Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Orleans II

I can't believe it's almost been a half a year since my trip.  I'm going to just post my notes.  No time to write.

Brunch at Commander's Palace. I completely understand why people rave about the service here. It is impeccable and the setting is very luxurious and traditional old school southern. Added to the setting was a foursome of debutants seated next to us wearing dresses and sitting with perfect posture and manners. The band is very smooth and professional, they've done this millions of times. The mood is festive and reminded me of an easter brunch with balloons tied down at each table. Now on to the food. We started with mimosas and a bloody mary, the bloody mary was strongly spiced and seasoned. I bit overwhelming for me. Ditto for the garlic bread starter, just overpoweringly garlickly. My dining companions loved it. We went on to the starters, two of us had gumbo while I had the absinthe dome oyster stew. Really delicious stew with an interesting flavor. Things were getting better after coming off on the wrong foot with the overpowering bloody and garlic bread. Next came Eggs cochon de lait with a pork debris gravy and mushrooms. This was excellent, the pork was tender well seasoned, smokey and one of the eggs was perfectly soft cooked, while the other was cooked until the yolk was no longer runny. The hollandaise sauce was very sparingly drizzled on top, but it was nice and lemony. I loved the pork debris gravy and mushrooms. This was a very good dish, save the one overcooked yolk. Dessert was strawberry short cake and a bread pudding souffle with whisky cream sauce. I enjoyed the bread pudding souffle, really a bread pudding topped wit souffle and then whisky sauce melting a hole through the center. Good flavor not overpowering and well balanced.

We walked around a it in the Garden District on Magazine street and saw quite a few people munching on huge piles of boiled crawfish in the beer garden next to the Bulldog. H thought they probably got it from the seafood shop across the street. too bad I was so full.

The Road Food Festival – I missed Lasyone's Meat Pies twice, they kept selling out! Anyhow, I tried pecan pie and a crawfish cake both were fine nothing outstanding. As I walked away, I saw a booth selling gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo which I would normally pass up because it lacked any seafood. But I noticed that the restaurant Prejean's was from Lafayette, remembering that Lafeyette is in the center of cajun country, I thought I should give it a try as the style might be different than what I'd been having in NOLA, yet I was totally full, it was a small investment so I bought a bowl, thinking I'd eat a few bites to judge. It was thin not very stew like, slightly spicey, but not overwhelmingly so, full of flavor, no bitterness or interesting file flavor, really sort of clean and clear flavors coming through directly – a far cry from the somewhat muddied flavors from the other gumbos I'd eaten. In the broth was some rice, which was fine and there was nothing else, just the soup chicken and sausage and rice. Despite my full stomach I ate the whole thing. Then ran an errand and was thinking of going back for more. Alas it was too late and the festival was already in clean up mode.

That night we wanted to eat light so we cancelled our reservation at Dante's Kitchen. Instead we went to have BBQ shrimp at Mr. B's. We tried a few other items unremarkable dishes and concluded that yes Mr. B's BBQ shrimp – with very fresh large head on shrimp was great, the highlight of the dish is the sauce – which for some reason reminded me of the gumbo from Prejeans! Anyhow it was very peppery spicy finished with cream and balanced with acid and a bbq sweetness – we sopped up the sauce until we finished our entire loaf of bread.

We finished the night with a beignet from Cafe Du Monde. they were as good as I remembered them – crispy on the outside, airy on the inside with a good chew.

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