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more New Orleans love: Casamento’s

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A very happy cutie pie waiting for oysters at the counter at Casamento’s, one of New Orlean’s legendary eateries.  Everybody goes there for the fresh raw oysters.  David and his best friend Josh are known to practically move into the restaurant for the afternoon, downing dozens and dozens of New Orleans oysters between them with nothing much more than a drop of Tabasco on each one, oh, of course, and a lot of beer. 

As for me, I dream of Casamento’s when I’m not in New Orleans, but not about the raw oysters.  I dream of their Oyster Loaf.   I dream of this…

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Cafe du Monde’s beignets: how many ways can you say fabulous?

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There are simply not enough words in the English language–même le Français–to describe how much I love beignets at Café du Monde in New Orleans.  The crispy, pillowy goodness of fried dough, arriving in triplicates buried in a mound of tooth-achingly sweet powdered sugar, were just far too much for my senses to process.  They caused a temporary bend in my space and time continuum, and before I knew it there were mere crumbs left on the plate where three, six, nine of those babies once were.  Aided and abetted by the bottomless cup of sweetened, milky, nutty, chicory-infused New Orleans coffee, I couldn’t resist but to ask–no, beg–for more.

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still lifes from dinner in a dark(ish) room

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L’Esguard, slide show



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L’Esguard: quite possibly the worst meal of my life

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The usual caveats apply and all that, but I might have just eaten at the worst restaurant in the world. Not that I hadn’t been forewarned; I should have taken note when Rafael Garcia Santos, the One-Man-Michelin-Guide of Spain, contorted his face into something quite indescribable when I told him we were going to eat at l’Esguard. I should have listened to many other concerned friends who pointed out that Roses—and the legendary elBulli—was really not that much farther from Barcelona. One even pulled out a mobile and offered to get us a reservation.

Alas, I was determined. Pigheaded, I should say. I had already been to elBulli, but not yet l’Esguard. We were sticking with our plan, we would not be swayed by anyone, not even the lot of them. Our resolve was, sadly, resolute.

You could hardly blame us. The chef, Miguel Sanchez Romera, has a back-story that is more than intriguing: a brain surgeon neurologist by day, and an haute cuisine chef by night. Ok, it’s more like two and four days a week, respectively, but you get my drift. Quite an iconoclast, Sanchez Romera famously denounced the inclusion of his restaurant in the Michelin Guide for Spain. Whether he had done so pre or post the not-so-favorable mention (ok, a demotion) in said guide is up for question, however.

I knew things began southward not long after we entered the beautifully restored 16th century building. Lining the walls of the reception room were photographs of the food. Beautiful yet strangely sterile. They were blown up, spotlighted, and posed as if to demand no less than worship from the unsuspecting diners passing through the corridor.

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