Wednesday started off early. We had a plantation tour scheduled to pick us up @ 7:30. Went downstairs hoping to grab a bite to eat when we found out the continental breakfast doesn't start until 8am. Buzzkiller! Finally got to meet Sherlane and what a sweetie she is! I gave her my cell and I wrote a note and asked her to pass the message to you coworkers to see if we could connect. The bus picked us up and off we went.
We used Old River Road Plantation Tour since I used them last time with good success. Our driver Richard was as sweet as could be. So knowledgeable about the area and a ger kind gentleman. He narrated the hour long drive with a weather of interesting information. I have taken this tour before (12 yrs ago) and I loved the contrast between Oak Alley and Laura plantations so I wanted DH to see it too. Our first stop was Oak Alley.
Such beautiful grounds and amazing oaks. Being a tree hugger I absolutely love the trees. More so than the tour. We took the 40 minute house tour and enjoyed seeing the grand rooms. I took snapshots of the master bedroom ceiling in hopes to paint mine the same color. Grabbed a mint julip before it was time to go. I love their mint julips. I've been thinking about them for years. They use a mint simple syrup instead of straight Bourbon and mint leaves. I like it that way much, much better than straight.
From there we went to Laura plantation. We both really enjoyed this plantation and tour. Our tour guide was Bryan a young Creole man from the area. He was outstanding! He made the people and their stories come to life. You get a better feel for the history here and it is not "disney-fied" the way it is at Oak Alley. Touring the slave quarters and hearing their story heartbreaking. It's not something we haven't heard but it just brings it home when you are sitting in their home (shack) and seeing where they were forced to work and live. The tour was 70 minutes. At this point, time was on our side (we had 6:45 dinner reservations) so we decided to purchase the add on lunch and swamp tour.
I knew there would not be as many animals out do to the cold but was hoping to catch some. On our way from the plantation to the swamp our bus died. All electrical stopped. The driver pulled over and TURNED OFF the engine. Tom & I looked at each other knowing that was a bad move. Sure enough, it wouldn't turn back on. We are thinking battery died. The woman in front of us thought it was the alternator because she saw the speedometer stop working. The two young gals from New York started to freakout. Hahahaha! One of them grabbed her cell and wanted to call 911 because we were in a "wierdo area" as she put it. Really we were in a pastoral plantation land setting on the side of the road by the freeway on ramp. Anyway, 911 girl jumps out of her seat and says "I can't take it! I can't stay in here! I'm NOT riding in this bus! It's not safe!" Tom and I just roll our eyes and laugh. We chat with the woman in front of us (I forgot her name but she was great) and just hang tight. Richard gets on the phone and calls the tour company to send another bus to pick us up. Eventually the bus comes and we're off again. Since we were so delayed, our lunch stop was converted to box lunches to go instead of a sit down meal. Works for me. So we pick up the food and head to Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour. We ate at the picnic tables before heading on the tour.
Our tour guide Tom was a crack up! He was fascinating to listen to. Between the beautiful accent, the strange words that he used and his stories and knowledge of the land and animals, we had a great time. While I didn't see as many animals or alligators as large as I did in the summer I was still glad to get Tom out there. He got to see some gators come up to the boat for the chicken wings, saw raccoon's eat marshmallows, the knees of the trees and the moss, and the birds. He held a baby alligator too. Now I grew up with iguanas so to me they're similar. But for Tom it was strange. He didn't know what yo expect and was surprised at how soft they are. So that was the end of the swamp tour. Back home to our last night at the Provincial.
We cleaned up and walked to Arnaud's Jazz Bistro for dinner. There are two sides to Arnaud's. The Jazz Bistro is business casual and offers live music. The regular side is more elegant and jackets are required. I chose the jazz bistro. The service is impeccable and the music makes it. Small 3 piece band: banjo, bass, and trumpet. They play in a corner for a while then go table to table for requests. Now, the food is outstanding. We both started with a simple salad. For my meal I ordered the crab and mushroom baked in puff pastry with a cream and white wine sauce. It has all of my favorites and it's got my name: Crabmeat Karen. It was meant to be. And damn was it good! The meal is served ala carte. I ordered asparagus w/hollandaise. They also offer a 3 course menu. Tom ordered duck breasted cooked medium rare infused with blueberries and served with a blueberry port reduction sauce. Oh man was it good. He said it was so good he wanted to lick his plate. When we return next trip I'm ordering it. It's a dish we will dream about until we return. He ordered potatoes brabarant for his side, which he called square French fries and he was a happy man. For dessert he ordered the flourless chocolate cake and I ordered the pecan praline crepes. So yummy! We also ordered the cafe' brulot. Flaming coffee with brandy, orange Curacao, something else, orange rind, lemon rind, cinnamon stick, cloves and sugar. He peeps the orange to create a funnel twist with the rind then pours the flaming drink on the orange so it is like a flaming waterfall. How awesome is that!
After dinner we went back to Frenchman Street and caught a fricken great blues band at BMC called Blues For Sale. We stayed till his set ended and bought a CD. The perfect end to another perfect day in New Orleans!