Friday, January 28, 2011

Revisiting America

It's been several days since either of us wrote a blog.  Ya'll may be sending up little prayers of thanks.
Monday was wash day and hanging around the motel because we didn't make any concrete plans. Same for Tuesday, without the washing.  Life on the road isn't all fun and games, you know.  Wednesday was better but we kind of messed up.  Left around 10:00 going to Gretna and Algiers.  Rode around Gretna for a little while and found the old downtown area.  Very nice.  There was an old train depot that was empty but someone was working on the building so maybe they have great plans for it.  Hope so.  Didn't even make it to Algiers.  Came back to Kenner and ate Mexican food for lunch at Casa Garcia.  Nice place and good food.
Thursday, we were back in adventure mode.  Started with the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas at the foot of Canal St. in NO.  Spent a couple of good hours there, but it was school day so the whole building was crowded with kiddies about 4 or 5 years old who couldn't care less about the marine life.  Think the gift shop was their idea of a good time.
Then we went to Chef John Besh's restaurant, August, for lunch.  Now that was an adventure.  On the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Gravier, it's an elegant old four-story building.  Beautiful inside with lots of dark polished wood, lots of gorgeous chandeliers, and lots of bottles of wine.  Our head waiter was Mark Gruntz and he was great.  Very friendly and helpful.  They started us with an amuse-bouche served in an eggshell in an egg cup.  It was a tiny, buttery breadstick in a custard with a little caviar.  Very tasty.  We ordered the speckled trout and it was topped with crabmeat and mushrooms.  On the side was the best hollandaise sauce I've ever tasted.  They aerate it before serving so it's lighter than usual.  Absolutely delicious.  We shared a dessert of Pere Rous banana rum cake with cream cheese frosting.  It was round, about 3" high, and covered with the icing.  Leaves of white chocolate decorated the outside along with white chocolate shavings on top.  Beautiful and scrumptious.  I had some coffee, then we got to go back to the kitchen.  When we walked in, the kitchen staff applauded and welcomed us to August.  Chef Besh was out of town but we met the sous chef, Jacqueline Blanchard.   She looked too young to have so much responsibility, but has very impressive credentials.  We also met another sous chef, Jeff Mattia; the chef de cuisine, Michael Gulotta; and the pastry chef, Kelly Fields.  I hugged her neck for making such a fantastic dessert.  Anyway, the visit to the kitchen was great fun.  Mark Gruntz asked for our blog address.  He and all the other people we met were very interested in our trip.  The kitchen staff applauded when we left.  I could understand that better.  We were so impressed. The food was very definitely way above the norm and the people in the restaurant gave us the feeling that August's success is fueled by all of the prople who work there.
We came back to Kenner after lunch for a little while, then went back to NO, to visit with Robert and Bob.
Went to their house for awhile, then walked to Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur.  Had a good grilled shrimp dinner salad and chocolate mousse for dessert.  Then listened to the Crescent City Joy Makers - piano, clarinet, trumpet, bass fiddle, and drums.  Really good band - enjoyed them a lot.  Walked to back to Robert and Bob's for a short while, then came "home."  We'll miss visiting with and talking to them.
Today, we have packed all day and loaded a good bit of stuff into the car.  Think we can get everything in, but it will be a tight fit.  We     have     lots     of     stuff.  Tomorrow, we pull out for Key West, with a brief stop in Mobile.  The next story in the adventure.  I've never been to Key West and can't wait to get there.
Lou is going to blog as soon as I finish,  We'll be out of touch until we get to Key West.


  1. Hope the travels go well - know the visit with the family will be a highlight of today (Sat.). Thanks for covering the food and adventure beat in NOLA! It has been fun to read & to think about you two having such a great opportunity.

  2. Hope that your travel to the wonderful state of Florida is a safe one! I do believe that Key West=key lime pie! Love, Eileen