In the midst of endless packing, John and I happily took a break to enjoy a leisurely brunch at Commons Club, a restaurant that recently opened inside the brand new Virgin Hotel downtown on Baronne Street. One of my favorite cooks, Alex Harrell, landed the gig as executive chef at Commons Club, so I definitely would’ve made my way over there after getting my move settled, but we were graciously gifted an invite by their PR team, so how could I resist? Free brunch from a chef I already think is the bees knees? Yes, please!
We were seated over by the open kitchen, and though we couldn’t see the Jenn Howard Band performing live in the lounge behind us, we could hear them just fine. I’ve enjoyed her performances before in other venues around town and was excited to see she was playing that day.
Though we started out with a La Columbe cuppa joe, we were eyeing the cocktail menu the entire time. John opted for their version of a French 75 dubbed a “Seasonal 75” made with Hennessy, but since I’m still not back on the keto train, I chose something a whole lot sweeter. The Nutty Professor — made with Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Meletti Chocolate liqueur and caramel — was freaking amazing. The cocktail was sweet, but not cloyingly so, and had a lovely drizzle of caramel and chopped peanuts around the rim of the glass. John tried to drink most of it, but I’m pretty sure I got at least half.
While dueling over my drink, our appetizer arrived, a shallow bowl piled high with “Churro” fritters. Essentially cinnamon and sugar-coated donut holes, these little beauties were crunchy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. They reminded me of the Bisquick donut holes I used to make my brothers and I after school . . . but better!
Before we could polish off the fritters, our entrees arrived. John got the crispy boudin and grits with red eye gravy. In between bites he realized we’d devoured this dish before at Harrell’s French Quarter restaurant (now defunct) Angeline. It was just as good as it was back then, actually I’d have to say it was even better. We all improve over the years, right?
I was this close to ordering the Dutch Baby, but I wanted something savory so I had a fried egg sandwich on a croissant with Benton’s Bacon and fermented chili aioli. I mean, how could that be bad? It was gobbled way too quickly, though. John barely got a bite it.
Keep rockin’ it Alex! I can’t wait to come back.