Today was a relatively low-key day. Got up, grabbed lunch at Mother's again (we can't get enough of those po-boys, you know?) and then went for a walk.
Our first stop was Harrah's Casino, where we poked our heads in and did a little bit of gambling. Nothing fancy, just the poker machines. Mary's amused because I didn't just break even, I walked out of there with an extra $137.50 in cash from a couple of lucky hands at the machine. Hey, I know when to take the money and run. :>
Then we rode the Canal Street and St. Charles streetcars for a while, down to the end of the Canal line and back up to where it crosses the St. Charles line. We got off the streetcar a few miles down the road, really close to our destination: The Delachaise Wine Bar and Restaurant. I'd read about it in docbrite's journal... her husband, chefcdb is the chef there, and he's reportedly one of the best in the city.
Folks, it's all true. Chris deBarr IS one of the best chefs in New Orleans. The Delachaise is a funky little place, and it can get real crowded quickly during peak hours. We got there early and had our pick of seating, and time to settle in and get used to the atmosphere and style. And the food... oh my god, the food.
First we started off with the chef's selection cheese plate, in which Chris chose five different cheeses from a HUGE selection, arranged beautifully on a platter with apple slices, fresh hot French bread slices, and barbecued walnuts. There were three different goat cheeses, a sheep cheese, and the best blue cheese I've ever tasted. Ever. And I don't even like blue cheese. This man knows his cheeses, and he brought the platter out and spoke about each one in detail. I'm so glad we left the choice up to him, otherwise I'd never have thought to try those particular ones.
Next up was the Wahine Shrimp - "four jumbo shrimp wrapped in a grass skirt of shredded phyllo and baked, served with lemony barbeque sauce and grilled pineapple." Not really my style, but it was still quite tasty, and full of flavor.
Then we tried Father Pat's Grilled Cheese - Cahill's Irish Whiskey cheese with pear butter on Dakota wheat bread. To quote a movie, this was literally the most incredible thing I've ever tasted. Seriously. It lingered on the tongue with each bite, and was just... perfect. I never thought I could bliss out over a grilled cheese sandwich.
After that was the "Straight Up Fish and Chips" - beer-battered Gulf hake, pomme frites (don't call 'em fries) with malt vinegar. Light, hot, fresh, flaky, juicy, subtle and oh so good.
Chris must have been feeling good, given the way we rhapsodized over every bite, for he brought out a Winter Caprese Salad for us to try. Fresh mozzarella with a sun-dried tomato tapenade, pesto, tiny heirloom tomatos and fresh-pressed olive oil. I didn't know what to think. It was one of the most complex, sophisticated, palate-confusing blend of tastes I've ever experienced... one bite it was sweet, the next time I tasted garlic, and then something a little spicy, and then the olive oil. It was fantastic, and full of flavors, and had he not suggested it, I'd never have thought to try it on my own.
For dessert, Mary tried the mango creme brulee, which was damned good. I had the Chocolate Stuffed French Toast, with gjetost (brown Norwegian whey cheese) and cane syrup... and once again, the blend of flavors was to die for. The french toast was light, fluffy, moist, hot and delicious, and the semi-sweet melted chocolate and cheese made for an intriguing battle of sensations against the cane syrup.
Just as we finished, a wandering parade marched into the restaurant. They festooned us with beads and flowers, serenaded us with a jazz band, consumed much beer, and then wandered on down the road. Perfect timing... dinner and a show.
After that, we called a cab and went back to the hotel, too busy blissing out over the last remnants of dinner to want to do anything else.
So yeah... in short, Delachaise is a must visit for New Orleans. And if Chris deBarr happens to be in, you may just experience the best dining experience ever. We certainly did. That wasn't just food... it was art with a passion, and a personal spark that made it all the better.