a pan roasted oyster stew topped with homemade bread crumbs, garlic and spices with a secret sauce (there’s always a secret sauce). They serve it with a small side of pasta to dip in and pair with the oysters. Let me say this: it works. So glad I got to eat there. I feel like this is the New Orleans equivalent of Rao’s and I was a fortunate to get a peek inside.

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Heading off to the French Quarter for two nights in a proper hotel. Yessssss!

WHAT I LEARNED / DISCOVERED TODAY: This trip has good voodoo. People seem to want to help. Trust the trip. And, I shouldn’t eat so much garlic.  Ungh.

Comments

  1. Your mini table is cracking me up. GREAT photo.

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