Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why do we have more photos of food than of us?

Dining in New Orleans would not be complete without a visit to the world-famous Brennan’s Restaurant ( where we dined Saturday morning. Since its beginning in 1946, Brennan’s has received countless culinary accolades. We were so hungry and everything on the menu looked so good that we could not decide what to order. Finally, we went with our server, Billy Mario’s, suggestion of the Eggs Hussard (poached eggs atop Holland rusks, Canadian bacon, and Marchand de Vin sauce topped with hollandaise sauce) and the Eggs Owen (roast beef hash, poached eggs topped with Marchand de Vin sauce). We savored this amazing cuisine while sipping our “Eye Opener” drinks, the Bloody Bull and the Pelican, along with tastes of the Turtle Soup. For dessert, Billy Mario (ok, not really his name, but that’s what we called him), insisted we try the “scandalousy delicious” Bananas Foster (glad we still have our eyebrows) and his personal favorite the Crepes Fitzgerald. All of it was just as Brennan’s promised…scrumptious!

We left Brennan’s to do some shopping up and down Royal Street. One of our favorite stores (and where we spent a lot of time) was MAH International Trade at 710 Royal Street ( Co-owner Mohammad Anvari was very helpful in telling us all about the masks that he creates himself. We even got to watch him make a mask, and the one I bought was made just one day prior. The masks are incredible and range in sizes, shapes and prices. It is definitely worth a stop here, especially because Mohammad is so helpful and informative.

Saturday afternoon we made our way to Antoine’s Restaurant (, which is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans and home of several New Orleans culinary treasures, such as Crayfish Etouffee and Shrimp Remoulade. Here we met with our tour leader for the New Orleans Culinary History Tour ( The 2.5 hour walking tour makes its way through the French Quarter where we heard the fascinating stories behind legendary pre-Civil War restaurants including some that are remembered only through the meals that they once served. The tour took us past such other notable historic landmarks including the Napoleon House and St. Louis Cathedral. We stopped at several places during the tour to sample the cuisine. We learned so much, like why New Orleans is world renowned for its distinct cuisine and is one of the most historically interesting cities in the U.S. We learned the history behind the food in describing how this unique city developed the country’s only true regional cuisine, as well as why New Orleans ranks as a major destination for serious food lovers everywhere.

After almost a whole day of walking, we were ready for some R&R at Balance Spa (, which is located in the Loews Hotel ( on Poydras Street. Many thanks to Renee and Olivia for terrific massages. What fabulous treatments!

After a quick trip back to our hotel for showers, we walked back to the Loews Hotel for dinner at Café Adelaide and The Swizzle Stick Bar ( This newest member of the Brennan Family Restaurants is shaking up the New Orleans scene, dishing up a playful take on Creole cuisine with a side order of Big Easy bacchanalia served by the gracious hands of the new generation of the infamous Brennan clan while named after their favorite Aunt Adelaide Brennan. With starters such as Shrimp & Tasso “Corndogs” and Blue Crab Pound Cake, how could we go wrong? Entrée options included Cayenne Five Spice Rubbed Ahi Tuna, Buttermilk Biscuit Paneed Grouper and Praline Encrusted Tenderloin of Pork. All of it ridiculously good! I encourage everyone to at least visit their menu online and drool. Many thanks to Chef Chris Lusk for one incredible dining experience, as well as to Lally Brennan for meeting with us and giving me her book, In the Land of Cocktails.

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