November 01, 2006

On Sunday, we went to the Voodoo Fest (or, officially, I think it's the "Voodoo Music Experience") in city park. I may tell you what I thought about the festival itself later in the week, but more importantly, I need to tell you about where we went afterwards.

Our original destination was Port of Call, which all regular visitors to New Orleans know well. I had been talking off and on for at least an hour about how I was looking forward to one of their potatoes (yes, really). But we got there, and it was packed to overflowing. It seemed a long shot to get four spots at the bar near each other, and they only have 8 or 10 tables, so it was going to be a long, long time before we got to eat.

Steve enjoys a Buffaburger in front of the shopping cart and a Casablanca movie poster.

We walked back to a place that we had passed on our way over to Port of Call. Buffa's is right across Esplanade Blvd.

We walked in to a smallish bar area. A long bar took up the space on the left, and a few small tables were on the right. The bartender was a big energetic guy. He was friendly, but kind of crazy as well. He looked like an American Indian with long straight hair, but he could have been white, Hispanic, or Asian too.

He went back to check whether the kitchen was open for us. (It was after 10:00 on Sunday by now.) He came back to report that we could eat, but that we couldn't have anything well-done. The cook had a bus to catch.

The menu was a list on a chalkboard that looked something like this:

Hamburger Cheeseburger Buffaburger (about two other items, which seemed unappealing)

Jodie ordered first. "I'll have a cheeseburger."

"You want a Buffaburger." It was said more as a statement than a question.

"OK, sure."

We each took a turn ordering Buffaburgers and drinks.

An uneven window in the back room at Buffas. I happened to take this as the tin man was on his way in to the bar. Above the window is a Gone With the Wind movie photo, which ironically, beat out The Wizard of Oz for Best Picture whatever year that was.

We hung out in there for a little while, watching the end of the Sunday night football game. There was a small group of people in there, and it was very comfortable. If I lived in that neighborhood, I would be in there all the time.

Someone or other came back from the restroom to report that there was a whole separate room in the back. We walked back to find a decent sized table.

This was the strangest room that I've seen in any bar.

There were two long tables lined up in parallel -- high school cafeteria style. It featured water damaged ceilings and old movie posters. There was a pool table and a ping pong table set up at weird angles, but with plenty of room to play. This was a large room.

There was a dart board on one wall, but bags of trash were piled underneath it. The kitchen had an open door, but yellow Caution tape warned patrons against venturing in.

One corner of the room had an old television (that would probably have changed channels with a manual knob twist with a satisfying chunk-chunk-chunk as it turned) atop a cigarette machine. Facing it was a setup with a sofa, large table with a flower arrangement, and several chairs. It was a little living room.

Even though the lighting was fine, the room was accessorized by several brass lamps. There was also a "help yourself" bookshelf full of paperbacks.

The "TV on a cigarette machine area" in the back room. The bright spot is the TV. The couch is in the very foreground. The book rack is over to the right. Notice the brass lamp also.

What other oddities can I describe? Oh yes, there was a shopping cart in one corner. And the windows (long and oval-shaped) weren't parallel with the ground or ceiling.

We sat at one of the cafeteria tables, slack-jawed at our surroundings while we waited for our Buffaburgers. The Indian-looking guy eventually came out of the kitchen door balancing four plates on his arms. His voice started as soon as he appeared, and he made noise all the way across to our table.

"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH." As he set down the food, he added a flourish. "Muthuhfuckerrrrrrrrsssss."

This surprised my companions and left them responseless. But I had heard him refer to some of the other patrons as motherfuckers, so I was a little more prepared. Still, what is the correct response? I settled for, "Thanks motherfuckuh!"

The burgers were huge, delicious, and far from well done. I think it was a full inch thick, cooked, and it was seasoned very well. The fact that the middle was pretty much raw didn't bother me (after a day of drinking, especially), and in fact, it allowed me to finish half of Mrs. theskinnyonbenny's Buffaburger.

This setup of a lamp on top of encyclopedia volumes was set up at the end of our cafeteria-style table.

On his way out, Steve peeked through a window and into the kitchen. He later reported that Buffa's is the last place that you want your meat less than fully cooked, but I'm still alive and relatively healthy.

We played a little ping-pong after eating, and Steve and Jodie left to get the car while Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and I finished up with a shot of whiskey and paid the bill.

While we waited, we bullshit with a guy dressed up as the tin man, but he was only dressed to the extent that he had a silver funnel on top of his head and carried a oil can full of Jagermeister. He also had his little dog with him, who he claimed was Toto, despite the fact that Toto didn't really hang with the Tin Man, and that this was a little black dog with a Lab's face, although much smaller than a lab.

But it was cool to know of a bar where you can bring your dog once in a while.