November 12, 2019 – Dinner – My Mother’s House – Italian Restaurant – Sun City Summerlin, Nevada

When I did my research about restaurants to try this trip I was drawn to My Mothers House Italian Restaurant. I called owner Laura on the phone and she was busy both times that I called her. But she said I don’t mean to be rude but I am right in the middle of business can you call me back tomorrow at this time. Normally I would just say ok they are not interested in me doing a tasting. But some how I felt a special pull that made me pursue this tasting. After tasting the food and hearing Michael and Laura’s enchanting story, I was all in.

Their restaurant is a little gem, in a world full of Italian restaurants that are trying to step up to the plate. They just have all of their bases covered. Mike Leonetti is a famous singer; he has had a couple of hit records. He performs at his restaurant many nights a week, as well as creates some of their signature dishes. Micheal professes his grandmother Julie, who was from Naples, taught him her family recipes. While Laura is the no nonsense business side, paying the bills making the orders, it’s really a match made in heaven. Laura a widower, was married for 35 years, she went with her daughter to a near by hang out called Siena and prince charming, Micheal Leonetti, stole her heart. Michael is the face and Laura is the business mind that makes this amazing restaurant run like clockwork. Both Michael and Laura know their place and both of them loving their parts. From the moment you walk in you can feel their love and the love they have for their restaurant. Michael is welcoming everyone by saying “ You Hungry” telling his super fun stories about his pals, Dean, Frank, Tony, etc. No joke, he has met and sometimes performed with all of them. He is the real deal. Perhaps an era gone by, but truly a place where you can enjoy Las Vegas at its finest. But not a place where you have to put on airs, no it’s a family style, a family run establishment where every one is welcome.

Now about the food, it’s authentic, fresh, and possibly the best Italian food you will find in Las Vegas. The unique flavors of everything I tasted was very special. Michael asked me a bit about what I like and he took it from there, he did a really great job. They only take reservations, and they are always packed.

Starters:

Their garlic bread with a side of red sauce is an amazing starter, make sure you ask for it!!

Shrimp Cocktail, big huge colossal shrimp served in a proper cocktail bowl, just terrific.

Brisket, Michael told me he had a best friend growing up in Philadelphia who was Jewish and he learned how to cook real Jewish food from him and his family. This brisket was deli style all the way, and melts in your mouth. He makes a French Onion soup for it to cook in; it takes 15 hours for the whole process.

Linguine Neapolitan in white clam sauce, baby fresh clams over linguini, with cherry stone clams on top. They give you so many clams I just didn’t know where to start, but once I got in, it was a glorious experience. Super fresh clams, with a very creamy garlic sauce, yum.

Blue Crab from Maryland, with white wine and garlic, for me these were the star of the show. Michael told me that everything he brought me were half orders, and they were big, I can’t imagine what the full orders looed like, but in any case you will have lots of food to take home. These beauties are fresh and flavorful, sweet meat you can only get from Blue Crab, a true winner.

Ravioli with sausage and meatball. These raviolis are cooked in house, and the meatballs and sausage were just superb. I loved this one as well.

Green Salad, this salad came with one of the dishes I was served, I know don’t know which one but it is light and refreshing, almost like a palate cleanser.

Lemoncello Delight, I have never in my 8 years of doing this job tasted a desert like this. It’s a frozen lemoncello with whipped cream, but the whole thing becomes frozen, what a treat, I am hooked.

Tiramisu, they do a super good rendition of this Italian staple dessert.

Key Lime Pie, their pastry chef Matt Byrge did a stellar job on this Southern Classic, I think it’s the candied limes that really make it super special.

Wine I tried: Chardonnay, Oak Vineyards Bishops Peak, 2013, of course this one went great with the seafood.

My adorable server Darlene Clayton, who had only been serving at My Mothers House for 2 weeks, used to be a professional model. She added to the glamour of the night with her exuberant personality.

Owners Laura and Mike Leonetti are gracious, kind and wonderful, if I lived near by I would be here a few nights a week, it’s just that kind of place. It’s an eating establishment that has a lot of heart; you can feel it in every bite. There is a great story about how Laura and Michael met in Living in the Sun, A Sun City magazine, I would highly recommend reading it.

Michael’s mission is simple, “I wanted this to be like what Vegas was,” said Leonetti, “Unfortunately, although there are wonderful restaurants in Las Vegas, they’re just restaurants. I wanted to do something a little different, bring back the way Vegas was, where people can come in and dine and hear phenomenal music.”

Leonetti opened My Mother’s House after a career as a lounge performer, beginning in 1972. He has worked at the Marina Hotel, Caesar’s Palace and MGM Grand. He learned to cook alongside his mother, Dolores, and grandmother, Julie, both deceased. Just like they did, Leonetti serves food on oversized plates good for sharing.

He still has the wooden spoon his grandmother used to hit him with when he acted up as a child. It hangs on the wall along with pictures of, who else, the Rat Pack, as well as other notables from Las Vegas’ heyday. He also has some of his gold records from his earlier days.

Michael is non-stop fun, telling jokes and stories a mile a minute. He says,” You can stop getting old, but it doesn’t mean you have to be old.” Truly a kid at heart, he will make you forget any troubles you had walking in the door.

Besides Michael Leonetti performing here, he has some other notable talent that books in here regularly. Gina Eckstein, Billy’s daughter, Dave De Costa and more. Check out their website for their calendar listings.

You won’t feel more at home anywhere in Las Vegas; it’s just the best of the best, and definetly a place to try. Next time you’re in Sun City Summerlin give My Mothers House a try, or even if you make it a destination evening, you will be so happy you did.

My Mother’s House – Italian Restaurant
9320 Sun City Blvd, Ste 100
Las Vegas, NV 89134
(702) 998-2820
mymothershouselv.com

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Mezzo Bistro and Wine – Dinner – November 10, 2019 – Las Vegas, Nevada

This restaurant is in a spot in Las Vegas that is away from the entire hustle and bustle of the strip. It’s in North Las Vegas, which is just booming. Pretty much the only place near Los Angeles where you can buy property for two hundred thousand US dollars. So needless to say many Californians are making the leap to Las Vegas, and in my small amount of time I can understand why. When you get away from the strip you feel, like you are in a great suburb that could be anywhere in America. The air is clean and beautiful dessert mountains surround it. I can really see Las Vegas being the next place for many Angelinos to be moving and buying properties. They need delicious food to go along with this notion. And Mezzo Bistro and Wine adds this is spades. Great food in the heart of this bedroom community that has grown by leaps and bound in the last 5 years.

Here’s What I Tried:

Starters:

Calamari, Lightly breaded squid served with spicy marinara and sliced pepperoncini, and it is soaked in buttermilk. Delicious seasoning and the zesty pepperoncini, is an Italian staple.

Risotto with mushrooms, with goat cheese and red wine reduction. The red wine reduction is enough for you to order this dish. It is sweet and there is a glaze underneath the creamy risotto, just try it.

Salads:

Italian Antipasto Salad, with Arcadia and iceberg lettuce mix, topped with imported meats and cheese with olives, tomatoes, fire roasted peppers, artichoke hearts and Italian dressing. This salad is so colorful and large, Truly a must have!

Caesar Salad, one of the best Caesar I have had in along time. Just a wonderful dressing and super crisp Romaine lettuce make this salad simply the best.

Pasta:

Gnocchi, with handcrafted potato dumplings, carbonara sauce, peas, pancetta, and grilled Shrimp. The sauce is creamy and delightful, and the shrimp are grilled with superb flavor, a great Gnocchi dish.

Seafood:

Frutti di Mare, with clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp and salmon. Sautéed with sherry wine, with fresh herbs, tossed in linguine. Another terrific menu item, with a kick that will blow your hair back.

Mezzo Specialties:

ÏFiletto Gorgonzola, Hand cut 8 oz. filet mignon, with a rich Gorgonzola cream sauce. Topped with crispy pancetta, served with garlic mash potatoes and grilled vegetables. The meat is super tender and the sauce is just out of this world. The mashed potatoes are equally to die for, amazing.

Sides:

Mushrooms, buttery button mushrooms oozing in butter, a great dish.

Wine’s:

Prosecco, Canti D.O.C, Veneto, IT, the best way to start my experience, it went great with the lovely calamari, and salads.

Chardonnay, La Crema Sonoma, CA.  I just love this wine with the shrimp in the gnocchi, a nice light, buttery wine.

Zinfandel, Fantom Bogle Vineyards, Old Vines, CA.  I always go for the Old Vines Zin, its my jam!  This wine was a no brainer with the steak.

Every Thursday they have new specials, their regulars know their menu and come in on Thursday just to taste the new specials. Mezzo Grill won the best of Las Vegas, Gold Winner, in 2018, Best Wine Bar, Las Vegas Review Journal. Mezzo Bistro and Wine opened on January 1, 2009, and has been a mainstay in North Las Vegas ever since.

The two owners Kelly and Sean are very user friendly. Sean was the one that scheduled my tasting. Sean is from Utica NY, he has all of his Italian family recipes in tow. What he brings to the table is a youthful outlook with his traditional old family recipes that makes Mezzo a real keeper.

It’s just the best neighborhood bistro that I have experienced in a long time. Next time your in North Las Vegas give Mezzo Bistro and Wine a try, you will be very glad you did.

Mezzo Bistro and Wine
4275 N Rancho Dr, Ste 130
Las Vegas, NV 89130
(702) 944-8880
mezzobistro.com

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October 28, 2019 – Dinner – Sorrento Ristorante – Little Italy – San Diego

What I truly loved about this special restaurant is the way they make you feel, from the moment you walk, in their treatment is outstanding, you just feel like royalty. The staff is not overly gushing about your experience, but they really do see that everything is flawless. The food, the ambiance, their stories, all picture perfect.

Sorrento’s Story: Former La Villa restaurant located in the heart of Little Italy in San Diego, Sorrento ristorante, bar e pizzeria opened in 2015. A newborn of the Mastellone family. (Au Revoir Bistro, Arrivederci, Piacere Mio, Solunto.) Typical Italian restaurant, Sorrento, has a casual ambiance, authentic Italian cuisine, and an atmosphere that transport’s you directly to the piazza Tasso in Sorrento, at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius in di Golfo di Napoli.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Martini, traditional, with a nice authentic martini glass, just loved the cocktail.

Mango Martini, this is a fruity drink, not for a real strong cocktail drinker. But for me, it hit the spot. Maurizio Pino made my lovely drinks, he did an amazing job.

Salads:

Caprese, a super delicious salad with nice fresh ripe tomatoes, a great way to start my meal.

Pera E Formaggio, Spinach, gorgonzola, red onions, mushrooms, pears, walnuts, and house vinaigrette. This salad would be my go to salad for sure. The combination of candied pecans and pears, with the cheese, is just fantastic.

Specials:

Cioppino, mussels, clams, calamari, tuna, salmon, shrimp, light tomato and white wine served with crostini. A very fragrant light broth filled with treasures from the sea, just delightful.

Lobster Ravioli, homemade pasta filled with succulent lobster and the sauce is thick, rich, and super creamy.

Lobster Tail Fra’ Diavola, spicy marinara sauce, tomato, and mushrooms, served with linguine. A very spicy dish, but guaranteed to be a real crowd pleaser. I just loved all of the super fresh lobster, and the great handmade pasta underneath it all.

Dessert:

Tiramisu, Ladyfingers, espresso, mascarpone cream, cocoa powder, a perfect ending to my very elegant dinner.

Chocolate Mousse Silky Chocolate Mousse, if you are a chocolate lover, like me, then this is your dessert.

Wine:

Tenute Silvio Nardi, Rosso Di Montalcino, 2016.

Il Briciato, Tenuta guado al Tasso, 2016. Both wines were elegant and paired perfect with my dishes, a true delight.

My very fun server Farbrizio Cammarota, has worked for five years at Sorrento’s. He was a restaurant manager and wedding planner in Florence before. He moved to America for his wife Chanel who is from Boston. He also worked at Arrivederci in the Hillcrest neighborhood before. He added just the right amount of knowledge and expertise he also paired my wines for the night and did an excellent job.

Jerry is Sorrento’s renowned pizza chef; he has been with the restaurant for 3 years. He says he has made more pizza at Sorrento then anyone else in the San Diego area. In 1980 he went to Italy to see how pizzas are made there. Jerry really takes pride in his exquisite pizza making; he says it’s a true art form.

I spoke with owner Lucio on the phone, and he was very welcoming, Lucio is partners with Antonio Mastellone, they own a few other dining establishments around town.

It has got a very inviting patio with a fountain in the middle. The inside has a big bar with lots of action. The whole place is designed very tasteful, you feel like you’re in Italy. The music is Italian pop, and Italian favorites, which totally makes the mood at Sorrento elevated. I would try this wonderful cuisine on your next trip to San Diego.

Sorrento Ristorante
1646 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101
619 546 0365
https://www.sorrentoristoranteandpizzeria.com

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Dinner – October 28, 2019 – Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse – Gaslamp Quarter – San Diego, CA.

Right on 5th Avenue in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter is an amazing steak house that will make your taste buds very happy. Being a relatively new dining establishment, Butcher’s Cut steakhouse has been opened for 6 months. Butchers Cut Steak house is conveniently located within walking distance to many Gaslamp Quarter hotels and is just five short blocks from the San Diego Convention Center. On the weekends this neighborhood is super busy, filled with partiers, tourist and just everyone taking in the sights, and walking this cool part of town.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Traditional Martini, in traditional martini glass, with 2 big olives, just the perfect way to start my dining experience.

Strawberry Margarita tequila, locally sourced strawberries, fresh lime, agave

Starters:

Daily Oysters, served with mignonette cocktail sauce, beautiful lovely little gems, a true winner.

Soup:

Clam Chowder with clams, vegetables, bacon. They use nice size fresh clams in their shells, so it makes for one amazing soup.

Side Dishes:

Cream Spinach, nice rich flavors, and a great side dish.

Wild field Mushrooms, with shishito peppers, garlic oil, white wine, and butter, a nice spicy mushroom side dish.

Happy Cow mashed Potatoes goat cheese, mozzarella, and manchego. You just got to order these, they are rich and fluffy, just perfection.

Mains:

Scallops, plump and fresh with good flavor.

Cold Water, Wild Caught Lobster Tail. This is a must have here as well, nice fresh lobster, with a grilled touch, just amazing.

Prime Porterhouse, 24 Oz., sliced and cooked to perfection with the Veal Bone Bordelaise, a great combo.

Desert:

Limoncello Cake, a perfect way to end the evening.

Wines:

Trefethen Estate, Chardonnay Oak-Knoll, Napa. Rich and buttery, just the perfect combination with the lovely lobster tail.

Wish Wine Company, Zinfandel, and Mendocino, CA, another great pairing with the steak, truly a no-brainer.

The night I was there they had a private party in their other dining room, it looked like the partygoers were having a blast. The music is super loud, with disco, ambient, Brazilian, top 40, and George Michael, to add to the overall ambiance.

Daniele one of my amazing Italian waiters was super smart and sexy. Born in Bagheria Italy, he added so much to my experience. Also, Jennifer Reinhart was main my server, she always had a smile of her face and treated me like a queen.

This used to be Chianti restaurant at this location. This restaurant group has quite a few restaurants; Greystone Steak House, Osetra, and Osteria Panevino. Butcher’s Cut is right next door to Greystone Steakhouse; it’s a more casual atmosphere. Sara Arjmand was the gal that set up this tasting; she is the marketing director. She adores working at this restaurant group, and says that everyone is like family. The General Manager Erin was very accommodating as well.

The interior is very fun, with old fashioned, blue and white floral fabric, wood floors, a fun long bar, and an outside happening patio. There are exposed beams, rope paneled ceilings. Chairs and bar stools are fashionably mid-century. Their unique feature is the glass-walled meat locker installed on the restaurant floor. Showcasing the exceptional cuts of dry-aged meat available, this peculiar feature is a spectacle that must be experienced in person. Meat is dry aged minimum of 21 days, and maximum 47 days.

The Butcher’s Cut is a welcome addition to the ever-growing restaurant scene of San Diego, offering a robust, yet refined dining experience that is a must-try for your next night out.

Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse
644 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
https://www.butcherscutsteakhouse.com.

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Oct. 6, 2019, Lunch – Silk Road – New Orleans, Louisiana

Located in the district called The Bywater, this place is a true Gem. Mixing Creole cuisine with Indian, so creative. I was there on a Sunday, which is like going to church in New Orleans, but with football added. Yes, the Saints were playing and so on every screen they had their fantastic football team on for the bar revelers to watch and go crazy. Luckily it was a good game and the Saints won, yay!!!

The mission is simple: serve delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week.

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

Bloody Mary, done the traditional way, spicy and robust, exactly how I like it.

Small Plates:

Louisiana Crawfish Eggroll, with Hoisin Chili Sauce. Crispy, warm, brimming with lovely Indian seasonings, delicious.

Samosas savory Indian Turnover with tamarind sauce. I really adore a good samosa, and Silk Road’s is unique, bit huge roll looks more like an empanada then a samosa, but packed with super fresh flavors.

Soup:

Lemon Grass Crab Bisque, a good way to warm me up and taste nature’s bounty.

Salad:

Gado –Gado Indonesian Salad, with shrimp. Peanut Chili Dressing. This is my kind of salad, shrimps with the heads on and a very sweet lively dressing.

Curries:

Tikka Masala with shrimp, buttery mild curry cream sauce, a nice solid kick to this curry, but really done well and very intoxicating.

Nola Meets India:

BBQ smoked tandoori spiced bone-in chicken breast, another terrific menu item.

Silk Road Specialties:

Sesame Crusted Salmon, with wasabi beurre blanc, the presentation alone will make you come back for more, but the sesame crust makes it all a very nice way to indulge in salmon.

Saag Paneer, Fresh spinach sautéed, in tomato curry sauce, with homemade cheese. A real Indian favorite of  mine, they did this dish with all the bells and whistles, yum.

Dessert:

I had 2 different pie type cakes that were out of this world.

What I really love about this place is that it’s off the beaten path and that it is traditional Indian fare with a nice NOLA twist, and all on purpose. Chef G knows exactly what he is doing and what an achievement it is to blend these two food cultures.

If you’re a local, try this place. If your just in town for a bit still try this place, you too will be in heaven after sinking your teeth into this remarkable cuisine.

2483 Royal Street
New Orleans LA 70117
(504) 944-6666
https://www.silkroadnola.com

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Dinner – Legacy Kitchen Steak and Chop, Oct. 5, 2019 – New Orleans, Louisiana

This restaurant group has 4 locations and different named restaurants, all governed by One Pack Hospitality Group. When I got this tasting I was excited because it is out of the main part of New Orleans, in Gretna. So I was really able to spread my experiences through many parts of this amazing area.

The area looks like a bedroom community, and this restaurant was in a mall, but don’t let that fool you. Inside you will find lovely décor, with American farmlands in mind, and the best food in this area.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Louisiana Mule, with Absolut lime vodka, bayou satsuma rum, gosling’s ginger beer, orange juice, lime juice.

Watermelon Crawl with Tito’s vodka, watermelon juice, simple syrup, and lemon.

Perfect Patron Margarita, patrón, orange citronge, simple syrup, splash of first press lime
and splash of orange juice, 
lime twist. I find many cocktails that are super pricey and infused with this or that to be sometimes to acidic for my tastes, these were right on target, all having just the right amount of mixed ingredients to make them perfect combinations.

Shareable and Small Plates:

Lump Crab chops, one of my favorite things tonite. It just goes down so smooth and is so great, a must have for me,

Chilled Salads and Soups:

Classic Turtle Soup, with sherry. If you know what this soup is, and like it. then order it, some folks shy away from this soup, I found it a classic rendition.

House Favorites:

Slow Smoked Baby Back Ribs, these are fall off the bone ribs, with a nice glaze.

BBQ Shrimp Pasta, New Orleans style, fettuccine, garlic bread. The shrimp are plump and tender and the sauce has a bit of a kick, this is very filling pasta so order everything else light on the menu.

Steaks:

Top Sirloin, roasted + sliced, chimmichuri, cooked super rare, so tender and light, just a spectacular menu item.

Sides:

Onion Rings, breaded with a nice crispy texture, and must-have for me.

Potatoes Au Gratin, creamy, smooth, bur very rich, with all of the great cheesy flavors you would expect and more.

Creamed Spinach, just loved their creamed spinach, I could eat this by the bowl full.

Crispy Brussels sprouts, onions, bacon, if you’re a love of Brussels Sprouts then this dish is for you, it’s just that good.

Desserts:

Lemon Ice-Box Pie, this is a Southern tradition. The pie is icy cold and the lemon flavor rushed through my tastebuds and gives me a very much needed tang after my delicious meal.

Chardonnay:

Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River, Sonoma, this wine is buttery and creamy and just has all of the characteristics that I adore, drink this wine with the crab chop.

Frank Family Vineyards, Napa Valley, a very elegant wine, I would pair this with the shrimp pasta.

Cabernet:

Josh Cellars, California, you can enjoy this bold wine with the steak; it will hit all the right notes.

Joel Gott, California, I would taste this wine with the ribs, it lends itself to the sweet flavors of the sauce.

I am so fortunate to be able to do this as part of my other gigs. I just love the fact that I can go to another city and try food that I would otherwise never know about. The respect people have for me and my writing is astounding, I am so blessed!

Their tag line is “Refined American fare, classic crated cocktails.”

This is no-nonsense cuisine that is just delicious, affordable, and convenient. I would recommend it and come back!

Legacy Kitchen Steak and Chop

91 West bank Expressway

Gretna, Louisiana

www.legacykitchen.com

 

 

 

 

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Dinner – Antoine’s – Oct. 4, 2019 – New Orleans, Louisiana

Antoine’s is so iconic, it’s the oldest family-run restaurant in New Orleans. It has a built-in museum of all of their history and artifacts. It’s got many rooms, some of which are so special that you have to reserve months in advance. My favorite was the escargot room, a place for men to have their little dinner clubs events. Of course, you have to order their very famous escargot if your eating in that room.

My lovely guide Ricky, who is a great-great-great grandson of the original owner, was so enlightening, he took me on a tour before my dining experience. He showed me the many rooms, paintings, wine cellar and ashtray collection, everything super spectacular to feast my eyes on. I felt so special that I was given this tour and be able to understand the whole history of Antoine’s and what makes it so special. So many famous dishes were created under their roof; I got to try quite a few.

Here’s What I Tried:

Appetizers:

Huîtres Bienville, Fresh Louisiana gulf oysters baked on the half shell, with white wine, cheese, onions, pimento, and fresh peppers sauce.

Huîtres en coquille à la Rockefeller, Louisiana gulf oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockefeller sauce created by Antoine’s in the late 1890s.

Huîtres Thermidor, Fresh Louisiana gulf oysters baked on the half shell with bacon and cocktail sauce. They gave me a sampler platter of threes darling oysters my favorite was the Huitres Bienville. The oysters Rockefeller were delicious,  and they created this popular oyster dish here.

Soup and Salads:

Gumbo Créole, A classic preparation of rich Louisiana gumbo with blue crabs, oysters, and gulf shrimp. This is an amazing Gumbo, with just the perfect amount of spice and flavor.

Soupe a l’oignon Gratinée, A classic onion soup baked and topped with a combination of cheeses. Not the usual soup you would expect, but it’s so differed and wonderful that you forget any others that you have tried.

Salade Combinaison, Mixed greens tossed with artichokes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and cranberries topped with feta cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. This is a nice simple salad that mixes the freshest ingredients with a nice subtle dressing.

Entrees:

Cotelettes d’Agneau Grillées, Prime center-cut lamb chops grilled and served with mint jelly. These chops are right up there with any I have tasted in the past. Grilled with a crispy outside and super tender inside, and the mint jelly is one of my favorite combinations on the planet.

Filet de Gulf Poisson aux Ecrevisses Cardinal, Grilled or fried gulf fish with gulf crawfish tails in Antoine’s signature white wine tomato sauce – our creation! This was drum fish, super thick with a great sauce and the crawfish just added the best part of the gulf.

Legumes:

Broccoli Sauce Hollandaise, Steamed broccoli with hollandaise sauce. Just what you would expect, but these broccoli florets were cooked al dent, so they kept their integrity and were just scrumptious.

Epinards Sauce Crème, Spinach in a light cream sauce with onion, garlic and Romano cheese baked in a casserole. I loved this spinach with the lamb, just the right accompaniment.

Dessert:

Tarte au Citron Vert, Authentic key lime mousse in a graham cracker tart shell topped with whipped cream. A very delectable way to end my glorious meal.

About Antoines:

Established in 1840, the main dining room at Antoine’s as it appeared in 1951. Even at that late date, the gas chandeliers provided the only heat for the room during the winter months!

It was spring in 1840, when New Orleans was queen city of the Mississippi River, when cotton was king and French gentlemen settled their differences under the oaks with pistols for two and coffee for one. “Dixie” had not yet been written, destined to become the marching anthem for Confederate forces in the Civil War. This was the city young Antoine Alciatore adopted, after stopping in New York, to establish a restaurant that would endure under his family’s direction for more than 179 years and set the standard that has made New Orleans one of the great dining centers of the world.

It was on St. Louis Street, just one block from the spot the famed restaurant occupies today, that the 18-year old Alciatore started what was to become simply “Antoine’s” as a synonym for fine food. He felt at home in the French-speaking city of lordly aristocrats and their extravagances, an ideal audience for his culinary artistry, a synonym for fine food. He felt at home in the French-speaking city of lordly aristocrats and their extravagances, an ideal audience for his culinary artistry.

The main dining room at Antoine’s as it appeared in 1951. Even at that late date, the gas chandeliers provided the only heat for the room during the winter months! After a brief period in the kitchen of the grand St. Charles Hotel, Antoine opened a pension, a boarding house and a restaurant. It was then that he made arrangements for his fiancée’ to join him from New York. She came to New Orleans with her sister and she and Antoine were married. Together they worked to build up their pension with culinary emphasis. New Orleans’ gentility was so taken with the restaurant that it soon outgrew its small quarters and Antoine’s moved down the block and eventually, in 1868, to the spot on St. Louis Street where the restaurant stands today.

In 1874, Antoine being in ill-heath took leave of his family, with the management of the restaurant in his wife’s hands. Jules married Althea Roy, daughter of a planter in Youngsville in southwest Louisiana. Jules and Althea had three children: Roy, Jules and Mary Louise. Roy followed in his father’s footsteps and headed the restaurant for almost 40 years until his death in 1972. He felt he had not much longer to live and wished to die and be buried in his birthplace in France. He told his wife he did not want her to watch him deteriorate and said as he left; “As I take the boat for Marseilles, we will not meet again on earth.” He died within the year. After Antoine’s death, his son Jules served as an apprentice under his mother’s tutelage for six years before she sent him to France where he served in the great kitchens of Paris, Strassburg and Marseilles. He returned to New Orleans and became a chef of the famous Pickwick Club in 1887 before his mother summoned him to head the house of Antoine. His genius was in the kitchen where he invented Oysters Rockefeller, so named for the richness of the sauce. They remain one of the great culinary creations of all time and that recipe remains a closely-guarded Antoine’s secret, though it has been imitated countless times.

The kitchen at Antoine’s as it appeared in 1951. The restaurant’s chefs were still using ancient coal-burning stoves to prepare meals for their many patrons. Note the oyster shells ready and waiting to be transformed into Oysters Rockefeller and the row of little baskets, soon to be filled with the delectable soufflé potatoes. Photograph by R. E. Covey.

Roy Alciatore managed the restaurant through some of the nation’s most difficult times, including the Prohibition era and World War II. His contributions still remain vibrant today. The 1840 Room, a replica of a fashionable private dining room, still contains the great silver duck press and is a museum of curios treasures including a cookbook published in Paris in 1659.

Marie Louise married William Guste; and their sons, William Jr., the former attorney general of Louisiana, and Roy Sr., became the fourth generation of the family to head the restaurant. In 1975, Roy’s son, Roy Jr., became proprietor and served until 1984. He was followed by William’s son, Bernard “Randy” Guste who managed Antoine’s until 2004. In 2005, Rick Blount, Roy Alciatore’s grandson became proprietor and CEO.

The long line of the Alciatore family members and descendants has guided Antoine’s to continued greatness, through the Civil War, two World Wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression and Hurricane Katrina.

Countless celebrities have dined in Antoine’s dining rooms. Lining the walls are photographs of the rich and famous who have feasted amid the splendor … musicians, politicians, military personnel, sports figures, and royalty … the list is endless. It includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, Pope John Paul II, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson, Jimmy Buffet, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby to name just a few!

There is so much history here, you just have to come in and taste their wonderful food and take in all of the rooms and artifacts, it’s a must-see when you are in New Orleans.

Antoine’s
713 St Louis St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 581-4422

antoines.com

* Note some content was taken off of their press release.

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Dinner – Bordeaux – Oct 3. 2019 – New Orleans, Louisiana

This is a great find in the Garden District of New Orleans. On a corner in the super hipster neighborhood of Magazine Street lies a restaurant that needs lots of accolades. It’s just that great. There is a big huge outside patio area and a little mini dining room. In the rare 90-degree beginning of October, I opted to sit inside, in the cool air conditioning. Just what the doctor ordered, comfort inside and out.

Noah was my server, as well as bartender. He was cordial and knew lots about this historic area, he really made my experience at Bordeaux very memorable.

Dining next to me was local Mike Fylnn, who lives near by.  He had a great quote: “New Orleans is an easy city to earn a living, but a hard city to be successful in.” He had lots to say about his fair city, as well as his favorite restaurants and Bordeaux being one of them.

The preparation by Chef Dominic McKlette was remarkable, using fresh sustainable ingredients, and adding his French touch of creativity and elegance.

Here’s What I Had:

Cocktails:

Five Minutes to Midnight, coconut-infused Rhum Agricole, Lime 1 Demerara Sugar, refreshing and potent, this cocktail packs a punch.

Sacra Bleu Vodka, Lemon, Elderflower, Egg White, so delightful, with an umbrella and blue, just loved it.

The Pipeline Bitter Orange Infused Vodka, Aperal, and passion fruit. This was also pretty strong, but for me, because I am a vodka lover, it did the trick.

Frozen Rose, like a slush, with other ingredients, and it comes out of a machine, a must- try.

Appetizer:

Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Green papaya Slaw with Remoulade. Just the perfect amount of fresh gulf crab in this amazing appetizer.

Local Red Fish and Octopus Ceviche Corn Shaved Onion, Cilantro, and Leche De Tigre. A bit on the acidic side for me, but great nontheless.

Fresh Burrata and Creole Tomato Salad, with Crispy Vidalia onion, Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette. This is colorful and super tasty, but an amazing menu item.

Whole Wheat Flatbread Artisan Cheese, Prosciutto, Truffle Oil. You can taste the truffle oil in every bit, a super nice flatbread.

Entrée:

Sautéed Soft Shell Crab Saffron Basmati Rice Pilaf, Green Papaya Slaw, and Spiced Citrus Vinaigrette. Wow, wow, wow, terrific.

Rotisserie of Key West Spiny Lobster Quinoa, Creole Tomato with Citrus Mojo. This is a huge lobster ad so fresh and delicious, by far my favorite thing I tried here tonight.

Rotisserie, Maple Leaf Duck, nice meaty duck with super delicious rotisserie flavors, I loved it.

Desserts:

Red Berry Pavlova, very much like a meringue, with nice luscious fruit, simply delicious.

Warm Frangipagne, Pear Tart, the crust made this desert, it is buttery with nice flavor, a must have.

Wine:

Chardonnay, La Chevaliere, this is a wine to drink with shell fish, the carb or the lobster.

Chardonnay Macon Peronne, a great pair with the Barratta salad, it just had hints of lemon that added to the overall flavor of the lovely dressing.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Substance, hands down the wine to drink with the rotisserie duck, smoky, robust nuances that helped my taste buds feel the glory of the delicious duck.

Malbec, Catena, Vista Flores, a wonderful wine with the prosciutto flatbread.

They also have a nice pre-fix lunch that is relatively inexpensive and looks amazing, a nice way to enjoy a lunchtime meal.

About Chef Dominique Macquet: He has led his fair share of kitchens in New Orleans including Tamarind, Dominique’s, and Saveur, is opening a new restaurant this month after a two-year hiatus from professional kitchens.

NOLA.com reports that the French bistro is called Bordeaux, and will feature an imported rotisserie that Macquet will use to cook “whole lambs, goats and suckling pigs.” Bordeaux, which will seat 90 and has a large front patio, is at the corner of Magazine and Bordeaux Streets in a building that most recently held a dog daycare.

The first iteration of Macquet’s namesake restaurant, Dominique’s, was at the Maison Dupuy Hotel, operating from 1996 to 2008. Macquet then reopened and quickly left its next incarnation on Magazine Street (now Apolline), to open the now-shuttered Tamarind in the Hotel Modern. He then reopened Dominique’s for a third time in early 2013, at the location that now houses Shaya, but left once again for Saveur, another now-closed restaurant that was located on Magazine Street. Macquet is teaming up with Bruno Rizzo, who founded the original version of bakery La Boulangerie with his brother in 2000, to run Bordeaux’s dining room. The pair plans to open the bistro at the end of January.

Bordeaux Restaurant derives its heritage from southwestern France, the area known internationally for its outstanding wine and cuisine. Located among the beautiful oak trees at the intersection of Magazine and Bordeaux streets, the restaurant’s aroma emanating from the outdoor rotisserie entices the appetite daily. Award-winning executive chef Dominique Macquet and sommelier Bruno Rizzo meticulously pair menu items and wines to create imaginative dining experiences. Sous Chef Martin Fennelly brings an experienced hand in crafting the ultimate dining experience. Bordeaux chooses the fresh catch from local fishermen, and the produce from regional farmers to provide fresh, inviting and sustainable dishes. The cuisine is both contemporary French as well as south Louisiana Creole/Cajun. Menu treats such as lamb, suckling pig; goat, pheasant, quail and duck have their turn on the custom-built outdoor French rotisserie. Another treat: wines paired with specialty meats and cheeses on their charcuterie boards. Desserts, including cotton candy, are created in-house. Enjoy freshly shucked Louisiana gulf oysters at the outdoor oyster bar while enjoying a specialty cocktail created by the talented mixologist Lynn Burgett. The outdoor patio is the perfect place to relax on a lazy afternoon with a fresh fruit daiquiri or one of our many other delicious drinks such as our signature cocktail, the Sacre Bleu. Traditional weekend brunch, often with live jazz music, is served on the patio in classic New Orleans style with bottomless mimosas and specialty Bloody Marys.

As you would expect from a restaurant named Bordeaux, they offer a wide variety of wines personally selected by sommelier Bruno Rizzo. Afternoon children cooking classes, led by chef Bruno are a fun afternoon teaching the young about healthy food while parents will enjoy wine tastings by Bruno.

One of my favorite tastings of my trip, everything was unique and individual, no repeat performance, just all new and different. I loved their concept, and the rotisserie of things you would not expect to be rotisserie. In California, we only ever do this with a whole chicken. The concept of putting a whole spiny lobster on a rotisserie made me very excited, and it did not disappoint. I would highly recommend trying Bordeaux. The other more important thing about this restaurant is that it’s not the usual heavy fried Southern food, it lends itself to being somewhat healthy and wholesome, so you feel really good when you’re done.

Bordeaux
4734 Magazine Street
New Orleans
504.273.5747
bordeauxnola.com

Dinner | Tuesday-Thursday 530-10 | Friday + Saturday 530-11
Lunch | Wednesday-Thursday1130-230 | Friday 11-3
* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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The Columns Stay – Oct. 2- Oct. 6 – New Orleans, Louisiana

Old opulent, one of a kind. Even with its minor problems, The Columns will put you in a great state of mind. Adam Miller gave me a 4-night stay and a dining experience. It’s very casual, but The Columns Hotel attracts New Orleans up-and-coming youth. If you’re looking for a perfect modern stay, don’t stay at The Columns. The Columns offer the charm and a bye-gone era. It does have its glitches, but all and all it offers a nice comfortable respite from all of the riff-raff in the French Quarter.

Located in the famed Garden District, there are so many amazing mansions all around to check out. This is a destination bar and restaurant for the party-goers, music lovers and everything in between. The hotel is a bit dated but it still has a feel that you really don’t find at any other properties. The rooms have very high ceilings, I usually knew when a place is touched by spirits and I really did not feel any of that here, For me, it was a comfortable home away from home, without all of the razzle- dazzle, but instead glorious antiquity and beautiful architecture.

Adam was kind enough to give me a gift certificate to use for my simple but elegant dinner.

Here’s what I had:

Vodka Martini, this is the way I like my martini, in a big traditional martini glass with a bit of crushed ice, a great way to start my elegant evening.

Strawberry Spinach Salad, with chicken on top. The fresh strawberries add an extra layer of flavor and the fresh spinach is just what the doctor ordered. Any chance I could get to order anything fresh and green is the way to go here in The South, you need to say healthy.

Onion Rings, their presentation is so fun, stacked on top of one another and so yummy.

Crawfish Penne, creamy rich with a nice flavor, very filling, really great.

The property is right on the St. Charles trolley car line, after I had dinner I took the trolley down the street to the famous Halloween house, which is so creative, It really made me laugh and put me in the holiday spirit.

There is much work to be done at The Columns, but if you know that going in and have a taste for the funky then you will enjoy your stay.

Built in 1883, and listed in The National Registry of Historic Places. The Columns Hotel, designed by one of New Orleans’ great architects, Thomas Sully, is the only remaining example of a large group of Italianate houses that he designed in the late 1880s.The surviving interior features are considered among the grandest known in any late-nineteenth-century Louisiana residence. One of the most dramatic features is the mahogany stairwell, which rises to meet an extraordinary square domed stained-glass skylight in a stylized sunburst motif.The Victorian Lounge was once the main dining room and features a remarkable mantlepiece, and the original built-in breakfront. This piece is of particular historical interest because it is the only surviving piece of its kind in any residence designed by Thomas Sully.

I really enjoyed my stay at The Columns, I would stay here again!

The Columns Hotel
3811 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, La 70115
504.899.9308
http://thecolumns.com/
* Note, some text was taken off of their website.

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House of Blues – Foundation Room – Dinner – Oct. 1, 2019 – New Orleans, Louisiana

I so miss our House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood so much.  I was granted passage to dine in the Foundation Room at the New Orleans location. It did not disappoint, elegant, homey, and chic, with the best food I have had in a long time. Ashley, who does their special events, helped me along on my journey.

Here’s What I tried:

Vodka Martini, traditional martini done the right way.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup, creamy, delicious, and served with a piece of cheesy baguette on top.

House of Blues Salad, a great salad with super fresh greens and a great dressing.

Caesar Salad, just perfect, with a nice tangy Caesar dressing and super fresh romaine lettuce.

Lump Crab Cakes, these cakes were packed full of luscious crab, and there was not a lot of breading, just amazingly delicious crab.

Fried Green Tomatoes, this salad has lump crab as well, bits on the top of the super crispy fried tomatoes. In the South, this is a mainstay and they did it well.

Prime Steak with mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and wonderful fragrant gravy. The meat was super tasty and tender, just a great steak.

Scallops with lobster pasta, this was by far my favorite menu item, and there were pieces of lobster in the sauce and in the pasta, the scallops were big and popped in your mouth, just a lovely menu item.

Dessert:

Orange Crème Brulee, out of this world, enough said!!!

Manager Brittany took great care of me, and so did my server Isaac. Everyone was so friendly and gracious, my whole experience was stellar.

Located right in the French Quarter, I walked from the French Market to the venue; I got to see all of the locals, tourists and people just checking out the sites in the very colorful city.

I was also invited to come back for their Burlesque night, called “Bustout Burlesque”, which I did and had a blast as well. It was more of a variety show then strictly burlesque, either way, its super fun to see all of New Orleans local talent, I would highly recommend it for a night out.

There are so many reminders of the West Hollywood location, so I felt right at home. Great Haitian art, patchwork velvet fabric on the walls and a glorious Buddha, all very tastefully appointed. I just felt so blessed and fortunate to have had this joyful experience.

House of Blues
225 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 522-8281
www.houseofblues.com/neworleans/concert-events

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