| DATE NIGHT | Gypsy Jazz with Jersey City's Manouche Bag

The DATE NIGHT series on BURBS + A BBQ spotlights local restaurants and adult playtime activities for those fleeting but important couples-only nights. This time we're back at Madame Claude Café, but for a special occasion: Gypsy Jazz with Manouche Bag. We've already covered how much I love the French food at Madame Claude Café, and the wine at Madame Claude Wine, but there is a missing third prong that rounds out this trio of posts. And that prong is Thursday Night Gypsy Jazz with Manouche Bag at Madame Claude Café.

I love gypsy jazz, which is probably why I love the chick flick movie Chocolat. Either that or Johnny Depp. No, it's definitely the fact that Johnny Depp is playing gypsy jazz on a houseboat. Swoon.

Annnnyway... the sounds of gypsy jazz remind me of France, of Paris. Of little cafés serving petit cafés with a cube of sugar and a little biscotti to dip. Of late nights in smoky bars straining to understand the romantic language spoken around and to me. It's a beautiful, happy, carefree music to my ears. And it's served up right here in my new town, Jersey City.

Manouche Bag is comprised of four gentlemen including the co-owner of the Madame Claude dynasty, Mattias Gustafsson on vocals, guitar and kazoo; Joe Busssey on bass; Bryan Beninghove on sax and melodica; and Jim Kaznosky on guitar and vocals. They play each week at Madame Claude Café (among other gigs around town) from 7:30 PM until the party dies.

On our first visit to Madame Claude Café (our first Date Night in Jersey City!), our waitress invited us to come back for gypsy jazz night, but warned that reservations were necessary the week before to get a table inside. As in call on Friday to get a reservation for the following Thursday. She wasn't kidding. After a couple tries, we took a late reservation but got our favorite corner table near the kitchen, which is also next to the band (we sat exactly where the couple in right of the photo below is sitting: basically on top of them, and it was brilliant!).

We had another stunning meal, but this time it felt even more authentic than the first time thanks to the soundtrack of the night. Which sounded something like this:

I want a perma-reservation on the corner table.

Groove with Manouche Bag on the interwebs: