Monday, May 20, 2013

New Orleans 2013 - Cafe Amelie

We were leaving New Orleans on Sunday morning, so for all intents and purposes Saturday night was our final night in the Big Easy.  We had our fancy dress up night on Friday night at Broussards, so for dinner on Saturday the goal was to check off DB~'s final culinary box on the checklist -- Shrimp and Grits.

We did some online research at various sites like Urbanspoon, Chowhound, and Yelp and the consensus seemed to be either Cafe Atchafalaya in the Garden District or Cafe Amelie on Royal Street in the French Quarter.  Since we were already in the Garden District during the day on Saturday, we went with Cafe Amelie.

When I called to attempt to make reservations early in the afternoon, the hostess said they were full , but we could try our luck as walk-ins.  After spending some time on Bourbon having a pre-dinner drink (or three), we went one block over to Royal Street.  The variation between Bourbon and Royal is amazing.  Bourbon is a cacophony of noise, booze, and general debauchery.  Royal is a serene street of art galleries, bookstores, jewelry stores, and restaurants.  You can't even hear the dull roar of Bourbon when you're on Royal.

DB~ and I walked about 5 blocks up Royal until we got to our destination.  Just a very small sign hanging above an ever-present wrought iron gate announced Cafe Amelie.  This restaurant also had a courtyard, but it was an outer courtyard instead of an inner courtyard like many establishments in the French Quarter.  Additionally, it was a slate courtyard, rather than brick.

There was no doubt on what DB~ was going to get, but I had a few choices to make.  I ended up going with the bone-in pork chop, laced with maque choux sauce, and bedded on some creamy grits of my own.  DB~ paired her dinner with an Amelie Mixed Salad.

Maque choux is a Cajun side dish, typically, that involves the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery), fresh corn, and cayenne pepper.  Some render some bacon or tasso (smoked Cajun ham) into the recipe as well.  The vegetables all sweat and stew together to give a creamy taste.  Here's my dish:

And here's DB~'s Shrimp and Grits:

The grits truly were fantastic and both of us agreed that they were among the best we've had.  We wondered why more restaurants in New Orleans didn't serve them and she said that it is primarily a Low Country Dish (the Carolinas) and is just starting to get a footprint in New Orleans.

For me, my dinner experience at Cafe Amelie was a Top 10 all-time.  The food was fantastic, but not the best I've ever had.  The restaurant was gorgeous, but not the fanciest place I've ever been.  I think it was just a wide combination of things that made it for me.

Being with the girl I truly love.  Being in one of my favorite cities.  Having the weather be just right in terms of temperature so that I felt like I was in perfect harmony in my surroundings.

I was at peace.

I didn't have 46 things running through my mind all at once like I usually do.  I wasn't thinking about posting a Pirate-themed blog post or when was the last time I posted here on DBS.  I wasn't worried about my family or friends or any external pressures.  Didn't have to think about what to make for dinner, either.  Didn't have to worry about driving anywhere.

It was just me and DB~.  The only decision I had to make was what type of cocktail we wanted to drink after dinner (answer -- whisky and rye for me, beer for DB~, followed by a final Hurricane for each of us).

Of course, all that ended on Sunday morning when we had to come home, but for one night I was at peace and truly happy.  That's a hell of a pork chop.

No comments:

Post a Comment