HALLIE EPHRON: Last week some of us were in New Orleans for Bouchercon while some of us (me, for instance), stayed home. Maybe I was inspired by the food I was missing, because I baked the New York Times's famous plum torte (here's all that's left). They publish the recipe every year at the start of the fall. And it was spectacular.
But I'm dying to hear about a food highlight from my fellow Reds -- if you were in New Orleans what did you enjoy most. If you were home, are you starting to eat for fall or still dining on summer tomatoes and mozzarella? Kaye is joining us, another foodie in NOLA for Bouchercon.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: OK, I ate one of the best things ever in NOLA. It's going to sound weird, but it was fantastic. It was .... a smoked duck, cashew butter, and pepper jelly sandwich, with marinated onion and served on toasted whole grain bread with an apple celery salad. Ordered it at a magnificent restaurant in the French quarter called Bayona (with a beautiful secret back garden). Insanely good.
Now I'm going back to fruits and vegetables and water, thank you very much!
LUCY BURDETTE: I didn't get to go to New Orleans this year – boo-hoo! It looked like so much fun and that sandwich sounds wonderful Susan--you had me at pepper jelly. But here's the dinner we had Friday night, crabcakes, sweet potatoes, beets right out of the garden, and a green salad with the last of the tomatoes and cucumbers. Pretty good for homemade stay-at-homes!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: The best thing I ate recently (not in NOLA, alas!) was at a going-away luncheon some friends threw for their son, who is moving out of the house and away to California. The wife is a fantastic vegetarian cook, and she made a squash soup with heirloom potatoes that gave it a beautiful plummy color. It tasted as wonderful as it looked. Squash soup reminds me why I like colder weather.
Also? Homemade hummus sandwiches on thick grainy bread with fresh greens and slices of red onion. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture - everything was very Instagrammable!
Here's our latest from the organic farm next door: peppers, peppers and peppers. I'm looking for recipes that can use them without overwhelming: spicy-hot cuisine doesn't agree with my stomach much these days.
RHYS BOWEN: 'I'm just back from New Orleans and one of the most fabulous things about this convention (apart from seeing dear old friends) was the food. Nobody I spoke to had a bad meal.
There were too many good restaurants to choose from. Outstanding for me was the Palace Cafe where we ate a lunch and a dinner. The crab cheesecake was so wonderful that I still fantasize about it. The oyster bake with creamy garlic sauce--mmmmm.
I also had raw oysters, fried oysters, crab cakes and of course seafood gumbo and jambalaya (and even a crawfish croissant at the airport). And my favorite breakfast was pain perdu gooey and creamy and sinful and stuffed with at least half a pigs worth of bacon. But I'm forgetting the beignets at Cafe du Monde! Must go back just to eat.
KAYE BARLEY: I fell in love with the Palace Cafe while in New Orleans. It was only a block or so from the hotel and it was "just right. I ate there several times, once with Lesa Holstine, once with Maryglenn McCombs, and once with Maryglenn and Molly Weston. Each visit was an experience in really, really exquisite dining, truly. At a very reasonable price.
If I have to choose one delicious dish to recommend, it would be their CRABMEAT CHEESECAKE! Pecan crust, mushroom sauté, Creole meunière and here's what it looks like. It. is. divine.
Recipe can be found here.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Susan, I ate at Bayona, too! I almost tried the duck pbj sandwich, but they had veal sweetbreads, which I absolutely adore, so I had to order those. And they were delicious.
But now I'm sad, because I ate at the Palace Cafe twice, and did not have the crabmeat cheesecake!!! Next time I'll know.
So much good food... Mr. B's (very traditional NOLA), and K Paul's, which was fabulous. (Can I admit that I had beignets from hotel room service, which were not at all bad, but did NOT get to the Cafe du Monde???) But I think my favorite meals were at Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel (roasted cauliflower to die for, and the fried kale was amazing) and at CellarDoor in the Central Business District. I had a tuna poke salad that was fabulous, and sliced, flash fried (I'm guessing) and seasoned Brussels' sprouts, LEMONGRASS GASTRIQUE BRUSSELS, with Coconut creme and sesame seeds. It was too dark to take pics of the food, but here's the gorgeous chandelier.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, this is all amazing! We went for drinks at SoBou (South of Bourbon) which was incredibly chic and yet, it being New Orleans, three guys demanded we drink shots with them. (My pal did, I didn't. ) Seriously. It was 6:15 pm. And then we went to August.
And sisters, it was unbelievable.
It's John Besh's flagship restaurant, on Tchoupitoulas Street, which is adorable on its own. SO.
We had prosecco and three appetizers. One app was a gorgeous amazing chopped salad with the tiniest babiest most dutiful vegetables in champagne vinaigrette. We had potato gnocchi with caviar.
And. Sigh. We had foie gras three ways. One: traditional with dark plum sauce and brioche toast. Two: well, it was like a foie gras Dobos torte: the worlds thinnest layer of brioche pastry, then the foie gras, then again and again and again. With a sweet/sour orange marmalade drizzle. And three: Foie gras "blueberry pie"--which is in a brioche cup topped with pickled blueberries.
DYING. It was AMAZING.
In the morning, even I had a beignet.
HALLIE: Etiquette question: How do you eat beignets without getting powdered sugar all over yourself?
And for the rest of you, what does the season have you indulging in, food-wise?