Sunday, February 22, 2009

Restaurant August

Restaurant August
301 Tchoupitoulas St.,
New Orleans, LA 70130

I had seen John Besh cook in the show, "The Next Iron Chef" and thought his food was creative and interesting, so as soon as I knew I was going to New Orleans I made a reservation at his restaurant. We opted for the five course tasting and in addition I also ordered the wine pairing.

amuse bouche

Warm salad of pieds du cochon
veal sweetbreads, hearts of palm and black truffle
Marquis de Perlade, Pierre Sparr, Brut, Alsace, Sparkling N.V.

This was a great opening dish. The sweetbreads were crunchy on the outside, perfectly seasoned and moist and tender on the inside. The pieds du cochon we meaty and provided a textural contrast to the sweetbreads and the hearts of palm tied the whole dish together with a crispness and a freshness with the microgreens providing a little acid to cut through the richness of the cochon and sweetbreads. The wine was just slighly sweet, sparkling and refreshing to help cleanse the palate.

yard egg raviolo with brown butter and sage
Pinot Blanc, Robert Foley, Napa Valley, 2007

The raviolo was like a treasure waiting to be opened. Once you cut into it, the warm egg yolf came spilling out mixing with the brown butter.With each spoonful you get two different kinds of richness and a luxurious texture, but it was not heavy. It was like having an egg sunnyside up at a greasy spoon after a night of partying. The trufflewas earthy and did not let the dish get out of control. The wine was dry to cut through the richness and reset your mouth for the next bite. Yum!

Lacquered Berkshire pork belly with
Lousiana crawfish, olives and blood orange
Bourgogne, "Laforet," Joseph Droubin, 2006

It's pork belly what more of a description do you need? This pork belly was cooked nicely and had a lot of flavor. The main thing that made this interesting was the use of olives. The pork belly was seasoned well, but when you added some olive to the the fork; it added a saltiness that almost changed the flavor to more like bacon. I have never had that combination before, it was great.

Slow braised kobe beef short rib
rapini, baby root vegestable and rosti potato
Cabernet Savignon, Ehlers Estate, St. Helena, Napaa valley, 2005

The progression of each dish was awesome until this course. It was a beef short rib that was braised. It was tasty, but had one note flavor. I did not really like the rosti potato, it was like a soggy gnocchi.

Napoloen of nougatine
with Valhrona chocolate bavarois
and salted toffee ice cream
Orange Blossom Muscat, "Essensia" Quady, Madera 2005

Things finished well with dessert. The muscat had a nice floral scent to and an orange color to it. The way this dessert was construct when you cut straight down into it, the flavors, temperature and textures varied. First you get the sweet, slightly salty, cold ice cream, then the crunchy, slightly chewy nougatine layer, and then the rich bavarian cream at the bottom. The muscat matched well with the dessert, but was a little too thicj and syrupy. A good dessert overall.

Closing desserts

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Commander's Palace New Orleans

Commander's Palace
1403 Washington Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130


Bourbon braised fig and foie gras beignets with

vanilla cracked coffee beans, foie gras café au lait

and chicory coffee “mist”

These were not really foie gras beignets, they were more like beignets with a piece of seared foie gras on top. It did not really matter because it was still a good opening. The beignets were light and fluffy and the sauce was just sweet enough to complement the nicely firm, seared piece of foie. The pecans added a textural contrast with a crunch that tied the dish together.


I forget what kind of fish it was; some kind of white fish. I am not a huge fan of cooked fish; I would rather have sushi, but this fillet was well seasoned and cooked to where it was flaky, but not too firm. The seasoning that coated the fish added just a bit of spice to add another level of flavor. The shrimp were cooked properly and were good, but nothing special.


I wondered how this would turn out because I though that a bread pudding would be too heavy to become light and airy like a soufflé should. The texture was a mix of the two different pastries. The outside was a crunchy crust of the bread pudding which contrasted with the warm and light inside. Add the whiskey cream added a luxurious texture to the entire dish. Albeit the cream was a little too sweet, but a good dessert overall.


Local strawberries on a fluffy buttermilk biscuit with powdered sugar and Chantilly cream

I had no idea that strawberries were in season in Louisiana and supposed how exquisite these strawberries were. These strawberries were plump, firm, and sweet with just a hint of tartness and full of strawberry flavor. It was like eating strawberries for the first time again. I have not tasted anything even close to these in California.

Here is the farm where they get these strawberries from:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde, French Market
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, La, 70116

The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.

The Original Cafe Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, White and Chocolate Milk, and fresh squeezed Orange Juice. The coffee is served Black or Au Lait. Au Lait means that it is mixed half and half with hot milk. Beignets are square French -style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar. In 1988 Iced Coffee was introduced to the cafe. Soft drinks also made their debut that year.

Beignets were also brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are served in orders of three.