Thursday, 15 April 2004
Enjoyed the view from our balcony (always with the balconies!) before a breakfast of coffee and beignet (gee I wonder where we went?) Our balcony at Le Richelieu faced north, giving us a different view than we’ve had before; down the street to our left we could see St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square.
We took our coffee and beignet to the river, to sit on the Mississippi watching the boats, barges and people go by. Uglesich’s was a primary destination on this trip (as always) and we decided to get to it on our first full day here. This is one of the most consistently amazing places to eat anywhere, especially if you love fresh seafood. Tucked back in the warehouse district, Uggie’s is off the beaten path (though you wouldn’t know it from the line out the door) and it’s not much to look at, but that’s part of the charm. And the food is out of this world.
Two things we’ve learned about Uglesich’s over the years: 1) It’s not open on weekends or in August (I Iearned this the hard way), and 2) It ain’t cheap. At least not when we eat there. Sure, if you lived in town and could pop by every day (it’s only open for lunch,) you could get by with a delicious po-boy for under $10 bucks. But when you get to Foodie-Mecca just once every year or so, you eat like it’s your last meal, skipping the sandwich to order as many entrees and appetizers to share as you can stuff yourself with. Locals, businessmen, conventioneers, tourists and old timers pack the place for mouth-watering southern fish dishes. There’s always a wait and it’s cash only. After a brief wait in line, watching dish after dish of fresh seafood whisked out of the cramped kitchen, we ordered up a feast of barbeque shrimp, fried green tomatoes (the best anywhere,) two orders of shrimp and grits (it’s that good,) fried mirlitons (a kind of Louisiana pear vegetable,) and the soft shell crab plate. As usual, everything was outstanding and we left stuffed and very satisfied.
One sad note though: It seems that rumors of Uglesich and company retiring this year may be true. When asked about the new cookbook they’re putting together, Uglesich himself emphasized it would have “real recipes” (THE recipes!) and would be available in August, when they would close up shop and go on a book tour. Whether or not the Uglesich’s we’ve come to know and love will still be around next year remains to be seen. Apparently he’s getting offers all the time for his business—that very day two offers had come in. Whether he sells, and whether or not any new owner will mess with a good thing, also remains to be seen. I for one have bookmarked their web site to keep apprised of the situation. This is serious business people, and those of you who’ve had the good fortune to eat there know what I mean!
Our afternoon was spent at the National D-Day Museum. There is so much great stuff packed into this complex that the last time we were here, we only made it through half the museum. Karen and I were both very eager to see the section devoted to Pacific Theatre, so we made the museum a must-see on our vacation. My U.S. history classes tended to end early in WWII, so there’s a lot I didn’t know, or had forgotten, about the Pacific Theatre of the war. This museum does a great job of blending the big and little pictures, integrating personal remembrances that resonate much more than facts and figures.
This is an easy museum to lose track of time in and I highly recommend it. Displays and documentary films shown in the main floor theatre throughout the day do a good job of balancing myriad points of view: men, women, soldiers, homefront, American and Japanese. On this trip to the museum, we learned of plans to expand the museum (and triple its size!) to be a museum devoted to all of WWII, and not just the D-Days (and yes, there are technically more than one—another fact I learned here.) I look forward to visiting again in the future.
We had dinner at Gabrielle, a restaurant ten minutes outside the Quarter where we’d had a delicious meal on our last trip. Again, it was good, but not quite the over-the-top amazing meal we’d enjoyed last time, or elsewhere on the rest of this trip.