David and I honeymooned in New Orleans 34 years ago. We bought a honeymoon package from a travel agent (remember those?) which included lodging at the Royal Orleans plus a few other things, including dinner at Antoine’s. We both grew up in families that ate in nice restaurants pretty often but Antoine’s was definitely a cut above. Opened in 1840, it is still owned and operated by the family of the original owners. It’s quite an institution.
We ate lunch there with friends a couple of years ago but had not been back for dinner in all these years. We had decided to have one really nice dinner during our vacation last week. There were several choices up for consideration but we opted for Antoine’s, in part because we were staying at the Royal Orleans our second weekend and Antoine’s is only a couple hundred steps away.
White linen tablecloths, freshly baked bread, a nice bottle of wine, good food…definitely my idea of a good time. We finished our meal with an old-fashioned dessert – Cherries Jubilee or “Cerises Jubile” as the menu states. Yes, the menu is still in French but with English descriptions. Back when we were kids Cherries Jubilee was a dessert which was served fairly often in nice restaurants but I haven’t seen it in years.
Sweet, dark cherries flamed in brandy at the table and served over vanilla ice cream, not only is it tasty but it’s a bit of a show as well.
David ordered Cafe au Lait to go with his dessert. The waiter brought out two small silver pitchers, one with hot coffee and the other with hot steamed milk. He then poured the two simultaneously into the cup. Nice presentation. I ordered tea, of course. I just love those little silver pots.
The service was impeccable. At the end of our meal David asked the waiter if we could take a menu. They are often given as souvenirs. David told the waiter that we still have ours from our honeymoon (somewhere). He returned a few minutes later with a menu which he had taken to the chef to sign. Wasn’t that nice?
The leisurely pace of the meal, the wine (a nice Beaujolais), and the formal setting all reminded us of meals in Paris. We decided that at least a couple of times a week we will make time for a more formal, slow-paced dinner at home. Now I’m on the hunt for a French linen tablecloth. Oh, and one of those cute little silver tea pots.