Holiday Lunch, Bubblyfest at Bacchanal and a Party in the French Quarter
Holiday Side Car | Credit: Criollo

We are headed into the final stretch of this holiday brouhaha. I used to get really, really worked up over all of this. I used to spend a fortune on gifts, a fortune on entertaining too many people. I really drove myself and those closest to me crazy because everything had to be beyond perfect. Before the first guest rang the doorbell, I was close to war with my husband and our daughter, and they wanted to kill me.

I don’t do that anymore.

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Next week when my daughter, Cecilia, comes home, we will spend a day making the same delicious thing for everyone on our list. We will then package everything the same way and distribute everything together.

She and Matt, her partner of nearly 8 years, went to Ben Franklin High School. Every year when they come home for the holidays all their friends from the Class of 2015 descend upon our house on Christmas Eve night for a nondenominational celebration of everyone and everything. It is my favorite night of the year and Cecilia and I will figure out next week what we are serving. In years past, Crazy Me would have served something along the lines of rack of lamb, potatoes au gratin, Béarnaise sauce, several desserts, a heap of appetizers, blah, blah, blah. Last year I made a huge batch of meatballs and spaghetti using the very recipe for the one thing my mother could successfully cook. I acquired freshly made pasta from Jimmy Moran and made plenty of garlic bread. It was a huge hit. There was plenty left when Andrew and I went off to bed, leaving the Gen Zers to hang out. There was nothing left the next morning.

Success all the way around.

If you are rethinking the “tradition” of driving yourself and everyone around you crazy, consider some of these options for a laid-back holiday approach.

Holiday Lunch, Bubblyfest at Bacchanal and a Party in the French Quarter
Palm&Pine Conch Gratin, Provided by Palm&Pine

Tomorrow, Palm&Pine’s three course Holiday Lunch Extravaganza is returning to the cozy restaurant at the edge of the French Quarter from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Reservations can be made HERE. The prix fixe meal is a relatively thrifty $55 plus tax and gratuity.

Choice of 1 Item from Each Course

To Start

Golden Beet Tartar: Huckleberry Fred’s Jalapeño, Chevre, Arugula, Grapefruit Pearls

P&P Oyster Salad: Roasted Beets, Butter Lettuce, Prima Donna Gouda, Toasted Pecans, Worcestershire Dressing

Snapper Aguachile: Apple & Chamomile Chile Water, Kohlrabi, Pickled Red Onion

Crab & Conch Gratin: Coconut Bechamel, “Old Sour” Pepper Sauce, Coco Breadcrumbs

Turkey Neck Gumbo: LaPlace Andouille, Creole Potato Salad, Fried Duck Egg

Crispy Fried Hog’s Head Cheese: Green Tomato ChowChow, Creolaise, Cajun Caviar

Entrées

Roasted Mushroom Campanelle: Glazed Carrots, Smoked Parmesan Cream, TX Balsamic

Cast Iron Seared Scallops: Swiss Chard, Dried Figs, Country Ham Butter

Gulf Fish Pontchartrain: Shrimp & Blue Crab Crusted, Haricot Vert, Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc

Roasted Texas Quail: Chicken Heart Boudin Stuffed, Ayocote Pinto Beans, Nopal Crema, Chipotle Jus

Beef Fat Griddled Wagyu Coulotte: Pommes Purée, Roasted Brussels, Bone Marrow Demi-Glace

Sweets

Brioche Beignets: Pecan Sherry Caramel

Cranberry & White Chocolate Tart

Shalonda’s Cookie Plate

Holiday Lunch, Bubblyfest at Bacchanal and a Party in the French Quarter
Katie Singer, Beverage Director, and Coryn Caspar Director of Operations at Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits, aka The Wine Team | Provided by Bacchanal

On Saturday from 2-5 p.m. the wine fans at Bacchanal are hosting their annual Bubblyfest.  Wristbands are $25 at the door.

On Sunday from Noon – 4 p.m. Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré will offer self-guided tours of five homes in the Lower French Quarter adorned for the holidays. This December fundraiser is a prelude to the highly anticipated Caroling in Jackson Square the group sponsors at 6 p.m. that same evening. Online tickets for the tour are $30 each (children 12 and under are free). Tickets purchased the day of the event in person are $35 each, cash only. Ticket purchased online can be picked up in the alcove of The Cabildo (701 Chartres) from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm on Sunday, when day of tickets may be purchased, too

Holiday Lunch, Bubblyfest at Bacchanal and a Party in the French Quarter
Lobster Poached in Butter | Credit: Criollo

Before or after Caroling in the Square consider dinner and a cocktail at Criollo for the  four-course Réveillon menu, featuring two options for each course The menu will be available from 6-9 p.m. and includes Butter Poached Maine Lobster and Oyster Stew – See the full menu HERE.  The cost is $95 per person plus tax and gratuity.