Tuesday, April 3

Spring Break Dining! New Orleans

William and I are on spring break. We started in Houston where I caught up with many friends, half of whom now have kids which I got to meet :) We ate at some of my old favorites - tappas at Mi Luna, crawfish and gumbo at Rajin' Cajun. We never made it to House of Pies unfortunately.

Sunday we headed east and made it to New Orleans. We only went to the French Quarter, but in driving and walking around what we kept saying is how empty it looked. The Quarter is in pretty good shape, with a few bulging buildings and sagging balconies, but it's just empty. The bars are still loud and pumping out the booze, but there's far less people buying.

We thought a hotel would be way out of our price range and we ended up getting a room just off Canal St. for $89! Heck, we're currently in small town Florida, only a stop off the highway for $30 more! Anyway, back to New Orleans. We went and hit Cafe du Monde for beignets and Johnny's for po-boys. Both great and traditional, but the stand out of the evening was Louisiana Bistro. Below is the review I wrote for Yelp:

No, I'm not actually from Louisiana. But I did grow up in the south and I love food. In fact, I'll admit it, I'm a food snob. And in more disclosure, if you've read Felix's other review you'll note this is a completely different style, well, that's because this is Felix's girlfriend. Ok, so onto the Louisiana Bistro.

After roaming the French Quarter, it was the ambiance - small not at all touristy - and the chalk board special of a frog legs appetizer that drew us into the Louisiana Bistro. There were only two tables occupied, yet we were asked if we had a reservation. We didn't and they gave us a small table by the window.

We perused the menu, which changes frequently and even though everything looked great, we decided to go with the chef's tasting menu. You could choose from 3, 4 or 5 courses for $39, 49 and 59 respecitively, shockingly affordable or maybe that's just because we're from the SF Bay Area. We decided to go with the 4 courses to sample as much as we could fit in our bellies.

The chef personally came out to our table to ask us what we're allergic to or afraid of. We also mentioned that we had specifically come in because we saw the frog legs and that it was my birthday. Turns out the chef normally does not include items from the menu in the tasting, he uses the tasting as a chance to be creative and play outside the menu. However, as our first course we got the frog legs. We each got three legs, perfectly fried on top or a buerre blanc sauce swirled with a cayenne. It may not be the most appropriate, but I picked mine up and ate it with my hands. I then used the warm rolls, with a crisp crust and soft fluffy inside, to soak up the rest of the sauce.

When the chef came out again to ask us how it was, I told him that would be a tough act to follow and in fact the 2nd course was a bit disappointing. We were served what he called a bit of old school mixed with new school. Crawfish etouffe topped with a crawfish beignet. The etouffe was the disappointing part, it needed both salt and some more kick. However, the beignet totally made up for it. Fluffy and some what dense at the same time, full of crawfish tails. Drool.

Third course, pan seared trout topped with blue crab stuffing and sauced with a jalepeno hollandaise. Dear lord. I now have complaints I've never had with a restaurant, our food was coming out too fast and the servings were too big. Our tastings were large appetizer sized. We easily could have shared each plate. We were already stuffed and only on the third course!!

So the chef postponed the arrival of the last course. After a while in which Felix and I attempted to create more space in our bellies, our last course arrived. A cayenne crusted domestic lamb loin cooked to each of our tastes (med-rare for me, well-done for Felix) served with an andouille sausage sweet potato hash. Dear lord. The lamb was so well done, perfectly crusted on the outside, nice lamb flavor on the inside. I didn't have any room for the hash, but it had the nice smokey andouille flavor.

The chef came out and asked us if we had room for dessert. We were so stuffed we said we couldn't, well, we were brought dessert anyway for my birthday. I'm so glad he didn't list to me because after all the deliciousness, we got something even better. An ice cream float with cream cheese ice cream made with "Nawlins Nectar". I've never heard of this, but it seemed to be a peachy type soda. The cream cheese ice cream was so incredible, cream cheese flavor in ice cream. Its richness slightly sourness perfectly complemented by the soda. I ended up scrapping the bottom of the glass.

If you're still reading this, obviously I loved this place. Go there.

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