In six days, Mr. Luz and I will be back on New Orleans for Carnivale, and I couldn't be happier. The weather forecast promises highs of 70 degrees, and we already have plans to hit up the lovely dining establishments listed below:
Irene's Cuisine. Irene's is so New Orleans that it doesn't even have a website. Mr. Luz took me there once for Valentine's Day, and we loved it so much that we celebrated my birthday and law school graduation there, too. Though, to be fair, we celebrated graduation at approx. 10 restaurants and countless bars. I'm most looking forward to: their creole cream cheesecake, and the tiny piano bar where you wait for your table.
Commander's Palace. The best word to describe Commander's is simply "legendary." And unlike most of the legendary New Orleans establishments, Commander's lives up to its reputation. Post-Katrina, the owners took their time renovating this gorgeous restaurant, and it was worth the wait. The new look? Take the Palace of Versailles and replace one wall in each room with floor to ceiling glass, so that you're looking directly into the canopy of lush, old live oaks. I'm serious. I'm most looking forward to: 25 cent martinis, and their creole bread pudding souffle--a giant brioche puff pastry, cracked on top with a spoon and ladled with whiskey cream sauce.
The Columns. The Columns is a historic Uptown hotel on the St. Charles Avenue street car line. It's giant, breezy patio can seat 50 during their famous happy hour. It's where Mr. Luz and I had our first kiss, and where my family members made at least 20 champagne toasts to me, Mr. Luz, each other, and the glorious city of NOLA the night before our graduation. I'm most looking forward to: happy hour champagne, and reveling in all the good memories.
Muriel's. My parents and I discovered Muriel's when they first opened in 2001. The restaurant is situated on Jackson's Square in a building that's been around since at least 1762. Ok, so it wasn't difficult to physically find the building, but in an industry saturated with family-owned dynasties pimping their "Classics" (read: we haven't updated the menu since 1976, and we're going to pretend that's a virtue), it's often hard to see through the hype and find the alternatives. Muriel's seams the rich history of its building with a fun and modern decadence. I'm most looking forward to: a bloody mary in their opulent and spooky Seance Room, and their turtle soup au sherry.
The Delachaise. The Delachaise is a wine bar on St. Charles Avenue that looks like an old train car, running perpendicular to the street, when you first approach. Needless to say, it does not boast a vast ballroom or even ample seating. Mr. Luz and I hope that this gem has not lost its lustre since Chef Chris DeBarr moved on to more...sizeable...pastures. I'm most looking forward to: duck fat french fries w/garlic aioli and spicy satay dipping sauce, and a big, stinky board of cheeses.