Mini-vacation at Angeline

Best okra ever!
Best okra ever!

Far too long ago, John and I ventured into the French Quarter to enjoy brunch at what has become one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Angeline. I don’t know about you, but whenever I go into the Quarter, especially on a sunshine-filled day, I like to pretend I’m on vacation. I imagine that my suitcase filled with summer clothes is stashed in an elegant room in the Hotel Monteleone or the Ritz Carlton while John and I explore the beauty of the city with no worries, no deadlines, no work … just a day of unadulterated fun.

Real vacation or no, we still couldn’t help but get a little tinge of pleasure from the fact that we were able to find free, street parking less than a block from the restaurant. Located on Chartres Street, Angeline is in the building that once housed Stella! only a hop from Jackson Square. Although we made reservations, the restaurant was only about half full and we were seated at a two-top placed right next to a window looking out onto the street.

Are you drooling yet?
Are you drooling yet?

We started with an appetizer of fried okra served with a buttermilk ranch (house made, of course). The okra had been pickled before frying, so there was a delightful tang that burst through the cornmeal crust in every bite. Dipping each morsel into the ranch dressing just added to the flavor, like icing on a cake. They were so good the plate was nearly empty when our entrees arrived.

John ordered one of Angeline’s omelettes stuffed with house-smoked Gulf fish and topped with crème fraîche.  The omelette was light and fluffy, folded French-style in a perfect roll and served with some simple skillet potatoes that John ordered on the side. My entree was crispy boudin patty perched atop a creamy mound of Coosa Valley grits, topped with a fried egg and served with a rich, red-eye gravy. I also ordered a side of buttermilk biscuits that I slathered in butter and used to sop up the remnants left on my plate.

Crumbly, buttery bliss.
Crumbly, buttery bliss.

We pushed back from the table a bit for a breather, but when our server returned to retrieve our empty plates, I requested a dessert menu while studiously ignoring John’s exasperated eye-rolls. Of course we were both full, but we were on vacation, right? Who ignores a brunch-time dessert on vacation? Certainly not I …

Our dessert, timed perfectly with two cups of freshly brewed, hot coffee, was that Southern favorite Banana Pudding made with Angeline’s own “nilla” wafers, roasted bananas, burnt (charred) marshmallow and a dollop of whipped cream on top. John may not have wanted me to order dessert, but he didn’t have a problem eating most of it.

We strolled languidly back to our car, too stuffed to want much more than an afternoon nap.  I think we’re past due for another mini-vacation.

Angeline Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

House of the week: Victorian on Belleville St.

The things I could do with this house!
The things I could do with this house!

The more I look at houses for sale, the more I am disappointed by the culture-eradicating renovations I discover. Developers and contractors are tearing the heart and soul out of New Orleans’ architecture and it honestly makes me want to weep. While I appreciate some new design, there’s a lot to be said for the creativity and elegance of the past. Don’t rip out transoms and dividing walls for an “open floor plan.” Go live in a suburban tract house if that’s what you’re looking for. Continue reading

House of the week: Mary Plantation on Hwy 39

While people are spending millions to live in a 500 sq. ft. flat in Manhattan or a tract home in Northern California, you could have your very own plantation for little over a million. Located in Braithwaite, Louisiana, approximately 22 miles from downtown New Orleans, there is for sale a property that is over two centuries old offering over 2500 sq. ft. of living area and over ten acres of land. Continue reading

Willa Jean: A Parking Story

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Grilled Gulf Fish Sandwich with tartar sauce and slaw on a Hawaiian Roll

Not to sound like a snot, but growing up around a major metropolis like San Francisco has taught me a few solid rules to follow when parking in the city. First, never park illegally or you will most definitely be ticketed, booted and/or towed. Second, never ever leave anything inside your car that can be seen from outside, that is unless you’re looking to have your window busted in and that item (and possibly your whole car) stolen. Finally, and central to the point of this blog, always pay the full amount on the meter whether you think your stay will be shorter or not. City time is different from any other kinds of time and there are tons of reasons one can get held up. Isn’t a $3.50 fee better than a $50 parking ticket? I would also add that when parking on a hill, be sure to turn your wheels, but in New Orleans that is (thankfully) not something anyone has to worry about. Continue reading

Twice as nice

While dining at the restaurant of a talented chef can be a choice experience, enjoying a menu created and prepared by a collaboration of two talented chefs is definitely twice as nice.

On Tuesday, February 23rd chefs Alex Harrell of Angeline and Jason Goodenough of Carrollton Market are joining forces to present a five-course prix fixe menu featuring California Olive Ranch olive oil plus meat and seafood sourced from Inland Seafood.  This synergistic experience will be held at Angeline located at 1032 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. Continue reading

Pining for Press Street Station

In addition to a two-bedroom in the French Quarter (renting for $950 no less!), one of the first apartments I looked at was in Bywater. It was a gigantic half of a double with two bedrooms, high ceilings, transoms, hardwood floors and a built-in bookcase in the parlor going for $495 a month. Instantly I was sold, but I had to convince my mother. Continue reading

It’s OK, eat the whole bag. Love, Cookie

Unless I’m overcome with a nostalgic craving for Double-Stuf Oreos and ice-cold milk, most store-bought cookies are just not worth the calories they cost. Not that I’m watching my figure (it’s pretty much the same … fat), but I estimate that if you’re going to gorge yourself on sweets, why not indulge in the good stuff? Admittedly, I did have a thing for Pepperidge Farm Brussels, but even they have gradually lost their luster, blatantly falling victim to cheaper ingredients and large-scale mass production all in the name of profit. When it comes down to it, nothing can beat home-made cookies, particularly my cookies, fresh out of the oven. Continue reading