What We Ate On Our New Orleans Vacation
8/10/06

It really was work for me, O Best Beloveds, but Caroline, Jean and Brigid helped shoulder the burden, as Stunt Stomachs and Designated Drinkers, and I couldn't have done the following without them. Pure food porn, in list form, don't feel you have to read all or even a word of it, though every bit is true, I think.

Day One: Caroline and I jumped off the plane, dumped our stuff at the house, and headed right out to meet Ti at Delachaise, where we were unexpectedly and joyfully joined by Poppy. The latter was already well lubricated thanks to an afternoon spent at Tales of the Cocktail, so the others hastened to catch up with her. (I never worry about this, since even stone cold sober, I'm always the drunkest person in the room.) Suffice to say, there was a lot of wine and a great deal of merriment. Chef Chris proceeded to feed us more or less the entire menu--Ti lost count at 75 courses, beginning with spicy egpplant tapanade topped with slivers of anchovy, muhammara (roasted red pepper puree with pomegranate molasses) and moving on to the house specialty, local Chef Pete's Pate of the NIght (lamb with cranberries, I think, chunky and hearty,) pomme frites fried in duck fat, so good one swears never to eat fries any way ever again. There was the "Oeufs en Meurette," poached egg with chantrells and bacon, in a rich wine intensive veal reduction sauce that totally made the dish, plus some celeriac (I think) for an extra fillip. There was chilled watermelon soup with lump crabmeat and fresh avocado, and it was like summer in a cup. I wish I had some right now. Grouper was cooked in a way to blend Vietnamese and Creole, baking it in a special paper from the former's methods, topped with a crawfish and tasso mousse. Soft Spanish roasted veggies. Coconut shrimp surrounding a mound of black rice with a mango sauce. A five portion cheese plate which we said we couldn't eat, but we had to, because at least one strong dry cheese was an unpastuerized "Pleasant Ridge reserve cheese," and another was a Northern California creamy goat. Blackberry and Pinot Noir creme brulee (a new combination for us as you can guess), plus chocolate stuffed French toast finished us off, and I mean that almost literally; when I'm at the end of a chemo week, since I haven't eaten much for the previous days, I sort of ease myself back into eating on Sunday. This Sunday, I forgot about all that, and I ate like I do when I'm in New Orleans. At meal's end, I drank some badly needed water, only to find I had no room for it. I was full to my no