Giddy with confidence from the trip to Avery Island we slept in on Day 4 and it would seem that Mr. Murphy and his Laws took exception, doom on us.
Our morning began with an attempt to fortify with caffeine and sugar at Cafe du Monde but we had apparently angered the food gods the day before with our amazing road trip. The 'To-go' lineup was starting to curve around the building and the serving staff was having to direct the patrons to soon to be available (cleaned tables.) We soldiered on and headed over to Exchange Alley and Green Goddess to have an early lunch instead of a late breakfast, things began to look up when we got a table outside that was in the shade and our meal proceeded without a hitch. The GF ordered the French Toast (Stuffed with a strawberry compote and goat's cheese and drizzled with blood orange blossom honey) and I chose the Lox and blini (Truffled blue corn blini with Scottish smoked salmon, goat's cheese, capers, cucumber, green onions and wasabi cavier!!) and a “Sun That Never Sets...” martini. Since she was driving on the second road trip the GF opted for a coffee with condensed milk (Run through a Vietnamese press no less) and an Abita Root beer. When both plates arrived they looked amazing, but we were both thinking the same thing...there should be more food on the plate. Upon further gastration we realized that the portion size was not only appropriate it was incredibly flavorful and there was more than enough on the plate. Her French toast was amazing and perhaps a bit more drizzling was needed to make it a 100% success, more honey is always a good thing. I happily built my five stacks of yummy goodness and everything in the dish worked wonders when put together (Even the wasabi 'pop-rocks' that burst with a salty/sinus jabbing rush of flavor.) The drinks were wonderful as well the martini was complex and the layers of flavor revealed themselves after each sip, the coffee was hot, strong and the condensed milk added body and sweetness and the root beer was rich and creamy without being too fizzy like other brands can be. We left happy and satiated.
Cue the car and everything going wrong.
We took the lake Pontchartrain Causeway and after a few false stops we asked and for directions and found the Abita Brewery...the tour had been over for an hour...they shut off the free beer 5 minutes after we arrived...doom on us.
So after a few quick pictures from the parking lot we decided to head back to New Orleans and salvage the day and once back we got lost for 2 hours. (Cue the burned guy with the clawed hand, shambling guy in the hockey mask and a few other iconic horror figures). We eventually made our way back to the Quarter and decided to ditch the car...of course the rental agency had closed 45 minutes before we had arrived. We made it back to the hotel without spontaneously combusting and contemplated dinner.
With humbled ambitions we left our room and went forth in search of a meal to raise our spirits...and managed to walk in to Bayona with no reservations on a Friday night!! They had a table come open just as we came through the door and were willing to accommodate us (Cue the shaft of white light from above!!) We both ordered (And needed) a drink at this point and I enjoyed my first Manhattan while the GF had a strawberry daiquiri and both beverages were the start of a wonderful meal. Our witty, flirtatious (Tastefully) and helpful waitress guided us through the menu and the better half started with the creamy garlic soup followed by the oyster and Italian sausage gratin while I had the eggplant caviar and tapenade and the sauteed veal sweetbreads with lemon caper butter. I was allowed to sample both of the GF's dishes and they were both phenomenal the soup was indeed very creamy and the roasted garlic was flavorful without being overpowering. I only got one bite of the gratin and it was amazing and the shaved fennel in the dish added just the right hint of licorice. The eggplant caviar was smokey and delicious, the tapenade was salty and a great foil for both the eggplant and the goat's cheese. About the only this I would have wanted was 2 more croutons...or maybe I should have just piled the mounds higher. The sweetbreads were succulent and fried to perfection and sat upon a bed of fried potatoes and cooked, cubed beets the lemon/caper butter was tart and cut the richness of the dish. The glass of Spanish red wine recommended by our waitress was a perfect match for both of my dishes. For desert the GF ordered the the feature ice cream (Lemon with strawberry swirl) and I ordered the cheese plate and the recommended glass of madera. The ice cream was delicate with a distinct yet subtle citrus flavor and the strawberries with heavily swirled through out it. The cheese plate came with 1 blue, 1 hard and one stinky cheese and even though i don't like stinky cheeses I cleaned the plate.
Having victory snatched from the jaws of defeat we wandered out in to French Quarter happy and full. Cue the Hand-grenades, beads and Bourbon Street.
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112
307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130
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