Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Orleans Day 5 and 6 - last moments in New Orleans

Alright, last post on New Orleans, which, again, was months ago.

Owen was having quite a headache the next morning, so Patty and I decided to get some breakfast on our own. We headed to the Coffeepot again, as we promised Miss Pearl that we would return and try her bread pudding. Patty was still recovering from her flu, but she was feeling a lot better than she had been a few days ago.

It was raining pretty hard outside, which was nice (I like rain), and we scurried into the restaurant, which was bustling with the same awesome waitresses we had last time. Patty got a simple breakfast of bacon and eggs (I think), so I didn't bother taking a picture.

I got a catfish po'boy, with fries. Corey's catfish plate looked too good last time for me not to try it this time around. It was good. And fried. Like everything else I was eating in New Orleans...

I also got Owen a shrimp po'boy and bread pudding to go, which he inhaled once I got back. The bread pudding truly was something to write home about. An incredible flavor (bourbon?), infused the bread pudding, luscious cream surrounded it, it was just...perfect. Really spot on. I didn't take a picture of it because it was in a humdrum takeout container, but seriously. It was the thing to get there.

We lounged around until Brad arrived (it was supposed to be a surprise, but David accidentally spilled the beans earlier in the week) and we got dressed up to go to the most anticipated meal that we had planned for our whole New Orleans trip - we walked over to Antoine's.

Antoine's Restaurant "has the distinction of being the oldest family run restaurant in the United States", according to Wikipedia. Established in 1840, this place is a legend - it INVENTED Oysters Rockefeller, amongst some other notable dishes. I was super excited to try...
Everything is very formal here. The service was top notch. The dining room was very decorative, and it all reeked of old school bygone days. It was like eating in a piece of history!

Back to the service - our waiter had an eye on us the whole time - but was never creepy or intrusive. He would constantly refill everything we needed - bread, water, even ice, when he carried over an ice bucket and would individually place fresh ice cubs in our glasses. He had forgotten that I ordered a diet coke at one point, profusely apologized when we politely reminded him, and then RAN to the kitchen to get me the diet coke, again with more apologies. That's service. Probably some of the best service I've had. By the way, the bread was awesome - light, crispy on the outside, warm.

Patty ordered a soup - a deep rich Bisque d' Crevette - Louisana shrimp soup. This was a SUPER INTENSE soup, I tried a small bit of it. Patty could only finish about half of it.. I kinda wish I could have frozen the extra, and used it as a base to the next 20 soups I made back home. That's how strong this soup was. By the way, this was ordered instead of an alligator soup that Patty was about to order, and was advised by our waiter that this was the superior soup. Also, he let us in on a secret - the alligator soup they have was actually made out of turtle!

The highlight was ordering what Antoine's is best known for - their Oysters Rockefeller! Our waiter suggested a few other flavors, as well. Oysters Rockefeller (far right), Huitres Thermidor (far left), and Huitres Beinville (closest). Oysters Rockefeller: Oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockfeller sauce created by Antoine's in 1889. Huitres Thermidor - Fresh Louisiana oysters baked on the half shell with a bacon and tomato sauce. Huitres Beinville - Oyster baked on the half shell with a white wine sauce seasoned withi onions, pimento and fresh peppers. I admnit, the Huitres Thermidor (the red ones) were quite tasty - I mean, everything was AWESOME, but the Thermidores were just out of this world. Even Patty was pretty impressed, and usually she's an oyster hater!

Now, to the main course. Patty, Owen and I ordered the The New York Strip steak. "A Prime New York strip with caramelized onions, mushrooms with a red wine and cracked pepper sauce". This was just...ok. The steak was cooked well, but the sauce was REALLY salty. The gravy was good with bread, enough to mellow it out. I'm not used to this kind of steak. I mean, it was high quality but it already came out pre-cut? Well maybe that's how they did it in the old days...
Patty had ordered a side of potato puffs. These also helped mellow out the intense saltiness of the gravy on our plates. These were fun and tasty, crisp and, well, puffy. They were like potato chips that wanted to be potato skins.

Brad got the Filet de Fruite au Vine Blanc - Filet of trout in a white wine, shrimp and oyster sauce then baked with a light bread crumb and cheese gratinee. I tasted a bite of this, really good, but again, very salty. Do a lot of older recipes require more salt, maybe? In the days before refridgeration, maybe more salt was a good thing, to keep things better preserved? Just a guess.

Another side - asparagus with butter. I didn't try one so I don't know what it tasted like. I'm assuming, asparagus-like!

A decadent chocolate cake slice was part of dessert- Patty ordered this because she wasn't going to partake in what we ordered for dessert - chocolate is one of her favorite things, (same as Owen.) I tasted a bit, it was good...but we were busy tackling...

...a baked alaska! I've actually never had one, so I made sure to order it here, at one of the more famous places to have it. If you don't know what it is, it's an ingenious piece of dessert. It has a ice cream center, atop cake, covered with meringue, then baked at a high temperature to brown the outsides of the meringue. The meringue insulates the ice cream, keeping it cold. Our waiter presented this to us and I was blown away by the huge size of it. He split this monstrosity into 3 portions (one for me, Owen and Brad.)

Here's my slab of it. It was really sugary, but all the vanilla flavor, it was something I enjoyed, especially the cake and ice cream part of it. Owen wasn't too jazzed by it, he admit it wasn't his bag. I think I gave up around half-way. It was just too much. Well, I had to have it at least once!

Our last morning in New Orleans, and we wanted to hit up one of the famous muffaletta shops in the Quarter - Central Market, to get one of their muffalettas to go. On a side note, the person who rang up our order was super indifferent and made it seem like we were bothering him. Wanda, the lady downstairs, noted that they are ALWAYS like this, and it was normal. Funny, really.

So here's our take, as we sat out on the gallery.

Drink Barq's. It's good. Hilarious. Owen got this, sometimes he likes a good root beer.

A bag of Zapp's chips - sour cream and onion chips. They were tasty.

And here's the sandwich, still in its' wrapping, ready to be freed...

And here's a wedge of it, sitting on top of the rest of the sandwich. This truly was a delicious muffaletta. Just thinking about it again makes me hungry for it. What made it perfect was the olive salad, for sure. It mellowed out all the saltier meats on the bottom, and the bread soaked up all the tasty olive oils perfectly. A great way to end our New Orleans trip, as the rest of it kept in our carryon bag, and I polished off the rest of it after we unpacked when we were back home.

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