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Trip Report w/ Brigtsen's Bayona & more - yum! ( long)

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Trip Report w/ Brigtsen's Bayona & more - yum! ( long)

julied | Apr 30, 2004 11:11 AM

First of all - thank you all for all your posts that helped me plan the restaurants we would visit.

My husband and I made the trip from SF for Jazz Fest and had some fantastic meals! And my boy Lenny was pretty fantastic too.

Thurs: Arrived at 10:30 pm and got to Acme just past 11 pm, so they were closed and we headed across the street for a dozen oysters and an oyster po boy. It was all good, but later decided the oyster po boy at Acme is much better - Oysters there are not as heavily fried.

Fri AM: Straight to Uglesich's (still not sure how to pronounce it) to get in line. And the line was worth the wait!!! Started with an excellent Bloody Mary made by Mrs. U - she has it down. Next we had fried green tomatoes with shrimp and remulade, fried oysters with blue cheese, purgatory shrimp (fried shrimp with gorgonzola cheese sauce). All 3 apps were excellent my favorite was purgatory - nothing was over fried or too heavy. Entrees were softshell crab with a side of a baked eggplant dish which was out of this world. And last but not least the BBQ shrimp and oyster combo. This was by far my favorite. Next time I would go for just the oysters which were sooo incredible – plump and juicy, cooked just right in a delicious garlic sauce. In my opinion, the peel and eat shrimp on the plate were not as tasty and took a lot more work. Mr. U complemented us on our ordering and when we went in to say thank you at the end of our meal, Mrs. U said "Yes Julie, how can I help you." what a memory she has!

Fri PM: Bayona - Sat on the patio and it was a wonderful setting – the feeling was comfortable, with a simple elegance and the service was superb as was the food. The menu has 2 pages – one for signature dishes and one for specials. I was much more impressed with the signature dishes. The sautéed sweetbreads in a sherry mustard sauce were little bites of heaven – my favorite item of everything we had. Cream of garlic soup was very good, but I could easily skip that next time and the Crispy Smoked Quail salad with Bourbon Molasses Vinaigrette was delicious. From the Special side, the Sea Scallops were very good, but nothing out of the ordinary and I didn’t care for the flavoring of the duck leg confit starter which was what I had as my entree. Fortunately, my hubby shared the Peppered Lamb Loin with Herbed Goat Cheese & Zinfandel Sauce (also a signature dish) and it was outstanding. It takes a lot to impress me with lamb and the quality of the lamb and the flavor combination were superb. For dessert it was a fresh fruit wan ton with home made ice cream that was delicious.

Sat AM: Our usual a dozen oysters and Oyster Po Boy at Acme and then a few nibbles later on at Jazz Fest. My favorite jazz fest treat the plain old crawfish. My companions all favor the crawfish bread.

Sat PM: Brigtsen’s – Definitely a cozy atmosphere. Again, casual and comfortable but fine dining. I really like this type of atmosphere. It is so much nicer than fine dining in an uptight/snobby atmosphere. The servers all share responsibility for the table and they are all equally knowledgeable and helpful. We started off with three appetizers. First was the Shrimp Remoulade with Guacamole and Deviled egg and it was delicious. From beginning to end I was wowed by Frank’s sauces and flavor combinations – he is a master. Next was the softshell crab with roasted pecans and meuniere sauce. This was the largest softshell crab I have ever seen and we finished every last bite of it. Again the flavor combinations were outstanding. But my favorite of the meal was our 3rd appetizer – pan roasted quail and grilled foie gras in apple cider pan gravy. I could have licked the plate clean. I am a foie gras fan and this is some of the best I have every had and the quail was done perfectly as well. And the apple cider pan gravy…. I am still dreaming about this dish! So on to the entrees. While they were very, very good, I have to say I enjoyed the appetizers more. Maybe it was just that we had already had so much to eat. After all the talk on the board about the Seafood Platter, I had to order that and hubby had the stuffed veal. Both were very good, but not as good as the appetizers – in my opinion. My favorites on the platter were the crawfish thermidor which and the crawfish in pistacio lime sauce that sat on tip of the grilled drum. Of course these were the two dishes covered in Frank’s flavorful sauces so I am not surprised those where what I gravitated to on the plate. For me the two types of baked oysters were not out of this world and the crabmeat ravigote had flavors in it that were not to my taste. And I did not have a problem with the flavors and sauces mixing on my plate. We finished off with the pecan pie and the trio of sorbets atop pureed honeydew melon and I was introduced to a new after dinner drink called Nocello which has a sweet, but not overly sweet walnut flavor. I will have to try that again. We had one of our favorite chef’s from back home sitting at the table behind us, so we got to say hello. Apparently he and Frank are friends from way back. And one of our servers brought Frank out to meet us. We thanked him up and down for the fabulous meal. We will be back next year!

Sun: The usual at Acme for brunch and then Cobalt for dinner. Not many choices on Sunday night and I read a few good reviews on the board. I would stick to drinks and desert and forget everything in between! Started with a dreamsicle martini which went down way too easy, and finished with a milk chocolate-peanut butter mouse with chocolate covered banana that was terrific. There were four of us dining and I didn’t taste anything on the menu that was worth writing about. Maybe I was just spoiled at Bayona and Brigtsen’s.

Just writing all this out, I am ready to start planning our dining for our trip to Jazz Fest next year… while I would like to try some new places, I think I will have to go back to Uglesich’s, Bayona and Brigtsen’s!

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