WARNING: The following article
has NOTHING to do
with the Great Northern Railway. It's just a fun trip
Baolu and your intrepid webmaster Lindsay took to the
Crescent City - New Orleans, Louisiana in 2013.
The Great Northern in New Orleans
Saturday, March 16th
(Groan) 4:45am for the taxi -- and he's early! After a 75mph+ ride to Sea-Tac,
we check one bag on United for $25. TSA separates me from my luggage, sending me
one way and the bag another way, but I outsmart them and get it back. The main
concourse food court Starbucks has no breakfast sandwiches, so instead I have a
full eggs/sausage/potatoes/biscuit and OJ meal...from a Japanese Teriyaki place!
Pretty good too. Baolu has her standard Starbucks vanilla soy latte with the
terribly-health oatmeal/granola combo.
It is a completely sold out United flight 776 SEA to DEN. All are on board when
the little twit across the aisle realizes she left her Toshiba laptop at
TSA...and she doesn't know which checkpoint she came through! (there are 3
checkpoints). So get this. The plane's CAPTAIN physically went and got it from
TSA! Despite the delay, we managed to leave OT and got into DEN 20 minutes
early. As we found out, there is some REAL PAD in United's schedules. We rolled
up to the gate at Denver International, unloaded, and had nearly 3 hours to
For lunch, we ate the store-bought sandwiches we brought along. Denver airport
has this huge shopping mall which we toured to stretch our legs. Had a spicy
bloody Mary and wine at the 5280 bar to kill time (5,280 feet/one mile above sea
level, get it?). A very "metro" bar, but good drinks. B's wine was local -
called something like Infinite Monkey Theorem white wine, with grapes from the
Grand Valley which I guessed, correctly, is out by Grand Junction near the UT
border. My gianormous Bloody Mary had practically every cocktail vegetable you
could imagine (olives, string beans, celery, onion, etc.).
Plane DEN to MSY, the seats are MUCH smaller than SEA-DEN's A320. I'm seated
next to some Naval Officer sitting center seat defiantly with both elbows way
over the arm rests. He is digging his elbows into my ribs with gusto. I switch
seats with Baolu who's got the other aisle seat - much better. Also, before we
switched aisle seats, an old lady marches up to Baolu and says loudly, "OH,
YOU'RE IN THE WRONG SEAT!" The stewardess quickly corrected her --- SHE was in
the wrong seat (window, not aisle). We are seated in the very last row on the
As we approach NOLA, both Lake Pontchatrain on the left (with the causeway in
the middle) AND the water to the right (Gulf of Mexico?) are very muddy looking.
Before I realize it, we thump down on the runway. Lafayette, We Are Here!
MSY airport is very small and very old. Bathrooms are tiny (4 stalls), dirty,
and a disgrace. Absolute mob scene at Baggage Claim. People are stacked up five
deep to get their bags. As we're standing there, some guy from Phoenix walks
right up and just starts telling us all about his luggage problems on his
connecting flight -- he won't shut up! Baolu smiles politely at him and then I
mention we want to move over there to see if our luggage has arrived. We escape.
Yes, I do seem to attract these people.
It turns out, you WALK to the rental car counters! No shuttle. Outside it is a
very pleasant 75 degrees and sunny - not muggy at all as I had feared.
We spend about 45 minutes at the Hertz counter - one of the gals is new and is
constantly asking the other gal question after question. The line moves
agonizingly slow. Luckily, we get the gal who knows what she's doing.
They give us a big, gray, Toyota Camry. We try out the Google Maps Nav system on
my iPhone, who's female voice we quickly name, THE BETTY (or something similar
-- use your imagination). We confuse the "Betty" by taking a few detours along
the way to buy gallon jugs of water at a nearby pharmacy. We keep passing
paycheck loan stores - must be a very tony neighborhood. The "Betty" seems to be
a little slow -- several times on this vacation, she tells us to keep right
about a quarter mile AFTER the fork in the road. And The Betty pouts. She won't
talk to us for long periods of time.
Bettys aside, we get on I-10 right into a traffic jam. Looks like they are
rebuilding parts of I-10. Finally get through the slowdown where it magically
just opens up. New Orleans DOT thinks they're so smart. Instead of saying
"French Quarter", ALL the exit signs say VIEUX CARRE. What the hell is a Vieux
Carre? A View of Carrie? It turns out it just means French Quarter. I'm sure the
highway department has a hearty laugh about all tourists they send to Slidell
instead of their downtown hotels.
We exit and you start seeing all these characters -- in costumes -- in drag --
wandering around the exit ramp. It turns out everyone is dressed up for the
Saint Patrick's Day celebration this weekend.
I'm following The Betty to the letter -- based on our hotel's street address --
it turns us down this dark alley -- um, really? Dumpsters galore. Questionable
characters give us the once over. But no, it is the Courtyard by Marriott -- a
clean, well-lighted place, hard up against the New Orleans Ritz Carlton which
dominates the block. It's valet parking only at our hotel, so I turn over my car
The actual lobby is on the 2nd floor after a short elevator ride. We are quickly
checked in and soon in our room.
Off to dinner! It's been a long day and later in the evening than we normally
eat. Bourbon Street is only a block and a half away and it is jam packed with
green-clad revelers. In fact, Bourbon Street is blocked off to traffic, there
are so many drinkers and partiers - this place puts Las Vegas to shame for pure
There is a long line at both Felix and Acme Oyster Houses as it is well past
7pm. We put in our name at Bourbon
Seafood House and 45 minutes later, they text me. We start off with
some oysters to go with our wine.
The oysters are huge! Gigantic! We order 2 dozen of the shellfish - I've never
seen them so big. They are large, but not as tasty as the ones we get in the
Pacific Northwest. The provided cocktail sauce and horseradish helps them a
great deal. I hate to sound snobbish, but raw Pacific NW oysters, are more
French bread comes in a little paper bag and is delicately soft and warm - much
better than most restaurant bread I've ever tasted.
I have the fried dinner combo (shrimp. oysters, catfish and of course, hush
puppies -- all fried up on a bed of "pommes frites" (French fries). Baolu has
the blackened Catfish on a bed of rice. Good service and good food at this
place. They keep our water glasses filled and we both have a glass of white to
wash down the seafood.
We contemplate dessert, but Baolu is starting to crash - she didn't sleep much
last night from trip excitement, so we go back to the hotel. I type up my notes
and OWWW!!! Baolu bit me! Right on the arm! Ow! Ow! She does that sometimes.
It's her way. OK, bedtime. C U tomorrow....
Sunday, March 17th
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Yes, we're both wearing green today and at Baolu's request, we're tromping over,
first thing, to the world-famous Cafe Du
Monde just off Jackson Square.
Even at 9am on a Sunday, the place is busy. Outside seating is packed. There's a
long line at the take-out window. We sit down inside and it is like an icebox!
Must be 55 degrees in here. They've got the a/c on "deep freeze".
They do only two things, but they do them very well. First is the chicory coffee
with milk (cafe' au lait), and second is their beignets - covered in a veritable
snowfield of powdered sugar. A beignet is sort of a French donut, but somehow
different. It tastes like a very light cake dough. And it is VERY fluffy, warm,
At Nod's insistence, (HI NOD!!!) we ordered TWO
portions each of the beignets for a total of 12 (I had 7, B had 5).
This is B before eating 5 beignets:
This is B AFTER eating 5 beignets:
Here's what the coffee and beignets look like close up:
OK we have to walk this off. First we walk through the French Market, then the
flea market -- both of which are still setting up their wares. It is only 9:30
am and everything, except for the Cafe Du Monde, is closed. New Orleans really
doesn't get going until around 11am.
We walk over to the last stop of the waterfront streetcar. The platform kiosk
says the streetcar fare box will take a $20 bill. Our streetcar driver has other
ideas. She says that this is NOT the case, and if we don't come up with a fiver
and a one for two all-day passes, she is going to THROW US OFF at the next stop.
I fumble with my wallet and just in time, I come up with the money. Cranky
streetcar motorman (motorwoman?) notwithstanding, it is a fast ride along the
waterfront to the foot of Canal Street and the Mississippi River.
It looks like the ferry ride across the river is closed until 11am -- we will
have to come back later as the terminal is proudly guarded by two derelicts
sprawled across the entrance. At another portal, bums are a-snooze on the
benches inside the terminal. It is gated off and appears to be deserted except
for the winos.
We walk along the misty river. A Norwegian cruise ship is moored alongside near
the US 90 bridge over the river.
Next it's time for a ride on the famous St. Charles Streetcar Line! we stroll up
Canal street to St. Charles Avenue and hang a left. There is a huge group
already waiting for the streetcar. We wait. And wait. And wait. After about 20
minutes, one finally comes around the corner. It is packed. We force our way on.
An elderly woman hip-checks B off of her overhead strap and onto the back deck
of the streetcar. We finally decide to get off at the very next stop. We wait
about 5 minutes and here comes another one. This time only half full, HA!
Many people jog on the streetcar tracks. This guy kept up with us for at least a
It is a very enjoyable ride around Lee Circle, through the Garden District and
ALMOST to Audubon Park. About a mile short of that, they run shuttle buses the
rest of the way. They are still cleaning up the St. Charles Line from the
effects of Katrina. You can see both tracks are still buried and they are
slowly digging it out and repairing the track.
Once at Audubon Park, we get off and walk completely around the park in a
counter-clockwise direction. Baolu does a fine job holding up this tree:
It's a very pleasant walk on this cool morning:
There's a bird sanctuary along the way. These critters like to line up:
Back on St. Charles Avenue, we have a hard time guessing where the shuttle bus
will stop. We walk to a "Car Stop" sign and wave at the next bus -- actually he
puts his 4 way flashers on long before I waved him down. I think he's used to
confused tourists. We saw lots of people doing the same thing.
Back to the streetcar pickup area, They are loading one already packed with a
full load of babbling girly-girls talking LIKE I MEAN SO TOTALLY GROSS, so we
take the next one. Much better. Can ride in peace now.
We spot Baolu's cooking nemesis along the way:
Emeril's Delmonico. A surprisingly small restaurant considering all the fuss they
make about him on TV. And way far away from the French Quarter where all the
action is. Baolu not impressed.
We get off just before reaching Canal Street -- and there is the
A little dive with one table left. It is very hot in there, but the wait is
We had Alligator balls, Crawfish pie, and two of the most delectable Po' Boy
sandwiches you can imagine. I had a fried oyster, bacon, cheese, mayo, Po' Boy
that was simply out of this world. THIS is the way to enjoy the local oysters. Baolu was groaning over her fried
oyster/catfish Po' Boy. Words cannot describe how good those sandwiches are. The
bread was so soft and flavorful. This place should be on America's favorite
drive-in's diners and dives.
We waddle down Canal Street wanting to take a ferry boat ride to Algiers. It's
still closed! At 2 in the afternoon! Maybe the captain and first mate never
showed up. The whole place is locked down.
OK, back on the street car to French Market/Flea Market for more browsing, then.
We walk around Jackson Square and visit the really cool Saint Louis cathedral.
On the way back to the hotel, Baolu hits "Razzle Dazzle" a trinket shop - where
they give us little lime green daiquiris for Saint Paddy's Day. Baolu buys
herself some baubles:
I stop at the Old Absinthe House for a double bourbon for me and a Grey Goose
martini for B. I had always wanted to have a drink here, if I ever got to New
Orleans. This was the ONLY place on the trip where Baolu was unhappy with
her drink, or at least unhappy with the bartender. She actually wanted a frozen,
fruity, frou-frou drink of some sort, but this place doesn't have a blender. I have
to say their drink prices were a little outrageous compared to other watering
holes on Bourbon Street. It's a famous joint, so they're counting on suckers
like me with a sense of history to drop in. I do like the old football helmets
hanging from the ceiling. And as per tradition, I left my business card stuck to
the wall. The place opened in 1807:
Well lubricated now, we head back to the room for a quick rest.
Soon it's feeding time and we head out early (before 6pm) to the
All the action is up on Bourbon street, so we get right in over on St. Peter
Avenue (no line).
Dinner is fantastic. As you can see, Baolu happily got her frou-frou
drink. Behold gumbo, fresh bread, and a couple Creole combination plates
-- jambalaya, red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee, shrimp creole, turnip
greens...STOP IT, you're making me hungry!!!!
For excitement, we had the drama going on at the next table. Two older froggie
ladies are babbling in broken French. I hear an occasional "n'est pas" and "Je
ne sais quoi" coming from them. They both enjoy full meals. Once finished, the
eldest of the two hens waves over the waiter.
In a loud voice she pipes up, "I WANT FEEESH!"
The waiter asks what kind she wants. "I WANT FEEESH!!!" They go back and forth
like this for a while.
"Ma'am, you have to tell me what you want! - Look, I'll get you a menu and you
can tell me". "I WANT FEEEESH!!!"
Her friend translated for her. It turns out she wanted blackened catfish. She
must really be hungry. Two dinners.
For dessert, I have praline ice cream and Baolu opts for the bread pudding -
small portions mercifully, as B is starting to groan from all the food we ate
(she wasn't really hungry!).
As we pay our check and leave, there is now a huge line extending down a long
hallway and out into the street waiting to get in. As we walk past the end of
the line, someone pipes up to me, "Is it good? Is it good?" I assure him it is
We bypass Bourbon street and head back on the much-less-crowded Royal Street to
the hotel. A very full day!
Monday March 18
We are off to Baton Rouge today, but FIRST, Lindsay wants to drive the causeway
which crosses the middle of Lake Pontchartrain. All 26 miles of it. Baolu snaps
some shots as we thunder across at 70 per.
In a trice, we are on dry land at Mandeville, and after a confusing tour of
access roads, land solidly at a great, Southern institution,
(sausages/bacon came just seconds after this picture was taken).
Our first taste of real grits with butter -- oh so good. We both had pecan
waffles with chunks of nutty goodness inside. Pretty good for a roadside diner.
Might have to come here again, if we have the time.
Soon we're blasting along I-12 to Baton Rouge. We follow the Betty's directions
on my iPhone which steer us through the LSU campus where, after a few false
turns, find ourselves outside the LSU sports store and the enclosure of "Mike
the Tiger". Mike is sprawled in a corner of his terrarium, where you can sort of
see him -- and you can definitely SMELL him. Sleeping appears to be the order of
the day and old Mike tries his best to get comfortable, rolling from side to
side and generally ignoring everyone. What a life!
After this quick tiger spot, we move to the sport store. B doesn't buy much gear
here as it is mostly labeled for LSU.
Back to the tiger cage and not a whole lot has happened since we left. Baolu
issues some instructions, "All right GET UP, you lazy Tiger!!" but Mike is just
Next stop is the Baton Rouge Zoo, up north of town. Being that it's Monday, the
parking lot is pretty empty, save for one school bus which leaves shortly after
we arrive. We buy our tickets and it's a short walk to the Tiger cage.
This fella is from Malaysia and he's wearing a path in the dirt, much like the
old cartoons, where he's pacing back and forth. He seems to be keenly interested
in something outside his cage. We figure it must just about be chow time and
he's waiting for the other steak to drop. The loudspeakers are playing this
faux-Chinese music (lots of twanging and plucking of some sort of string
instrument) which they repeat over and over. Very annoying.
Not much action here, so we move on to the next exhibit. Hey, there's another
tiger (Tiger 2) and good golly, Miss Molly, there's a third tiger here. (Two in
They seem to get along pretty good, but one of them begins very slowly stalking
towards Tiger 1, then suddenly charges...and runs smack dab into the fence
"WHACK!!!" Ouch. That's gotta leave a mark. You think by now they'd realize
there's a barrier between them. Silly Tigers.
We spend a good hour Tiger watching, suffering the bad fake-Chinese music, then
it's time to go ride the little kiddie train they have, which circles the zoo.
It's a nice ride through the woods and bayou. Baolu makes a quick turn through
the zoo's gift shop:
Now it's early afternoon and I ask B if she'd like to try Acme Oyster House in
B.R. or head back to NOLA? Baolu opts for the
Parkway Bakery and Tavern back in
Their gumbo is fantastic and so are their Po' boys.
Baolu really liked this place!
Tuesday March 19
Hot Stuff, Baby!
It is a quick and tasty breakfast at our hotel's 24 hour Starbucks. Best
breakfast sandwich I've eaten in a long time - made with toasted white bread,
fresh lettuce tomato, egg, bacon and cheese. Wonderful! Baolu had her de
rigueur yogurt cup and Starbucks coffee.
Off we go down I-10 West, I-310 south, then US 90 West. US 90 is an old, 4 lane
they're slowly upgrading so it becomes a part of I-49, which starts up near
Lafayette, LA. The older four-lane sections provide a dandy place for the
Louisiana State Police (Barracks B according to the sign on the road) to set up
radar traps. The speed keeps jumping up and down from 45 to 65 to 60 to 50,
rinse, repeat. I count at least 5 LSP in a 20 mile stretch -- all with a car
Soon the road turns back to freeway and we are flying along at 75mph. About
every mile, we see one of these signs:
This really bothers Baolu. As you can see, I finally pulled over for a picture.
Keep in mind, it is 83 degrees, sunny, and we are in southern Louisiana. How
much ice do these people get (other than in their drinks)? Maybe for 30 days
around New Years?
Anyway, our first stop is for lunch at
Landry's "not-the-chain" in New Iberia,
LA. This is western Louisiana in the heart of Cajon country. As you walk in,
there's a chalk board by the door announcing 3 lbs. of boiled Crawfish for $12.
Ooo! Ooo! Mudbugs are in season! we walk in. They seat us. I ask about the offer
at the front door. "I'm sorry, we're out of those". Augh!
It turns out they're only out of boiled crawfish. Baolu starts us off with some
alligator. We both have gumbo (of course). I order the combination
Crawfish dinner which is basically crawfish everything (gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee,
baked in a green pepper, in a small pie, etc.).
It is a gutty meal and very delicious. As we stroll out to the car, we watch
these turtles swimming around in the pond below (mmm.... turtle soup!).
Off we go to the Tabasco Factory. To get into Avery Island, you have to pay a $1
toll -- then it's up some gravel roads to the plant tour.
As we walk in, there's a whole busload of kids from a nearby Lafayette Parrish
school about to take the tour. We decide to bag it and do a little shopping
first. Or a lot of shopping. Lindsay goes a little crazy. Lindsay loves his
Tabasco. I get Tabasco wall thermometer, yard stick, T-shirt, apron, wall clock,
Jelly Bellys, lollipops, 7-flavor bottle holder, etc. Just LOOK:
After stashing the goodies in the trunk, we take the tour. We watch a little
film and it is apparent the Mcilhenny family has been doing this since just
after the Civil War...and they use old Jack Daniels Whiskey barrels to stash it
in whilst it ages. How cool is that? No wonder it tastes so good.
It is getting into the afternoon, so it's time to press on for the
Plantation. We had several plantation tours to choose from, but Baolu insisted
we visit Nottoway. It turns out her current boss is an ancestor of one of the
original owners of the plantation. It is located downstream on the west bank of
the Mississippi about 25 miles from Baton Rouge. The original owner planted
We wander around for a few shots of the magnificent building.
Soon, our tour guide, Tessa, arrives dressed in an fancy gown. She lets us in
and we tour the various rooms.
After the tour, we decide to stay and have dinner before returning to New
Orleans. To start things off, a Sazerac for Baolu and an Old Fashioned for me.
Dinner tonight is good. Stuffed chicken breast for me and shrimp atop
grits for Baolu. The big surprise is a Washington State wine, 14-hands
Cabernet Sauvignon! I am on that. we both are.
Dessert is banana foster cheesecake for me and bread pudding for Baolu.
After dinner, it's a 90 minute trip back to the hotel in the dark. Just leaving
White Castle, LA at sunset, I spot a UP freight going upriver with a sensational 5 chime
horn - I wish I would have taken a movie instead of just a picture - simply to
capture those horns!
Wednesday March 20
Sweet Home Alabama!
We are taking a road trip eastward along the Gulf Coast today and introducing
Baolu to two new states, Mississippi and Alabama.
But FIRST, Baolu must stop at a Southern grocery store and buy some things she
just CAN'T get in Redmond:
Most of the way eastward, will be on old US Highway 90. It is cloudy and
threatening to rain. There are lots of boonie bridges along the old two-lane
Houses up on pilings are everywhere along the way.
After crossing the Pearl River, we are in Mississippi!
At Long Beach, MS, Baolu got to try out her new Tiger slippers
There's a chilly wind blowing and the rain has begun to fall as we pose for
pictures. The precipitation makes us feel right at home. That's the Gulf of
Mexico behind us.
It is pouring down rain as we pass the famous lighthouse in the middle of US 90
at Biloxi, MS. This is the lighthouse on one of the Mississippi State license
A few more bridges to cross and we are in Alabama.
The rain is letting up as we
punch towards Mobile. we have one more
famous Southern restaurant to try:
We both have the Spicy Deluxe Chicken sandwich with sweet tea and waffle fries.
The sandwich is outstanding. We go back for a second sandwich each!
As we're chowing, a Chick-fil-a asst mgr stops by (she sees me taking pictures
of the eats) and we explain we came all the way from Washington State to try one
of their chicken sandwiches. She is impressed.
Hunger satisfied, I have one more thing to visit in town, the BB-60, USS Alabama
- South Dakota-class WW2-era battleship moored in Mobile Bay:
It is a fast trip back to New Orleans on I-10 with only a brief stop for gas and
to shoot the Louisiana State welcome sign. Baolu gets a throaty "HONK" from a
passing semi's air horn as she poses:
Dinner tonight is the famous Acme Oyster House on Iberville Street. You have to
stand in line to get in -- even at 5pm.
Lots of neon inside the place:
More seafood, more Cajon food. This time we have a dozen GRILLED oysters. This
is SO much better. They are cooked in garlic, oil, and covered with just a hint
of cheese. MUCH better this way than raw:
Just like Las Vegas you can carry your booze down the street, as long as it is
in a plastic cup (bottles not allowed).
After dinner, we walk along Bourbon Street. This is the outdoor jazz place along
Back to the room. Tomorrow -- More stuff around New Orleans!
Thursday, March 21
We're just spending the day in New Orleans. First thing on the
agenda is a stroll down Canal street to take a ferry boat ride.
you pronounce THIS street?
Don't know. We got down to the Mighty Mississip, and watched a tugboat shove a
barge upstream with our ferry boat loading across the river.
I hear an Amtrak horn! It's getting close, too. I hustle over to the New Orleans
Public Belt Railway track (paralleling the waterfront streetcar) and spot these
Kansas City Southern units rolling by - light power...
Back at the riverside, here comes our ferry from Algiers...
It's a beautiful morning for a boat ride with a great view of the New Orleans
skyline. The price is right, too. FREE for walk on passengers.
Next on the bucket list is a visit to
Central Grocery on Decatur Street for one
of their famous, original "Muffuletta" sandwiches. They are BIG and the four
quarters feed us lunch very nicely:
Shopping time. Here are some funky things spotted along the way including a cat
self-portrait, horse heads on Bourbon Street (for holding your horse's reins),
Poo Dat? New Orleans Saints football shirt for the young uns, and MerMEN!:
The most interesting souvenir picked today? Baolu's mask!
After stashing the loot at the hotel room, we headed next door for a drink at
Ritz Carlton bar (in honor of Audrey Hepburn
- see "How to Steal a Million").
Drinks here were MUCH more reasonably-priced than the Old Absinthe House,
surprisingly. AND we had a very nice chat with the bartender about various
Dinner tonight is at "The Court of Two Sisters". I've no idea where Baolu finds
these places, but she does. Probably cooking magazines. First course is turtle
soup for Baolu and the ubiquitous Gumbo for me.
Second course is...well....I forgot to photograph it! Whoops. It was delicious.
Ah, I think Baolu had Escargot and fried oysters whilst I had shrimp on grits,
but lets just skip to desert. Bananas Foster - done the right way with flames
leaping into the air!
OK, I didn't get the BIG flame on film (cheap camera), but it was spectacular.
The dessert was pretty kick too.
Back to the hotel to relax and pack. Heading home tomorrow!
Friday, March 22
Happy Birthday, Baolu!
The flight home doesn't leave until afternoon. Time enough to have another
grits-encrusted breakfast at Waffle House! Return the rental car, then back to
the 45 minute line at TSA. Once through, it is a short hop to Houston, TX,
George Bush International where we have our last meal of southern-style seafood
and gumbo at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. From Houston, it is a very long, 5 hour flight back to
Seattle on United. Home again! Brrrrrrr!!!!! We had turned the heat off before
we left and it is 48 degrees on the thermostat! It is actually warmer OUTSIDE
when I go pick up the mail. Still, good to be home after a wonderful week of
some of the best, tastiest food in the world. We did NOT have a bad meal on the
entire trip -- the cuisine of Louisiana is simply outstanding and we highly
recommend it. Good people, good weather, good food. What else can you ask for?