It seems inevitable for girlfriends go through periods of distance, not because of any flaw in the friendship, but because we become busy with our own lives and romantic involvements. But, one thing is for sure, you’ll always know who your true friends are because true girlfriends always check back from time to time as a reminder that nothing between them has changed, to let the other know that this friendship is still important, still valued. So you’ll understand, why after a year of sparse contact, I needed to spend some serious “girl time” on Wednesday afternoon with my close friend Dani at the Delachaise.
The Delachaise Restaurant rests on one of the shortest blocks Uptown, a strange stretch of property that juts out towards St. Charles Avenue in the familiar guise of a streetcar…a streetcar with an awning and a patio fashioned from police barricades out front. As odd as that sounds, the interior of the Delachaise is much more sophisticated with a long, elegant bar and comfortably cushioned booths at both the front and rear of the “car”.
Dani and I wandered in and sat down at the bar. I looked up at the chalkboard drink menus and saw that the Delachaise offered not only an amazing variety of wines, they also carried some interesting labels for beer, as well as hard liquor. Handwritten lists for a variety of vodkas, gins, scotches, tequilas and more stood above his head, but when I asked the bartender for his “signature” cocktail, he told me “this is a wine bar, ” and handed us menus.
When he walked away, Dani and I gave each other a knowing look, eyebrows raised, but I figured if the man only wants to pour wine, so be it. We decided to try a glass of ’06 Alonso Vidella Malbec from Argentina.
Although the man that made a name for the Delachaise as a fine eatery in New Orleans no longer graced it’s kitchens, I still couldn’t help being curious about the food options. Dani and I both wanted the Pomme Frites fried in goose fat and served with a malt vinegar aioli and spicy, peanut satay. Now I realize, this is not a cheat night, but how often does quality girl time come along? It was time to indulge a little. The wine was really wonderful, heavy and rich with the odor of blueberries and violets. We warmed to the spirit quickly and conversations old and new transpired until we were awed by the aroma of our appetizer.
Brushing aside the slightly sloppy service, we found some fries drowning in the aioli sauce dish, the food was pretty tasty and we made quick work of it. Still a bit hungry, we decided to order another wine, a glass of Grenache, a 2004 Domaine Cuvee de Beaume and their Grilled Eggplant “Cannolis” with Chevre and ricotta piped into the rolls of eggplant served with a “Muhammara” sauce. Although Muhammara is supposed to be a spicy pepper dip, the sauce tasted suspiciously similar to the satay we ate earlier with the fries. I have to admit the “cannolis” were tasty though, and we had no difficulty polishing them off.
The second wine (which we chose at random, I might add) featured a lighter, fruitier flavor with a higher alcohol content and I actually enjoyed it more than the Malbec as it reminded me more of the season, more appropriate for the warmer weather.
The warmth of our conversation mixed with good wine and tasty bites made for a lovely afternoon that I won’t soon forget. The atmosphere of the Delachaise made a perfect location for us to re-ignite our friendship and give us both a chance to step away from our responsibilities for a short while and be carefree, giddy girls again. I only wish it could happen more often…