Day 7 / The Daze Between ... Wednesday, April 29


This is going to be a quick entry because, honestly, we didn't do all that much today. We did get up in time to get some of the breakfast at the Staybridge, for what it's worth, and I kept the elevator busy running up and down on coffee runs for us. 

Laurie again had to work her real job today, and I had to do that task that a 10-day trip with carry-on luggage requires, that being laundry. The Staybridge makes that pretty easy, with free full-size washers and dryers every few floors, but it still took until around lunchtime to get it done.

The weather today was beautiful, sunny with a high in the mid-70's and a persistent humidity-killing 15-mph wind out of the northwest. The weather has been getting better every day, and that trend is expected to continue. 

When I finally got outside, I first did a bit of walking around the Central Business District, away from Canal Street, just to get a feel for what that part of the city was like. That is, the part of the city that is actually a busy city during the day as opposed to late into the night. There actually is a city to New Orleans!

As part of this foray, I found my way over to Canal Street and one of the many convenience stores there to restock our snacks and beverages. 

For lunch, Laurie had leftovers. I, on the other hand, went across the street to Mother's and picked up a baked ham (the best in the world) po'boy. That was washed down by one of the Abita Spring IPA's that came back from the convenience store.

I roamed around the French Quarter some more this afternoon, all the way down to the French Market and then back to Jackson Square (here's a live camera; see what's going on there now). At one point, I saw a man wearing a beret and carrying a trumpet case walking from the square toward the French Market. It took a few seconds but I finally recognized him as Frank Parker, the trumpet player from the Irma Thomas band. I figured out he was heading for a gig at the Palm Court Jazz Café. You just never know who (or what) you might see on the streets of New Orleans. 

I spent a good long while in Jackson Square listening to the young brass band that's there every day (here's some video I made of their playing). 

These guys played nonstop for more than a half hour, switching solos in order to give others a break. They are really good, and I hope they are organized enough that we see them at Jazz Fest some time in the future.

Eventually I walked along the river back to Canal Street, where I met Laurie for an afternoon snack at another one of our go-to spots, the Pinkberry in front of the DoubleTree Hotel. It's in a great location where you can take in all manner of New Orleans personalities as you sit in the outdoor courtyard with its fountain. 

A couple hours later, we headed back into the French Quarter for dinner at another restaurant new to us, Galvez, which features continental Spanish cuisine with, naturally, a New Orleans flair. 

(Note: this restaurant has since closed in this location, so there is no web link for it. The chef has said that she intends to establish a new restaurant elsewhere in the city, and once she does we will definitely check it out.)

The restaurant itself seemed to be a bit out of whack, very old school in its decor yet very modern in its cuisine. However, one thing you could never take away from it, the setting was unbelievable. You enter on the ground level and then take a mirrored elevator to the second floor entrance. When the doors open you are face to face with a very big room lined with windows on the right, the entire length of the restaurant. Outside those windows is an incredible view of the Mississippi River and all of the activity on it. At dusk, when we were there, it was just spectacular.

We were seated at a table right next to a window. That was easily done because the place never really filled up. 

We started out with a small pitcher of white sangria, which led into appetizers of gazpacho for Laurie and roasted Spanish heritage olives stuffed with valdeon (a Spanish blue cheese) and wrapped in serrano ham. 

For the entree, Laurie had a seafood paella that featured Spanish arborino rice. I had corvina, a fish found in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. It was served on a gritcake and topped with a crabcake and a shrimp, all on a classic crawfish cream sauce. It's not a looker, but the taste was incredible. I had a glass of Marques de Caceres rioja blanca from Spain with the entree.

We ended this very good dinner with cinnamon bread pudding with currants, almonds, and a bourbon caramel sauce.

And that was the day. We thought about roaming the French quarter after dinner, but decided that we'd rather head back to the Staybridge, because the Daze Between are (is?) over and it's time to get ready to back to "work" tomorrow, that being Jazz Fest Day 4!

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© Jeff Mangold 2012