Sunday, July 2, 2017

50th Family Trip: Free Hour in the French Quarter

By the time we'd finished touring Jackson Square, all of us were wet and crabby and starting to get sick of each other. We talked about going to Cafe Du Monde for beneits, but we could see that the line to get in was a block long. We finally decided to just split up and do our own thing for an hour and then meet back.

As the group divided to find food or just explore, I found my self left with Katherine, who was being exceptionally snarly. Sometimes 13 is just hard. I asked her if she was hungry. She insisted she wasn't. I asked what she wanted to do. She rolled her eyes and shrugged. So I decided to wander the area and take pictures of the impossibly lovely buildings and ignore her grumping along behind me.

Even in the rain the French Quarter is a gorgeous place - balconies, intricate wrought iron, secret gardens, even the fallen flower petals were beautiful!

After a few sodden blocks, with Katherine staring daggers into my back, I decided that we needed to try something else. Not long after I spied a covered outdoor cafe with a group playing live jazz and steered us toward it, figuring food and music would go a long way in improving both our moods. Katherine announced that she wasn't hungry. And she hated jazz. We sat down and ordered anyway.
By the time our giant slab of bread pudding with bourbon sauce arrived, she admitted that the band was  pretty good. Half way through the dessert she was smiling.  By the time we'd finished, she announced that the bread pudding was the best thing she'd ever eaten and the musicians were really good and the drummer was amazing. Listening to live jazz at an outdoor cafe in New Orleans while sampling sinfully delicious sweets is an experience no one should pass up!

Katherine and I poked around in T-shirt shops and the interesting little stores in the area. Then we stumbled upon Central Grocery, home of the original Muffuletta (a tasty sandwich involving ham and other sliced meats, crusty bread, and olive spread).
It was an old fashioned Italian grocery store and still looked like something from 1910.
There were whole shelves of different kinds of olives...
multiple kinds of canned sardines...
hand labeled boxes of dried beans...
vegetable seeds from Italy...
dried pasta, sausages, spices, oils, cheeses...
My Foodie Child was in heaven!
We didn't buy a thing, just took it all in and marveled at the shop and all the fascinating things it sold.

At the end of the hour we met back up with the rest of the family and shared our experiences. Some had eaten or shopped or just sat and people watched. Katherine and I were the only ones who had listened to jazz or eaten the world's best bread pudding or explored a grocery store from out of time. And we were the only ones who had transformed our free hour from soggy, irritable Family Fun Time into some of the coolest experiences of the whole trip.

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