Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two Chicks in The Big Easy, day 2: Too much buffet, and bad fried chicken

Catch up! Day 1.
The next day, MH and I woke up late. We were both hungry, and I decided that I wanted to hit up one of the jazz brunches I kept seeing advertised. MH was kind enough to humor me even though she hates buffets.

The garden dining area of The Court of the Two Sisters was beautiful, full of trailing wisteria and fountains. But their buffet was indoors, in a space that felt rather dark and empty. Stepping between the two areas meant a change in mood that was slightly disorienting.
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There were lots of items on offer though, at least eighty I believe.
Here's my sampler plate, clockwise from top: biscuit (slightly sweet, tasty); crabmeat pasta salad; Cajun pasta salad; flounder and crabmeat roulade (good); curried chicken salad, eggplant-andouille casserole (tasty); spicy andouille; cheesy shrimp pasta (good); duck l'orange (tough and flavorless); jambalaya (much too salty); and braised veal (tough and too salty).
I also snagged us a plate of boiled crawfish and shrimp, with a good dollop of rémoulade on the side. Unfortunately, the shrimp were desperately overcooked and had turned into little curves of pink rubber, and the crawfish were much too salty. I tried the sauce with one, but that was salty too. I quickly abandoned the entire plate.
My second plate, clockwise from top: crawfish salad; sweet potato and andouille salad (surprisingly vinegary); potato salad chunk; shrimp étouffée on rice; potatoes au gratin; more cheesy shrimp pasta; another flounder and crabmeat roulade; and in the middle, more eggplant-andouille casserole.

I also tried a bit of sherried turtle soup, which tasted like beef broth; if there was supposed to be a turtley flavor—whatever that may mean—the soup didn't have it.
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Then it was on to dessert. Two plates, mine and MH's: Bananas Foster (buttery and too sweet); whiskey bread pudding (solid as a brick); pecan pie (decent filling, bad crust); king cake (stale); chocolate cream-filled cupcake (tasty in a Ding-Dong kinda way); brownie; chocolate cake; vanilla ice cream (half-melted and foamy in texture).

I can't say it was a stellar meal, but, um, sitting in the courtyard and listening to the jazz trio was nice. And it was filling at least?

We spent the rest of the day making our way along the waterfront and walking around the French Quarter and the French Market. Neither of us felt hungry even as it hit late evening.
But when we left the Quarter and stepped onto Canal Street, we spotted a Popeyes. Before our trip, we had heard from several different people that the Popeyes outposts in New Orleans were excellent. MH and I were curious what all the fuss was about, and had even contemplated staging a NYC-NOLA taste-off to see how they compared. We figured it was as good a time as any to give the chain a try.

Remembering our meal now, I can't believe that the results of a taste-off would have been too different. The spicy chicken in our two-piece meal tasted like KFC, and wasn't spicy; the gummy biscuits tasted overwhelmingly of artificial butter; the Cajun fries were decent but not extraordinary; and the chicken étouffée was just okay. And I liked the Cajun rice, but I suspect it might have been because it was the only item that wasn't mouth-dryingly salty.

Were we putting too much expectation on what was, in the end, fast food? Did we just get a shoddy meal? It doesn't matter, I suppose, because we didn't go back again for a second try. We weren't doing too well on the eats that day.

To be continued....

Two Chicks in The Big Easy:
Day 1: All fried, all the time
Day 2: Too much buffet, and bad fried chicken
Day 3: Our beignet addiction takes hold
Day 4: Still fried, but deliciousness at last
Day 5: Food court and dive bar surprises
Day 6: Giant salads, muffalattas, and no beignets
Day 7: "Beignet...done that"

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