I LOVE CHRISTMAS IN NEW ORLEANS!!!
After last year’s MASSIVE FAIL, I was determined to make 2011’s dinner extraordinary. Started emailing restaurants all the way back in June, before anyone knew if they’d even be open!
…in addition to two special tasting menus – Chanukah…
By the way, both of these were NOT mandatory as they were at virtually every other restaurant I spoke to (and they cost less, too).
The ambiance was lively and beautiful…
…and the food?!? Let’s just say when the charming Chef Shaya came by to introduce himself, we all broke into spontaneous applause.
Everything – every freaking thing – was incredible. And as you guys know, I regularly consume A LOT of fantastic food, so I don’t say this lightly. This was, without a doubt, one of the most delicious meals of the year.
Starting with the bread!
I had a single piece…
…no olive oil for me – too spicy!!!
Appetizers – Fresh Ricotta with date and pecan pesto on grilled country bread
Herb Roasted Pork Ribs on soft polenta, with lemon and stewed greens
I used an extra piece of bread to sop up all the extra bits.
And then came Christmas dinner!!!!
I asked for all their Contorni Dishes – Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary butter and Louisiana Cane Syrup…
…Fried Tuscan Kale with lemon and parmigiano reggiano (ORDER THIS)…
…Polenta with olive oil and roasted cherry tomatoes…
…Brussels Sprouts with guanciale…
…Rapini with garlic and pecorino
Everything was shared, including the main dishes – a Whole Grilled Branzino with lemon and herbs…
…Black Squid Ink Taglioni with Blue Crab (another absolute MUST)…
…and of course, the pizzas I saw on TV, which DID NOT disappoint.
The Enzo (hold the anchovies) with tomatoes, garlic, and mortadella….
…and Wild Mushroom with tomato, fontina, and yard egg (sans bacon)
My three plates –
I thought my stomach couldn’t handle another bite, but then dessert appeared.
Banana Zuppa Ingles – a moist banana cake with butterscotch mousse and peanut brittle
Gianduja Budino – Chocolate and Hazelnut pudding with candied hazelnuts
The Spiced Apple Cake “Al Cartoccio” – baked in parchment and unwrapped at the table…
…just like a Christmas present!
Served with buttermilk gelato
Remember how I said I was full? Somehow made room for two more rounds.
If you’ve watched my 2009 video, you know my Christmas dinners have always been Chinese food – but I’m beginning to think I need to add some Italian now too!
Hope your December 25th was amazing and delicious, whether you celebrated or not!