Monday, March 29, 2010

New Orleans III

Photos from NOLA

The next morning I woke up and really did not feel like taking a run.  Instead, we headed straight to Cafe du Monde. There was already a line a block long, but I went into the restaurant as instructed by our taxi driver, and viola, there were plenty of open tables inside. We polished off one order of three beignets and a couple of cafe au laits. 

Parkway Tavern for Po Boys. I know the others were a little skeptical, but as the place started filling up and the line started getting longer, I think they realized that there might be something here. I went for the surf and turf, roast beef and shrimp covered in house gravy. The roast beef was soft and almost shredded like a pulled pork, really a stewed rather than roasted beef, the shrimp was fresh and coated with a thing crispy breading – the best po boy I had tasted up to that point. I also tried a few of the fried oysters in H's sandwich, also great fresh oysters in a crispy, but not overwhelming batter. The sandwiches were dressed with gravy some lettuce and a tiny bit of mayo, I think they could've benefitted from some acidity, so I added some mustard. Both of them said it was a good call and I think that meant that they had low expectations.

Cochon. The most modern place I'd been to in New Orleans. Ikea style, lots of light colored hard wood. We started with cucumber spicy pickles, wood fired oyster roast and fried boudin with pickled peppers. The cucumber spicy pickles were very korean, the wood fired oysters were absolutely delicious, oysters baked on the half shell in a wonderful spicy sauce – I could've eaten many more of these. The fried boudin was also excellent better than what we had at boucherie, light crisp crust with a savory boudin mixture – not gamey at all. Next came the paneed pork cheeks with pickled green tomatoes, tender pork good flavor, though not particularly outstanding. The Louisiana cochon with turnips, cabbage and cracklins – was the most deeply flavored pig I'd had this trip. It was basically pulled pork formed into a cake, so juicy and just the right flavor. The cracklins added a nice crunch and were clearly housemade. Smothered greens had nice bits of bacon in them. Then we finished with the Pineapple upside down cake, which was a delicious carmelized shell surrounding a sweet tart pinapple cake accompanied by a lime sorbet. beautiful combo of flavors. The Lemon buttermilk pie was fine, nothing special, but o.k. Service was not very good, somewhat cold and it seemed that they were trying to rush us out of the restaurant despite the fact that there were many open tables and no one was waiting outside. They dropped the check on us, cleared the table and after we finished dessert and were relaxing and talking with each other they began to wipe and clean the table.

The next morning we went for a run and stopped for a quick bite at Central Grocery. The muffaletta was fine, the giarinera was better than Frank's next door, but I think I'm just not a muffaletta girl. 

After we freshened up we headed for Casamento's for oysters. Wow really great raw with their mixture of cocktail, horseradish and lemon sauce. They had a very clean flavor (not briny at all) and almost burst in your mouth as you ate them. I'm not usually a fan of very large oysters because they are overly meaty. These oysters were large, but the flavor was light and refreshing. We also sampled their gumbo, oyster stew and oyster loaf. The oyster loaf was the best of the bunch, two toasted slices of texas toast style bread with a pile of freshly fried oysters on top. The oysters were really delicious, though I think the breading was thicker than I like.

On to Lilette for lunch, we started with the chicken broth with poached egg, hmm, not really my favorite, too much celery and herb, this lacked flavor. The grilled beat salad with goat cheese and walnuts was delicious, I liked that the grilling added a char flavor to the beets and made them less sweet.

Our mains were beef cheek and gnocchi in a mushroom bacon sauce. The mushroom sauce was nice, but the beef cheek was just o.k. while the gnocchi were dense chewy and just a little overwhelmingly starchy. The better of the two entrees was the pulled pork which came of toasted french breaded ladled with jus and mayonaise. Honestly, I thought that the jus soaked bread was the best part of the sandwich and for some reason the french fries were particularly good. Dessert was awesome. Quenelles of crème fraiche on top of lavender honey garnished with pistachios and poached pears – a winning combo of flavors and textures. Nutella custard with fleur de sel, caramel cream and chocolate-hazelnut brittle was good though a little on the custardy side.

Then we walked around for a bit and ended up at Sucre and got some truffles. The next stop was Domilese's after a short train ride we came across this shack of a place.

Domilise's – shrimp and oyster po boy was excellent.  The shrimp had a nice snap and the oysters had a like crispy batter all of it went perfectly with the sauce.  This and Parasol's were the most old school po'boy shops we went to.  It was very hot that day and unfortunately they weren't running the a/c otherwise I'd rank this one as my favorite.

Parasol's – roast beef po boy.  The roast beef here is more like a long braised pot roast sandwich piled high with juicy tender chunks of beef, lettuce, cheese and a mayo sauce.  I would've loved a glass of red wine to cut through the richness, but that wouldn't fit this place -- it's the back room of a neighborhood bar.  This is my favorite roast beef sandwich.

Next Restaurant August & Stanley

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