A Cafe and More
Don and I were headed on Highway 81, towards Colorado. We were actually keeping our eyes peeled for a "petrified gas station" that we'd read about.
I was eager to see the old wooden station that had been covered with a mosaic of petrified wood, years ago. It was a nice surprise to find a cluster of roadside buildings, beside the petrified Texaco station.
The cafe was crowded with locals at 11:45 on a Monday. We waited a few minutes before a table opened.
Once seated, I peeked at the menu, but spent a little more time peeking at the decor surrounding our table. Ruffly curtains and framed photos... and quite a nifty clock collection!
Don and I stood out in the crowd. We were the only ones who bothered to look at the menu. One server welcomed her granddaughter and teased her son. A man in a cowboy hat leaned over and talked to another table. I sort of felt like we'd crashed a private party.
The beans were sort of tasty with ham. The potatoes were bland and the chicken...well? We'd been talking a lot about petrified wood. Maybe that's why the only word that came to my mind when I took a bite, was the word, petrified. I'm not usually so negative. But Don's tunafish sandwich was good!
The Memorable Part
I was sad the food hadn't been better. I was disappointed that we hadn't been able to chat with any of the staff for more cafe history. (It opened in 1927. That's all I learned) But I will never forget the wonderful petrified gas station and Motor Camp that stood nearby. What a hoot!
Good Food & Good Neon!
A retro, neon sign is enough to lure me to a restaurant.
But the Tujague's history is much more impressive than the sign!
It's hard to believe this sweet old thing sitting on the corner, was already 100 years old on the day I was born!
This is how an artist depicted the restaurant in 1963. The retro image shows Tujague's at a time when tourists were beginning to flock.
100 years earlier, farmers, butchers and other workmen from the French Market across the street, were the only customers.
Luckily I had this fine Ford Motor Company Cookbook with me, when we dined on May 18.
How else would I have known, the restaurant specialty was Boiled Beef!
Family Gathering in May
We gathered outside Tujague's a couple weeks ago, to begin a celebratory weekend.
Our son's law school graduation gave us lots to celebrate, but we'd already been celebrating for 3 years. Nola is a great place to visit and we've come often, to celebrate anything we can think of!
In the Back
Our group was seated in the backroom, beside a brick wall. It was a festive gathering of 2 families, so we were glad for the less formal atmosphere.
There was a very stern presence in the room, however. She stared at us from a frame on the wall, beside a huge collection of tiny liquor bottles.
I showed my vintage cookbook to our waiter, but he was a little too young to be impressed. Luckily, they did serve the specialty from the book.
The menu's entree title, Boiled Brisket of Beef with Creole Horseradish Sauce, sounded much better than the book's name, Boiled Beef. The appetizer portion had a good zing with the sauce. The Creole Turtle soup was a yummy start as well.
Smiles and Bread
You can see beneath the smiles, there's and empty soup bowl. That's a good sign. The fact that there are still loaves of fresh bread only means I was holding back. I could have eaten all the yummy bread myself!
The Famous Stand Up Bar
A few framed photos of Tujague's old cypress bar, made me curious. My 10 pm photo shows only ghosts at the bar.
The antique print, did make me wonder about all the men who drank beer or Sazeracs in the past 161 years. What kinds of deals were made? What were the jokes they told?
Foot on the Railing
I wonder who was the first woman to put her foot on the brass foot rail? I put my foot down in a most noncommittal way.
The men in the photo look like they're staring at a woman (much braver than me) who dared to put her foot on the rail.
Brave With My Cookbook
Since it's 2017, I figured I was allowed to talk to the only 2 men in the bar, especially since I had my cookbook on hand. Our waiter may not have cared about the curious book, but William, the bartender was quite impressed.
He flagged down the manager who took a picture of me holding the book open to the recipe. He said he was eager to show the chef, who unfortunately had just left.
Sharing the Book
There was one gentleman at the end of the bar, who was curious enough to take a peek at the book before I hurried back to the table. He seemed a bit amused by the book's simple recipe.
Dinner is Served
I didn't bother our waiter with picture taking, but I snapped a pic of the rest of the group, ready to dig in.
My Vegetarian Gnocchi was creamy and rich and delicious.
I could only eat half. Don's Speckled Trout Almandine was a healthier and even yummier choice.
By the time a few bread puddings were devoured, the group was fairly relaxed.
Maybe those Grasshoppers or Whiskey Punches added to the relaxed state. Those are 2 of the drinks made famous at Tujague's Bar, many years ago.
Our party was last to depart. The front room was getting prepped for the next day's lunch. As we passed through the empty bar, we noticed the throne-like Crown Royal chair.
Scott tried it out, sitting beneath photos of Tujague's previous owner, Steven Latter. Evidently Mr. Latter also enjoyed that throne, back in the day. It was a good and proper way to end the evening!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.