Monday Morning after Jazz Fest.
The Quarter is still crawling with Fest attendees. There’s a longer line than I’ve ever seen at En Vie. I had breakfast and then gave Misty (who I had met last week at En Vie) a call. One of the great things about hanging out in coffee shops in NOLA, is that you always pick up a new friend- something I can’t imagine happening in L.A. She came down and joined me for breakfast and a long visit.
I finally called Ms. Leah Chase, and set up a time to meet for the next day. Then I planned to meet Deb Cotton and her mother, Carolee, for po’boy lunch at Johnny’s in the Quarter. But when Deb saw the line out the door there, she called to say there’s a change of plans (like I said- the Quarter is still crawling with Fest attendees),so once again we headed uptown for lunch. This time it was John Besh’s Luke’s in the St. Charles Hilton.
I felt like I was waking into an authentic French Brasserie, complete with servers in white cotton jackets and long black ties. In further homage to the pig, there was a healthy sampling of pork products on appetizer list- rilletes, pate de campagne, hog’s head cheese (again), pied de cochon and boudin noir.There was a raw bar, and French country specialties like Choucroute Alsacienne and Cassoulet on the menu, along with local specialties like gumbo, and an offbeat selection of Matzoh Ball soup. Deb says it’s the best Matzoh Ball soup she’s ever tasted- in New Orleans- go figure.
After a week of eating in New Orleans, I just can’t handle a Cassoulet or Choucroute, as tempting as they sound. We started with a beet salad with blue cheese and roasted pistachios. The pistachios were a great touch, but the salad could definitely have used more dressing. I went for a Crab BLT. Deb ordered a Croque Madame, and Carolee a Cochon de Lait po’ boy. The Cochon de Lait sandwich is a New Orleans specialty of pork roast slow cooked in milk. It reminds me of the pork roast sandwiches we used to order from the Dominican deli at one of the New York catering kitchens where I worked.
Carolee especially loved the cherry mustard sauce that accompanied it, and she and Deb both asked for another side of it. My Crab BLT was all right. I really would have preferred some lump crab meat rather than the fried soft shelled Buster crab on the sandwich which made the whole thing a bit too rich to my taste. But hey- that’s New Orleans- too much is never enough, right? The local artisan bacon was tasty, but again though, a tad too salty for me. And of course, I loved that I got to wash it all down with a couple of glasses of Costieres de Nimes Rosé.
Deb spent a lot of time catching me up on the financial and extramarital misdeeds and foibles of
Hizz'honner, Ray Nagin, currently under investigation. Oy! Why do they keep doing this to themselves down here?
Anyway, I head back to Los Angeles tomorrow morning. I promise I'll post a pic of my sandwich and the French fries which were served in a paper cone tomorrow, along with sights and sounds of JAzz Fest. Have to sort through everything. Hope you'll check back in then.