Day 2 of our trip began in the lower ninth ward, where curiosity led us to the devastation that had befallen that area of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The juxtaposition of former homes still sitting in ruins next to newly built eco-friendly houses with bright colors and spiral staircases was striking.
Soon the sun came out and we found ourselves at a divey joint on Decatur St., Fiorella’s that had run out of half its menu the night before, but was delicious and satisfying nonetheless. I was a little wary about the cleanliness of the kitchen, though, so I might avoid this place if you’re ultra-sensitive, despite their extensive menu.
Somehow the day flew by as we wandered the French Market, sunned ourselves in Jackson Square, enjoyed cafe au lait at the famous Cafe Du Monde (which had no wait) and marveled at how clean the city looked hours after Fat Tuesday had ended.
Before we knew it, we were heading to our reservation at Jacques-Imo’s uptown, where a meal ensued that I will remember for a long time.
The menu was huge, and I must say it contained a lot that I wish I could have tried – like the famous gator and shrimp cheesecake appetizer. But I was more than happy with what I got, and our excellent waiter tried very hard to accommodate my needs. My fish was good, but the sides were the star of the show. Mashed potatoes that seemed to be cream and butter garnished with potato, and smothered cabbage that was spicy and comforting – and topped with sausage!
Sure the food was pricey, but you’re paying for excellent food, excellent service and a fantastic, friendly atmosphere. We couldn’t have asked for a better end to our trip. But we got one – we ordered four servings of the French vanilla creme brulee – and the waiter gave them to us on the house. Did I mention the excellent service?
Sigh. My last spring break as a grad student is over, but I couldn’t have ended my college career on a much higher note. After all I’d heard about New Orleans food (beignets anyone?), I was afraid I’d be missing out. But now that I’ve been, I don’t think that’s possible in a city like New Orleans.