When I’m in New Orleans, fried-food lover that I am, of course I stop at the Cafe du Monde for beignets:
I know it’s Mardi Gras tradition to eat king cake, but I tried some and didn’t find it particularly interesting or tasty. Seemed like a very pretty coffee cake to me. Instead I went to the Court of the Two Sisters to try out some other traditions: mimosas and a jazz brunch buffet:
I’ve been to the place one before, many years ago, and I think my memory gilded the place a bit. The open-air courtyard is lovely and it was nice to relax and listen to live music with your breakfast, but the buffet was fairly unremarkable except for the price.
A better repeat visit was Cochon:
The woodsmoked oysters were just as delicious as last time, buttery and spicy and garlicky with a little smoke, and ridiculously huge three-biters. If you tried to slurp one of these down, you’d choke. Fried livers were crisp and greaseless, but not quite as molten inside as I’ve had elsewhere, while the headcheese was a nice amuse. The cured fish plate was, to be honest, kind of boring, if well-executed. I don’t know, I guess Manhattan’s Jewish delis have spoiled me for that kind of thing. The ribs, though, with the pickled watermelon rind relish, they were excellent. Peeled right off the bone, juicy, smoky all through, and best of all, still tasted good a day later (I packed half of them as my lunch on the flight home). Satsuma sherbert was basically an orange dreamsicle, but I appreciate the cookie.
New stop this year was Sylvain:
Omar’s Leap cocktail was, I think, the first I’ve had with Madeira. Given that its ingredients include cinnamon and nutmeg, I was prepared for mulled holiday wine, but the spices were surprisingly and pleasingly subdued. Instead it was rather like an alcoholic vanilla milkshake. As for the food, the Southern antipasti plate was overly generous, with *deep breath* pickled eggs, pickled dill green beans, chorizo (Spanish-style), smoked duck breast, hummus, raw milk cheese, pickled squash and bell peppers, microgreens dressed with vinaigrette, mustard and bread. I mean, amazing value for the price, but a coherent plate of food, it was not. Antipasti at home is whatever you’ve got lying around; you pay for antipasti at a restaurant to be curated properly.
Anyway, the green beans were the best, super-dilly and sharp with vinegar, while the duck breast was too smoky to really enjoy the fat melting in your mouth. I kept having to breath the smoke out of my nose. Main course went much better, an absolutely ridiculous and ridiculously delicious amount of garlic in the sausage, and then the dessert was a really creative execution of the classic float, with a locally made root beer and caramel ice cream, which rounded out the herbal notes in the root beer very nicely.