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Two days in N.O. is definitely not enough!!

I got back last night, and had a wonderful time. It is a city that inspires all the senses. I loved how friendly people are. Everywhere I went, people were talking to me. Even though I was alone, I didn't feel that way. The music is everywhere! I thought it was just that way in the movies, but all over the French Quarter, there are musicians in the street, or music playing in bars, loud enough to hear on the sidewalk.

The food!!

I spent day one wandering the streets, just getting acquainted with my surroundings. It's a very easy place to get around. Every other storefront is a restaurant, and it was hard to choose, but my husband had highly recommended the gumbo at the Court of the two Sisters, so I stopped by their little sandwich joint and ordered a bowl of the seafood gumbo. It was so salty that I could barely finish half of it, and I was thankful for the bland white bread that they serve it with. It compensated for all that salt in my mouth. The okra was so mushy, it was practically disintegrated, and the shrimp was tiny and hard, from being left in the hot gumbo for hours on end. Also, it is my understanding that gumbo should be slightly thick. This stuff was watery. I was surprised that my husband had raved about it, because I thought it was gross. But he had eaten in their more formal restaurant. so I thought maybe they serve a different one there. I stopped by the restaurant, and they told me it's the same stuff in both places. YUCK.

I wandered over to Jackson Square, to the 2 bakeries that shroomgirl had recommended. I bought a few cakes at Marquisas, including the chocolate square. It was very rich; the buttercream was tasty dark chocolate with fluffy chocolate cake. The almond cake was also very nice. I don't know what I was thinking buying all this sweet stuff. But it was tasty. The other bakery had nice looking breads, but I just looked.

Dinner at Commander's Palace: I now question whether there's something wrong with me, because I find major fault in so many restaurants; even the one that was voted "best" in so many categories. Maybe it just wasn't a good time to dine there, so soon after the passing of Jamie Shannon. But I can't see how this restaurant was the best in any category. It was good, but that's about as far as I'll go. The bread was their signature cheesy garlic bread, and it was tasty, but it looked like smooshed up chunks on a plate. Not at all attractive. My first course was delicious, and this was the best part of the meal. It was a wild mushroom and truffle "light stew", as they called it. It is more of a mushroom broth with truffle oil, and it is fantastic, and loaded with 5 or so kinds of shrooms, and a shaving of black truffle. I don't remember Jordan's 1st course, because mine was so good.
The pompano entree I wanted was 86ed, but they didn't tell me until I ordered it, so that gave me about 2 seconds to order a backup. I got a pecan crusted gulf fish. The presentation was dull, but it tasted rich, and it was nicely crispy. They gave me two large pieces, that probably amounted to 6 onces. Jordan got roasted pork loin as an entree, which consisted of MAYBE 3 ounces of meat. 1 piece was rare, and the other 2 were well done. Hmmm.... Dessert...Well, we had to try the famous bread pudding souffle, and I also got a fig and pecan tart, served with ice cream. Again, boring presentation, but the best part of dessert was the ice cream. It tasted like creme fraiche, but the waiter said it was made from some local cheese that he didn't know the name of. In between courses, they took our water glasses and replaced them with new ones. Why, I don't know, because the ice hadn't melted, but okay... Yet, nobody crumbed the table. As I said, I must be too picky, but I expect certain things in terms of service when I dine in a place like Commander's. Our waiter gave us too much personal information, and we overheard the waitress at the next table talking about her personal life to the guests as well, as she was making a tableside bananas foster (which we didn't see on our menu). I really wonder what the fuss is all about.

We rolled back to the hotel, and got ready for another day...

Day 2, I stumbled upon Nola, Emeril's place. "Should I or shouldn't I?", I debated. Knowing that he's all hype, and I don't expect much at all, I decided to give it a try for a quick lunch. They seated me at a bar up against the open kitchen. Service was somewhat slow for lunch, so I started chatting with the expeditor, and a couple of guys behind the line. I was having a great time, and I was glad they seated me where they did. I had a view into the wood burning oven, and watched them cook up some nice looking pizzas, and various other things. I munched on the breads they brought: A flaky, buttery herb biscuit, and a chili cornbread. I had ordered a salad with cornmeal crusted oysters, goat cheese, and a bacon vinaigrette. The oysters were perfectly cooked, crispy and juicy, and the baby spinach was tender and fresh. I loved it! I walked out of there shocked at how much I liked the food, and the ambience.

I waited a few hours before getting the obligatory beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde. It was exactly as I expected. Yes, they are yummy, but half the experience is just sitting there in the open air, and taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the square. It was lovely.

Well, shroom, I didn't make it to the uptown square farmer's market that you had recommended, but I walked around the French market, and picked up some satsumas, and various other items. It was small, but full of personality. I loved the alligators hanging from the rafters!

Dinner was at Bayona. This was just what I wanted it to be. Not stuffy, with great food. The mussels in saffron broth changed my life, it was so good. And Jordan ordered a crispy quail salad. Yum. :lips: My entree was somen with shrimp in a spicy broth. J. got poussin with wild rice. Both good, but not earth shattering. Dessert was delicious. We ordered a blood orange and chocolate ice cream sandwich with satsumas, and a caramel crepe, and I also wanted to try the malt ice cream. The waiter also brought me a scoop of the amazing pear and meyer lemon sorbet. I loved it! The chef I spoke to at Nola told me that his wife is the sous at Bayona, and that S. Spicer may not be there when we go, since she's probably busy at her new restaurant, Cobalt. She wasn't there, but her chef de Cuisine came out to chat with us. He was a very humble guy, and he does a great job in the kitchen.

Thnaks, shroom, for the guidance. I had a great time, and can't wait to go back!!:cool:

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Yep, Court of Two Sisters perpetually gross....Commanders living on accolades of the past....Bayonas, still top notch.....I love living vicariously thank you for sharing....Cobalt huh...that makes 3 for Susan Spicer now.
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