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 it’s 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 wouldn’t 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, Brennan’s, Commander’s Palace, and Antoine’s. 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). Dinner was at Antoine's.

 New Orleans, Louisiana        Date of Visit  12/16/15

Almost didn’t make it to Antoine’s for dinner. Three days of ridiculous eating, two lavish meals already in the day, so glad we made it. Antoine’s is like visiting the Palace at Versailles and getting treated to a meal or eating at the Smithsonian. History just clutters the place and you can feel it with every movement of the servers and dish that hits the table. Service is subdued and classic but easily becomes friendlier if you encourage it. We are seated in a room that reminds me of impressionist paintings of the high times in Paris.



We ordered a mix of oysters (Huitres en coquille a la Rockefeller (notre creation) Louisiana Gulf Oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockefeller sauce created by Antoine's in 1889/ Huitres Thermidor Fresh Louisiana Gulf oysters baked on the half shell with a bacon and tomato sauce/Huitres Bienville Fresh Louisiana Gulf oysters baked on the half shell with a white wine sauce seasoned with onions, pimento, and fresh peppers). I actually prefer more modern takes on Oysters Rockefeller but it was nice to try the original with the piped in topping of green vegetable puree, breadcrumbs and butter. The thermidor tasted a lot like an oyster baked with cocktail sauce studded with smoky bacon. The Bienville were texturally has heavy as the Rockefeller but lighter in flavor with white wine and veggies. On a side note, probably not the best introduction to oysters for some folks. I was alone in the “enjoying at all” department.


The Most Classic Oysters You Can Get Except For Maybe Raw

Three Different Approaches

Having only had soft shell crabs a couple of time, I wanted to try them in the heart of seafood country. Antoine’s were coated with a thin, crispy and delicious batter and were fine.

Crab always seems like too much work unless someone else has done the shelling for you and in some ways, chewing the not quite hard shell feels like work too. I’m sure this version is about as good as it’s going to get, just not my thing.

The oysters and crab were experiences, the rest was incredible in both experience and deliciousness.

The food became as storied and beautiful as the often does that happen?

Even Soft There Is Work Involved

We had two soups a Potage Alligator au Sherry and the Soupe a L'oignon gratinee. The alligator bisque was fantastic, I actually preferred it to the turtle soup from Commanders Palace. Dark and dusky, laced with sweet sherry, loaded with tiny bits of veg and toothy critter, it was a delicious blend of flavor. The onion soup was stuffed with sweet caramelized onions resting in the richest and thickest beef broth I have ever tasted, and all topped with a crouton and blend of sharp, salty, melted cheese. Perfect.

Seriously Fantastic Depth In The Gator Soup

Broth Is Thick In Texture & Taste In French Onion




We shared an order of what was once called balloon potatoes (according to the centuries old newspapers on the walls) or soufflé potatoes or Pommes de terre soufflées. These poofy little diamonds of potato were served with a ramekin filled with a rich béarnaise for dipping. Forget chips and dip, poofy puffs with rich hollandaise imbued with tarragon and white wine vinegar. Call Lays, I gotta flavor for them.

Poof My Tater

This Is Awesome

The Poulet sauce Rochambeau, just incredible. Grilled chicken breast on a thin slice of smoked ham served with Antoine's original Rochambeau sauce and more Béarnaise sauce.

The powerful richness of the Béarnaise is clipped by the sweetness of the sauce Rochambeau, which if I understand correctly is just a brown sugar caramel with chicken stock. Woof, should be oppressive between the two but they play so well together, it’s perfect. The chicken is done well and the ham is stupendous.

Put it all together and I was introduced to something I had never heard of, supposedly created to honor the Comte du Rochambeau, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur , I guess he liked it. We loved it.

The Rochambeau Is Different & Delicious



Chocolate Awesome On Top
Of Already Awesome

We finished with the Omelette Alaska Antoine The menu says: Antoine’s very special dessert, filled with vanilla ice cream with pound cake on the bottom and egg white meringue on top flambéed on the outside to perfection. The presentation of Baked Alaska for two (Please note: This special dessert must be ordered in advance.) 

Service for two my fat ass. The three of us barely made a dent, and we tried, seriously tried, it was so good we had to, but there was no hope. The ice cream is clean vanilla and rock solid, a little more vanilla in the pound cake and I’m not sure how they so evenly brown the outside of the meringue but it is perfectly consistent and then decorated with the name and some peaks of fluffy whites, but just leetle ones. After carving it is doused with a dark chocolate sauce and you don’t stop until you have to. It comes in one size and one size only. Bring friends.



Football Anyone?

Contemplating The Huge Slice Of Sweet Treat

Knowing This Would Be The Best We Could Do

After dinner we were given a tour. The website says there are 14 dining rooms, we heard 19 on the tour. From tiny super-private rooms to lavishly themed dining caverns all loaded with everything from ashtrays from around the worl d to royal crown jewels. We’ve now officially seen the country’s (or world’s?) two largest wine cellars, the biggest in Florida at Bern’s and now the second, which runs the length of the entire city block (165 feet) and hold 25,000 bottles. We would really have missed out had we passed on Antoine’s. If you ever get a chance, don’t miss it.

The Big Dining Rooms Are Beautiful

And Remind Me Of Impressionist Paintings

Smaller Ones Are Opulent

And Filled With Crowned Jewels & Pix Of Royal Diners

The Enormous Wine Cellar

165 Feet Of Wine Stacks

It Says: "This Is The Chef...He'd Like To Know Who Can Eat All You Just Ordered."

Boom, That's Who. Even Though We Didn't Get Close



What's Best

What's Worst

  B A A A+ B A-  
        About Half Crab    
All Restaurants By Ranking Restaurants By Date These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things Steph's Favorite Things
Home List of Restaurants by City The Ratings What's Rated Random Thoughts