Friday, October 10, 2008

Red Beans and Rice NAWLINS style

For those who know me I'm married to a native New Orleanian. We've been back a few times since Hurricane Katrina and love to support the local restaurants, food shops and farmers markets as well as our friends whose lives will never be the same. This trip we're also going to spend the night in Pass Christrian (we head up there on Sunday morning) to see our friends Ed and Jan Macdiarmid.

We arrived mid-morning. I dropped Henry at the Metairie Country Club for a round of golf with JP -- Jean Paul Layrisson -- and Edgar Bright (I'm sure he's squeeze in bowl of homemade turtle soup).

After checking into The Soniat House, which is our hotel of choice when we're in town, I visited the Southern Food and Drink Museum and ate lunch at LUKE, which is known for their local fare. After some shopping on Magazine Street, and a quick shower, Henry and I headed out to Gautreau's -- another favorite haunt.

Soniat House
1133 Chartres Street New Orleans, LA 504 522 0570

Talk about Southern hospitality, I could have stayed here all day and they would have loved it. The hostess, waitress and maitre d'hotel each stopped by a few times to check in on me and make sure I was enjoying myself. I don't usually eat alone and I was taking notes so I bet they figured out I'm a writer. A salad of chicory, lardons of Allen Benton’s bacon to start and Jumbo Louisiana shrimp “en cocotte” with McEwen and Sons creamy white corn grits and Jacob’s andouille (the secret to the creamy grits at LUKES is marscapone cheese).

Luke Restaurant
333 St. Charles Ave.,
New Orleans, LA
Open Daily: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m

Southern Food and Beverage Museum
1 Poydras Street #169
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: 504-569-0405

If you love food and New Orleans the SoFAB is a must see. Since June, 2008, the museum has been in it's new home overlooking the Mississippi River. (Victoria's Secret vacated the space after Katrina). I really enjoyed the permanent exhibit with displays on red beans and rice, chicory coffee, sweet tea, beignets, andouille and boudin sausage, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, crabs and oysters and other wonderful New Orleans and Louisiana fare including the original Sno-Cone machine. A cocktail exhibit was a lot of fun -- from a bitters collection to Martini glasses to Polynesian cocktail glasses from the 1960s -- it's a museum within a museum as the Museum of the American Cocktail now shares space with SoFAB. I enjoyed the more staid Eating in the White House displays featuring china, and food tales from chefs, presidents and first ladies through the ages.

For more on the new museum check out the article on the NOLA Blog

Gautreau's Restaurant
1728 Soniat St.
New Orleans, LA

This is one of our favorite restaurants in town (it was closed for two years so we haven't been there since 2005). Owner, Patrick Singley, is a wonderful host and he recently brought in a new chef, Sue Zemanick. Gautreau's is housed in a 19th century pharmacy and feels like a Parisian Bistro. We were greeted with open arms and a hand-written letter from Patrick apologizing for not being there (he had family festivities to tend to) followed by a delicious meal. Full from lunch, I had a bowl of cold asparagus soup with crab and creme fresh and an appetizer portion of risotto with more crab -- Louisiana crab, of course.

Patrick --so sorry we missed you. We love the renovations and the new chef!!! See you next time.

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