From the obscene amount of basketball references in this blog, it's obvious that I am a basketball girl. I grew up near Phoenix (12+ years) and lived in Los Angeles (7+ years), and those cities are some of the biggest and loudest basketball towns around. That's why when I moved to New Orleans, I could not fathom (or even attempt to wrap my mind around) the fact that only this year, New Orleans began turning their attention to the wonderful sport of basketball.
But I saw first hand this week how much of a "basketball town" that New Orleans is becoming. Earlier this week, my friends (visiting me from out-of-town) and I decided to take advantage of the $0.25 (yes, 0.25¢) martini lunchtime special at Café Adelaide, in celebration of one of my friend's birthdays. We each thirstily downed the alcohol-laden drinks like water, and, after finishing our meals, we stumbled outside in a drunken stupor. (Folks, this is common in New Orleans. New Orleans people know how to have a good time, even during the afternoon!)
You'll never guess who we ran into: the fabulous Frenchman, Tony Parker! He was quiet and shy, but obliged in allowing us to take a few pictures of his handsome visage. Feast your eyes on his deliciousness! (Yes, I hate the dirty Spurs with a vengeance and Tony Parker is happily married to Eva Longoria, but that doesn't mean I can't look!)
I was sputtering like a nut, propelling spittle onto his face, and acting quite obnoxiously towards him (because I had downed the limit of three martinis just a few minutes ago), but he didn't curse me out or slap me in my face. Therefore, I would say our interaction was a success!
Okay, enough of the basketball, onto the food!
As for our pre-Tony Parker lunch, my friends and I (four ladies, total), started our meal with a martini each. Being the girly-girls that they are, they eschewed the traditional martini, and opted for the fruity, more feminine flavors, such as the appletini and the cosmopolitan. I daringly ordered the famous Commander's martini, which is made with vodka, white vermouth, blue curacao liqueur (which gives the martini its beautiful sapphire-blue color), and lime juice. Be careful to sip on a Commander's martini slowly, that drink feels like straight-up 90% proof liquor, yo.
At Cafe Adelaide (Commander's Palace, or Bacco's)--all restaurants owned by the Brennan family and all places where you can get these 0.25¢ martinis--you will be limited to three martinis, total. They keep track of the number of martinis that you have already had by a little charm, such as the plastic mermaid figurine that you see here. Yes, that is my second martini below.
Two of my friends started with the Ponchatoula strawberry salad, which was made with freshly harvested spring greens, crunchy pine nut kernels, silvers of sweet onion, and milky crumbles of Point Reyes blue cheese. The leaves of the salad were carefully tossed and coated with a white balsamic and Bocage honey vinaigrette. I sampled a bit of the salad, and loved the playful combination of the sweet and subtly tart flavors of the strawberries and vinaigrette.
Another friend and I started with the black bay shrimp and sweet corn soup. The soup was thick and savory, and tasted both beefy and tomatoey. There were tight curls of shrimp and cubes of root vegetables swimming towards the bottom of the bowl, including dice-sized pieces of softened carrot. The soup was almost comparable a wintertime stew, because it was both hearty and substantial.
For my main course, I ordered the Grand Isle Shrimp fried po-boy, stuffed with shrimp boil mozzarella, grilled local shrimp, roma tomato jam, and LeBlanc's pepper jelly. The po' boy sandwich was breaded and deep-fried, so when bitten into, the sandwich had a resonating "crunch." I actually thought the dish was only decent. I was (and still am) a bit perplexed as to what the curly orange crispies were on top of my dish. It tasted like squash chips, I think. The sweet pepper jelly was a bit too cloying and overpowering for my taste, and I got a little frustrated because the bread was crunchy to the point that it scraped up the skin on the roof of my mouth. I also found there to be a paltry amount of dressing for my side greens. I think they just drizzled (and I mean, barely "drizzled") a bit of sticky honey over the greens.
Another friend ordered crispy des allemands catfish, which had been breaded, deep-fried, and served with a salad of fire-roasted sweet peppers, ribbons of spring squash, creole mustard, and pickled okra aioli. I was able to sneak a bite, and the moistened catfish and crispy skin surface was quite delicious.
Finally, we all shared two desserts, including a strawberry shortcake filled with wickedly supple and decadent whipped cream. The shortcake part (or biscuit part) convinced me that people in the South bake the best biscuits in the entire world. The biscuit was airy, fluffy, buttery, and literally melted in my mouth. And what can I say, I love powdered sugar, strawberry syrup, and sweet Southern strawberries!
We also concluded our meal with a Bourbon chocolate pecan pie served with a frosty orb of vanilla bean ice cream. The chocolate infused into every molecule of the sticky pecan pie, therefore making the pie a sweet ending to an enjoyable meal.
Oh, and I shouldn't forget to mention our tastiest dessert of the afternoon, Mr. Eva Longoria! Geaux Hornets, and laissez le bon temps rouler!
* If this is a legal (or non-legal) representative of Mr. Parker, and you wish to have his image removed, kindly leave a comment and I will happily entertain your request.