Thursday, February 21, 2013

Girls' lunch at Gott Gourmet

A few weeks ago, my good friend Anne and I went out to lunch together at Gott Gourmet. Although I have never mentioned this restaurant before, I have been there many times. It used to be one of our go-to lunch spots when I still worked in the Warehouse District, a great spot for breakfast, and I have often recommend it for folks who were looking for a delicious, not-too-expensive spot for lunch with dishes that were just a little bit different than the usual New Orleans fare.

Anne and I parked ourselves at one of the only tables that were left, a high bar table next to the window with backless stools. My wide butt perched on the corner of a high stool is not the most flattering or comfortable of positions, but it was worth a little pain for the pleasure we were about to receive.

For an appetizer, Anne and I both opted for the Mushroom Soup that was on special that cold and blustery day. Though not pretty (grayish-brown goo will never be porn), the hot, creamy soup was absolutely earthy and delicious. We both had no difficulty scraping every last drop from the bottom of our bowls. Although unnecessary, a few slices of ciabatta would have been perfect to sop up what the spoon couldn't reach.

For her entree, Anne chose the Shrimp BLT Wrap with Tabasco butter sauteed shrimp, thick slices of apple wood-smoked bacon, creamy avocado, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers and tomatoes, organic greens and chipotle cream cheese dressed with chili mayo on a sun dried tomato wrap. Anne shared this flavor bomb and I almost regretted not choosing her dish instead. Almost...

After all, what I ordered was not at all a sandwich to regret. I got the Cochon de Lait Cuban with braised, pulled pork, Dr. Pepper & honey baked ham, sliced pickles, Swiss cheese, ancho-honey slaw, honey mustard and chili mayo. It was so huge I could only eat half. I brought the rest home to John who quickly devoured it. Anne and I also shared a large plate of hand-cut French fries that were brilliant - crisp, plentiful and perfect.

Since Gott Gourmet doesn't serve dessert (why the hell not?), Anne and I sped over to Bittersweet Confections where we treated ourselves to a pecan tart, macaroons, a few choice truffles and a large cappuccino. The candy and pastry were gobbled in short order, but I have to admit, I was kind of bummed out that they served our coffee in go-cups. Maybe I'm a java snob, but I think the foamy tastiness of a well-made cappuccino is destroyed when served in a lidded paper cup. Oh well! I'll be sure to specify my desires more clearly next time.

Gott Gourmet Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

House of the week: Sidehall on Gallier Street

Sometimes the strangest, most insignificant things will sell me on a house. One small architectural or design detail will get stuck in my head and wham, I'm sold. Who cares if the plumbing is shot! Did you see that stained glass window of a duck? Adorable! Thankfully, my significant other is around to deter me from making inane purchases, especially on something as expensive and life-changing as a house. But it still doesn't prevent me from falling in love...

For example, during my latest bout of self-torture, I came across this little beauty in Bywater. Located on Gallier Street, this cute, colorful sidehall cottage has many of the classic New Orleans architectural details I love from heart pine floors and high ceilings to a claw foot tub and French doors. But, the "piece de resistance," the feature that made me squeal in delight, was the booth-like kitchen table. Though these are the things that drive me.

Plus, this darling cottage is located in that big, booming area of Bywater where Pizza Delicious, Satsuma Cafe, Booty's Street Food and Elizabeth's are all only mere blocks away. It's also super close to Markey Park where the Mirliton Festival is held every year. It doesn't really matter what quirkiness I love about this house, though, considering this three bedroom, two bathroom, 1,896 square foot cottage is out of my price range, listed at $398,000.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Savoring Serendipity

It's not a case of accidental fortune that I follow Chef Chris DeBarr wherever he may roam. From his days at The Delachaise on St. Charles Avenue to his highly successful venture with Chef Paul Artigues at Green Goddess in the French Quarter, DeBarr has earned my respect and devotion for his delightfully eclectic dishes and willingness to take a chance on something completely different. These qualities remain at his latest restaurant Serendipity, located in the American Can Company building on Orleans Avenue.

Several weeks ago, John and I decided to try Serendipity when they finally opened for lunch. Not only does a lunchtime menu offer us a more affordable option, the light is perfect for picture-taking.

When we walked into the restaurant, there was only one other table filled, so we got to choose where we wanted to sit. We chose a high table near the window and scanned the brand new lunch menu to see what tickled our fancy. While we waited for our food, John and I indulged in a couple of cocktails that were created by the geniuses at Bar Tonique in the French Quarter.  I had the "Serendipity Punch" featuring Quinta Infantado Port, house-made sherbet syrup, fresh lemon juice and Bittermen's Amere Sauvage. John chose a "Fancy Brandy Cocktail" with Pierre Ferand Cognac, Lucardo Maraschino, strawberry and Angostura Orange Bitters. Both drinks literally danced on our tongues and we didn't regret the happy little buzz one bit.

We decided to try two, very different appetizers, the first being 3 Sisters Stew made with black beans, hominy and winter squash that was finished with pumpkin seed and jalapeno molé. I thought it was hearty, warm and filling, but some flavor threw John off and after one bite, he wouldn't take another. More for me! Our second dish was Crab & Corn Johnnycakes, basically cornmeal "blinis" topped with jumbo lump crab meat, roasted red pepper and eggplant puree and a sprinkling of wasabi caviar. While I enjoyed the flavors, I think the dish could have used a touch more of the puree because the thick cakes tended to make even the crab feel dry.

Before we could even gobble everything down, our entrees arrived. I chose a Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Shrimp & Oyster Salad with Romaine lettuce, radish, cucumber, yellow squash and Remoulade dressing. I inhaled the salad and John had to work fast to get a hunk of the shrimp that was wrapped in a slice of thick, smokey bacon. John chose the Two Run Farm Sirloin Steak with chimichurri sauce and a twice-baked potato and suffice it to say, there were no leftovers.

Finally, for dessert we decided to try the Chocolate & Almond Cake 'Bruschetta.'  The cake was actually grilled (char marks and all) and topped with a honey-whipped ricotta and rich, dark cherries. Although I think it was a brave effort at the first-ever dessert bruschetta I'd ever encountered and the flavors sang well together, I couldn't help being just a tiny bit thrown by the warm, grainy texture of the ricotta. To each his own! It certainly doesn't mean I won't be back to try his Tequila Shrimp Po-Boy or Homage to Hubig's Pie.

Serendipity on Urbanspoon