Prior to Super Bowl Sunday, we pretty much spent all of Saturday eating (and drinking) our way through New Orleans. Technically, New Orleans Part I and II are not chronologically accurate, but think of Part II as the prequel to Part I.
We started the day with a visit to the famous Café Du Monde for beignets and café au lait. The beignets were fabulous – fried golden and covered in a mountain of sweet powdered sugar. The strong flavor of the chicory coffee didn’t strike my fancy, but the beignets more than made up for it.
Oh yeah, Flacco liked them as well…
Fast forward three hours and we were ready for meal # 2. We had a light lunch at Chartres House Cafe in the French Quarter. The chicken and Andouille gumbo was flavorful and tasty, but no competition for Emeril’s seafood gumbo. I also had a couple bites of gulf fried shrimp and fried gator with a tangy remoulade sauce – you can’t really go wrong with fresh, fried seafood.
The best part of the lunch was the Cajun Bloody Mary. This spicy concoction was made with a Cajun-infused vodka, Zing Zang (only the best), and no shortage of trimmings. Overall, the food was good, not great, but the atmosphere was fun, lively, and ideal for people watching.
After several more hours of boozing & French Quarter perusing, it was dinnertime. Ready for something a little more upscale, we headed to Muriel’s in the historic Jackson Square. The restaurant itself is housed inside a beautifully restored 19th century historic mansion. The interior décor was warm and inviting. The decadent chandeliers, exposed brick, and French-inspired artwork all came together into an aura of old world appeal.
We started the meal with a famous New Orleans tradition – turtle soup. Muriel’s Turtle Soup au Sherry is made using a white veal stock, which provided a bold and robust flavor. Our sever offered an extra pour of sherry table-side, which really did the trick. Turtle meat supposedly has seven distinct flavors, but apparently my pallet isn’t quite refined enough pick up on all seven (either that or there wasn’t enough turtle in the soup). I did, however, pick up one distinct flavor of deliciousness, which was more than enough for me.
Next, I enjoyed the gorgonzola prosciutto tart, served with candied pecans, sliced apples, and fresh blackberries. The tart was essentially a savory gorgonzola cheesecake, and I devoured every last bite of it. The candied pecans and blackberries perfectly complemented the savory tart with just a hint of sweetness. My only complaint was the lack of prosciutto, which I didn’t really taste at all.
Feeling adventurous, I also ordered the pecan-encrusted alligator. The tangy fried gator sat atop a mirliton (similar to a summer squash) slaw with a contrast of sweet pepper-jelly. The gator was fried golden and crispy, but its flavor got a little lost amongst all the other components of the dish. Perhaps a heftier gator would have done the trick.
Dessert-wise, we shared a slice of the flourless chocolate cake and a pint of coffee profiteroles. Flourless chocolate cake will never get old in my book, and the crème anglaise added another element of richness to the dish. The profiteroles didn’t do much for me, especially when compared to the decadent chocolate cake. I’d give them an A for presentation though.
Curiosity got the best of me during dessert, so I opted to try “Roger Goodell’s Muddy Waters.” This “somewhat controversial martini” paired perfectly with the desserts. As if my sweet tooth wasn’t already satisfied, the martini combined Stoli vanilla, chicory liqueur, and a drizzle of chocolate sauce into a dessert of its own.
To summarize the trip, New Orleans was the ideal Super Bowl destination. I was able to combine my love of delicious food and football into one fabulous weekend. Winning didn’t exactly hurt either…