Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

After our lunch at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant I thought we would never be hungry for dinner. Yet somehow we managed to find ourselves ready, willing and able to enjoy a fabulous meal at another one of our favorite places Herbsaint.

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

Open Kitchen at Herbsaint
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant was originally opened in 2000 on historic St. Charles Avenue and is the flagship of the Link Restaurant Group. The current Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Wilcomb works closely with local farmers and fishermen so that she can offer contemporary, seasonal French-Southern cuisine with elements of rustic Italian cooking. The restaurant earned Chef Donald Link a James Beard Award for Best Chef South in 2007 and Wilcomb was honored with the same award this year. Herbsaint is proud to be the only restaurant to have been included on the Times-Picayune’s annual list of New Orleans 10 Best Restaurants since the list began in 2003. The restaurant has been recognized by Eater National as one of “The Best Restaurants in America” (the 38 restaurants that defined dining). And it has been added to the Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Nation’s Restaurant News as well as listed as a Top 50 Restaurant in America by Gourmet Magazine.

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

Whole Head Lettuce with Green Goddess Vinaigrette
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

As has frequently been our custom we decided to share a whole bunch of menu items. We started off with an item from the specials menu – Whole Head Lettuces with Green Goddess Vinaigrette, Shaved Radishes and Pistachios. The portion was so huge it could have been a meal in itself. Good thing we were sharing. Well, maybe not. I could have easily eaten all of it, it was just that good.

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

Cornmeal Fried Oysters
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

But then of course I would never have been able to enjoy all of the rest of our order. Like the Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Coleslaw and Hot Sauce which was just perfection on a plate. The hot sauce tasted a bit like Crystal Hot Sauce only fresher and slightly hotter. The coating on the oysters was the ideal contrast of crunch to the creaminess of the mollusk. The hot sauce brought the heat and the slaw cooled it down.

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

Beef Short Rib with Potato Rösti, Salsa Verde and Horseradish Sauce
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

Housemade Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Farm Egg
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Next up was the Beef Short Rib with Potato Rösti, Salsa Verde and Horseradish Cream. The rich earthy meat was like butter and the garlicky salsa verde just added to the enticing flavor. The potatoes were so crisp and the horseradish cream gave them a nice tang and rounded out the dish. We followed that with Housemade Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Farm Egg which was a real show stopper. The egg added not only a richness to the sauce as it oozed out and blended in but it also gave the dish texture. Reminiscent of Spaghetti alla Carbonara and yet different. Making those eggs must be a very delicate process. First they are poached and then given a blanket of panko before being plunged into a hot bubbling bath of oil in the fryer to turn them a gorgeous golden brown. Do I dare try this at home?

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

Malted Milk Chocolate Mousse with Malted Crème Anglaise
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

And to add the proverbial icing to the cake we shared the Malted Milk Chocolate Mousse with Malted Crème Anglaise create by Herbsaint’s Pastry Chef Maggie Scales and a wheelbarrow to get us to our car!

Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant
701 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-524-4114

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

As many times as we have visited New Orleans we had never eaten at the legendary Dooky Chase Restaurant.

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

One Dining Room at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

I was determined to rectify that on this trip. So on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 we crossed it off our “Bucket List”! In order to fully understand why it was so important to me you need to know a bit of background history of Dooky Chase’s.

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant opened for business in 1941 in what was previously a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet established in 1939 in Treme. Founded by Emily and Edgar “Dooky” Chase Sr. the restaurant soon became a meeting place for music and entertainment, civil rights and culture in New Orleans.

By the time his father was reaching his peak as an entrepreneur, Dooky Jr. was 16 and already well know for his 16 piece transitional swing to modern jazz band. At the time, in 1944, Dooky’s band with his sister Doris as vocalist was the most progressive in the South. They played the bebop sounds of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Dooky Jr. possessed his father’s entrepreneurial spirit and at 19 promoted the first racially integrated concert at the Municipal Auditorium.

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant had become the hot spot for discussing civil and economic rights in the African-American community. Thurgood Marshall along with local attorneys and freedom fighters propelled civil rights and protests in the courts and on the streets of New Orleans. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others joined these local leaders for strategy sessions over meals in the upstairs meeting room at the restaurant.

Edgar Dooky Chase, Jr. married Leah Lange in 1946. Through Leah Chase’s vision the bar and sandwich shop “grew into a sit-down restaurant wrapped within a cultural environment of African-American art and Creole cooking”. She became known as the Queen of Creole cuisine and introduced one of the first African-American fine dining restaurants in the country. Combining her delicious Creole food with African-American art she created a showcase that became the first art gallery for black artists in New Orleans.

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

President Obama Getting Ready for his Meal
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

After Hurricane Katrina Dooky’s was closed for two years to rebuild. But with the help of many it reopened and remains the premier restaurant of authentic Creole cuisine. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant is still family owned and operated. They enjoy serving their regulars, tourists, locals, politicians, musicians, visual artists and literary giants. They have had the pleasure of serving both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, Hank Aaron, Ernest Gaines, Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones and a long list of others including Steve and me.

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

President Barack Obama Deep in Discussion with Chef Leah Chase
Photo Credit: Website

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

President Obama with Chef Leah Chase
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Sadly Dooky Chase, Jr. passed away in November 2016. But Leah Chase still cooks everyday at the young age of 94!

As Steve and I waited to be seated I looked around at the wonderful artwork and photographs. Our excitement kept building as we were handed our menus by one of Chef Leah’s daughters. Before deciding on our lunch options I got the gumption to ask is Chef Leah was in the kitchen. My hopes of meeting her were dashed when I was told that she had gone to a doctor’s appointment. And then much to my surprise she added that she would be right back after and would love to meet me!

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Amazing Gumbo with Rice
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Chef Chase Stirring the Gumbo
Photo Credit: Website

I could hardly contain me excitement but managed to devour my fabulous meal. We started by sharing a big bowl of Gumbo happy that we listened when we were told sharing a cup would not be enough. Lovely fresh salads came out next and then the best Fried Chicken we have ever eaten. The crunch of the crust and the juiciness of the chicken were sublime. And we even had dessert that came with our lunch.

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Best Fried Chicken Ever!
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

It was quite a huge lunch that I will never forget because what followed lunch was truly the icing on the cake. We went back to the kitchen to meet Chef Leah Chase. She was so warm and delightful and adorable in her hot pink chef coat. I gave her my card and could not believe her response. She told me that she was proud of me!!! Can you imagine that? She said that writing about food is so vital because I am educating the world about the importance of food. Mind blown.

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

A Very Proud Moment!!!
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

An Homage to Leah Chase on Orleans Avenue in Treme
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
2301 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans LA 70119
504-821-0600

Bayona

Our fourth day in New Orleans began with a Jazz Brunch at Court of Two Sisters. Steve and I had debated between the buffet brunch there or a return visit to Commanders Palace for their Jazz Brunch.

Bayona

The Court of Two Sisters Outdoor Dining
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Honestly we made the wrong choice. It is not that the food wasn’t good, because the food was fine. We just don’t love buffets. You eat way more than you should merely because you can. The selections were varied beyond belief and the setting was gorgeous. Eating al fresco in a beautiful courtyard certainly has its merits. But sadly we heard almost no Jazz at all. The band was very far from where we were seated and took such a long break that we were finished eating before they returned. So, although it is a much touted place for brunch, we won’t be returning to Court of Two Sisters.

Bayona

The Court of Two Sisters Cold Buffet
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Bayona

Hot Food Buffet at Court of Two Sisters
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

To burn off the thousands of calories we had eaten at brunch we decided to walk through Jackson Square which is always entertaining. We enjoyed looking at all of the artwork displayed on the iron fence surrounding the park. And we were thoroughly entertained by the street performances. And then for more exercise we power walked our way along the Mississippi River to the Riverwalk Outlet Mall and did a little shopping. By the time we finished there we were ready for a dip in the pool back at our hotel!

Bayona

My Favorite Gift Shop in NOLA
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Bayona

This is not a Popeye’s Chicken Ad!
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Our dinner reservations for the evening were at one of our all time favorite restaurants Bayona. Steve and I try to go there every time we’re in New Orleans and Chef/Owner Susan Spicer never disappoints us. “Defying definition or simple classification, Susan Spicer’s team creates food that moves across a spectrum of styles and influence. Using the freshest local ingredients to craft flavorful, balanced yet complex dishes is Bayona’s specialty.
 

Bayona

Clever Table Covering at Bayona
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

With inspiration from the Mediterranean, Asia, North Africa, France, Spain, Italy, and all around the United States, you will always find something new and innovative on our daily specials. Featuring Susan’s favorites over the last 26 years, Bayona’s classics menu continues to delight.”

Bayona

Veal Sweetbreads with Sherry Mustard Butter
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Bayona

Seared Sea Scallops with Creamy Grits and Tomato Stewed Okra
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

We started off with one of my favorites the Veal Sweetbreads with Sherry Mustard Butter. What I love about the sweetbreads here is that they are cooked to perfection being crisp on the outside and creamy inside. We also shared the Seared Sea Scallops with Creamy Grits and Tomato Stewed Okra which was amazing. The scallops were perfectly seared creating a lovely crusty exterior with a sweet creamy interior. And they were enhanced even more by the savory grits and slightly acidic okra.

Bayona

Grilled Hanger Steak with Balsamic Bordelaise
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

For our entree we shared the Grilled Hanger Steak with Balsamic Bordelaise which was accompanied by Polenta Cake, Rapini, Crimini Mushrooms and Roasted Cipollini Onions. The dish was rich and filled with contrasting flavors that added great enhancement to the tender steak.

And somehow we managed to still find room for dessert. But not just any dessert. Oh no. We had Fried Hot Chocolate! Aztec Chocolate Empanada, Dulce de Leche Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. When no one was watching we licked our plates. Shhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Bayona
430 Dauphine St.
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504)525-4455