Instead of our typical trip to Vegas to celebrate our delayed Anniversary, Mother Dear gave us the chance to explore a long dreamed of locale, NOLA. We had an almost perfect trip and New Orleans is all itís purported to be. All of the downsides to any large city exist, but are clearly outmatched by the upsides. And then there is the food, my GOD, the food. We ate ourselves stupid, and regretted it a couple of times immediately afterward. But looking back, I wouldnít have skipped anything.

It was our first trip, so it was a touristy trip. We tried the things you see on tv over and over instead of trying to find hidden gems. Especially shocking was how good SO MANY of the classics turned out to be. Only twice was I disappointed, and by disappointed I mean the place was only good. Much more often I was surprised by how much better the place was than expected, a rare treat repeated and repeated in the Crescent City. If you are from our neck of the wood, or anywhere else than NOLA, it is a completely different world, and one worth experiencing for multitudinous reasons. Vegas is a different world but it is a calculated and manufactured experience, New Orleans has evolved in a storied and historic manner into what it is, you can feel it everywhere you go. Nothing like it.      True Dat.
 

 

Our last day in the Crescent City, we labeled fancy-dancy day. We were going to hit three venerable institutions of culinary tradition, Brennanís, Commanderís Palace, and Antoineís. They are all dressier, and having eaten so much we were trying to keep the wardrobe changes to a minimum (less thinking about how differently these clothes used to fit just a couple of days ago). Breakfast was at Brennanís.
 

 


Brennan's
 New Orleans, Louisiana        Date of Visit  12/16/15      
  http://www.brennansneworleans.com/ 

Disclaimer: Before you read further, this website does not condone the actions of which you are about to read, and it discourages you from attempting them yourself. Breakfasts with three separate menus (Cocktail/Breakfast/Dessert) are best left to the professionals. No kidding, Booze and dessert for breakfastÖhere we go.

The place is stunning. Itís worth dining just to sit in such refinery. The service is very French and very fussy, but they have perfected the rare skill of never missing you set your fork down or have a sip of water without making you feel like you are under surveillance by lazy cops. While complex and stilted in style the employees themselves are allowed to be friendly and relaxed tableside, it makes things so much more comfortable.
 



 


 
 
Elegance On A Stick
 

In Every Room
 
 

So cocktails. Donít judge. There was a whole menu for them, we had to. Steph found her dream eye opener in the Sparkling Pear, house made pear and cinnamon purees mixed with champagne. Mother Dear ordered from the 12 days of Cocktails menu (a new cocktail everyday) and todayís was Home for the Holidays, Bourbon, Orange Curacao, lemon juice, and sweet potato syrup. Mother Dear had a Bloody Mary at the casino the day before and I just had to try the Creole version here, vodka, tomato juice, bullion, lime juice, Worcestershire, pepper sauce, a spicy rim and topped with an olive and pickled okra. Definitely spicy. Me likey, but I was the only one. I donít like the slime of okra and there was none to be found in these pickled sticks at all. Every breakfast should start with a loaf of Leidenheimerís and some booze, but probably only in New Orleans. Brennanís toasts the loaf of bread just warm through with just a hint of crisp on the crust.
 

 
It's Everywhere You Go
 

Light Sparkling Pear
 
 
 


Boozy Home For The Holidays
 


Seriously Spicy Mary
 

 

Actual breakfast. We ordered the Eggs Hussard, Original to Brennan's, house made English muffins, coffee cured Canadian bacon, hollandaise, and marchand de vin sauce. Eggs Cardinal crispy lobster & shrimp boudin sausages, spinach, Creole mustard, and hollandaise. And finally, Rabbit Rushing, a fried Mississippi rabbit loin, creamed collards, eggs over easy, ringed by a pickled pork jus.

Sometimes places make things in house they really donít need to (the Leidenheimers) but the English muffins here are extraordinary. The hollandaise is textbook perfection and the poached eggs are done so well their dangerous. I went to crack one and it literally geysered into the air above the plate. Mother Dear had one go off like a grenade and actually made it over both sides of the plate. The Hussard is unique in the addition of the flavorful red wine reduction (marchand de vin sauce) with the hollandaise, never tried it before but the tannins and the herbs really work to completely elevate what would already be an excellent Eggs Benedict.
 


The Marchand de Vin Is Superb Addition To Tip Top Benedict In The Hussard

The Yolksplosions Left Collateral Damage
   

The Cardinal turned out to be something like crabcakes made with shrimp and lobster. The creole mustard in the hollandaise was awesome but I think we all agreed it was our least favorite of the three, should have gone with the corned duck hash.

Mom loved her Hussard, but Steph and I were both gaga over the rabbit. It wasnít Willie Maeís Fried Chicken, but it was as close as anything was going to get. Good Lord, a super juicy, pounded out, rabbit loin is an achievement in itself, but the dark and stupidly crispy crust in addition was phenomenal. Add explosive eggs, green collards and the rich sauce, this one was hard to pass around the tableÖjust one more bite and you can have some.
 


The Seafood Based Eggs Cardinal
 

Ultra-Classy "Not-Crab" Cakes & Creole Mustard Hollandaise
 

This Is Incredible
 

I Don't Know If I Could Order Something Else
 

Dessert Menu. I used to do Bananaís Foster demonstrations for tours in culinary school. This is where it all started in 1951, letís see how itís really done. I will do it differently from now on. We also added a bread pudding, which was really unique (as was Commanderís Palace). At Brennanís their bread pudding is almost a bread crŤme brulee (Leidenheimerís of course) studded with bits of praline and served with a rye whiskey anglaise and chantilly cream. Strange and scrumptious.

The cart rolled up to the table and the banana dessert was done as a performance which was practiced and understated. I have always added the banana liquor too late, resulting in the sugar caramelizing too far instead of cooking in the sauce. The exacting proportions delivered a balanced sweet and mildly savory concoction, then poured over vanilla speckled ice cream. Brennanís rules, top to bottom, nothing more to say.
 


Their Bread Pudding Is Like Custard!
 

So Starts The Show
 

Sauce Achieved
 

And Whoosh
 

Add Some Fruit
 

And Viola, The Classic, Done Right
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