Wednesday, October 8, 2008

bittersweet goodbyes

i love new orleans. i have spent many weeks in new orleans and have enjoyed the food, the culture, the architecture, and the people. i have deliberately never visited nola during mardi gras or jazzfest. i had a feeling that those sort of experiences would have been enough to put me off the city forever. i also avoided bourbon street as much as possible during my many visits. post-katrina, i deliberately went to new orleans to spend large amounts of money eating, sipping, and listening to music on frenchman street. i also visited cafe du monde at least twice a day, bought loads at trashy diva, and hung out for hours at rue de la course. how could i also not adore walking around the garden district and under the weeping willows and moss of audubon park? why am i telling you all of this dear hearts? because i doubt that i will visit new orleans again, for very personal and painful reasons. in a different life, i loved and felt loved in new orleans. knowing what i know now....those once cherished memories have become bittersweet and quite painful actually. if i could travel back in time, i would take myself aside and whisper, well perhaps not whisper, more like shout in a booming demanding voice "run away"....rules regarding messing with the time space continuum be damned.

food memories can be a bitch sometimes.

it all started last night when i met SN in the city at a local bar that has ties to nola. there i was, drinking a bottle of abita's turbo dog, feeling pretty good as we caught a bit of the debates. the discussion turned a bit to nola as some of the bar folks had a lovely stay at a "bed and bar" establishment in nola. the discussion then turned to the dearth of of good nola style food in the city. note: whomever thinks cajun pacific is good spends way to much time eating in the outer sunset....and PJs...well, "PJs is PJs" says the foodie hunter diplomatically. anyway, i admitted aloud that it was unlikely that i would ever go back to nola and taste the food. this made the lurking sadness reappear quite suddenly, unexpectedly, and prominently. what is it about verbalizing something aloud that makes the gleeful gods sweep down upon you....and wreak havoc with your emotions?

not fun.

these feelings spilled over into today and it wasn't until about 3 o'clock that i realized that i hadn't eaten anything. not one thing. i also wasn't hungry. this is when i realized that a trip to angeline's was a good idea. i had never been, and thought that a visit would be "a-need-to-do"....one more goodbye ...just one more within a series of them.
i was a bit apprehensive when i walked inside and was glad that it wasn't crowded. again, my anti-social habit of eating in restaurants during off hours came in handy.


i started with the gumbo.....

which i knew would set the tone for the entire meal. it was good...

as good as anything i've had in nola. this was a good start.

next up was the buttermilk chicken, sweet potato mash, and green beans.

now, i'm not a fan of ginger being one of the primary flavors in a dish. so the sweet potatoes weren't to my taste. i didn't have more than a couple of bites of the potatoes. i think folks that enjoy ginger would really like the chef's version of sweet potatoes. admittedly, i was also a bit skeptical about the chicken because i had read that they use boneless chicken breast. when i think of fried buttermilk chicken...i think of juicy crisp chicken on the bone. yet, when i took a bite of the fried chicken breast, i was incredibly surprised. it was juicy, flavorful, crisp, and succulent. i almost didn't miss the bone gnawing experience.

for the finish, i had a coffee (they don't do cafe au lait...a pity) and the beignets.

the beignets were very good. not as airy as cafe du monde....these had a more dense texture....like a cake donut with a large air bubble here and there. yet still very good. although i had to laugh when i saw that they served them in a bowl. bowl or not, the sugar still stuck to my black clothes....yet, no worries....i would have expected nothing less. will i be back? definitely. hopefully next time it will be with a less heavy heart.

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