Muffulettas, Mansions, and Swimming for Our Dinner

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For our second full day in New Orleans, we started off at the famous Central Grocery, the home of the original muffuletta sandwich. The line stretched to the door and moved at a clip reminiscent of Seinfeld’s soup nemesis. With the pressure on to make a quick decision, we went for the ‘whole muffuletta’, which turned out was more than enough for two meals. As we ate this tasty concoction of salami, ham, cheese, and olive tapenade on the banks of the Mississippi, we discovered this was one meal where napkins are a must.
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After lunch, we headed to the Garden District with Jazzy Passes in hand for a 90 minute tour on the St. Charles Streetcar. We scored some seats by the window and settled in, only to be told after 4 blocks that the tracks were under repair and we would have to disembark. We walked the side streets instead and strolled by the grand Southern mansions with their manicured gardens and tree houses built like castles.

We stumbled upon the District coffee shop on Magazine Street and replenished ourselves with this gem: a Vietnamese coffee donut with condensed milk, tapioca filling and an espresso glaze with chicory root topping. Holy moly!
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Our plan for the rest of the day was to change hotels and head back into the French Quarter for dinner. As we were working on our post in our new place in the Marigny neighborhood, we heard the heavy rain start up and considered a cab. All of the lines were busy, save one, and the wait was a predicted 1 1/2 hours. Lucky for us, our pessimistic Seattleite packing foresight had included a pair of Pacific Northwest rain jackets, and there was conveniently an umbrella by the front door. With Elliott in shorts and both of us in flip flops, we headed out determined to get dinner.

The restaurant we set off for was a mere 15 blocks away. We made it five. We’re both pretty confident that it has NEVER rained like that in Seattle. The sheer volume of water coming down on us seemed impossible! Further complicating things, every single block seemed to have its own unique set of challenges. For example, the drainage pipe clearing rain from one roof was blasting water all the way out across the sidewalk into the street at firehose-like velocity, and periodically we’d come across ‘low-spots’ where swirling pools of rainwater (and who knows what else) came up to our calves. This short walk was definitely the most hilarious ‘weather-related’ comedy act we’ve ever experienced.

We quickly realized that there was no way we could make it 10 more blocks if we wanted to be even remotely presentable for a fine dining experience, so we darted into the first establishment we could find. Entering the restaurant was a spectacle in and of itself! Picture two soaking wet golden retrievers climbing out of a car wash into a nice restaurant, to the bemusement/horror of everyone inside.

As soon as the door shut behind us, we realized that we’d conveniently stumbled into one of the restaurants we’d been considering earlier in the day, the Marigny Brasserie.

With the weather securely on the otherside of the glass, there was zero indication in the restaurant of the madness taking place outside. The Shotgun Jazz Band was entertaining diners with song after song of classic New Orleans-style jazz, which seemed to create a calm oasis in the middle of the storm. We took our seats next to the window, and proceeded to enjoy a wonderful dinner with clothes so wet we created puddles beneath us.

This is a shot of  our buttermilk fried chicken (it was delicious) and  a sample of the music we stumbled upon…
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The Brasserie was the perfect neighborhood establishment for us to spend an evening – the food was good, the service was friendly and the music was great. We DEFINITELY recommend stopping by on a Friday night when the Shotgun Jazz Band plays until 11:00 pm (just remember to tip the band!).

Bourbon Street really wore out his little fella...

Bourbon Street really wore out this little fella…

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