Good Morning Gators!
Time for another special Edition. We were able to get to 5 places on this outing. The reviews are streamlined for 2 reasons 1 because there are 5 reviews and I want to keep things moving and B because I’m old and in spite of having my usual cryptic notes I don’t remember all of the details. Off we go.
Our lead off set the tone for the rest of the week. Curio was a pretty nice joint. Cloth napkins and all. Contemporary music played in the background. There is no exterior shot because I had a small brain hemorrhage and didn’t take one. The decor was a mix of old New Orleans and a bit of modern flare.
Our server Ashley brought coffee which was a tad weak but passable 7 The menu was fairly small so we zeroed in on our selections right away.
We wanted to start with some Beignets but were informed that they weren’t ready so I started breakfast with a sad face.
As soon as we were seated I knew we had picked a winner. Although there were only a few other patrons here, it was Monday morning so there would be lots of time to savor a leisurely breakfast. We sat near an open patio door and although it was stifling hot, there was a light and lovely breeze. The hot coffee was great and I’m not certain if it was the heavy cream in a tiny stainless pitcher, or the brew itself….either way; I surely felt spoiled,
Cajun Style Slow Roasted Pork, Buttermilk Biscuit, Brown Butter Hollandaise Sauce, Brabant Potatoes
The Hollandaise was silky smooth and tasty but a tad salty. 8 The potatoes were crisp and fresh. 8 The pork had a delicious mustard based slightly sweet sauce applied. Yummy. 9 The house made Biscuit was one of the best I’ve had. Fluffy tender deliciousness. Fantastic 9 The Eggs were a bit under 5 A great springboard to our trip. This was one of the best Benedicts that I’ve ever had. 9
To be fair, the only taste I had of this dish was the pork and baked biscuit. The biscuit was high and tender and salted perfectly 9
Shrimp and Grits
Louisiana Gulf Shrimp, Andouille Gravy, Jalapeño Cheddar Grits
One of the things that I looked forward to coming to NO was being able to have some local fresh shrimp. As you may or may not know It’s pretty unlikely that you’ve ever gotten shrimp in the midwest that are actually fresh. They are either frozen or previously frozen. I was very excited. The Andouille Sausage Gravy was on point. The seasoning was perfect with a nice slightly over salted salt level. Not a trace of flour taste and not a lump to be found. 8 The grits were a tad under but the seasoning and cheese level was right where it should be. 8 The Local fresh Shrimp was the star. I didn’t know that shrimp actually taste like something. The ones you get at home are more texture than flavor. Often they are overcooked are are like chewing pencil erasers. These were tender and delicious. Very Shrimpy. 9 Another winner 9
Ever since I was a wee one, I loved shrimp. From the little Sausea brand jars with tiny rubbery shrimp and cocktail sauce, to the corner tavern newspaper wrapped Lenten jumbo shrimp dinners my Dad brought home, my favorite treat has been shrimp, But until I tasted fresh shrimp in Galveston Texas years ago, I was not aware of the vast difference. These shrimp were sublime. 9 The gravy and grits literally melted in your mouth, and the grits were married with a subtle cheese, not a Hit You In Da Head cheddar. Wow 10
Somewhere in the midst of all of this we met the Manager Oscar. Great guy. He obviously loved working here.
Caramelized Baked French Toast
Seasonal Fruit, Local Cane Syrup, Soft Whipped Cream
The soft scoops of whipped cream were reminiscent of very light Ricotta Cheese with a super subtle almond flavor. Whatever form of New Orleans Voodoo they used on this it worked. Iv’e never had anything quite like it. 9 The baked FT was a mix of soft custardy to crunchy crisp. A great contrast of textures. 9 The popular Cane Syrup is a not too sweet syrup with just a hint of molassesness. This was a great end to a great meal. 9
We were fortunate to meet the manager, Oscar, a local who loves NOLA. He told us about how much he loved his city and enjoyed that his birthday was in Autumn. Due to the heavy whipping cream, I drank more coffee than usual and was a bit jacked up and loopy. However, the French Toast was the highlight of breakfast with its crispy carmelized edges and custard silk middle. The whipped cream was denser than any I’ve ever tasted and had the consistency of whipped ricotta with hint of vanilla. A warm drizzle of Cane syrup finished this off perfectly 9
Thanks Curio You are the one to beat
Horns reminds me of a lot of the places that you find in Portland Oregon. It has that Hipster vibe. From the beat up furnishings, the Hipster pop rock music, and the hand made pottery that the owner turns out herself. It’s kind of like the basement of a 70’s house. 70’s family photos and stuffed animal heads. No chicken decor is present.
Darrel took our coffee order and it was delivered by a lip ringed young man in shorts and cowboy boots. We checked out the menu and made decisions.
Savory Spinach and Mushroom Bread Pudding Topped with 2 Over Medium Eggs
It’s crazy savory. Soft moist mushroomy earthy peppery 9 Fantastic. Super original. The more I ate it the more I liked it.
I loved it as soon as we walked up and saw the maryjanes under a bench on the sidewalk outside. Fun and quirky. The National and Naked and Famous playlists. I’m thinking …..Gosh this has to be the sign of a very inventive menu, and indeed it was!
The savory bread pudding caught our attention and we knew we would start with it, and although it did not look colorful and pretty, the deep rich mushroom and pepper taste was unlike any dressing we had ever tasted. It was crusty outside yet moist on inside. Delicious 8
Super Crabby and Spicy. There are a few Crawfish in there for good measure. The Crab Cake was decent. It was pretty flavorful and seasoned well. The broth was tasty and had a good salt level. The eggs looked like they were cooked in a ring. it was perfectly round. Overall this was a Crabtacular 8
This fragrant and dish was full of crabmeat and crawfish which was seasoned well 8 The biscuit was nothing out of the ordinary 6
Sweet Potato Pancakes
This was a special. A little sweet a little savory a little Cinnamony. Darrel brought us some Local Dr. Bills Syrup that was a mix of Cane and Maple Syrup It was delecious and Vitamin Fortified. I feel healthier already. The Cakes are not very photogenic but delicious. 8
We learned about Cane syrup from Darrel who told us that in the South, its as common as table honey in the North. These cakes were fluffy and had a distinct spicy cloves Sweet Potato flavor… unique and so tasty. I really enjoy the syrup because at times , a strong maple syrup can overpower a less dominant flavor, and this is a great example 8
That’s it for Horns. A great second stop.
The Ruby Slipper
Spacious dark and felt like a New Orleans Bar Movie Set.
Jazz music plays in the background which fits the venue. Our most excellent server Nicole served coffee. The coffee supplier is French Truck Coffee. It’s dark and super strong 8
The menu is pretty extensive. It took a few minutes to narrow down the final choices.
Gene nails it when he compares this place to a movie set. A unique feature here is the bar in the center where patrons were seated as single brunchers. We glanced up to spy a young lady dressed in a fitted shirt dress in a 50’s print kitten fabric, red cat eyes, full sleeve tats, and a navy ponytail seated next to a guy with a boxy tweed jacket, slicked back side parted hair, and stovepipe slacks. Everyone comes here to eat, it’s really a rich feast for all the senses. Our waitress was so charming and patient and kept our coffee cups filled.
BBQ SHRIMP & GRITS
Sauteed Gulf shrimp with beer & rosemary butter reduction, over creamy stone ground grits served with a buttermilk biscuit
The Barbecue sauce was sweet and tangy. The Local Shrimp were super flavorful. The Grits were good on their own. The Biscuit was Tender light and fluffy. It was served with Cane Syrup Butter. In spite of the fact that it was served on a chipped serving dish it was a very tasty 8
The biscuit was great and reminded me of Popeye’s biscuits, btw that is a good thing 7 Shrimp were very fresh and flavorful yet the star here were the fabulous grits, cooked and seasoned to a tasty 8
Slow-cooked, apple-braised pork debris served over a buttermilk biscuit, topped with two poached eggs,finished with hollandaise
CHICKEN ST. CHARLES
Fried chicken breast served over a buttermilk biscuit,topped with two poached eggs, finished with a porktasso cream sauce
SHRIMP BOOGALOO BENEDICT
Gulf shrimp sauteed with pork tasso and creole tomato sauce served over fried green tomatoes, a buttermilk biscuit and two poached eggs
I spite of the fact that the eggs were a bit overcooked these were 8s across the board.
More of those lofty, salty and crisp top biscuits, they are so delicious. 8 Since I ignore poached eggs as a rule, my focus is always on the creativity of sauces and middle stuff. I adored the Boogaloo even though it had so much going on. The fried green tomato was crispy and firm inside. This is a Must Order! 9
A tasting of our specialty pancakes, including one each of Cinnamon Swirl, Bacon Praline, & our Pancake of the Day (Cream Cheese Blueberry Danish)
Let me start by saying that you need to go the the rant page and read how I feel about mix pancakes. THESE were NOT from a mix. They were slightly crispy fluffy tender soft and slightly greasy just like Gramma made em. They were 8s across the board.
Lawdy Mama…. closest to the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted. ( David from WHISK in Chicago still wears the crown) The Cream Cheese blueberry Danish was sinful. Every bite is a “mmmmm hmmmm” 8
Craziest Interior Ever. A Cajun Explosion. The music was all over the board just like this place. R&B Country Lionel Richie. And to make things worse there was radio music blasting from the kitchen. I like when people enjoy their work but the blaring side music was a bit annoying.
It was HOT. It was LOUD. I passed on a cup of coffee due to the sticky condition my condition was in.
However, the interior was so kitschy bright and cheerful that I found myself in a great mood to be there. I am a sucker for loud and bright vinyl tablecloths. I ordered a freshly squeezed jumbo orange juice and listened to the two crude dudes behind us talk about the waitresses while perusing the smallish menu.
The menu was fairly smallish so it did’t take much time to make a decision.
Grilled French Bread with Ham, Poached Eggs & Hollandaise
The Grits were cheesy and buttery. A decent version 7 The eggs were near perfect 9 The Hollandaise was smooth silky and tart 8 The thinly sliced Ham was slightly charred and Hammy. 8 The french bread was crusty and lightly toasted 8 Although it was a slightly different take on your normal Bennie It wasn’t all that exciting over all. I probably wouldn’t re order it. 7
I can only comment on the grits since I did not try the rest. The truth is that NO is full of places that serve their own signature style of grits. These were smooth and very cheesy. 7
FRENCH TOAST BURRITO
This was something I had never seen before therefore I HAD to order it. I suspected that this was going to be a bomb. As it turned out it was reasonably tasty but of course the tortilla was sort of useless for a french toast device. In spite of that it earned a 7 The sausage that they used in the stuffing saved it.
We spotted this item on the menu and were totally intrigued so ordered one. It looks very cool when Gene cut it for the purpose of taking a photo. I took a few bites but it just didn’t work. The idea was creative but dipping the tortilla in egg and browning it added no taste and depth to the dish. So-So 5
Corn Bread Waffle, Sweet Potato Duck Hash & Pepper Jelly
Shredded Duck with chunky smashed Sweet Potatoes. Sweet with a touch of heat.It was delicious. The Cornbread Waffle was Corny and tasty. This dish was pretty darn GOOD. an overall 8
Tasty brunch entree that should not scare you…. The waffle is sweet and full of fresh corn flavor. The duck was tender and tasty. My only disappointment was how mushy the sweet potato was in the hash. If that were corrected, this dish could be great 7
I tried Chicory coffee and honestly, was not at all charmed 1
That’s it for Elizabeths a wild number 4
I apologize in advance for the terrible lighting on the pics. there is no window lights and pitiful overhead bulbs.
We went in at opening and got Coffee of course 7 The crowd started gathering… The menu was pretty substantial so it took a few minutes to decide. In the mean time our super friendly server Kevin kept us entertained. New Orleans Jazz music played in the background. It was pretty evident that this place was mostly filling with tourists staying in the nearby large hotels.
This was the only place we visited in the Business District and it was very busy within 15 minutes of opening at 7am. Most of the patrons were from tour groups as they seemed to know each other. Kevin was our fun and patient waiter. The menu has so many choices, you need to concentrate on it while you sip delicious coffee. Tight quarters but comfortable chairs 8
Diane started our journey with a Bacon Bloody Mary. In spite of the fact that I love Good ripe Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Ketchup and Catsup, I’m not a fan of Tomato Juice. In spite of that I did actually sort of enjoy this concoction. It was seasoned and spiced beautifully. I give it a shocking 8
I like that they have a Bloody of the Day. The BBM was smoky and spicy and Gene kept sliding it over to his side of the table so you KNOW it was good 9
Decisions were made and food was ordered
andouille crusted grit cakes with 2 poached eggs, crawfish hollandaise sauce, served with ratatouille
Hollandaise is smooth and buttery. Good but needs a bit more acid 7 The Grit cakes are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A very tasty 8 The Eggs are near perfect 9 The Ratatouille was a good compliment and a Breakfast Gator breakfast first. 8 A good combo
The grit cake was crispy, tender and very tasty and the ratatouille was simply perfect 9
Shrimp and Garlic Aioli French Toast
I never would have thought that this would have been good… but it is. The contrast of the savory Garlic and local fresh Gulf Shrimp against the backdrop of the sweet soft french toast actually works. An amazing 8
I believe this was one of my favorite brunch entrees while in NO, The savory custard toast with buttery garlic cream and fresh shrimp A definite reorder item 9
Pineapple Rum Raisin French Toast served with Neuske’s bacon or sausage
For some reason we didn’t get Neuske’s anything. Shame too. We did get a couple of sausage patties that were tasty. Porky and had a bit of heat. A tad overcooked 8 The French Toast was pretty close to right. The sauce was sweet but tangy This was a good combination 8
I was excited to hear that Jimmy’s makes their own sausage. The daily flavor was Blueberry but we opted for plain pork patty. It was very tast although a bit too crisped. The rum raisin pineapple FT was delicious and tender 8
That was the last of the breakfasts.
Well that’s it Gators. Our journey has come to a conclusion
I have to say that we didn’t have any food on this trip that wasn’t good. From the Nola Benedict at Curio to the Steak Tartare at Coquette. All of my pre trip research paid off. Go Me
As for us we are off to our next adventure.