Gumbo with every meal, please

We planned these stops in New Orleans and DC on the way to Philadelphia in order to break up an otherwise intolerably long rail trip. They also happen to be cities I quite like and that Stephanie has never visited. Yet each time we arrive in a new place, we recall the importance of taking a break from the trip. Momentarily ignoring where we are to let the body rest. Writing. Napping. Going to the bathroom in comfort and with dignity!

So after our brief stop at Cafe du Monde, Stephanie and I holed ourselves up at the hotel Tuesday afternoon. I caught up on my blogging, Stephanie caught up on some email. We did this until nearly 8pm, when we began to feel the first stirrings of hunger. So we struck out towards K-Paul’s for some good ol’ Cajun cuisine. We covered all the bases. Stephanie had a cup of gumbo and the shrimp étouffée, and I had the turtle soup and the jambalaya. We returned to the hotel, via Bourbon Street, stuffed.

On Wednesday we continued our routine of respite, and spent the morning laptopping in the hotel’s central courtyard. Around noon, when I felt I could follow up the previous night’s consumption with a small nibble, the clouds opened up and unleashed a ferocious downpour, with thunder and lightning to boot. We waited it out, and about an hour later, the sky was blue and the sun was out again. Lunch was a shared bowl of gumbo. We walked up and down Royal and Chartres streets for a couple of hours, looking at the art and antiques for sale, and then sat in the shade of a tree in Jackson Square.

Stephanie was enjoying the gumbo so much that we went to The Gumbo Shop for more of the same that night. She had the chicken and andouille gumbo, which was very deep in flavor, with almost a hint of coffee, while I had the barbecued shrimp and a side of red beans and rice. With our culinary bases fully covered, we ended the night at an unusually subdued Pat O’Briens with two of their specialty Hurricanes and a view of their fire fountain.

A Hurricane at Pat O'Briens
A “hurricane” from Pat O’Briens