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.