JAZZ BREAKFAST: A Pre-Katrina Reflection
Marty Martindale

(The following is from Marty Martindale’s forthcoming book:  SHORT ORDERS:  Food Stories and Travels, due out soon.)

Well I’m the Sheik of Araby,
Your love belongs to me.
Well at night when you’re asleep,
Into your tent I’ll creep.
The stars that shine above
Will light our way to love.
You’ll rule this world with me.
I’m the Sheik of Araby.

We probably partied a little heavily the night before, and this was brunch-before-travel day which meant no sleeping in. Once at Arnaud’s, in the Quarter,  we were suddenly transfixed by the lilting lyrics of Shiek of Araby, a song we always knew was in the world but never needed to hear, we thought. The friendly morning sun filtered in from Rue Bourbon. Our feet rested upon the stark, apothecary-like, tiny-tile flooring contrasted beneath daintily lit chandeliers.

We are shown to a seat with a fine view of the room and jazz trio —  three older, consummate male musicians with twinkly eyes and serious intent. Someone hands us a Mimosa. Bless them!

Lazy and funky — another great way to squeeze in one more creole feast into a short New Orleans’ weekend. Our four-fold feast, a seated brunch, is one of life’s best ways to spend a Sunday morning. Before you make your menu choices, the trio segues into a soothing —

Just a Closer Walk with Thee

So synchopated!

You are bidden to choose an appetizer. You choose from a creole cheese offering, Belgian waffle, French seafood soup, fruit or oysters

Next, for a palate pleaser, a simple salad or a cool, crisp lettuce wedge with favorite dressing.

Next, you choose an entre – you select from six benedicts, two omelets, a crabmeat cheesecake, crab cakes, a filet mignon, gulf fish Meniere, pork, or chicken – all cooked in elaborate French tradition.

Now, the trio moves the musical mood into a more swinging —

Dark Town Strutters’ Ball

No one’s dancing. It’s too early on a Sunday morning. The night was too much fun.

The stunning appetizer arrives. It’s even better than you hoped. After the salad, your benedict follows, and it is down-right regal.

Now, the trio files slowly between the tables performing a plaintive —

Won’t you Come Home, Bill Bailey,
Won’t you Please Come Home?

Most every one’s too busy, too entertained to talk.

Finally your dessert – you opted for their Chocolate Devestation with a Cappuccino, it’s pure bliss.

Awe shucks. Finish it off with a French 75. The airport this afternoon will be cold and wwwway-too-too dreary.

As our group reluctantly files out, the trio salutes our exit with a rousing —

When the Saints go Marching In

Privately, we long to march right back in.