Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Orleans Day 2 - A great meal in a great town

A quick recap - we had just had a bit of a snack, which ended up being somewhat of a letdown - we took a quick nap (more like I took a nap, and Owen fiddled on the computer) and then we were ready to go to dinner, at a place that Patty absolutely loved....Irene's Cuisine.

(no, this place is not placed know the drill, issues with Blogspot..) We got there, and the place had a fair amount of people waiting ahead of us. The nice part about the wait though, was that they seated us at waiting tables, and asked us what we wanted to drink, while we listened to a live piano player peel out some jazz riffs. The time passed quickly and we were soon sitting at our dinner table.

Service was very attentive, our waitress was very nice, as was the rest of the waitstaff -everyone in New Orleans just seemed glad to have the business, so it was especially satisfying. We made our choices - so difficult! But we managed, and our meal started rolling out from the kitchen...
A plate of three slices of bruschetta, a great mixture of cheese, basil and tomatoes - so simple but so great - was set on our table, completely complimentary. Owen had gone to the bathroom and our cheeky waitress hinted at me and Patty to "eat them quickly before he gets back, then he wouldn't ever know they were there" (with a wink). We were good - we left him a slice.
As I was the only one at the table with a love for oysters, I got another oyster dose from my Oyster's Rockefeller soup. Yes! Soup! This was extremely rich and creamy, abundant in oyster flavor and oysters themselves, which were a treat to find in the soup. I liked taking a slice of bread, dipping it in the soup and then taking another sip. Heavenly. Also, I would like to note, the way that they served this soup, to prevent that crust on the top that gets a bit unsightly, they had poured the soup in a mini pitcher, put that in the bowl, and took it to my seat at the table. Once placing the bowl in front of me, the server poured the soup from the mini pitcher into my bowl! That little extra touch really gave this soup that extra "flair".
Owen ordered some crab dip - I don't recall everything that was in this crab dip, but it was definitely made of real crab and not the imitation kind, every bit as rich as my soup, and also, went well with the bread from the bread basket. Owen scraped this plate clean (with a bit of help from Patty and me :)

Now to the main course. Patty ordered the fish almondine. I know I'm probably spelling that wrong, but that's what I remember it being called. It was some sort of fish (the special of the day?) with an almond and butter crust, with sweet potato mash and green beans on the side. The bit of fish that I had sampled was amazing.
The lamb that Owen ordered was definitely the best thing of the night. When it was placed in front of him, all of us had to do the collective, "ooooohhh". A generous portion of lamb chops, a savory sauce, clustered around mashed potatoes, and rosemary - Owen happens to hate rosemary, and surprisingly he didn't mind it at all...he bit those bones clean. I wish I got this dish.

I ended up getting the duck - when there's duck on a menu and I'm on vacation, I'll usually try the duck. The duck was roasty and delicious, but the sauce, I feel was wrong. It was too sweet! I like a savory duck. The sauce made this dish taste too...I dunno, candy like. The meat was still amazing, as most well cooked duck is, and the mashed sweet potato was great, but added to more of the sweet flavor. Those little berries were also coated in sugar - so this would be great for anyone with a sweet tooth - but was a bit off the mark for me.
Speaking about sweet teeth - all of our teeth were coated with sweet after this arrived at the table - a bread pudding, topped with an amazing housemade ice cream. For the life of me, I couldn't tell you what flavor that ice cream was - it was at least a form of vanilla, but it was very GRAINY. I liked the different texture though. The bread pudding itself was good, not the best one I've ever had but good. The banana evened out the sauce and the whipped cream was, like everything on the plate, homemade. It was a satisfying dessert.

Walking back into the night after this meal, enjoying the ambiance of the french quarter - I can think of no better way to top off the night. Great food and great company!

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