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.
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.
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.