Part I: NOLA April 14-19 (long)
Arrived home late last night, and I'm still full this morning! Had a fantastic trip with one exception that I'll elaborate on in part II.
Our first stop is always Acme, my DH's favorite. We like to sit at the bar and talk with the shuckers, as they are always so gracious and fun. We've gotten to know them over the years and they always remember us. We started off our trip with an order of chargrill oysters. My DH loves the red beans and rice with the hot sausage and almost always orders it, as he did on this day. I had the fried shrimp which was fantastic as always. The shrimp is always good size and fried to golden perfection. I could eat them plain, but Acme's potent horseradish cocktail sauce is a sinus clearing potion that seems to make the shrimp that much better. When we've had our first Acme meal, we know we're in New Orleans.
Luke was our first dinner spot. Wonderful as always. We had an efficient but totally humorless waitress. She could barley crack a smile and it seemed to pain her to talk. She was attentive, but her sullen nature did put us off a bit. We started with the tureen of foie gras. Great dish creamy, rich, and so, so savory. The butter brioche with the cut off crusts served with it was heavenly. My DH joking said just bring him more brioche for dinner (he loves good bread) was met with an expressionless face that seemed to barely acknowledge him. We thought it odd, but it wasn't worth ruining our food or evening. DH had the crab ravioli and we both loved this dish. Not overly creamy at all, it just let the pasta an the crab speak for themselves, and the huge chucks of parm did the ravioli justice. I had a bowl of seafood gumbo and it didn't disappoint, as Luke makes one of our favorite seafood gumbos in New Orleans.
We skipped breakfast as we had an 11:30 reservation at Domenica. OMG! The experience we had there was nothing short of exceptional. I've read a number of post on this page wondering if one should go, and all I can say is GO!!! Our server was Brent and he was so professional, fun and courteous that we wanted to take him home with us. The experience and setting are simple but elegant. The manager came by our table, later the executive chef and they were genuinely interested if we enjoyed our food and our service. We loved this place. Okay, so on to the food...We started with the meatballs in polenta. The meatballs were super tender and in a dish of polenta with tomato sauce spooned over the top. DH does not like polenta, but he did really like this dish. The flavors were all so simple but really worked well together. Next I had the Minestra Di Orzo with vegetable broth, morels, pancetta and barley. If you're a soup lover this is going to make you very happy. It's clean, earthy, and just gives a sense an overall sense of healthiness. I think most have become so accustom to creamy hearty soups that simple soups with simple ingredients have been lost. This was so refreshing and so amazingly satisfying. Next up was our entrees. DH had the calabrese “pizza”, and I had the rabbit tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms.. I think I had the much better end of the dish. DH loves his pizza so this was great for him, but the tagliatelle was just amazing. The porcini’s add so much flavor and the tender rabbit was a perfect pairing. The tagliatelle was so tender, the kind of texture and flavor that comes only from fresh handmade pasta. Obviously, there was no room for dessert.
Dinner was supposed to be at the New Orleans Culinary Experience with Frank Brigtsen, but we did not get in even though we were first on the wait list. I was disappointed, but I was still quite full from our lunch. So we went to Mr B’s for Gumbo Ya Ya and duck rolls. We had a great evening hitting bars and listening to music.
Some of our friends showed up early in the morning to surprise me for my b-day. The four of us went to Croissant D ‘Or for breakfast. I loved this beautiful quaint little shop. It smelled wonderful, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by the croissants as I thought they were just okay. We had the ham and cheese breakfast croissants and the chocolate croissants. The ham and cheese was most disappointing…ham with cream cheese and thrown in the microwave. I expected a bit more than something microwaved especially after reading such great reviews. I did not try the chocolate, but the others seemed happy with them. I don’t know if I’ll go back there as I think there are better things found for breakfast.
After some shopping on Royal we hit Carrousel Bar and spent quite a bit of time talking with Martin. He’s such an amazing guy. He mixed up some of his newest drinks told great stories. The Carrousel is a must on every trip.
We hit Acme again with our friends as it’s a place of tradition for our group. Basically we all had oysters, fried shrimp, and the sausage po boy.
Dinner was the highlight of the trip! We hired a limo to take us across the causeway to La Provence. Unbelievable dinner. We each got our own appetizer... escargot, charbroiled oysters, the butter lettuce salad, and sweetbreads w/ morels and asparagus. The sweetbreads were mine and they were just oh so good!! I had a single escargot and they were delectable…savory with a hint of pernod. DH and I had the speckled trout. Delish! Covered in morels and a lovely béarnaise. The others had the redfish with crab. Dessert was bread pudding. It was a wonderful evening. Our waitress was a doll and kept up well with the repartee at our table. The restaurant manager came buy to spend time with us at the end of our meal. Lovely gentleman that takes great pride in the restaurant and working with John Besh.
Next up: La Petite Grocery, K-Paul's, Commander's Palace and NOLA.
Acme Oyster House
724 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130
723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118
333 St Charles, New Orleans, LA 70130
Mr B's Bistro
201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Croissant D'Or Patisserie
617 Ursulines Ave, New Orleans, LA
La Petite Grocery
4238 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, LA 70445
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
La Provence sounds awesome, i have to return sometime soon. went for a wine pairing meal and it was fine but i dont think it showed off their menu much.
bummer about Croissant d'or -- they are usually very, very good croissants. imo the frenchman that makes them there is the only guy in the city and much of the country that knows how to make a real croissant.. buttery and gooey on the inside, flaky on the outside. usually they are outstanding a bargain at $1.20 (compare this to plainer croissants for $3 at Antoine's new "bakery" - i dont think they actually bake anything on site).
25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, LA 70445