Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Marvelous Breakfast and More

It was very wet when we went downstairs to head for breakfast at Brennan's this morning, enough so that we decided to take a taxi, even though it's not a very long walk. I apologized to the cabbie for such a short fare (although with fuel surcharge and tip it was still $9), and he said, "Don't apologize; you're the first fare I've had today." Talking about the wind and rain, he told us that when New Orleans evacuated last week, he want to stay with his brother in Houston; now he's repaying the favor quickly as his brother and family have come here to get away from Ike.

Deposited at the front door of the famous Brennan's Restaurant, we were quickly escorted to our table. Business is slow and we hadn't really needed to make a reservation, but we didn't know that at the time. Besides, the staff were very attentive to us and we didn't feel the slightest bit crowded or hurried as we eased through our meal.

Now this is not a place where most people could afford to eat breakfast very often. Even with the "prix fixe" three-course breakfast, you're starting with $36 just to open, with lots of extras. For instance, the turtle soup (delicious!) was $6 additional, and both the Bananas Foster and the Crepes Fitzgerald were additional as well. And then there were the drinks on top of that. And the service was outstanding, so I tipped heavily to boot. But even at $130 total (which is what the final damage was), it was a superb meal. Cheryl doesn't generally eat eggs, and so she had the Shrimp Sardou, while I had the Eggs Hussarde. I did later hear that I could have had my eggs scrambled rather than poached, but as Cheryl observed, that would have ruined the almost pornographic presentation of two perfect mounds on my plate.

For the dessert, both of our choices required flambe preparation at the side table. The waiters, noticing that Cheryl had her camera, paused and gave her warning before the big floor show. She'll have the photos later, no doubt. (She's taking a nap as I compose this.) We split the desserts so we could experience both, and they were both excellent.

The rain had passed as our wonderful meal came to an end, so we were able to take some pictures of their patio, which has live turtles in the fountain. While Cheryl was photographic the collection of vintage wines, one of the waiters invited us back to examine their wine cellar as well. We don't know how those photos turned out, however, as the wines were behind glass windows, so the flash may have blinded the camera.

None of the dishes with our breakfast were very large, but the entire effect left us waddling away from the restaurant. We were glad the rain was gone (although the strong gusty winds remained throughout the day), as it gave us an opportunity to walk back to the hotel -- we needed the exercise, for certain. From there we walked over to an art gallery that was putting on a small exhibition of Dale Chihuly glasswork at the Arthur Roger Gallery.

Just before we got to the gallery, my alarm went off, telling me that it had been an hour since I'd eaten, and thus time to check my blood sugar. I feared the worst, after that meal, with all of that sugar, but to my bemusement and delight, I got a nearly-perfect reading of 98! That's fantastic. After those desserts, I reckoned I'd be fortunate if I was under 200, let alone near normal. Walking is good for you, I guess.

The gallery's front doors were locked against the wind, but we were directed to a side door and went in. It wasn't the biggest exhibition, but it was fascinating. I said, "These things look like what you'd expect cloud-dewllers in the atmosphere of gas giants to look like."

After the gallery, we walked toward the river and the Riverwalk shopping center. There was some sort of huge queue near the Convention Center. We weren't sure what it was for, although Cheryl speculated that it might have been people queuing for a cruise ship departure. We instead went around to a different entrance to the shopping center to get out of the wind. Things were very quiet; indeed, things have been, not surprisingly, very quiet and mostly uncrowded except a little bit last night. Not that I'm complaining. We are deliberately here at something of an off-season at a time when the weather drives people away in order to not have to spend a lot of time waiting, and in order to be able to get seated in restaurants without a fuss.

Braving the winds again, we walked along the river and through the Jackson Square Brewery area, finally fetching up at the original Cafe du Monde. Cheryl helpfully paid the $9 (including tip) for our cafe au lait with chicory and out plates of beignets, because I'm short of cash.

I didn't realize that Bank of America doesn't have any locations in New Orleans. The nearest ATM for my bank is 40 miles away! Had I know that, I would have used one of the dozens of ATMs at SFO before leaving. I'm grumbling over the ATM fees I'll have to pay to use a different ATM. I wonder if the hotel will cash a check? That's something hotels used to do, but I haven't had to do that for ages, what with ATMs so readily available.

Anyway, after our mid-afternoon snack (lunch was unnecessary after the breakfast we had), we made our leisurely way back to our hotel, which is located in the old New Orleans Cotton Exchange Building. Yes, it's now a Holiday Inn Express, which is good news for me because it means I'm staying here for free on points. (This makes me slightly less fretful about spending so much money on meals. And besides, what's the point of going to a city renowned for its food and then "economizing" by eating fast food?) OTOH, we stopped to check out the pool deck, which turned out to be a wading-pool-sized outdoor pool on the sixth floor with no hot tub, so the idea of going for a soak in the hot tub was a bust.

After our day of leisure, it was nice to come back and take refuge out of the wind in our air-conditioned room. Besides, it looked like the rain was going to start up again. Cheryl fell asleep. I would have done so as well, but I wanted to check my e-mail and write about what we'd done today while the details were fresh in my head. And if I go take a nap now, it won't do any harm. Finding dinner late on a Friday night in New Orleans shouldn't be difficult.
Tags: cheryl, diabetes, travel
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