Jan 24, 201912:46 PM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
2019 So Far
There are places where on New Year’s Eve they drop a ball, and there are places where a symbolic baby is hoisted aloft wearing a sash that bears the number of the new year, while commensurately an ancient man whose sash is bedraggled exits.
Until this past Sunday, Baby 2019 looked to be that adorable, smiling kid in the grocery store whose parents look well-rested. Now it’s the kid wearing a stained bib next to me on a 9-hour flight. That child’s parents are not well-anything.
I had lunch today at Port Orleans with a friend. We did not choose the venue because Drew Brees had celebrated there; I hadn’t been in a long time and I pass that way frequently enough that I feel the omission. My friend had never been, but he likes beer and I figured he’d like this place.
I think they’ve expanded the beer selection since I was last there, but I know they’ve changed all but three or four of the brews on tap. I was not there long enough to taste more than one kind on this visit, but I enjoyed that one (the “Axe-Man Brut IPA,“ which they say was inspired by champagne). I tasted it and my first thought was that our server had not exaggerated when she said it was “light,” but I’ll be damned if it didn’t come off as much more than an artisan take on swill like Coors. It wasn’t until I read the description on their website that I had reservations about liking it:
Inspired by the appearance and mouthfeel of champagne, Axe-Man Brut IPA is our first take on one of the newest IPA styles hitting the market. Its lighter in color with a medium body. It starts with a bright fruity aroma and brings a soft malt accent to complement the hops. It finishes with a pleasant lingering bitterness on the backend.
I liked this beer quite a bit, but I don’t know how I feel about being in on the ground floor of the “newest IPA styles”. I’m not sure I have the appropriate attire for the occasion.
The food at Port Orleans is still good too, for the most part. We ordered boudin balls over grits and fries, and both of those were excellent. Those fries in particular met my ideal definition: thin-cut, crispy and damn near ephemeral inside. These guys already made one item I would put up against anything in the category “Best Bar Food,” by which I mean their spent grain pretzels. Those things are outrageously good, then they add the beer-cheese sauce/foam.
My friend had a bacon cheeseburger and I got a half-dozen ribs with a Carolina BBQ sauce, arugula and pickled watermelon. He ate the hell out of the burger, but the ribs weren’t something I’d get again.
In other news, as I write this, I haven’t been able to get information about the menu for Luvi’s Chinese New Year celebration on February 5th. It’s a five-course menu with wine and sake pairings, and the food is going to be Shanghainese.
It’s not a big place, and at $120 a ticket it probably won’t be available much longer. I would love to have a do-over on the new year, but alas I am otherwise occupied that night and doubt that time travel is on the menu.
I hope your 2019 is progressing well, and though it gets harder to say every year as I trudge along on my weary path: “there’s always next year!”
I probably just need a nap.