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Sucré


I first heard about SucrĂ© Sweet shop on our visit to New Orleans in August. The Pastry chef  Tariq Hanna had just won TLC’s “Ultimate Cake-Off” so he was all over the local TV news. I really wanted to stop by while in town but time didn’t allow. Then 2 months later I received an email from one of their reps asking if I’d like to sample the goods. What a coincidence…. it was heaven sent.

Soon after I had my hands on a selection of SucrĂ© chocolates. We received their Sugar & Spice collection which is handmade for the holidays. It includes 3 varieties of truffles: gingerbread milk chocolate, candy cane white chocolate and eggnog dark chocolate. Since I’m a sucker for anything eggnog I grabbed one of those immediately. I was worried that the dark chocolate was going to mask the eggnog flavor but it didn’t. It was a perfect silky bite. The candy cane was next and it had a velvety texture with a minty fresh flavor. The final offering was the gingerbread. I knew even before tasting that it would be my least favorite. I’ve never been a gingerbread fan. This was spicy and a bit more dense than the others. Mike enjoyed it but he is a “hot” guy :wink:.

We were also sent a milk chocolate bar with Sicilian pistachios and candied rose petals. I know … really unique combination. It was almost too pretty to eat. The bar itself was creamy and the nuts and petals didn’t add any prominent flavors but it did add a delightful crunch.

Good news — I’m not the only one getting a treat this year! I have been given a discount code for my readers so you can also indulge in the SucrĂ© goodness this holiday season. For $5 off shipping use code: SPCA (expires 11/30/09).

What makes this deal even sweeter is that a portion of every dollar spent online will benefit the animals of the LA/SPCA. As you’ve seen on our blog we are dog lovers. Our Edison was a pound puppy so we think this is a great way to support a good cause. SucrĂ© luxury chocolates would be great stocking stuffers!

To buy go to: http://www.shopsucre.com/

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Luke Restaurant

lukesign
pasta fish This was my overall favorite dinner in New Orleans. John Besh’s LĂŒke is a French brasserie paying homage to NOLA’s past. The decor is bright & simple with a business casual vibe. We were seated in the back room in front of the kitchen. The menu reminded me of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon (which is a good thing). Lots of hearty bistro dishes with a Louisiana spin. Many entrĂ©es were calling to me (mussels, steak & frites) but I went with the redfish amandine since it was a more local ingredient. Mike decided on the nightly 3 course special. His meal began with a crawfish bisque, a light and flavorful soup. Then came lamb shoulder in a giant house made ravioli with a tomato sauce. It was delightful. My redfish had a light, flaky, salty crust and a wonderful almond butter lemon sauce. It was perfect. We finished the night with Mike’s third course a pecan bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. Simply scrumptious. The only thing that was a little off during our visit was our server. She would come and ask if we needed anything but you could tell her head was somewhere else and she was not really listening to our response. No big deal. I would return in a heartbeat.

Rating:
Website: http://www.lukeneworleans.com/

LĂŒke on Urbanspoon

The Kupcake Factory

kupcakes

banana on top

Would I pass up trying a gourmet cupcake shop? Hell, no! The Kupcake factory is a chain in New Orleans and they just happen to have a location down the street from Cochon. By the look of the place I really wasn’t expecting much. The decor/presentation was lacking.

We bought 2 cupcakes: banana and hummingbird (banana, pineapple and walnut cake with cream cheese frosting). I was pleasantly surprised with the banana. It was the first time that I’d had a cupcake that is cut in half and frosting is layered in the middle. This made the cake a little messy to eat but worth the trouble. The banana flavor was on point. The hummingbird, although it had a cute name, didn’t taste like anything at all. Conclusion… I wasn’t blown away but, I’d come back to try some more.

Website: http://www.thekupcakefactory.com/

Kupcake Factory Gourmet Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Cochon Butcher

butcher
When I read about a new hot spot in the warehouse district of New Orleans that featured the pig I put it on our list of things to do. Cochon butcher is the tiny sister cafe for Cochon Restaurant. It serves up house made meats in different forms, beer, wine and also has a full bar. We popped in for lunch one afternoon and ordered the pastrami with sauerkraut on rye and the BBQ pork with potato salad.

pastrami bbq

The pastrami tasted nothing like the pastrami I’ve had in the past. Covered in thousand island dressing and kraut the flavor became unrecognizable but still tasty. The pork was smokey, spicy but a bit dry. We are guessing it was a vinegar based BBQ sauce cause we couldn’t see anything. It could have used a little KC Masterpiece. The bread and sides for both sandos were very good. If you’re looking for meat this is the spot to come.

Warning: when we left we smelled like fried food for the rest of the day (not sure why). I would have preferred to smell like bacon…

Website: http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Cochon Butcher on Urbanspoon

Cafe Du Monde

cafe du monde
I arrived at Cafe Du Monde thinking we were walking into a tourist trap. I expected mediocre food for outrageous prices but knew this is something you just don’t skip when in New Orleans. We sat down at one of the many outdoor tables and a waitress came by and took our order… 2 orders of beignets and 2 cafe au lait. A few minutes later we were covered in powdered sugar and happy as clams. I was soo wrong about this place. The beignets were hot, light, fresh and under $2 for 3! They could be making so much more money – I would pay double.

Website: http://www.cafedumonde.com/

cafedumonde

Cafe Du Monde on Urbanspoon

New Orleans French Quarter Culinary History and Tasting Tour

foodtour
When I heard there was a food tour of NOLA I was intrigued. This was a 3 hour walking tour (mostly inside!) that covers the rich culinary history of New Orleans. Here was our tour schedule:

1st stop – the historic Antoine’s where we received a tour of the many dining rooms as well as the kitchen.
Tastings: Gumbo creole (Louisiana gumbo with blue crabs, oysters, and gulf shrimp)
Crevettes remoulade
(boiled Louisiana shrimp served cold in Antoine’s remoulade dressing)

2nd stop – Supposed to be Leah’s pralines but it was closed on Sunday (we went back the next day and tried some)

3rd stopBrennan’s for a tour of the restaurant (no food)

4th stopKitchen Witch (new & used cook book store)

5th stopTony Seville’s Pirates Alley Cafe
Tasting: Rum cake

6th stopLa Divina Cafe
Tastings: Muffalino (twist on the classic Muffuletta sandwich – same ingredients but in panini form)
Coconut Gelato

7th stop: Creole Delicacies (small grocery)
Tastings: Pralines & Red Beans & Rice

8th stop: Tujague’s Restaurant
Tasting: Beef Brisket with Creole Sauce (horseradish ketchup)

The pics:

Overall Mike and I enjoyed all aspects of the tour especially the food. All the dishes were wonderful. Antoine’s deserves all the praise it gets and the muffalino is better in my opinion to the original Muffuletta. Our journey through the French Quarter led by a local former chef passed quickly and our tummies were full at the end. The concept of a food tour is brilliant. Being able to sample different cuisines at one time is awesome. Each major city should have one.

Website: http://www.noculinarytours.com/

Dante’s Kitchen

dantes
So I wanted to go to a neighborhood gem. Something away from the French Quarter. After doing some research I came up with Dante’s Kitchen which is located in Uptown. The best way to get there is to hop on the St. Charles streetcar and get off at Carrollton & Maple (close to the end of the line). When we arrived at the cute cottage for Sunday brunch (15 minutes before the restaurant opened) there was already a line of about 6 people. I was immediately reassured that we had made a good decision about making the trek from our hotel on Canal (~30 min streetcar/15 min taxi). When the doors opened we were quickly seated and proceeded to look over the menu. It was difficult to decide what to order since everything sounded delicious. I ended up with the brioche french toast with peaches and Mike had the debris with poached eggs (biscuits topped with pulled pork, eggs and hollandaise). Yes, we reversed our usual orders. We had a 3 hour walking tour following our meal so I didn’t want to eat anything too heavy. Both dished were fabulous. I can only imagine what dinner is like.

frenchtoast debrisbene

Tip: There are no reservations for brunch so if you’re not going to arrive before the doors open come about 30-40 minutes after because the entire dining area was filled within 10 minutes of opening and you don’t want to stand out in the heat waiting for a table. It’s brutal or maybe it’s just me. No one else seemed fazed…maybe we were the only tourists?

Website: http://danteskitchen.com/

Dante's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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