Tuesday, March 11, 2008

*la story.

This weekend marked the Lafayette, Louisiana, celebration of the impending nuptials of Big Brother and his betrothed (and puppy makes three!). There was Cajun spirit galore, including a kicky band, Mardi Gras beads, be-peppered tablecloths, and THE BEST OUTDOOR (aherm) FACILITIES EVER. Strangers were marveling over them, truly. I may buy one and turn my house into a 2/3. Or I may have myself committed to a home for the criminally easily impressed.

Any party during which the toast is a coerced duet of "Mother in Law" is tops in my book, but note to the W family: I apologize for drinking all of your Merlot. Really, you can't take me anywhere.

To complete the bayou ambience, there were copious crawfish (I object to Wiki's "Crayfish, often called crawfish" business. Who says crayfish for chrissake?).

Intrepid eaters dug in with glee—you haven't lived until you seen a pocket-size lady down 6 pounds of mudbugs (I'm sure they were delicious, but I couldn't indulge. I mean, mud + bugs? Then again, I'm a sensitive, delicate soul, so you shouldn't go by me)—while the more-fastidious went the gloved route.

If you're playing along at home, that's crawdad having a go in the buff, while JB preferred the wrapped route (something about being averse to fishy fingers, which is a completely sensible stance, I say).

I didn't see any head sucking, but the nice lady to my left carefully peeled each of her potatoes in turn. Honestly, I've never seen grown people so happy to be eating with their fingers. Either crawfish are just a childhood-happy food, or there were some folks who were indulging a long-simmering need to tear some creatures limb from limb.


So what did K eat, you ask? I ate wine, which was ill-advised on the empty estomago and possibly resulted in line dancing. Also, I had a pinch of this:

which I was told is a Wal-Mart delicacy. It was delicious, so I forgave its hellacious place of origin. It wasn't really the sugar bomb's fault that place is zombifying.

There were also these, but they were too pretty to eat.

They better have been store-bought and not homemade. Because that frosting is infuriatingly perfect. My cupcakes always look like their tops were swirled on by a crack-addled kindergartner.

Lest you think I am now wasting away, the victim of a finicky-fueled eating disorder, I will have you know I commenced to inhaling a sandwich the Merlot branded The Best Grilled Cheese of All Time and most of dadders' fries before he had a chance to glance up from his chili and say, "what the?"

The next day, nursing an evil "headache" and possibly the beginning stages of heart disease, I had the great good fortune to go to Galatoire's in New Orleans. The maître d' was old-school brusque and missing a voice-volume regulator, and the interiors were glamorously shabby, like worn velvet. They do things like boom at you about whether you have a waiter you prefer (and imply that, if you don't, you are welcome to eat there but they may sigh at you) and force you to wear a jacket. If you're a man. If you're a woman, you can wear $11 TJ Maxx shoes that are probably not meant for outdoor use and a denim overcoat with a hole in the sleeve. Because you've worn it out. Or have extremely pointy elbows.

The wait staff is incredibly accommodating, which is helpful in that the menu is pointedly obtuse. We started with what I *think* was the Galatoire Grand Gouté (a plate featuring a sampling of the Shrimp Maison, Crabmeat Maison, and Shrimp Rémoulade. "Maison," I believe, is French for "smothered in creamy, mayonnaise-based deliciousness) and the Fried Eggplant & Souffle Potatoes Bearnaise.

Bearnaise has never really been my favorite thing. Because it's made with egg yolks and butter, it tastes like ... egg yolks and butter. Which I am not knocking, trust me. It's just a little too heavy and tarragonny for my taste. The waiter also brings powdered sugar for the fried eggplant—sounds bizarre but is delicious. I really don't want to know who was the first person to try it, though. Because that person might be a touch loony. The souffled potates are hard to describe. They looked like closed tulip buds and tasted like two angel wings of potato were sealed with love. Was that overrought? Ok, in truth, they tasted wonderfully potato-y, which bode well for the "headache," but they were a little chewy where they might ought to have been crispy. I think I let JB and T nab about three of them from my clutches, so clearly I found them sub-par.

I picked the tomatoes out of the Gouté plate, but I didn't eat the shellfish. I'm pretty sure I caught a smirk from the dad side of the table at one point, though. I think he detected that I was about to lick the dressing off the plate, so I refrained. But oh, the tangy! And the mayo! And the whole mustard seeds!

For a main dish, T had Poisson du Jour (redfish):

and JB had the Veal Chop (ordered as "what he's having," including a point at the man sitting directly behind me. There was some pout because the lauded crawfish étouffée was not, alas, in the kitchen).

I know, right? It looks like they killed a man in the back and brought out his chop. Probably the fool who dared to proffer nonexistent étouffée.

I had the Stuffed Tomato with Shrimp. Dainty, no? Um, no. It was basically a tomato ringed with shrimp, which were anchored in the tomato with mayonnaise. I do love mayonnaise, but my arteries were protesting at that point, and I had to try to eat around the coronary spackle.

In the foreground you see JB's side (Mushrooms Bordelaise) and T's (Sautéed Spinach. And believe you me, he paid for that attempt at "health food." There were no raves), along with a baseball bat of bread. Trying to sneak out, stage left, was my side—Cauliflower au Gratin. And oh. my. stars. I mean it. I thought I was going to stab any taste testers with my fork. T said he didn't get the cauliflower flavor over the butter and cheese. I don't know what he meant by that. I think he meant, "Heavens to Betsy this is good. I am going to steal more from K if she ever stops eagle-eyeing me."

And on to dessert! I know, so many cows were employed in the making of this meal. I'm suprised there's any more cream in the state of Louisiana. I chose the Coffee & Chocolate Pot de Crème, and JB opted for the Banana Bread Pudding. He and I are good eating partners because he only likes things I don't and vice versa. He might as well have ordered Mango Cheesecake, or Watermelon Donuts, or any other combination of two things I won't eat.

I ordered the pot de crème because I am a fan of the chocolate/coffee combo, but you couldn't really taste the coffee. The whipped cream was something spectacular, though. I can't speak to the bread pudding—T and JB, comment away!

And then ... I was full. At least until dinner, which consisted of airport potato chips served by a man whose name I believe was Pampy. Later, there was ravioli, courtesy of JLB. But who's counting?


at: 3:44 PM said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all ... and that meal ... I think I am stuffed just reading about it! As for the voting, I'm saying nuttin ... you know I think she is adorable ...

John-Bryan Hopkins says:
at: 4:28 PM said...

As the consumer of the bread pudding I have to say that it was delicious.

at: 8:04 PM said...

Oh, dear K. p.i.c.k.y. But that's ok, as long as you don't decide that chicken being labeled a "reservoir of bacteria" is good enough reason to turn up your nose at cc. The day that happens I swear I'm going to stage a one-woman vegetarian intervention, because I NEED you to justify my making of that labor-intensive and wholly artery-clogging delicacy.



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.