Report on my NOLA visit
- James G Mar 27, 2002 02:56 PM
I returned to DC last night from my quick trip to NO for a conference, and thought I would report on my experience.
Following your advice, I went to Acme upon arrival at my hotel for a lunch of oysters. I did my share of damage to the oyster population that afternoon, though came nowhere near the 34 dozen record set on Super Bowl Sunday by someone from NYC. Also enjoyed my Peacemaker po'boy, though I imagine I'd have been better off with just a regular oyster version. Blackened Voodoo went well with the meal.
Dinner that night was a bit of a dud, since they fed us pretty decent cocktail party food at the reception at the Aquarium. Nonetheless, after drinks at Pat O'Brien's I did try to get a meal at Palace Cafe, though after sitting at the bar for 15 minutes without successfully getting a menu, I ended up leaving and foregoing dinner (!).
Next day for breakfast I had beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, which I remembered had a long line when I was last in NO several years ago. The beignets were fine--not too greasy, warm from the fryer--but the coffee was a bit weak for my taste.
Lunch was at Commander's Palace, which I really did enjoy. I had their express lunch, consisting of country gumbo followed by crawfish maque choux and the bread pudding souffle (I was actually not crazy about the souffle, and should have had the molten chocolate souffle--next time!).
For dinner I went to Stella! upon the recommendation of several people I met. What a great idea that was! I got there earlyish, around 6:45, and was seated at a small table against a window (in exchange for a promise to make yummy faces to the passers-by). My waiter was fairly laid back compared to the other one I saw in action there, but I liked him a lot; he was very helpful when it came to selecting a menu, since I found it very difficult to choose. In the end, I had a starter of flash-fried oysters (excellent!), and left the main course selection up to him. He brought me the rack of lamb with crisp veal sweetbreads, which I thought was extremely good, and went well with the Syrah that I ordered. The table next to me ordered completely different items (they talked loudly) and I heard one of them say that the soup--a tomato and curry soup--was the best soup he had ever had. For dessert, I had the frozen ginger creme brulee, which was also outstanding. I loved this place, and recommend it highly!
The next day I had breakfast at the Meridien hotel where I was staying (feh) and lunch at the Acme again. This time I tried the gumbo, which I liked very much, in addition to the couple of dozen oysters and a glass of Abita. Great place!!
Personally, I agree that the bread pudding souffle is not all that wonderful as desserts go. They simply make pretty normal bread pudding, then fold in some meringue and bake it. Of course, in New Orleans almost every restaurant has bread pudding on the menu; some are better than others but bread pudding in general is not necessarily nirvana to everyone.
re: Sarah C
I like my bread puddin' dense and traditional.
We visited Commander's a few years ago and I thought the bread pudding souffle was nice but nothing I would crave.
Similarly, the bread pudding at Emeril's is not something I would rush to order again. While certainly tasty, it's too far removed from my vision of bread pudding to really hit the spot. Give me Mr. Lou's banana cream pie any day! That's right up there with the (Atlanta) Buckhead Diner's banana cream pie in the dessert pantheon!
re: Bob W.
I also had the bread pudding at Commander's recently (Saturday, March 23rd) and enjoyed it greatly. Being a souffle, of course it was much lighter than the traditional bread pudding, but that's exactly what we needed after our delicious brunch. Out of 10 of us, there were only raves, not a glimmer of a complaint!