Thursday, May 15, 2008

N'awlins Part 2

Jacques-imo's- a New Orlean's famous restaurant serving up traditional Southern food left me and all of my dining companions far more than satisfied. Laurie, an old college friend of mine saved us a table for eight early. Besides the excellent service, Laurie's boyfriend, Jared was the bartender so we were treated perhaps a tad bit better than the average tourist. The evening began with a full table of complimentary appetizers from Fried Green Tomatoes, Spicy Gulf Shrimp, Alligator Cheesecake, Fried Oysters and Garlic Cornbread. Next came entrees! I quickly learned what the Paneed Rabbit I ordered was- pounded, breaded and fried! And check this out- it came on a bed of pasta with a cream sauce and oysters and tasso pork (similar to prosciutto but thick and chewy). It also came with a side dish! Sweet potatoes and sauteed buttered greens. This was all just my portion mind you. Some other mentionables at the table: Foie Gras Stuffed Quail Wrapped in Bacon, Crispy Potato Coated Fish and more Spicy Shrimp. Sadly- and I mean it, most of us couldn't dent our plates. Everything was so delicious but it was just too much. If all this wasn't enough, we were given blue berry cheesecake, a strawberry and ice cream parfait and a classic creme brulee for dessert. Many many thanks Jacques-imo's!

Paneed Rabbit Over Pasta with Oysters

Even in the wee hours of morning, one can order seafood gumbo. The Charles St. Tavern is open 24 hours a day. After an amazing Eric Lindell concert in the French Quarter, we were starving so we stopped by the Charles St. Tavern for burgers and gumbo. I tried several attempts to grab the rubber crawfish with a metal claw out of the kiddie machine in the corner, for a Charles St. Tavern memory, but no luck. The memories of happy exhaustion and the sweetest Southern waitress ever, is a far greater souvenir.
Ah crawfish! The Louisianna lobster. At one time I worked at a Cajun food restaurant where we served big plates of boiled crawfish. I loved them dipped in clarified butter. I don't know what it is about my love of shellfish. Perhaps these mud bugs should have a page all their own. We ordered a huge plate of crawfish on our first day at Jazzfest almost immediately and then, a couple hours later- had to come back for more! Sure it's a lot of work to get the little meat out of the tail, but it's so sweet and perfectly seasoned. Plus, you have to suck the head- which does not give you a mouthful of crawfish brains, just sweet and salty, delicious juices with flavors of allspice, bay, crawfish shell and cayanne.
And there is more to come...

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