Friday, September 25. Jude's Banging On The Piano. Wine And Appetizers At Antoine's. Everybody got off to a late start this morning. It's almost (but not quite) nostalgic to be made aware that Jude has risen by the distinctive sound of his pianistic stylings. He gets better every time I hear him play. But never any less loud.
We talked about having lunch, but the two Eat Clubs and Ben's services put me so far behind that I couldn't today. Jude said that he would join me tonight for the wine tasting at Antoine's. He's not old enough to drink, but he does like the appetizers that Antoine's serves very generously at these events. Mary Ann said she wanted to go, too. Mary Leigh avoided a test of her long-standing disdain of Antoine's by having something else going on.
In the time it took me to do the radio show, Jude turned up a few girlfriends who he thought would be more fun to run around with than an evening with old dad in older Antoine's. I would have been disappointed had I not been positive that something like this would happen. Mary Ann, on the other hand, stuck with the plan.
The wine tasting, which included about twenty wines from ten countries, including a few real honeys from France, was very good. The appetizers were even better. All the baked oysters were out there: Rockefeller, Bienville, thermidor. Oysters Foch. Crab cakes. Two kinds of canapes, which Mary Ann took a particular liking to. Crabmeat ravigote, which surprised me.
Chef Mike Regua has used events like this to roll out some new dishes. He had a great one tonight. Shrimp were seared (pretty well, judging by their browning) with a peppery sauce, and then squirted with a cool white sauce I couldn't quite dope out. It has similarities with barbecue shrimp, but it's really a different dish. I couldn't find Mike to ask him about the recipe, but I must get it. Two people asked me for it, and I want it for myself.
Between nibbling and sipping, most of my time was taken up by the many people who wanted to talk with me. This was not an Eat Club event, but most of the people there were familiar from past EC events. I spent a good deal of time walking with a couple who live in Florida, and have been subscribing to the New Orleans Menu since it was a print publication in the 1980s. First time I ever met them.
The event broke up at around nine. If I had been there alone, I would have gone downstairs to the Hermes Bar, to which quite a few of the wine tasting attendees filtered after the event. But when it's nine, Mary Ann's attentions are turned to retiring. It's an hour from home, and Jude has the car she came across in. Home, Thomas!
Antoine’s. French Quarter: 713 St. Louis 504-581-4422. Classic Creole.