My first time was the fall of 2006 on a crisp Friday evening. I’ll never forget the feeling of complete decadence as if I left my own body and traveled far away and into someone else’s with a much larger bank account. At least that’s how I remember it.
Steve and I had eaten out a lot, perhaps more than 75% of our family and friends, but never before had we stepped into such a luxurious experience in the city of New Orleans. Stella treated us like pure royalty and it didn’t take long to figure out we weren’t in Kansas (or Olive Garden) anymore.
I had the Georges Bank Scallops and he the Duck Five Ways; we shared the Iron Chef Chili Prawns . We savored wine over dinner and before the end of the meal Chef Scott Boswell chatted with us about our pending honeymoon in Spain, telling us we needed to get to El Bulli if possible (that didn’t happen). Stella was an instant favorite topping both of our lists. We’d send people here for years to follow.
Fast forward several visits to 2010 when we had the winter truffle tasting in February followed by a second visit in October of that year with friends. Steve and I secretly left feeling perhaps like it had lost just a little bit of its luster. Was the chef focusing on other things, we pondered? Continue reading
Love is patient, love is kind. Unless, that is, you screw up Valentine’s day.
Ladies, a little secret: for us, it’s just another day. But you probably already knew that, didn’t you? And you pretty much don’t care either, right? One of the prices of admission to congress with the fairer sex is making this day important. And part of that is Valentine’s Day dinner.
We’ll be dining in this Valentine’s Day, working on an ambitious attempt at Duck Confit. You’ve probably heard all the stories about Valentine’s Day, along with Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve, being among the worst times to dine out. Much of that is true: Valentine’s dinner means restaurants packed to the rafters. More importantly, they are packed to the rafters with people who almost never dine out. Otherwise lovely venues are overwhelmed with complaints about portion size, demands that the tuna be cooked medium well, rants about the fact that the sweetbreads aren’t sweet, and sure ain’t bread, and requests that they serve the steak tartar with the tartar on the side.
Posted in Dinner, He Said, Lists, Restaurant, Reviews
Tagged Bistro at Maison de Ville, Coquette, Dominique's, Galatoire's, Gautreau's, Lilette, Meson 923, Stella!, Valentine's Day
We were fortunate enough to host one of my absolutely favorite friends and her husband this past week. They flew in from Santa Barbara on Wednesday evening and we had several days to hang out together. They were coming in for the LSU vs Bama game which has become tradition. These friends are the ones we met up with in Napa for a wine tour last year as well as in Colorado this past March. We were happy to host them at our apartment in the Quarter for their stay.
She had planned a surprise dinner for us months in advance that had He Said and I so intrigued that we couldn’t wait for Thursday evening. We grabbed a cocktail at our corner bar followed by another round at Napoleon House and were off to our top secret destination. What comes next folks is nothing short of pure love. These guys must really like us because they brought two of their favorite boutique wines from obscure vineyards in Santa Ynez and hosted us to an extravagant meal at Stella!
Those of you who have read a few of our past posts and/or rants are likely to hone in on just how much we love Stella! Our friends certainly did as they proved in planning this event. We, as always, loved the meal. Them? …well not so much. Disclaimer: I believe this reflects more on us than them as I had a very similar experience with another couple who were equally, if not more, unimpressed. This was eye-opening for me because it made me realize just how far from our roots He Said and I have veered.
Posted in Dinner, Rants, Restaurant, Reviews, She said
Tagged dinner, food, rants, restaurants, reviews, Stella!, wine
He and She said:
Well, Brett Anderson from the Times Picayune has released his annual list of the top 10 restaurants in New Orleans, so we thought it might be time to do our own.
On a brief side note, an additional benefit of Anderson’s list is the way it brings out the tinfoil hat crowd in the comments section, an enlightened crew who appear convinced that Anderson, Donald Link and John Besh have united in an unholy triumvirate to rule the galaxy while making tasty Louisiana dishes. Multitasking, I guess. Then again, its Snooki and The Situation’s world, and I’m just living in it, so what do I know?
Ok, enough ranting:
We’ve done a post on the most interesting restaurants in NOLA (might be time to update that soon), but that is not what we’re after here. This is our take on the best, so the charming and interesting Mimi’s, for example, probably won’t find a place here.
I had the great idea to do this as a mock draft. When I explained this to my wife, she enthusiastically replied: “What the hell are you talking about?” But, after I explained a bit, she came around to my way of thinking. So, ladies first, and we’ll take turns picking a restaurant and telling you why it’s so great as we fill out our list of ten. Nobody loves a gimmick more than me.
A quick note: some relatively new entries to the NOLA scene that might be contenders for this list, most notably Le Foret and Meson 923, are ineligible, for the simple reason that we have not been there. And for the record, we are in neither Besh, Link, or anyone else’s pocket, although we hope to be one day. Until then, we have nothing to offer but unbiased opinion and the dream of one day being corrupted via a free plate of foie gras. Or pomme frites (in duck fat). Or pretty much anything else.
Posted in Dinner, He and she said, Lists, Restaurant
Tagged Adolfo Garcia, Brett Anderson, Commander's Palace, Coquette, Donald Link, Emeril's, Herbsaint, John Besh, John Harris, Lilette, lists, MiLA, Patois, Restaurant August, restaurants, reviews, Rio Mar, Stella!, Top ten
Ok, let’s just get this out of the way up front: Stella! is the best restaurant in New Orleans. And it’s not even close.
As a point of reference, we’ve been to Commander’s, Emeril’s, Delmonico, Cuvee, MiLa, Patois, Gautreau’s, Brigsten’s, August, Herbsaint, The Grill at the Windsor Court, Bayona, and Lillette, among others. Many of these we love, but Stella! is operating at a different level.
Now, to the point of having the best wife: sorry guys, but this one is an easy competition also. In order to celebrate my birthday (which is actually today), she took me to Stella for dinner. There you go; I win.