Galatoire's! Since 1905
I'm not sure why we needed a food adventure the night before Thanksgiving. But we were in New Orleans, so I guess that's why.
I don't think there's a food experience in all of New Orleans that doesn't include a bit of adventure! Since I spend a lot of time sharing about roadside cafes and unknown joints, I figured I'd share about a well-known, non-hole-in-the-wall place for a change. Plus my son had a jacket and tie, (jackets required after 5) and my daughter had a leopard skin cape...which is not required, but always a plus!
We started the evening off right with the famous New Orleans cocktail, the sazerac! My brother Chris took this photo of us as we began the evening. He really should be in this photo. He made the reservations, since Galatoire's is one of his Bucket List of Restaurants.
My family was pretty excited to help him scratch this one off the list.
The water was quite yummy, even though it was not chilled with chipped ice. Where did I read that? That was probably way back in the day when Tennessee Williams used to dine here. The Turtle Soup au Sherry was excellent and the Escargot was even better. It was a pity that we all liked it so much. We probably should have ordered more.
We should have been toasting to this guy who immigrated from Pau, France and opened the restaurant in 1905. The building had been a restaurant previously, so this place is old... with many stories to tell, I'm sure. Mr. Galatoire did a fine job of bringing dishes from the homeland and creating an atmosphere that has changed little in 100+ years. 4th generation descendants are still part of the ownership today.
Here's a peek of our corner table and the crowds surrounding. We were in the upstairs dining room where you can actually get reservations. Some might not even bother coming to Galatoie's if they couldn't be in the original room below. But that requires standing in line for a table. Besides the upstairs was quite festive. We even ended up chatting with our neighbors at the table nearby. It was a very jovial, non stuffy crowd.
Chris Gets in Photo
Chris looks like an Italian with the backward wave, "Ciao!" Or maybe he was telling our waiter to get down off the chair before he hurt himself taking our picture. Anyway, our main dishes had arrived and I'm sorry to say we had a good enough time that I can't remember details. I had something amazing with eggplant and that's all I can tell you. The food is solid and the atmosphere festive and our waiter was quite delightful whether using his serving or photography skills!
I wish I could remember our server's name...but a lot of details have escaped me. He was wonderful, even if he wasn't a third generation waiter. (I sort of expected the waiters would be like Italian gondoliers, handing down their skills and positions to sons) He wasn't able to tell us personal stories about his history with Galatoire's, but better yet, he shared that he was from Guatemala. Since a couple in our party have Guatemala experiences and a few speak Spanish, we had a good time conversing with this wonderful waiter after the crowds began to thin.
No one had much of an appetite for dessert, but we had to try the pumpkin cheesecake. It was tasty and a good way to prep the stomach for the next day's feasting.
I had to take a trip to the powder room, since that is always fun in iconic restaurants like this. On my way back, I took a snap of the bar (upstairs) that was now empty. I chatted with our waiter a bit and learned that the restaurant would be closed the next day! Yea for the staff of Galatorie's! They would be having the day off.
It was after 11 when we left, but I was still surprised to see that the main dining room on the first floor was empty. This is the room that people line up for outside. Evidently you can't get reservations even if you're the president. Of course the president can get someone else to stand in line. It was funny to see how simple it looked, like an old-timey ice cream parlor, really.
Even Bourbon Street looked pretty quiet as we hailed our cab. It's kind of nice to know that a holiday like Thanksgiving has the power to pull people off the party streets and encourage them to get home.
Next time I'll have to come when there's a long line in the sweltering heat. Nothing like long lines for people watching and encounters with strangers!
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.