Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NOLA Part. 3

Our serenade every night on our way back to the hotel...

Putting on the Ritz...my recommendation?  A stay at the Ritz during December.  They decorate amazingly.  I was watching the Chef's put up this display and it almost made me sick looking at all of the frosting, but it is beautiful and captured the magic of the French Quarter.

The meal to send me on my way.//

Enjoyed a wonderful 4 course Reveillon Prix Fixe Menu at The Pelican Club.  Many restaurants have a Reveillion menu in December to celebrate the Reveillon dinners of the 19th century.  The have the menu available every night during the holiday season.  It is a great way to enjoy a tasting at many of the nicer restaurant's!

Turtle soup.  A New Orleans staple, this delicious tomato/worcestershire based soup was a perfect way to start the meal.  The soup was served with a splash of sherry and allowed the flavors to shine.

 Oyster Chowder. Smooth, silky and perfectly creamy.  Although I like a good cooked oyster, I still think clam reigns supreme of the chowders.

Roasted Quail.  I love, love quail.  I can never skip over this item if it is on the menu.  Served with a perfect Tasso hollandaise and shitake demi-glace the quail was tender with the right amount of crispness from a quick sear.  The quail's accompaniment was a jalapeno spoon bread with a strawberry gastrique (syrupy reduction).  The spoon bread was very similar to a firm polenta, but the flavor, topped with the strawberry gastrique was a wonderful combination.  

Another New Orleans staple, BBQ Shrimp.  Good, but not near as good as the first BBQ Shrimp (Part. 2) we had.

 Where do I even begin?  Butter Poached Lobster with Scallops, Shrimp and Applewood Smoked Bacon with Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc, Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Buttered Asparagus and Haricots Vert.  Before you even begin to think "too many powerful flavors", don't.  I almost didn't ordered this dish because I was afraid they would cancel each other out and you wouldn't be able to enjoy the full flavor of each one.  Boy am I glad my "can never pass a beurre blanc" mind overrode my initial thought.  The sublime, yet balanced flavors were spot on.  The beurre blanc balanced well with the mashed potatoes as well as the seafood, which, with the exception of the slightly overcooked lobster, was cooked to perfection.  An unexpected addition of corn and peppers was surprisingly wonderful.  It was heartbreaking that I couldn't finish this dish...I was starting to get full!

Paneed Gulf Fish with Crabmeat in a Creole Meuniere Sauce and Jalapeno Hollandaise, Roasted New Potatoes, Asparagus and Haricot Vert.  This dish was also done well.  The fish was paneed perfectly with mild creole seasoning.  Corn was also added to this dish, but the star was the crabmeat in creole meuniere.  It is so unexpected to have such usual bold, strong flavors combine so perfectly.  I would never have thought to put meuniere and hollandaise together, but it worked.  

Chocolate Decadence Cake.  Rich, moist and warm.  Quite a lovely way to end a meal.

Pineapple Cranberry Carrot Layer Cake with Pecans.  A great holiday cake that was moist and perfectly balanced with a mildly lemon frosting.

A dark day...

I cannot begin to imagine the destruction that was apparent right after the hurricane.  The pictures we saw are nothing in comparison to living through it.  It was evident that the hurricane is still on the mind as if it were like yesterday to many of the locals despite it happening over five years ago.  It is also evident in the place hit the hardest, the lower 9th ward.  Many houses still set abandoned, with markings on them from searchers after the water receded.  

Yet, hope abounds...

Growth is happening again.  Homes that were completely lost have been built anew.  People are remodeling their homes and working together to build this area back up.  It is amazing to see the good that people can do.  It is unfortunate that it is mostly evident in a crisis, but I truly feel that there are people doing good each day.  We may not see it, but it is there. There is hope.  Do not visit New Orleans without visiting this area.  I think it will always be a reminder to cherish what you have and to know that despite devastation, there are bright colors ahead.

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