Cruising the Cuisine of New Orleans
If you are near Louisiana anytime soon, go cruising the cuisine of New Orleans for a true taste of southern tradition.
Our first night in New Orleans, we found ourselves at the historic and architecturally opulent setting of Brennan’s Restaurant. A tradition that dates back to pre-Edgar Degas days, rich in French art and American history, Brennan’s restaurant offers a modern look into the past. I’m a romantic at heart, and marrying the present with the past is a favorite hobby.
Dinner at Brennan’s
Two terrific cuts of meat, seared tableside, with mushrooms and a delicious gravy, Steak Diane is like having dinner and a show all at one time.
None of the chefs who flambéd at our tableside confessed to singed eyebrows or 9-1-1 calls, but the theatrics were nothing short of broadway-worthy.
And the results were both beautiful and delicious.
The Baked Alaska was like none we’d experienced – even off the coast of the “Last Frontier” state.
Lunch at Lilette
While 007 conferenced at our hotel, I ventured out to the Garden District for a little antique shopping. After a full morning of sticker shock, I happened into a delightful shop where the owner and I had a delightful conversation about antiques, New Orleans and the Garden District in particular. He recommended that I “luncheon at Lilette”, just a few blocks from his shop. It was a beautiful and sunny day and I took my seat in the cozy courtyard beside the restaurant. I enjoyed their Italian Wedding Soup and a trio of delicious homemade ice creams.
The combination of peach, salted caramel and vanilla ice creams served with sugar cookies, melted in my mouth much easier than any cobbler I’ve ever picked at after a heavy meal. It was the perfect combination for lunch.
Dinner with Three Muses
007 made reservations at this fun establishment on Frenchmen Street for inspiration and memories. The three muses entertaining here are food, music and spirits. There’s no tragedy or kinship to gods boasted here, but the music is legendary and in our case, the smoked tomato bruschetta was worth singing about!
Frenchmen Street is what some might call the kinder, gentler version of Bourbon Street. And I would agree. You can hear some great music without all the debauchery and thousand pints of urine flowing through the gutters.
Dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico
After a day of shopping in the Garden District, 007 and I began a not-so-clandestine operation of finding Emeril’s Delmonico Restaurant. We were not disappointed. The restaurant has undergone a beautiful historic renovation and is a sumptuous setting for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner.
We were escorted into the building by a polite gentleman, and seated at the chef’s table. While we were not blessed with the booming sound of Emeril’s voice, hollering, “Bam!”, we sure wanted to shout it ourselves after each course.
First course was a trio of Wild Boar Meatballs, seated on a bed of eggplant and sprinkled with toasted almonds. The layer of pecorino romano cheese on top was delicate and oh so yummy!
Then we shared a Grilled Alabama Peach Salad, which was the special salad of the day. Just how lucky were we to experience a salad with our very own Chilton County peaches on that particular day in New Orleans, LA?
The next course was equally divine and so southern that I could almost hear my nanny shouting through the screen door “Come on and fix yer plate fore it gets cold.”
They called this little skillet of heaven, “Butter-soaked Cornbread.” And it lived up to its name.
I ordered a New York Strip and 007 had filet mignon. We then shared another signature dish of Emeril’s. Macaroni and Cheese.
I am not a typical mac-n-cheese lover. It was never one of my comfort foods as a child. My kids loved it, but not the homemade kind. They always preferred the little blue box with the powdered cheese and milk. I’ve imagined them saying grace something like Kevin McAllister in “Home Alone,”
Now, I would pray, “Bless this somewhat nutritious ‘easy-baked-oven’ side dish using three real cheeses and Emeril Lagasse who sold it full price. It was truly worth all 700 pennies. Amen.”
Other Stops in New Orleans
And, in addition to great cuisine, the World War II Museum at the corner of Magazine and Andrew Higgins will ignite your hunger for history. As you relive the lives of real soldiers during the war that changed our lives forever, you will be amazed. Tom Hanks does an excellent job of giving us a fresh appreciation for our freedom in the movie, “Beyond All Boundaries.” Don’t miss it!
After our trip to New Orleans, we downloaded the “Band of Brothers” series from both Europe and the Pacific. If by chance, you’ve missed these HBO series, please take your next opportunity to watch.
There’s so much to enjoy in New Orleans. If you aren’t a reveler and prefer to cruise off of Bourbon Street, there are lots of choices.