You are unlikely to meet two more unalike characters in your life. Somehow, we make it work.

L.A. is not LA: A New Orleans Lunch Story.

You don’t know Courtney.  She is an acquaintance of mine.  She is originally from Los Angeles, California, as she will be happy to tell you if you can’t figure it out for yourself.  She and I went to have lunch.

You are unlikely to meet two more unalike characters in your life. Somehow, we make it work.
You are unlikely to meet two more unalike characters in your life. Somehow, we make it work.

We started off at the Business Bar on Freret Street. She had never been and I don’t particularly like the food there—-we agreed to meet at the Business Bar for different reasons. I had a fish taco. They normally come in an order of three but one fish taco is enough for that time of day. They know me there so they accommodate my meager appetite if I don’t want to take leftovers home. I doubt Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, would be interested in these particular cold fish tacos for dinner/supper. They are best when they are warm, fresh out of the skillet.

Armani had the day off.  Blair was tending bar and managing the front of the house.  I like Blair.  I like Armani, too.  This is New Orleans.  I like everybody.  Conviviality is my nature.

The lady from California, Courtney, wasn’t in the mood for anything on the Business Bar’s menu. I can’t blame her. The food isn’t very interesting. The only thing that really tempts me is the lamb chops but I don’t want to spend $26 for lunch. The only reason I had the fish taco was because I wanted something to settle my stomach, you know: medicinal food.

I said to Courtney, “You know what you could use? You should stuff yourself today with a big, juicy bratwurst.”

Her eyes lit up and she rubbed her hands with delight. “I love sausages,” Courtney from California said, “And, I’ll bet you know exactly the best place to get a perfectly served fat brat.”

I know a lot of things about this wonderful city we all call home.

I drove Courtney downtown to Bratz Y’all, on Piety Street, in the Bywater, behind Pizza Delicious.

It was on the other side of the city but it was worth the trip. I took my California lady acquaintance on my motor scooter. It’s just faster that way. The inside of my Californian companions thighs were locked around my lower body as I steered us through hair-trigger, unpredictable traffic.  You make a lot of friends when you drive a motor scooter.  I had to drive so, of course, Courtney sat on the back seat and held on to me for dear life as we careened through lunch hour congestion on the major thoroughfares.  The back streets were a bumpy New Orleans slow motion daydream.  I didn’t want to go so fast that Courtney would be tossed off the back.  I don’t think she would sue me but I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.

On our way to the German restuarant, Courtney said at a stoplight, “You must be loving this, Mr. King.” A person should never overestimate their powers of perception or flatter themselves.  The secret to happiness is low expectations.

This was just another day in my life. Derring-do. Something similar will happen tomorrow.  It always does.  Scoot a few miles on my Vespa and, oh! the things you will see.  I could write a book if I had a mind to.

Courtney and I enjoyed a very nice lunch savored over two acts.

My fish taco was kind of bland and it left me wanting more, so I was happy to go to a heartily hardy German beer garden. They were playing oompah music, my favorite kind.  I ordered a liter of Bitburger, my favorite German beer, the reason for which is another story unrelated to this one.  Ask anyone at the Deutsches Haus at the end of Esplanade Avenue what beer I drink and they will tell you I drink Bitburger, and I don’t usually drink beer anymore.

When I’m in Germany, I drink Bitburger because it is easy to order (“Bitte ein Bit!“), or I drink Astra, which has the best logo in the beer business.  It’s an anchor in a heart.

Your home in New Orleans.

Courtney enjoyed her bratwurst. “I’ve never even heard of this place,” she said.  Like many things worth knowing about, this German beer garden is tucked away where it is hard to find unless you know where to look.  That’s my job, forever out on patrol.

I was still a little peckish after my bland and dry fish taco so I had an order of Schwienbraten for $19.90. It is slow-roasted pork shoulder, marinated in dark beer and spice & herb rub, with sauerkraut & mashed potatoes. We could have had it with spaetzle or dumplings but I love the mashed potatoes at Bratz Y’all. Courtney and I shared the roast pork. There was enough for everyone. We let the couple sitting next to us try a taste. It was a lot of good food.  They gave us a generous portion of their pretzel. A good time was had by all.

All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Good food and tolerable company. What more can an honest and good-hearted person ask for?  I dropped Courtney off back in Carrollton, where she lives, across from Palmer Park. The park is getting a new name soon. Everything is forever changing in this kaleidoscopic city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ask Courtney and she’ll tell you where you should stay when you visit New Orleans. She’ll tell you you should visit like you live here. There are plenty of chain hotels in New Orleans but there is only one La Belle Esplanade. La Belle Esplanade is considered the bestest B&B hotel to stay in the United States for good reasons. When you are ready, you know where to find us. You know where you should stay. You are on the right website. We are here for you.

You belong here
La Belle Esplanade