Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cafe Amelie, New Orleans

There are a countless number of brunch places in New Orleans, but when there's someone special visiting you in town, I recommend bringing them to Cafe Amelie. Nestled on the upper reaches of Royal Street, this intimate cafe offers NOLA essentials using local ingredients with a modern Southern touch. In addition to the tasty meal I had here, the most drawing feature of Cafe Amelie is easily the enchanting courtyard that more than doubles the seating. Given that I went with my grandma in December, it was still very green, lush, and filled with happy patrons.

I ordered a few plates for us to share so that she could get a taste of the local flavor. We started with a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, which though we had more than four times during the course of her visit, the one at Cafe Amelie remains her favorite. We also had a deliciously creamy shrimp and grits made with sweet corn and andouille maque choux (AKA smothered corn / Cajun succotash). The weakest link also happened to be a non-NOLA essential, which was a figs and goat cheese on bread. The goat cheese was a bit bland and the bread was the same as the bread basket offered to the table. I wish I ordered the oysters, mozzarella fireballs, or one their sizely sandwiches instead! Even so, we thoroughly enjoyed our meals, especially since we had it with hot Earl Grey and chocolate mint teas.

TL;DR: Wonderful brunch place with a delightful courtyard. Definitely make a reservation and request for courtyard seating.

Cafe Amelie
912 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA

Friday, January 1, 2016

La Provence + Case of the leftovers: duck biscuit with honey hot suace

My fridge is stocked to the brim with leftovers. My grandmother visited me in New Orleans and of course I brought her to try all the good stuff! We got Christmas dinner at Tujague's, had brunch at Cafe Amelie, ate the best chargrilled oysters in the city at Apolline, slurped on 50 cent oysters for happy hour in the French Quarter, devoured the chicken biscuit at Willa Jean's, and wine and dined at Emeril's Delmonico.

Because I booked a swamp tour for us at Honey Island, we trekked to John Besh's La Provence for a pre-swamp brunch. We were honestly still satisfied from our breakfast at Willa Jean's, but still powered through with a 3 - course lunch at his French countryside + New Orleans restaurant. My grandma had a very special stuffed quail gumbo and seared Gulf pompano, while I enjoyed too much of the chicken live pate, herb dinner tolls, and seared duck breast. But alas, we were not physically able to finish our entrees (plus we had to get to our tour on time), so I was fortunate enough to bring home leftover duck breast. We luckily got to walk some of it off among the pigsties and herb gardens behind the restaurant!

Now this is where I got creative. I could have simply reheated the duck and sweet potato cake and called it a day, but I have this problem where I can't eat the same thing two days in a row. So I  re-seared the duck and served it with Parish Farms' fresh arugula, drizzled with honey and Crystal hot sauce, sandwiched between a leftover Biscuit from The Arcade Restaurant in Memphis. Yes, I'm that resourceful and that much of a leftover hoarder. But hey! I try not to waste any food if I can help it.

So, happy new year and may everyone's new years resolutions be to eat merry and waste less! :)


Duck biscuit with Crystal honey
2-3 generous slices of duck breast
1 warm biscuit 
1/3 cup arugula (Fresh from Parish Farms)
1 tsp honey (I got some of that swamp honey from Honey Island) 
1/4 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce (I used Crystal; Tabasco would be similar) 

1. Sear duck breast until warm
2. Drizzle honey and hot sauce onto biscuit
3. Top with arugula
4. Sandwich in the duck