Ever since I read about the recently re-opened Katie’s in Mid-City, I became anxious to give it a try. After all, Katie’s has been around since 1984 and though it’s not as old as Mandina’s or College Inn, staying in business for over twenty years is nothing to sneeze at. On Thursday, John and I chose to have lunch at Katie’s Restaurant & Bar. This is my 42nd cheat and I am down 59 pounds.
The lunchtime rush was just starting to fade when we wandered towards the cute, neighborhood cafe on the corner of Iberville and S. Telemachus Streets. We stopped to read from the specials chalkboard and saw an older woman just inside the door waiting to greet us. From what I read on their site, I assumed our gracious hostess was Mary a.k.a. the “Hostess with the Mostess” and the mother of owner Scott Craig. She gave us menus, but I think by that time, we had already mentally selected an item from the specials board.
Our server came and took our order, swiftly returning with our drinks while we eyed the food at neighboring tables. We were really hungry so the wait seemed longer than it really was, but our forks were clutched in our greedy hands by the time the appetizer finally arrived. We didn’t even bother with the little plates the server brought us and dove right into Katie’s Homemade Crab Cakes. The menu elaborated a bit when it touted that they were “over-stuffed with Louisiana crab meat”, but they weren’t the usual disappointment, i.e. crab flavored bread crumbs. I am pleased to say they offered more crab than I expected and to make it even better, the remoulade was tart, a tad spicy and generally delicious. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded a bit more sauce.
When my Crawfish Beignet with jalapeno aioli arrived, I almost thought I had received the wrong order. It kind of looked like a large omelet surrounded by lettuce and cherry tomatoes. I cut into the “beignet” to find large crawfish tails, tons of cheddar and jack cheese and thick slices of pickled jalapeno. It was almost like a quesadilla served inside puff pastry with a spicy aioli sauce poured over the top. I ate it (who doesn’t love cheese and jalapenos?), but it was strange nonetheless.
John’s order, also from the specials menu, was Tuna on “Ciabiatia” a.k.a Ciabatta with Bleu cheese crumbles and mixed greens. They served the sandwich in a large basket with thin, crispy French fries. Although John ordered his tuna rare, it arrived done and was rather dry. The manager offered John something else, but his dining mood was ruined (this had happened to him several times in the past) and he declined. With no more ado, she removed the cost of his sandwich from the bill.
We considered dessert, but they only offered White Chocolate Bread Pudding. As delicious as it may have been, John and I have been a bit burned out on bread pudding. I understand it’s a classic New Orleans dessert, but so are pralines and Banana’s Foster.
Anyhow, on my suggestion and with a big hearty sigh from John, we drove across town to visit Bee Sweet Cupcakes on Magazine Street (is it “Bee” or “Be?” Sign and site disagree with each other), a couple of doors down from Whole Foods. As soon as you walk in, tiers of fabulously decorated cupcakes greet your eyes and it is difficult to choose only one, so we got four.
We walked out of the quaint cupcake shop drooling over four fabulous flavors; Gimme S’More, Pralines & Cream, Strawberry Tart and a Chocolate Manic Attack. All four were really wonderful (and incredibly sweet), but my favorite was the Strawberry Tart, both the icing and the moist cake tasted like they were laden with fresh strawberries, absolutely scrumptious and a wonderful finish for my cheat.
I’ve learned quite a few important lessons on this cheat like the importance of proper spelling, that the shape of a beignet is in the eye of its creator and if I want tuna cooked rare, I have to visit a Japanese restaurant. Most significantly, I’ve learned that even though they don’t always turn out perfectly, each new eatery I visit presents an element of risk and I will never know what culinary surprises await me. All I have to do is summon the bravery to take the next leap.