Monday, March 17, 2008

The Phoenix begins its ascent...

I had noble and carefree plans for Saturday night. Lady had a bachelorette party at the Embassy Suites in the Warehouse District. So the plan was to try out La Boca, drop her off, and wander around before picking her up. I vastly underestimated the ease of accomplishing that task; and such failure made me incredibly optimistic about New Orleans and living here. I love this city and here is why.

First, the warehouse district looked like a parade had just gotten out. 8:15 pm and bodies filed in and out of restaurants and bars. La Boca was slammed. We sat the bar for what was promised as a twenty minute wait. While waiting we each had a pisco sour, which was incredibly smooth and delicious. The clock struck 8:45 and Lady was already 30 minutes late to the party. So we had to take a pass. Which was not a bad thing as neither of us were hungry and I want to go to La Boca and eat, not nibble.

I dropped her off and decided to swing by Wolfe's in the Warehouse to see if the Pope was in (he was not). I had a sezerac then decided to walk around. La Boca still had every table in the place booked. Rock and Sake bulged with bodies and techno music. Rio Mar was standing room only. Emeril's packed as always, but 3-4 deep in the bar area. I walked by Cochon partly to see the circus and partly because I was craving fried boudin. No chance at Cochon. People were multiplying like rabbits. It was now 9:30 at night.

I had Chef Link's food on my mind so I trekked over to Herbsaint. Slammed as La Chat Noir was letting out. I grabbed a spot at the bar, narrowly missing a chair to a lady who claimed hse had been eyeing the last two seats for her and her husband. In the words of the Special Man, I "Let her have it."

Another Sezerac, a menu. "It has been crazy, things are booking up at Cochon and here faster than we can answer the phone," responded the bartender and manager in unison when I asked what it has been like since the article. An amuse bouche arrived. A deep fried ball of Duck Rillette set on top of a house made creole mustard topped with a pickled jalepeno. Yes, it was good and it satisfied my craving for deep fried boudin. Following the amuse was a salad of iceberg, bacon, radishes, and blue cheese. So completely ordinary and plebian of an order. Yet, everytime I get it I am glad I did. Crisp, tart, salty, and I am sure not fattening at all.

An order of gnocchi seared in olive oil topped with tomato and shaved Parmesan cheese. One should be able to buy those divine pillows like one buys potato chips.

Drank a new wine. A Luxembourg white, very basic with a few hints of fruit. Not acidic, perfect for sipping and pairing. Finished it off with a glass of Grand Marnier and a conversation with Chef Link. As always his humble demeanor hid the enthusiasm he has for his terrific accomplishment. We talked about the new venture. "Housemade Charcuterie, wine bar, sandwiches and small plates....simple stuff," he said. I cant wait.

11:15 now, Cochon still slammed, Emeril's still packed. Stopped into the Red Eye stayed longer than I thought. People, people everywhere. Lady called ready to be picked up at Pat O's. Quarter even more crowded. Locals smiling, tourists wide eyed, each person full of opportunity. Great night for the soul.

1 comment:

David C. Coons said...

I love hearing some encrouagement.