Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama Restaurant Watch -- New Orleans Edition

Like my brilliant friend, E, I really love New Orleans. One of the things I love best about it is the food. ( It's possible that the garlic soup at Bayona is, in fact, the single very best thing I've ever eaten.) And you'd really have to wonder about anyone who would visit New Orleans without stopping to eat. So I'm relieved to learn that President Obama made time for gumbo during his trip to the city. Lunch from Dooky Chase was worked into the presidential schedule:

I know he likes gumbo, so there will be gumbo; I know he likes shrimp Creole, so there will be shrimp Creole; I know he likes fried chicken, so there will be chicken.

Chef Leah Chase is reported to believe that the athletic, young president is "too thin," something that New Orleans cuisine has a way of fixing in a hurry. Her food is classic New Orleans, a mixture of Sicilian, French, and Italian. Shrimp Clemenceau, an unlikely but successful casserole of sautéed shellfish, mushrooms, peas, and potatoes, is a no-brainer, but her fried chicken, veal, grits, grillades, and court bouillon are also out of this world. She reportedly cooked enough for him to share. Chase said the Secret Service came by Dooky Chase around 10 a.m. to pick up the food. While the order only called for enough to feed a few people, Chase said, "You know I don't do that." She essentially prepared a full buffet: 35 pieces of fried chicken, two gallons of gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp Creole.

Photo of the president during an earlier visit to Dooky Chase found here.

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