I couldn’t stop myself. I had to order the Champagne and fries. Maybe because my late dinner plans felt excruciatingly far away. Maybe because it was “the thing to get” at Sylvain. Or maybe just because it was New Orleans. I was visiting the city for a food conference and taking every chance I could to squeeze in stops that weren’t on the itinerary. Alternating a piping hot fry with a sip of bracing, dry bubbly while making conversation with locals, I savored one of the most delicious moments of my trip. (I’d figure out how to make it through my five course dinner later.) While admittedly, New Orleans is the kind of place that lends itself especially well to that sort of indulgence, it needn’t be the only one.
And so, along with a few party dresses and a “Call me Old Fashioned” t-shirt, I tucked into my suitcase a good helping of joie de vivre to take home. For why not spoil yourself with Champagne and fries before dinner? Why not zip into a vintage-inspired dress that makes you look like a 1950s debutante on a regular Thursday? Or hit that funky music joint nearby, with its raw talent and seedy clientele? I found no good reason not to do any of these things in my own city. In our overcommitted lives, our eyes may well glaze over at the prospect of another day of work drudgery and personal obligations. Which is why it’s critical to wake yourself up and escape the blasé: wear a colorful outfit. Make a date at your wine bar and learn about a new vintage. Pull up a chair at that out-of-the-way dumpling joint.
And if you somehow find yourself transported to New Orleans, absolutely do not turn down the Champagne and fries. Live every day like the special occasion that it most certainly is.
Elizabeth Roach believes in balancing a sense of possibility with the art of savoir-faire, and is not above diving into a slice of cake while on a conference call. A graduate of Furman University and the Columbia University Publishing Program, she has worked in Kentucky government and politics for more than seven years. She is currently Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s scheduling director, and has previously served as his assistant speechwriter and as First Lady Jane Beshear’s press secretary. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, Elizabeth is a frequent traveler who writes freelance articles about bourbon, baking, and culinary adventures. She has contributed to The Bourbon Review, The Local Palate, and TheRecoveringPolitician.com, for which she pens a food column (http://therecoveringpolitician.com/category/friends/lizr). Check out her website at elizabethroachwriter.com, and follow her on Instagram @LizRoach7 and Twitter @LizRoach.