Last February I made a pact with two of my friends. The premise was that we would never return to New Orleans unless we were running a marathon. That way we’d burn off at least SOME of the king cakes, beignets, jambalaya, plates of cheese grits, and daiquiris that you can’t helping consuming while in the French Quarter.

So I am clearly breaking this pact as I speed down I-10, going 80 mph through a lightening storm so I can get to Mother’s before it closes. I’m only going to be in town for 12 hours (counting sleeping time) and I have to hit as many restaurants as possible.

I have to stop for gas outside of Baton Rouge, but I still manage to pull down Poydras Street and run into the restaurant at 9:50. I fly in, soaking wet, breathless, and triumphant over my reckless driving success.

The staff does not look amused. My triumph turns to embarrassment and I order my po’ boy and bread pudding to go. I slink out of the joint without taking any pictures. You can check out another blogger’s pictures and a more extensive review of Mother’s here.

 I enjoy my takeout after checking into the most disgusting hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I call this guy I’m kinda dating and inform him about the lack of towels, the plunger in the middle of the tub and the Kleenex that’s stuffed in the door’s peephole. He helpfully texts the following message: “U betta watch ur back down dere for flyin cockroaches. Ya heard me lil whodi?”

 As usual, I have no idea what the bayou-born guy is taking about, which is probably for the best. I’m still recovering from last years ‘ghost ride the whip’ conversation.

Telling myself that cockroaches can’t possibly fly, I check the beds for bugs anyway. This is just what happens when you book a hotel en-route via cell phone using Expedia’s ‘cheapest price’ option. I will not be returning to The New Orleans Midtown Hotel.

I check out of the hotel approximately five seconds after I wake up and point my car towards Decatur Street. I grab some beignets at Café Du Monde and reverently head to Central Grocery. I’ve been craving a muffaletta for seven months now. The sesame bun, olive mix, provolone and slices of meats do not disappoint. Perched on a barstool in the back of the store I try to savor my Italian sandwich by eating it slowly. I fail. It’s gone in ten minutes.

In rapid succession, I gulp down two cans of Diet Pepsi, order another muffaletta to go, run back to my car, turn the dial to Voodoo 104, and hit the road.

You gotta love NOLA. Despite the hotel and the fact that I was only in town for four waking hours, I leave the city full, smiling, and singing.