Monday, April 7, 2008

Louisiana Culinary Tour - Day 7

Yesterday, we mentioned having eaten at Restaurant La Provence, where Chef Rene's big focus is "farm to table." Another journalist on this trip was savvy enough to upload a short video of our trip to a crawfish farm last Thursday so that you can see how these tasty crustaceans are harvested. Click here to meet Chad. (Okay, if you didn't click, you are r-e-a-l-l-y missing out on some healthy south Louisiana scenery.)

Before we left the hotel, I got in a workout on the treadmill in my room, and then ate a healthy breakfast from the Omni's Ideal Nutrition menu.

Once outside the hotel, our group started the morning with famous cafe au lait (coffee with steamed milk) and beignets (ben-YAYS) at the French Quarter's famous Cafe Du Monde. (*sigh* I took pictures and drank my coffee and chickory straight.)

Later in the morning, Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu stopped by the Savvy Gourmet to show his support for the state's Culinary Trails program.

While we were there, Chef Matt Brewton showed us how to make an authentic roux using equal parts all-purpose flower and oil (not EVOO or walnut, which will burn). We watched as the cooking flour turned from blonde to paper-bag brown to milk chocolate to dark chocolate. Finally, the group got to sample a chicken-andouille (pronounced ahn-DOO-ee - which is a course, spicy smoked sausage) gumbo and a separate pot of crawfish etouffee.
(I ate moderate portions of each, without the rice.)

By mid-afternoon, we were touring the Audobon Society's newest attraction, The Insectarium. Scheduled to open this summer, it will be the largest free-standing museum in the U.S. devoted to over 900,000 insect species and their relatives. And yes, we were guests for a cooking show at the Cultural Cafe, where a zany chef introduced the "joy" of cooking with insects. Did I sample? No.
I figured if I'm "giving up" so many other foods all week, I'm definitely not going out of my way to eat insects! Nearly every other journalist, however, eagerly chomped down on crickets and ants.

Finally, we said our good-byes at Couchon Restaurant (pronounced COO-shon). Nominated in 2006 for Beard's Best New Restaurant, we enjoyed Chef Stephen Stryjewski's old-style German-Acadian traditions, which he learned from co-owner Chef Donald Link, who showcases the food he grew up preparing and eating at his grandfather's side. I ordered wood-fired oven grilled red fish accompanied with pickled onions and a side of collard greens.

By the way, DH had his gall bladder removed yesterday morning. I'll be flying home today, ready to take over care taking from his parents - who drove up from Louisiana to be with him during surgery.

Thanks again to everybody who stopped by here this week. I'll be visiting your blogs again once I get home. And I'm READY!


Erin said...

Still sounds like you had some great food! And what great pictures! I had my gallbladder out last summer, not bad overall, but not fun either! Hope your hubby gets well soon.

Manuela said...

Oh what fun! I love New Orleans and adored the beinets with cafe au lait. Yummy!

Just wish I loved seafood, sigh.

Laura N said...

My DH would have been in heaven on your tour. He loves all that food. I loved that you got a treadmill in your room, how cool! I would have lost it at the insect place. Can't stand bugs at all.

Hope your DH is recovering. I had my gallbladder out almost 5 years ago, and it freaks out your digestive system for a few years afterwards. I'm sure he knows this already, but just in case--fatty foods and fiberous foods will go through the digestive system like lightening. It's really hard to travel and eat anything when you don't have a gallbladder, because you can need a bathroom at any minute and when you need it, you need it NOW. Anywho, way TMI, but I felt I had to share. =)

Welcome home!

Holly said...

Hope you had a safe trip home!! And LOL I dont' think I would have bothered eating the insects either... ewwww! :)

Anonymous said...

Yum, this entry made me HUNGRY. Looks amazing!

Simone said...

Sounds like you are having fun. Well done on keeping up with your exercise.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

You went to Cafe Du Monde & only had coffee! YOU ARE AWESOME! I'm not worthy!!! :-)