Brunch at Arnaud's

I was searching through some boxes of memorabilia and children's artwork today and came across an old travel journal from a trip my husband and I took to New Orleans in 1990.  I have only kept journals sporadically over the years, but somehow I always find time to write about good food.

This was written on September 18, 1990:

"Bruce and I flew from Medford to New Orleans on the 15th of September.  We stayed that night at St. Peter's Guest House in the French Quarter, took in Bourbon Street, etc. that night and the next morning and had brunch at a wonderful and extremely elegant restaurant called Arnaud's.  All of the waiters, maître d's, etc. were in black suits or tuxedos--not a woman among them except the cashier--and a jazz trio wandered through the room playing everyone's requests.  The service and food were excellent.  I had Eggs Benedict and Strawberries Au Port.  Bruce had a Red Bean Omelet and Turtle Soup.  We shared Banana's Foster for dessert, which was "flamboyantly flambéed" to perfection right at our table.  (Of course, Bruce thought it was too sweet, but I thought it was heavenly.)

An unsliced loaf of bread was also served, but no bread plate was on the table.  I confidently broke off a piece of the crusty bread, scattering crumbs all over, but I assumed the waiter would "crumb" the table eventually.  I was correct.  Before serving dessert, our waiter whipped out a small gold instrument somewhat like a tongue depressor that was curved lengthwise and deftly removed my crumbs to an empty glass which he then carried away.  Another passing waiter, upon seeing what our waiter was doing, immediately performed the same task on Bruce's side of the table.  As I said, the service was excellent!

I believe to total bill came to about $55.00 and Bruce added a $10 tip to that, plus we paid for parking.  It was a very special experience, though not inexpensive!

I'm thankful to my mother for taking me to so many elegant and expensive restaurants when I was a teenager.  Her main purpose was to teach me how to behave so that I would feel comfortable in those and similar surroundings for the rest of my life.  I hope someday I will be able to do the same for Christine and Laura.  I don't want them to be snobs, but I want them to feel at ease and confident in all types of settings.  Manners are always in style."

I am lucky to be married to a man who enjoys a great meal as much as I do and never complains when the check arrives.

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