Sara and I recently spent a long weekend in New Orleans, to attend Carnivale du Vin, which raises money for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. Chef Emeril’s foundation supports many organizations that help better the lives of the city’s children, especially in areas related to food and healthy living.
We took advantage of the time to eat in some of our very favorite restaurants in the world, the Creole dowagers that include Galatoire’s, Antoine’s, Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace. Though all different, each is perfect in its own way.
Mostly, we ate fresh, wild, local seafood: pompano, redfish, drum, trout. Mostly, the fish were dusted in flour, sautéed in butter and served with meunière sauce. And when the waiters asked, as they always did, “You want a little crab on that?” we always said yes. In New Orleans, we’ve found, the best strategy is to just say yes.
And mostly we drank white Burgundies. New Orleans has a deep French strain in its character, and the combination of opulence and backbone that characterizes the best white Burgundies makes a perfect match for the sweet fish, rich crab and mouthwatering sauces.
It’s hard to pick out a favorite meal from among these wonderful restaurants. But we had our first meal together at Antoine’s (founded in 1840) and had a great time. There, we had pompano and snapper, the crab was abundant, and the wine was a beautifully balanced Meursault from Louis Jadot, from the lively yet powerful 2008 vintage ($85). I rated the wine 91 points, non-blind. Typical of a city and a culture outstanding in so many ways, from food to music to architecture to hospitable people. We can’t wait for next year’s Carnivale.
713 St. Louis St., New Orleans