Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits


Today they are celebrating Fat Tuesday in New Orleans so here is a little Big Easy flavor for you. This Shrimp and Grits recipe is super easy and fast to prepare – you’ll be done in less than 20 minutes! How can you go wrong with plump garlicky shrimp and cheesy grits? You can’t….this was wonderful.

Note: next time I will double the sauce.

Recipe link
Food Network magazine, December 2010

Sucré


I first heard about Sucr√© 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 Sucr√© 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 Sucr√© 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. Sucr√© luxury chocolates would be great stocking stuffers!

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

Luke Restaurant

lukesign
pasta fish This was my overall favorite dinner in New Orleans. John Besh’s L√ľke 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 entr√©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/

L√ľke on Urbanspoon

NOLA Restaurant

nola
You can’t go to New Orleans and not eat at one of Emeril’s many restaurants. We decide to try NOLA located in the French Quarter. It’s a 3 story building so we needed to take an elevator to get to our table on the 2nd floor. Mike thought this was so cool. The cuisine is an updated twist on classic New Orleans fare. For my main course I chose the shrimp and grits and Mike ordered the hickory roasted duck for his. Our dinner arrived within minutes. No joke…in under 8. It kinda felt like a fast food joint it came so fast. I took a bite of my dish and it was delightful. Cheddar grits with smoked bacon and mushrooms topped with plump shrimp in a creole tomato glaze and a butter sauce. It was a salty, sweet slightly spicy masterpiece. Unfortunately, Mike’s meal wasn’t as good. His duck was cooked well and was smokey but the whiskey caramel glaze wasn’t really there which left the meat a bit dry. It was accompanied by cornbread pudding and a green bean/corn salad which were great. It would have been a knock out dish if only it had more sauce. Maybe they left something out in the rush to get it to our table? As soon as we placed our forks down our plates were whisked away and we were handed dessert menus. We didn’t order appetizers because we knew we wanted to have dessert. We went with the banana pudding layer cake and fancy coffee drinks with liqueur. Both were tasty but nothing to write home about. We paid the bill and were in and out within an hour. The evening felt rushed. It was as though they were in some kind of competition to see how many tables they could turn in a single night. In the end there were ups and downs during our NOLA visit so we left with mixed feelings.

shrimp duck

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

NOLA Restaurant on Urbanspoon

New Orleans Vacation Wrap-up

Mike and I just returned from our trip to the big easy. We had a blast eating our way around NOLA. When people said it’s hot in August I figured I could handle it since I went to school in Arizona but this was a heat that I had never experienced. I could only make it one block before the sweat began drippin’ everywhere. Since we new it was going to be steamy we planned to keep our adventures casual and fun. Here was our itinerary:

Day 1 (Sat): Dinner at Mother’s, walk down Bourbon Street

Day 2 (Sun): Brunch at Dante’s Kitchen, Ride the St. Charles Streetcar, French Quarter Culinary history tour and tasting

Day 3 (Mon): Air-boat Swamp tour, Dinner at NOLA, walk around French Quarter

Day 4 (Tue): Breakfast at Cafe du Monde, Lunch at Cochon Butcher, Cupcakes at the Kupcake Factory, Vampire tour

Day 5 (Wed): Cooking class, Check out farmers market, dinner at Luke, Music on Frenchmen St.

Day 6 (Thur): Muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery

*I will write a separate post for each of the restaurant reviews over the next few days.

Non-Foodie Highlights:

SWAMP TOUR – We went on an air-boat tour of the Louisiana swamps. It was fast and furious. This is not a nature tour, this is a high speed excursion through the swamps on a search for alligators… and there were plenty! Check it out:


Website: www.airboatadventuresllc.com

MUSIC – Walking back to our hotel on Monday we ran into a 7 piece brass band on the corner of Canal & Bourbon St. in front of the Foot Locker. They were fantastic and they played for a couple hours for tips. What made it even more entertaining is that people would just start dancing in the street. It was hilarious to see some battle as if they were on “So you think you can dance”. This location seems to be where many groups come to play because we saw a 10 piece band on Wednesday night but they were not as good. Here is a sample of the boys from Monday:

vamp tour

Start of Vamp tour - St Louis Cathedral (check out that full moon)

VAMPIRE TOUR – Interesting tour about the history of vampires in New Orleans. We also saw some of the sites from the movie “Interview with the Vampire”. I gatta be honest it kinda creeped me out. Tip: wear your bug repellent. We didn’t and we have many bites all over (weird… no other night did we even see mosquito’s…)

Website: www.hauntedhistorytours.com

PEOPLE – everyone from the tour guides, to the taxi drivers to the hotel staff were really friendly. Very polite folks.

Low-light:

BOURBON ST – We had no idea that Bourbon Street was just a string of bars blaring cheesy karaoke type music, strip clubs, daiquiri/pizza joints and more strip clubs. It’s Vegas to the 10th power. Don’t expect cool jazz clubs cause you won’t find them here – go to Frenchmen St!

We did everything we wanted to do except eat a peanut butter bacon burger at Yo-mama’s bar. We just couldn’t get ourselves to do it. Maybe next time.

Tip: if you’re going make sure you have a tourist guide mailed to your home before you go. You can get one here. This was the first city I’ve been to that didn’t have millions of “things to do” kiosks and flyers/brochures all over the airport. The place was a ghost town.

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