New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Part 1: Friday Night's Food Sampling

Alright Folks,

We made it back from the NOWFE alive and very, very happy. We had some great food and even better wine. My task is to give you the low down on the chow and let me tell you, it was fantastic. The food at the grand tastings was amazing and we attended a seminar that was all about the duck, delicious duck, but more on that later.

1. Seafood Pasta- The Hilton
I was starving and there was no line at this booth so I decided to give it a go. The flavor was good but the paste was mushy. Seafood=crawfish.

2. Grape Tomatoes with Buffalo Mozzarella, Balsamic, Basil and Field Greens- Reginelli's
I am a salad addict and very conservative with my praise of most restaurant salads, but this one was de-lish. Nothing special or overly imaginative BUT, the greens were crisp and sweet, the mozzarella was meaty and flavorful, and the vinaigrette was not too overpowering or to weak. Only complaint, crunchy tomatoes. Its really hard to get good cherry or grape tomatoes right now. I would have gone with a roma, sliced.

3. Shrimp Bisque- I can't remember the restaurant for the life of me.
Probably better that I don't remember the restaurant this was from because it was very weak. Chicken broth was an overpowering flavor in the bisque, and a real turn off.

4. Mini Muffaletta- Di Martino's
It was super cute, and really good. Di Martino's is famous for their muffs. The meat was really good quallity. Nice flavor and texture. I didn't pull all the meat out in the first bite (I hate that). I felt that olive relish overpowered a lot of the meat flavor but I imagine its a hard balance to find when your muffaletta is the size of a golf ball.

5. Lemoncello Avocado Bisque with Lump Crab, Grapefruit Relish and Siracha and Lemon Creme Sauce- New Orleans Grill at Windsor Court
Absolute heaven. Great avocado and lemoncello flavor went fantastically with the delicate fresh lump crab. The grapefruit relish was so flavorful (I plan on experimenting immediately). The dish was served cool and very refreshing after tasting many many red wines that evening. This was my favorite dish of the weekend.

6. Soft-shell Crab Bisque with Black Truffle Butter- Commander's Palace
The food gods were smiling on us this day. Beautiful creamy yellow color with specks of black truffle. Velvety on the tongue. Brilliant flavor, left us wanting more. This was Collin's pick for the weekend.

7. Duck Crepe with Cucumber Cilantro Vinaigrette- Once again, I do not know who created this dish.
I am sure I butchered the ingredients in this dish. It was one of the last things I tried Friday night. The crepe was served with micro-greens. The duck flavor was really nice. The rest of the items in this dish (vinaigrette, greens, and crepe) were so light that the duck flavor was the center of attention. A close contender for Friday night fave.

8. Vidalia Onion and Jalapeno Hummus with Smoked Pita- Fire
Delicious dish. Chips could definitely stand alone and the dip had intense sweet onion flavor. TERRIBLE choice to eat while attempting to taste and critique wine, however. My palate was wrecked for quite sometime after tasting this dip.

9. Tiny Lemon Pie- No clue......
Really nice tiny slice of lemon pie with whipped creme and a blueberry on top. The graham crust was perfect.

10. Honey Goat Cheese- Forgotten Coast Foods
This place had some great great cheeses. The honey goat was the perfect finish. A fragrant sweet goat cheese with a light bite and creamy finish. I have to get my hands on some of this cheese. If any of our Memphis readers have seen this cheese or something comparable around these parts, let me know.

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