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When an old friend called and suggested that we meet him in New Orleans, this past weekend, for an event called “Art for Art’s Sake” on Magazine and Julia Streets we didn’t hesitate – Of course…Yes! The weather was going to be beautiful…clear skies and slightly cool temperatures – perfect!

Now, I love art, but Lord knows I love great food more!  I knew that a short overnight stay would have to include a trip to Galatoire’s…

http://galatoire’s.com

This is one of our favorite old traditional New Orleans restaurants…”pack a jacket” was my first comment to my husband!  You see, men must wear jackets in the evening and on Sunday lunches…and most guys will have a jacket  on for weekday lunches; If you don’t have one, they always have some “loaners”!  And there have been times, throughout the years, when someone forgets to bring a jacket…

Sunday Lunch was the plan!  Doors open at 11:30, so we arrived at 10:45 to get in line…you always want to sit downstairs – where they don’t take reservations (that is were all of the action is…although I will admit that I have never sat upstairs!)  As soon as the doors open, you go on in…give them your name, number in party and the name of the waiter that  you would like (and, of course, everyone knows the waiter they want – if not, just ask someone in line!)  After checking in, they send you straight upstairs to the bar where you wait and have a “morning” cocktail or two – no one hesitates, they all have their favorites…Bloody Marys, Cosmos, Champagne, Mimosa, Martinis, Old Fashions – they were all being served!  Yes, lunch at Galatoire’s had begun…

Precisely at noon, we all “mosey” down stairs and are led to your table – with your favorite waiter, of course!

The crowd is festive and lively.. you would think that there was a parade coming, but no….just another Sunday in New Orleans – you have to love it!   As I looked around the room, each table seemed as though they could have been sitting in their own dining room…young and old – sharing stories, laughing, hugging as each person arrives (even applauding some!) There were those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.  And some were like us…simply, but clearly celebrating life!

So here we go…

We started with the Souffle’ Potatoes, that are like a secret magical puff of a potato that just seems to melt in your mouth the moment you bite into it!  Reminded me of a beignet, but potato – then a bearnaise sauce for dipping…Magical is the only word I can use!

Seared Foie Gras with Cane Syrup on Pain Perdu (French Toast) with Apricot Chutney – how in the world could I not order this?

The buttery texture of the foie gras, perfectly seared with cane syrup,  placed on top of the mildly sweet pain perdue –  paired with the fresh apricot chutney!  One of the best things ever…I will have to attempt this one at home!

Crabmeat Canape’ Lorenzo…Wonderful large puffs of sweet lump crabmeat blended with bechamel sauce, topped with thin slices of anchovies sitting on top of a piece of lightly toasted bread – Perfection!  Had to fight for the last bite of this one…

 

Oh my…(and I do mean: “my” – I LOVE this salad so much and make it at home!)

Godchaux Salad…named after Mr. Leon Godchaux, in the 1920’s.  Mr. Godchaux owned the famous Godchaux’s Department Store on Canal Street and would walk over to Galatoire’s and request this salad to be prepared just for him.  Thank you, Mr. Godchaux!! Perfect jumbo lumps of sweet blue crab and huge boiled shrimp doused lightly in a creole mustard vinaigrette, always served on crispy iceberg lettuce, fresh tomatoes, boiled eggs.  I crave this salad on a regular basis!

My “main” entrée…(Sounds like we could have swam back to Lafayette after all of the lump crabmeat and shrimp we had eaten…But please not yet! Don’t haul us away in the paddywagon yet…we must continue!)

Bouillabaisse!

So glad we continued!   A beautiful blend of slightly sweet and savoy… perfectly balanced tomato based “soup” with fresh notes of saffron, thyme, bay and garlic – Add to that,  fresh redfish, lump crabmeat, oysters and shrimp~Well…Extraordinary!  Tip the bowl and sop up every last drop with their wonderful warm garlic bread…Love!

Dessert?  Who could possibly have room for dessert?  We just couldn’t leave Galatoire’s without a “bite” of something sweet!

So…Caramel Caramel Custard Cup it was!  This has been on their menu since they first opened in 1905!  Can’t go wrong…velvety smooth creme’ caramel – Not too sweet, just a perfect end to a fabulous “extravaganza” of a Sunday Lunch at Galatoire’s!

Galatoire’s…God, I love this place! 106 years old…a tradition for generations – where strangers become friends, waiters become family, surviving Hurricane Katrina, receiving the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant of 2005, and much more…

This is the cookbook that tells the interesting history and recipes that have been handed down from family members and their chefs.  From my point of view, worth its weight in gold!  A must have!

All of this and always staying true to the heart and soul of New Orleans. All I say upon leaving is what I always say, “I’ll be back  bringing friends”- only one way to say it…Thank you, Glorious Galatoire’s, I love you!

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