Wednesday, January 25, 2012

{Anniversary Trip} New Orleans, the Audubon Zoo and Camellia Grill.

 Sunday morning, we woke up and drove down St. Charles to the Audubon Zoo. We are so lucky to have a wonderful zoo in Memphis and so I love visiting zoos in other cities because I have so much fun.

The New Orleans zoo impressed me with its beauty. More of the palm trees found all over the city, very spread out, lots of green spaces, and very clean. This is the main avenue when you walk in:
 I always love the flamingos (whose beak is upside down in order to sift food out of silt - learned that in trivia, shout out to Ellen, Chandler, Hayley, Lizzy, and Matthew). Also I read on this zoo trip that flamingos get their coloring from the food that they eat.

We caught a few minutes of a Keeper Chat where one of the zoo workers showed us a tarantula and a snake. Afterwards, we caught the best elephant show ever. The zoo's two Asian elephants did all sorts of tricks and the handlers taught us a lot. I didn't realize that both female and male elephants have tusks. Also an Asian elephant's tusks will only be about 6-8 inches, versus almost 2 feet for African elephants. Who knew?
We walked around to a lot of exhibits - here is a komodo dragon in the process of hatching:
 Of course, we saw the giraffes. One of my favorites. These giraffes were very friendly, and this one seemed to pose for our cameras. Here's his Blue Steel:
 Love the beaks on these toucans:
 After walking around and visiting with the animals, we realized we'd worked up an appetite. We headed down to Camellia Grill, which is a hot spot for the college kids in the neighborhood (Tulane and Loyola are down the street), as well as the locals. We ordered based off of recommendations on Urban Spoon.

When you walk up, there will most times be a line out the front door. Don't be turned off by this - they move very efficiently and quickly. There is no "list," just the line. You wait your turn and when you get to the door, a guy asks how many you have and ushers you to one of the waiting booths along the wall. Once a spot opens for you (the only seating is at the bar, and the dining area is small), he shows you to your stool.
 One thing Camellia Grill is known for is their waiters. They are funny, friendly, and fast.
 Urban Spoon told us that the Cherry-Chocolate Slush was a must, so we started with one of those. It was essentially a milk shake. There were small chunks of cherry in the shake. I would rank it one of the best milk shakes I've ever had.
 I got a bacon cheeseburger and Jake got the Doc Brinker's special (a burger on rye with chili and slaw) and we shared onion rings. All came recommended by Urban Spoon and all were very well received.
 One thing I particularly liked were the onion rings. The batter was perfect - not too thick, great taste. The rings almost melted in your mouth.

And with that, I consumed more calories in one sitting than I should have for the weekend. But it was worth it. Next, we spent some time driving around the neighborhood off St. Charles, gawking at beautiful houses and imagining a life where we could buy one of the million dollar plus mansions. We drove past where the Manning brothers went to high school and pretty much just fulfilled the requirement of tourists - driving slow, staring out the window, and being goofy.

Up next, we'd get our genuine New Orleans dinner after much-needed nap at the hotel.

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