I've been having a blast at Innovations, and thanks to being in talks all day and heading out with colleagues every evening, I've had almost no time to myself (or to tour the city, or to write). Two days ago we headed out to the French Quarter, and even walked down the famed Bourbon Street. It seemed like it was the type of place one must be inebriated to enjoy; I wasn't inebriated, so, well, yeah. In fact, I was about to report that New Orleans was only rather so-so in my book (though admitting that I really should tour the city more before forming a final conclusion).
However, that was before I ate dinner at the Commander's Palace last night. The restaurant is in the Garden District, and has some of the best food I've tasted recently. We ate on the second floor, and I got to spend the whole dinner looking out on what was probably a 100-year old oak tree lit up from underneath. It was a gorgeous atmosphere.
I ordered the chef's three-course meal, which consisted of turtle soup, sauteed creole-spiced gulf fish, and bread-pudding souffle. Those meager titles do not do the dishes justice.
The turtle soup was like a magically enhanced bowl of liquid delight for your taste buds; it was filled with creole spices in a thick stock that contained dozens of chunks of meat. My oh my, turtles are tasty. The fish was excellent; it was sauteed perfectly (still wonderfully moist), and lightly covered in a blend of (you guessed it) creole spices. A few vegetables and a light sauce covered the plate, and complemented the fish perfectly. Neither the soup nor the fish were especially hot-spicy, they were just full of flavor. The bread pudding had a souffle on top and a whisky sauce spooned over that. While I love bread puddings, this was probably the weakest part of the dinner, but that's only because I like my bread puddings heavy and rich, and the souffle made it very light (and dulled the flavor a bit). It was still excellent though, and if you complain about bread puddings being too heavy, this one would have been perfect for you.
The dinner didn't come cheap; I dropped $50 including tax and tip, and I only had water to drink. However, the turtle soup alone might even be worth that price in my book; it was exceptional.
I must now return to New Orleans, bringing my SO with me so we can both enjoy the Commander's Palace.