Monday, December 12, 2011


We didn't have any set plans for Saturday except to take in some of the activities that had been closed for the holiday. We started the morning by visiting the apothecary museum which was really interesting. It's definitely not a shoppe for everyone, but we definitely enjoyed it.


We also walked around the Quarter using the natural beauty of the architecture to get a good picture for this year's Christmas card. We ended up not going with any of these, but I still think they're really cute. Also seeing these I no longer feel the need to get our anniversary pictures taken during our February trip to Maui. I can safely say I definitely prefer being behind the camera, taking pictures of my surroundings (and my handsome husband).

We decided to do a jazz walking tour that we didn't need reservations for. We showed up at Preservation Hall at 2 p.m. and found that we were the only ones there. For some strange reason we have an uncanny ability to get access to private tours. It first happened in Rome when everyone in our group cancelled and we ended up with a private tour of the Forum & the Colisseum, in Ireland we were the only people at half of the historic landmarks, and in Tofino we ended up with a private canoe trip. Definitely a perk of traveling during the off season!

I only have one other picture from the actual walking tour because the second we left Preservation Hall it ended up POURING RAIN. We were soaked by the time we were done, but it was a great, informative tour and we got to see a lot of important historical points of interest as they relate to the rise of jazz in Nola.

That night we had dinner at Galatoire's. I know I was supposed to be blown away, and very impressed by it all, but unfortunately we had a really bad experience.

First, it started off with our cab not showing up. With me in a dress and heels, we had to walk through the wet & rainy Quarter to reach the restaurant. Based on everything I'd read, I knew the restaurant was very formal so I made Alan bring a jacket for dinner and I wore the same dress I wore to the French Laundry last year, certain that if my dress was good enough for one of the top three restaurants in the  country - if not the world, it should suffice for this place. Unfortunately by this time the crowds for the Bayou Classic had started to infiltrate the area near the restaurant so while Royal Street proved to be a nice stroll, once we hit Bourbon I could smell vomit and urine. Before dinner. Awesome.

We go inside and there's another older couple in front of us. The man didn't bring a jacket so they let him borrow one. The host asks us if we have a preferred waiter. Since we'd never been, we didn't. My only indicated preference was to sit away from the baby that was screaming bloody murder. He laughed and happily obliged. Unfortunately this also put us at the first table outside where the wait staff entered and exited the kitchen. This also put us in a certain waiter's section, which is where I think our dinner runs afoul.

I had read on several message boards that if you're not familiar with the restaurant you should get your waiter's opinion about what's good and defer to his expert opinion. All around us we heard waiters describing the various options in beautiful detail. Our waiter? He kept describing the same dish over and over again. When we asked what a certain dish was like, he couldn't tell us. He used common words like, "good, great, and a favorite." Right, but what's it like? He seemed surprised when we ordered sazeracs, warning us about how strong they were. Our drinks arrived and they were served on ice, unlike the ones at Napolean House. Now, I don't know which is the proper way of serving this cocktail, but I know which way I prefer it and it wasn't with a ton of ice. As an appetizer we ordered Galatoire Goute, a combo dish that was a crab salad and a shrimp remoulade and both were very, very good. It took awhile for us to place our order for our meals because the waiter couldn't seem to be bothered with us. Alan went with the trout almondine and I went with a crab dish in a mixture of bechemel and hollandaise sauce. To say that it was rich & thick is an under statement. It was almost like a dip. Truthfully I was at a loss for how to actually eat it. Once our food came we didn't really see our waiter again. We decided we were too full for dessert and this seemed to piss him off somehow. You know how at every single restaurant in the country your bill comes in one of those little leather folders? Yeah, not this time - even though they were sitting right there and I could see them. He basically slammed down a piece of paper on our table and walked away. I was truly baffled by what was going on. Alan will tell you I never cause a scene at restaurants. Even when food is bad, or wrong, or not what I ordered I never send anything back. I say please and thank you and smile, a lot. I mean, why wouldn't I? I was supposedly at one of the city's finest restaurants. But his service to us was HORRIBLE. I am still baffled by whether or not we said or did anything offensive. In all of my dining experience I have never been so thoroughly dismissed as I was by this particular waiter. We paid our bill and left, feeling really disappointed in the experience. The food wasn't terrible, but we felt really unwelcome and belittled for having eaten there. It cost more than our wonderful lunch at Commander's Palace just the day before. At that point I wished we'd gone to Bayona instead. Hell, McDonald's might've been preferable to that treatment.

Back in our room we let the heavy dinner settle before changing our clothes to head out for the evening. Rather than going back to Frenchmen Street I wanted to hit up Fritzel's, which thankfully was just a two block walk from our hotel. At that point I couldn't guarantee what would happen with my GERD so I wanted to be close to "home" in case I had a bad flare up like I did after August. We had such a wonderful time at Fritzel's. We got excellent seats for the live jazz and stayed there for about an hour. As we left we tipped and the lead singer pointed me out as a role model to the other customers. Ha!

Our last full day in the city we were back in our room just after midnight like the old folks we've become.