New Orleans Day One: Beignets for Breakfast and Deanie’s for Dinner

One of New Orleans’ traditional must-try desserts is the beignet (pronounced ben-yā with a long “a”), a delicious deep-fried dough pastry.  Picture a rectangular doughnut with no hole.  Except… somewhat heavier in consistency than your average doughnut.  That’s a beignet!  It actually kind of reminds me of a croissant doughnut, but a slightly heavier version of it…

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to indulge while I was in town, and where better than grab some at Cafe du Monde*, a historic coffee shop in the French Quarter?!  The shop’s been around since 1862, and must be super popular since it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

IMG_5076Cafe du Monde really only serves beignets and various types of coffee — I had the frozen cafe au lait, which was also delicious! — but they do ’em right.  And they pile on the powder on the beignets!  (Wait, that’s an understatement.  But really… you could even add more sugar if you wanted to.)  Look at all that sugary goodness!  I’d rate these bad boys, as well as the coffee as good, btw.

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Only 200 Miles to (Chefs de) France!

Dear Readers, today, I am writing to you from France’s neighboring country of Belgium, land of delectably delectable chocolates!  I’ll be here for the next two weeks, on vacation, and blogging to you about my food adventures abroad — can’t wait to sample and share!

Gotcha!  Juuust kidding… I know it’s not April Fool’s, but I was just in the spirit.  I’m not really in Belgium.  In fact, I’m not even in Europe or anywhere near France at all!  Were you fooled, maybe just for a second?  I mean, after all the posts about the delicious food I’ve published so far, why wouldn’t I be traveling around Europe, trying the finest that the continent has to offer?!  Well, for now I will say that I have actually been to Paris, France before, but today’s post will be about something a bit closer to home.  So close it’s even in the same state.

I’m talking about the France pavilion in Disney’s very own Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, FYI) Center theme park near Orlando, Florida!  Last week, I vacationed with my family in Disney and lunched at the Chefs de France* French bistro located within the park.  We ordered a crepe and a three-course meal to split among three people.

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Cajun-Creole at Toulouse Petit, Bon Appetit

As previously blogged, my latest project at work has brought me on an adventure to the coastal metropolis of Seattle, where I spent a couple evenings exploring the culinary sites that the city had to offer.  One evening, my journey brought me to an establishment named Toulouse Petit*, a Cajun-Creole Frenchish kind of place.

After being seated, I immediately noticed that their menu was extensive, and after spending 15 minutes (or more) perusing the booklet, decided to order an appetizer and an entree.  What to order though?  So much to choose from!

IMG_0712First up, the Rustic Duck and Wild Boar Terrine!  I’m always in the mood for delicious meats, and this classic charcuterie sure hit the spot!  It almost reminded me of a firm pate, and was superbly paired with the sweet and sour flavors of the side salad, and relatively neutral flavor of the crostini.  Palatable to the eyes, palatable to the taste.  Good.

Since I’m at a Cajun spot, I have no other choice than to follow up my appetizer with a culinarily authentic main course!  And what better option to pick than a nice, hearty bowl of gumbo!  Toulouse Seafood Gumbo, that is.  Made with housemade shrimp stock, dark mahogany roux, crawfish, shrimp, pacific fish, and housemade andouille.   Continue reading

Paris-dise in Miami at La Provence

It’s nice to occasionally escape to a place that’s much unlike your own, if only just for 30 minutes or an hour…

In the LatAm microcosm of the US known as Miami, I recently visited a little piece of France sitting near the corner of 41st Street and 107th Avenue in Doral.  A little cafe-type shop called La Provence*.

I’ve walked by it a couple times before on the way to one of my favorite restaurants in Doral — Olivos — but have never stopped in to order anything.  The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating, which is great when the days are nice and sunny — most days.

I recently stopped by and tried one of their sandwiches for lunch — the Brie LT (like BLT) on Ciabatta.  Really, it was more like the Brie — and Bacon — LT.  In addition to the standard ingredients in a BLT sandwich, there was a nice thick, semi-melty layer of brie cheese incorporated right into the center.

012015_laprovence_brieIt took a while for the sandwich to be prepared, but I think the wait was worth it.  The bread even came out with a crunchy crust, yum!  Overall, a pretty fine sandwich.  The relatively lighter taste of the brie balanced out the relatively heavier taste of the bacon, a good combination.  Portion size was pretty decent too.  I actually ended up eating only half the sandwich and saving the other half for another meal!  Then again, $8.95 per is probably slightly more than your average sandwich…

I’d go back to La Provence again.  They had a pretty interesting/extensive menu, so I’d be up for trying something new.  They also had cute (slightly overpriced) desserts and pastries… which I might be tempted to try too.  Here’s their menu in case you’re interested in taking a look.

*Location:
10425 Northwest 41st Street
Doral, FL 33178