Friday, April 20, 2012

Houston Layover

We're sitting in a United Club at IAH for the next three hours after a fairly short flight from Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) this morning. Brian saw Satchmo perform twice in person back in the 60s, so it was good fun to fly out of the airport named in his honor.

We left the condo at a leisurely 8:00 a.m. By then Kathy's brothers and their wives had probably been in the air for an hour, after leaving in their taxi about 5:00 a.m. After ten minutes of looking for passing cabs, we called and one was there within five minutes, driven by a friendly Pakistani immigrant. It's $33 flat rate between the city and the airport ($12 from the train station), not cheap but certainly a long ride and we knew we weren't being cheated.

We both managed to spot a newly-opened TSA line with a metal detector, although Kathy's roll-aboard, with its suspicious metal box of dominoes was opened and inspected. Free Internet, a decent breakfast wrap and coffee, had us departing with positive feelings.

Last night we dined at Drago's Seafood Restaurant, the "home of the charbroiled oyster" and an acclaimed New Orleans eatery.

Maybe it was the fact they'd moved into the Downtown Hilton after Katrina. Maybe their other location enjoys a better atmosphere. Certainly, all of us were surprised to find ourselves in a cavernous interior with an ambience that reminded us of a middling Las Vegas buffet.

The charbroiled oysters were satisfactory but not as good as those at Acme and Felix's, the other two joints where we'd tried them. The lobsters that four of us ordered included two that were prepared well, and two that were probably both overcooked and held too long, to the extent that Tom asked for and received a refund for them. Kathy's seafood pasta was just fine. Ellyn liked her gumbo. Of course, after accidentally knocking over an icy-cold Margarita right into Brian's, ah, lap while we were sitting in the holding area, she was keeping her guard up.

Our dining experiences in The Big Easy have been mixed, and we've learned that going to a highly-rated restaurant and paying high prices still doesn't guarantee a great meal.

All in all, we had a lot of fun though, as we always do with Tom and Ellyn and Greg and June. People are generally very friendly and we might find our way there again some day.

We should be back in Seattle tonight, ready to sleep hard and get rested up to see all of our grandchildren tomorrow at a combined birthday party for three of them at the "bouncy place." We'll see how much bounce we have by Saturday.

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