“It’s like riding a bike” I told the wife when she voiced her concerns about our upcoming bike tour. She hasn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years and we were off to a bit of a rocky and zigzagy start with Cassidy and the Confederacy of Bikers Creole tour. The motorists stuck behind her were very polite and understanding as the common notion was that this was just another history of drinking tour. But it wasn’t. No drinking involved, at least not until we reached Marie’s Bar and her amazing Bloody Mary (with that pickled okra there it is again – yum). But little miss Ziggy pulled through! Very proud of her. But the day will forever be remembered for the meals. We are fortunate enough to be able to travel and eat all over the world and this was perhaps the yummiest eating day we’ve had in this country and perhaps any country this side of Italy. We begin with an institution…
Cafe Du Monde – Calling this coffee shop a coffee shop just feels wrong. Established in 1862, this legend has been dishing out Beignets and cafe au leits 7 days a week, 24 hours a day – closing only on Christmas and hurricanes. You feel you are in one of those iconic institutions as soon you enter. And the Beignets are nothing to sneeze at, really. A bad idea to sneeze on them and even a slight cough can trigger a sugary mess all over your family/friends. And they taste pretty awesome. Hot off the oven, airy, sweet goodness. I will not normally go out of my way for good donuts but this was pretty darn good. And the Coffee not too bad either.
Coquette – Another memorable meal. During all our travels we noticed one thing that many of the great dining establishments got in common: Great bread. This Ciabatta straight out of their oven was a Wowsar! (foodie technical term, besides I’m running out of adjectives). Loved the goat cheese and greens salad with these crazy delicious sweet pecans – couldnt get enough of them. Loving the pecans here. Lovely Louisiana crabmeat with remoulade, potato and quale egg was another stunner.
The shrimp and grits as good as they were are probably at the bottom of the food chain as far as all the other shrimp dishes we had this week. The winning entrée was perhaps the duck confit. The Brussels sprouts that came along made us order more brussels sprouts. My SIL was having a “I’ll have what she’s having” moment with her veal tacos. Desserts were some uneventful chocolate munchkins but overall another superb meal.
Herbsaint – If I have to give you just one must from this trip, it’s probably dinner at Herbsaint. What a meal! The one dish I was so looking forward to try on this trip was the homemade spaghetti with Guanciale and fried poached egg. You break the egg, mix it up with the pasta and the result is pure ecstasy with every morsel. And the salty Guanciale takes this dish to another dimension. A beef short rib with potatoes and salsa verde did not disappoint. The green salsa especially was such a nice complement. The Hummus Whisperer had one of veggie moments where he orders nothing but veggies and really enjoyed the Grilled mushroom special. For main we shared a great pork cassoulet. Heavy and full of flavors. But the star of the mains to me was clearly the lamb neck. I had a great lamb neck in Tel Aviv a few months ago and Herbsaint’s version beats it without question. Crunchy crust with super tender inside with these delicate savory noodles and a tomato confit. So so good. Also had a side of fries. Someone posted somewhere these were the best fries in town – that person must have not tried Boucherie’s. These were a little too salty for me and I love too salty. The bacon braised faro with beans side was more like it. Fantastic side! The desserts here were mixed. Their coveted banana butter tart that I heard so much about was even too sweet for my too sweet tooth. The duck egg creme brûlée was the creme de la creme of the creme brûlées. Overall, a truly spectacular meal to cap a truly spectacular eating day in New Orleans. Now I get it!