Sunday, May 31, 2009

When the Saints Go Eating In

My good friend Doppelganger is originally from Baton Rouge but is now a law professor in Florida. When she told me she'd be in town visiting family the same time we'd be in New Orleans, I was overjoyed! She and her husband made a special trip to the city to meet us for dinner at Herbsaint.
new orleans 176
herbsaint 038
herbsaint 037
herbsaint 036
Chef Donald Link won the 2007 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South. We were excited to try his French-inspired and Southern-influenced cuisine.

Having just ridden one that passes Herbsaint, I started with a streetcar ($8.50).
herbsaint 013
Hey, it's the South. I gotta drink the bourbon.

We ordered a couple of small plates to share.

Louisiana shrimp and grits with tasso and okra ($11).
herbsaint 011
Quite the exquisite way to enjoy a traditional dish. Nice flavors and textures.

Fried frog legs and fine herbs ($11).
herbsaint 012
So. Damn. Good. If you ever visit, you must order these. Crunch crunch yum.

Mr. Monkey started with watermelon and tomato gazpacho with Louisiana blue crabmeat ($12).
herbsaint 015
Cold and refreshing and perfect to combat the New Orleans heat and humidity. The sweetness of the watermelon paired well with with the ample spices, and the chunks of crab were generous and fresh.

I had the tomato and shrimp bisque ($7).
herbsaint 017
Creamy and generally tasty but undeserving of major raves.

Here's Doppelganger's tomato and burrata salad with fried basil and fried breadcrumbs ($9).
herbsaint 018
Just pretend the shadow of my streetcar's stirrer isn't there.

For his main course, Mr. Doppelganger opted for the seared Kurobuta pork belly with white bean pistou ($26).
herbsaint 023
The bite I had was rich and fatty, as it should be. But, as I always say, I still haven't found a pork belly as mind-blowing as the one I had at Animal. O, Animal! You have ruined me forever!

I opted for the Muscovy duck confit with dirty rice and citrus gastrique ($27).
herbsaint 026
Tender and luscious and blanketed by a nice crisp skin. Really savored this.

Mr. Monkey and Doppelganger both chose the winning dish of the night -- veal stuffed with housecured ham and fontina over fresh capellini ($28).
herbsaint 021
I was delighted when Mr. Monkey and I did our Famous Monkey Halfway Switch. While my duck was great, this stuffed veal was Great with a capital G. Each meaty bite burst with salty cheesy love. The pasta was a super garlicky party of bouncy fun. A true triumph.

Then it was sweets time.

Ponchatoula strawberry fried pie with creole cream cheese ice cream ($8).
herbsaint 034
herbsaint 035
Doppelganger remarked that this reminded her of "gas station pies." I don't know what a gas station pie is, but I liken this dessert to an amazing homemade version of a Hostess Fruit Pie...only hot, fresh, and made with real natural ingredients instead of red dye #40. Paired with the very cream cheesy ice cream, this bordered on being divine. Yummy.

Coconut cream pie with macadamia nut crust ($8).
herbsaint 031
Everyone at the table enjoyed this, even yours truly. The macadamia nut crust was rather interesting and complemented the coconut cream well.

We ended the night with a photo session outside our hotel. It had been years since we last saw each other. This is what happens when your besties live on the other side of the country.

Doppelganger looks the same. I am rounder. And sweatier.
herbsaint 043
herbsaint 040
herbsaint 044
I miss you already! Again! Thank you both for having dinner with us! It was so wonderful to see you guys!

Next: Food by a celebrity chef and more sights around the Quarter.

A Streetcar Named St. Charles

The sky in New Orleans is incredibly blue -- a brilliant, clear, electric blue.
new orleans 097
new orleans 077
new orleans 078
new orleans 080
new orleans 081
new orleans 085
We saw a lot of New Orleans' beautiful sky as we walked away from the French Quarter and along the water. The clouds were extraordinary.
new orleans 084
new orleans 086
new orleans 087
new orleans 088
new orleans 089
new orleans 095
new orleans 091
new orleans 092
new orleans 094
Seriously, can you believe that LA sky? So much better than our L.A. sky!

I'm lazy, but I'm not this lazy.
new orleans 090
new orleans 093
This guy even had the nerve to yell at people to get out of the way. Ugh.

In contrast, my guy is a sweetie who poses for me unprompted like this.
new orleans 099
Yay for giant crawfish.

I was a sweaty mess, so we sought temporary air-conditioned refuge at the mall, where we got a quick snack. Even food court grub is good in New Orleans.
new orleans 100
new orleans 101
new orleans 103
new orleans 105
new orleans 106
We didn't actually eat any fudge, but the fudgemakers were so fun!

Then we made our way to the St. Charles streetcar.
new orleans 109
new orleans 114
new orleans 115
new orleans 116
new orleans 122
new orleans 125
new orleans 131
new orleans 151
The 13-mile St. Charles streetcar route runs through uptown New Orleans and passes Tulane and Loyola Universities, Audubon Park, and many lovely homes.
new orleans 148
new orleans 149
new orleans 132
new orleans 139
new orleans 140
new orleans 143
new orleans 145
new orleans 147
new orleans 150
new orleans 152
new orleans 153
new orleans 155
new orleans 156
new orleans 161
new orleans 164
new orleans 165
new orleans 166
new orleans 157
new orleans 167
new orleans 169
new orleans 170
new orleans 171
new orleans 172
new orleans 173
new orleans 174
For just $2.50 ($1.25 each for the trip to the end of the line and the trip back), riding the St. Charles streetcar is an inexpensive, relaxing, and scenic way to spend a New Orleans afternoon.

Next: Frog legs, shrimp and grits, duck and dirty rice, and one of my besties.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...