Sunday, August 10, 2008

Meal of a lifetime

Tonight, the hubbs and I got to experience a very special treat. Besides the fact that we got a babysitter and had a night out by ourselves, we also got the meal of a lifetime!

A very generous friend of ours decided to celebrate he and his wife's 20th anniversary by hosting 4 other couples for dinner at the Ritz Carlton of New Orleans - or so we thought. We were told to get a babysitter, arrive at 6:30 for cocktails and dinner would be at 7:00pm - and they were footing the bill.

So we found a friend to watch the kids, dolled ourselves up and headed to the French Quarter. We arrived and joined the group for a drink and then were escorted to the dining room - and then they just kept going (oh, I thought we are going to the private party booth area) and then they kept going (oh, we are going to a private room) and then they took us directly into the kitchen????? (Oh, I thought, they are going to let us meet the Chef or something) and then I noticed this large table right in the middle of the kitchen set for 10. That, my friends, is where we dined on a 11 course meal for the next 3.5 hours! THE CHEF'S TABLE!

The very first thing I noticed were the plates. I wish I had my camera to take a picture. But they were these fancy dinner plates with words around the border and prices. Like a menu. Absinthe, Shrimp, etc. But the prices were like .25 or .50. I immediately remembered NolaNotes post on similar style plates.

There were just as many waiting on our table as there were sitting at our table. The Executive Chef introduced himself and then told us there was no menu. The way it worked was that they picked what we eat. They inquired about any allergies, strong aversions to certain foods, etc. None in our group. We were all game. Bring it on!

So bring it on they did. They mentioned 7 courses at the beginning, but at the end we counted 11 including the last which was Cafe Bruno - a coffee with bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves etc and prepared over an open flame tableside and topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh cream.

It was so neat to watch all the staff come out together and serve each of us. If someone was not seated (bathroom break) they would hold the food and bring it out when the person returned to the table. Each time the Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Pastry Chef or similar would explain what was just placed in front of us with such great detail and they were so proud.

My favorite was the Wild Truffle (mushroom) Cappucino - the very first course. It was a very smooth soup that was served in a a cappucino cup and you drink it. It was so delicious!

Let's see if I can remember what we had.
Wild Truffle Soup
Fried Soft Shell Crab
Shrimp over some corn mixture
Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna with some Mango Smoothie in a shot glass (or so we called it!)
Filet Mignon with a potato of some sort and a crab stuffed tomato
Blueberry Glazed Duck over Cous Cous
Sorbet Trio - Cantelope, Strawberry, Passion Fruit
Creme Brulee Trio - Pistachio (MY FAV!), Coconut, Mango
Chocolate Mousse, Puff Pastry, Ice Cream and Deep Fried Fig
Bananas Foster (prepared tableside of course)
Cafe Bruno

Of course there were sides to some of these and fancy names, glazes, reductions, etc. My naming above does not do it justice. I don't even think I have recalled everything! Thankfully, everything was small proportions!

Oh and I should add that there was a constant flow of champagne and wine. They just kept putting something new in front of us. We just kept talking and eating and - well - drinking.

We finally exited the kitchen around 10:30pm. 3.5 hours later. Overstuffed and waddling, we took a seat in the dining area to watch Jeremy Davenport play his trumpet. About 5 minutes after sitting down to listen one of the other husband's in our group shouted across the table over the music, "Hey! You think we can get a little something to snack on?" We all just started laughing!

What a cool night out!


mimosa momma said...

How cool is that! Does this person need a new friend?

Pennies In My Pocket said...

OK, I'm not only very jealous, but super hungry now!! That sounds fabulous!!!!! I'm with mimosa...count me in on the friend list if that person is taking numbers! hahaha

I'm finally back (story about why I was gone for so long on my blog) and so glad to be back in the blog world! :-)


nola said...

What an incredible night out! It's meal like this that are what dining out is all about. You will remember this night your entire life! Thanks for sharing it with us. And, yes, I wish you'd had your camera too!!

Brandi said...

Amy, what an awesome night!! I need some tips on how to make friends like this!!!!!!!! Seriously! - Brandi