With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.
New Orleans’ French Quarter in the summer is like NYC in the summer circa 1987. Lots of panhandlers accosting you in friendly or not so friendly ways, the smell of warm garbage wafting through the air or a combination of garbage and cigarette smoke, and tourists dressed minimally and looking more like they are going to a baseball game or bar-b-que when entering an elegant restaurant. Throw in Southern hospitality and the constant blast of hot air from the Mississippi River and you’ve got the Quarter.
My bride and I just completed a lovely week in Louisiana’s charming city. On the first day alone we went on a food tour visiting old restaurants and eating po’ boys, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, beignets and muffulettas!
Our first night we ate at Arnaud’s, a family owned and operated restaurant since 1918. We had the Shrimp Arnaud, cold, fresh shrimp served with horseradish remoulade (available for purchase at restaurant and local stores). I had the asparagus brie soup du jour. The asparagus served fingernail tiny. Delicious start.
Our pre-dinner drinks were Pisco Punch; brandy with citrus flavors and the Ruby Daiquiri; Cruzan rum mixed with ruby, agave and lemon juice. A refreshing start to the vacation and evening.
The bread arrived warm. We looked at each other when no bread plates were proffered. One of our waiters came by and said, yes, you have no plates because in true Creole fashion you make a mess. The wait staff was playful, friendly and attentive though not intrusive.
For the main course we had the crab cakes and Louisiana quail with seafood boudin (crab cakes with chopped sausage). My bride has had many versions of crab cakes and declared this one the best, noting how fresh and crabby they were, tasting no filler. Every bite was a crunchy and chewy delight. My quail was spicy and tender the boudin a pleasant side dish.
Then for dessert we had the crème brûlée. Crack crack the browned coating went revealing the creamiest brûlée we’ve ever tasted.
Pricey but you know quality when you taste it. A leisurely dinner and tough to equal for the rest of the week.
What a first day!