Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chucktown: Day 2

Reservations this weekend for 6 or more people have been pretty tough to come by, but fortunately some of my NOLA culinary connections have come in handy. Blondie's brother attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales up here (before the campus closed) and also worked at one of the more upscale restaurants in the city, so needless to say he knows a lot of the local foodies. So within no time Blondie dictated me a list of restaurants and names to drop, which has been a big help with the large number of people in town for graduation.

Yesterday was rather light on the stomach because everyone was still stuffed from the 1-2 combination of Jestine's and The Boathouse the day before. I guess some of my immediate family members lack the gastronomic stamina that only a few rare individuals possess (most notably The Pope, but myself to a lesser extent). So after a paltry breakfast at the house and a stroll up King Street, we were all starving for our late lunch at Magnolias.

We started with two orders of homemade potato chips topped with crumbled blue cheese (a la Bistro Byronz - Rene's favorite Baton Rouge eatery and sole recipient of the elusive "Golden Gavel Award"). Everytime I eat these things I wonder why more bistros and brasseries do not replicate this dish on their menus. Since I was feeling hungry (read "gluttonous") I ordered the Down South Eggroll as my personal starter. I know what most of you are thinking, "Don't they serve those at Chili's?" Well, sort of, but this one was stuffed with shredded chicken, tasso, and collard greens and sauced with a mustard and red pepper puree and topped with peach chutney. The spiciness of the sauce cut through the sweetness of the chutney to make an overall fantastic dish.

For my entree I was torn between the shellfish over grits and the cornmeal fried catfish; so I let my waiter decide, and she chose the catfish because it is "hot, spicy, and beautifully presented." Well, the presentation was eye-catching. but I guess my south Louisiana palate is too seasoned for the low country level of heat. Still, the fish was perfectly fried which resulted in a crisp exterior crust and a flaky interior of flesh. The fish was served atop a jalapeno and white cheddar grit cake which was smeared with a tomato butter - a perfect accompaniment to the fish. A fine meal all around.

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