We had only been in the French Quarter for two days, but we did a pretty good job of sampling as much food and drinks that we could so far. There was still one more full day of culinary exploration, and we were determined to make the most of it. We had dined at Bayona on our first night, and it was fantastic. We were back for their “Ooh La La Lunch”, which was a three course, all you could drink, champagne lunch for only $30.00 a person. We couldn’t wait, especially since this was the day that we would get to meet Chef Susan Spicer.
We arrived at the restaurant and were seated promptly. Once again, the staff were so friendly. I love this place! We started by ordering off menu, and got the chicken liver pate. It was lightly salted and went beautifully with our champagne. The presentation was stunning, and it tasted so good.
Next up was our first course. I ordered the cream of cauliflower soup, and Eric got the cream of garlic soup, that has been on the menu since the day they opened. Both soups were absolutely delicious! Served in perfect sized bowls, the amount of flavor and spice in each one was simply amazing. The cauliflower was pureed perfectly. By looking at it, you couldn’t tell that it was once cauliflower. The garlic soup Eric had was a wonderful smoky, garlic flavor, but it wasn’t overpowering. It was perfect.
For our second course, I ordered the steak brochette, mushroom-gruyere omelet, fingerling potatoes and creamed spinach. Eric ordered another Bayona classic and staff favorite, their smoked duck PB&J sandwich. My dish was heavenly. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare. The omelet was so flavorful and light. It may have been the best omelet I’ve ever tasted.
Eric’s PB&J sandwich was out of this world. It was made with smoked duck, cashew butter, pepper jelly, and served on a wild flour multigrain bread. It also came with an apple-celery salad. We could see, and taste, why this was a staff favorite. The duck was cooked perfectly. The cashew butter and pepper jelly wonderfully balanced each other out. The apple-celery salad was a perfect side to add crispness to counter-balance the sandwich.
During our entree course, Chef Spicer came out and greet us at our table. She was so nice! We talked with her for a few minutes, and she was such a pleasant person. We couldn’t keep her too long because she was working in the kitchen, cooking these wonderful dishes. It was such a thrill to meet her!
Dessert was our last course. Eric ordered their coquito ice cream. I ordered the sorbet special that included mint and pear flavors. Both desserts were amazing. Coquito is a very popular holiday drink in Puerto Rico. It’s their version of egg nog, and it’s very addicting and delicious. I highly recommend you try it sometime. The ice cream tasted just like the drink. My sorbet was delicious. It was light, yet packed with a perfect balance of flavor. I loved it.
I said this before about Bayona, and I will say it again. You have to go here when you are in New Orleans! Go for brunch, lunch, dinner, whatever. Just go! Our champagne lunch was wonderful. Every course was delicious, and the attention to detail from the staff was fantastic. They do their “Oooh La La Lunch” in January and February. Call ahead of time for reservations and details.
As we were getting ready to leave, I purchased Chef Spicer’s cookbook, “Crescent City Cooking”. I asked if she could come out again and sign it for me, and she did! The fact that she takes the time out of her busy day to meet, and interact with guests, just shows what a wonderful person she truly is. They also had a book on display in the lobby filled with memories from the last 29 years. It’s filled with pictures of famous people that have dined here, and there is a copy of their very first menu.
I have to thank Chef Susan Spicer and the entire staff for treating us so well, and showing us your wonderful southern hospitality. You made our trip so worthwhile. We will be back when we return to the French Quarter.