Tag Archives: K-Paul’s

NOLA: K-Paul’s Kitchen

Tonight we headed down the street, a 5 minute stroll to K-Paul’s. Paul Prudhomme’s beautiful, warm Cajun kitchen. You want to be here as soon as you enter. Friendly staff, exposed brick walls, an open kitchen and original pop art works greet you.

K-Paul's Outside

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We had perused the menu online before coming and hoped something would finally say, “pick me.” K-Paul’s short menu has too many choices that jump out. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know. Just as I think I have it nailed, our knowledgeable server Nicole relates the special. Surf and turf which basically combines two fan favorites. I’m in. I order the fried green tomatoes and shrimp creole to start. Rob orders the rabbit starter and stuffed pork chop. We intend to really explore the native sazerac and so we start here. The cocktail arrives and is VERY generous, about a triple. It is classic. Hints of absinthe and citrus and warm, soft rye. Excellent. We also order a “Cajun” gin martini to try with pickled chayote, which they call mirliton.  Again an excellent cocktail, spicy and crisp.

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Appetizers arrive. My shrimp creole is rich and succulent. The tomatoes are lightly fried but unnecessary. The creole is divine. Rob’s rabbit is crisp and delicious. The dark meat is nicely cut with a sweet orange marmalade. Two truly excellent apps.

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Our mains arrive shortly after. I am having the recommended special, Drum fish, a light flakey white fish, pan fried with blackening spice and beef tip also blackened and served with rich, debris sauce, a roast beef jus that is reduced for four days in the kitchen. K Paul’s is a kitchen which takes their sauces seriously. True French influence on the Cajun scene. My main came with perfect broccoli and heavenly mashed potatoes. My only complaint would be the overall saltiness. I am hesitant to berate a kitchen on this point because my tolerance is low, but this was at the peak of my tolerance.

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Rob’s pork chop was blackened and stuffed with exotic cheeses, and served with a spiced and sauced potato with sautéed bok choy. The pork chop was tender and flavourful and it’s sauce was meaty and rich with mushrooms, red wine and prosciutto. The potato was outstanding with a rich and creamy, spicy sauce. This food was set apart from the more typical New Orleans fare because of the clear mastery of ingredients and sauces.

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Dessert was a shared piece of pecan sweet potato pie. Perfect – not too sweet and chock full of nuts, it was wonderfully balanced between the sugary nuttiness of pecan pie and the Christmas-spiced sweet potato filling, to make the best of both worlds.  The lightly sweetened whipped cream was a true compliment.

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K-Paul’s is a stand-out. It is clear why Paul Prudhomme was among the first celebrity chefs in a world without Food Networks and mainstream food culture. This flagship restaurant exhibits the best of Creole-influenced food and sets the standard for what it can aspire to be.

 

RT…and we’re off!

Today began at 4:45 am. I never sleep the night before I fly and we set two alarms. It was dark of course as I struggled out of bed, but I was happy to be “getting on the road”. Our younger cat, Scout was asleep at the bottom of the bed, all puffy eyed with sleep and none too happy about the disruption. It is still a full hour and a half before she is supposed to lick me awake and failing that, knock my lamp on my head. Our older kitty Smudge is off pouting somewhere, as she has been since she saw me take the suitcases out.

We have a 7:30 flight to Charlotte and then connecting on to New Orleans. Our flying experiences have taught us not to depend on Ottawa international for sustenance so we bring along Chinese BBQ pork buns from Green Fresh, the perfect on-the-run snack, and some sweet cherries. Both flights are on time and have us in to New Orleans just after noon. Its 42 degrees, and humid. We are dressed for a cool Ottawa morning and a cold plane ride. Getting the rental car was unusually painless this time and our room at the Hotel Monteleone was ready for early check in. The travel fairies are in our corner today. Coincidentally there is an international food bloggers conference going on in the city and it is hosted at our hotel. Many of the bloggers I personally follow will be in attendance. We might possibly sign up for an event or two if there is space.

The view from our hotel room of the Mighty Mississippi.
French Quarter iron work

After unpacking, changing and settling in, we decide to grab a pint and a bite. Acme’s Oyster House is around the corner. We visited on our last trip and decided to brave the line and headed over. The line is long but if you are just two and say you will take a table or the bar, it gets you in faster. We were seated at a small table for two at the front window. Pleasant view except for the delivery truck blocking entire said view. No matter. We are hungry, thirsty and thrilled to be here.

We immediately order Blue Moon beers, a favourite of ours that is unavailable at home. We would have ordered a pitcher but it is so hot, it’s pointless. It would be warm before you could get to the bottom of it. The beer goes down easy. We order two more beers and an order of craw puppies, deep fried crawfish meat, spices, green onion and corn batter, which are much like seafood croquettes. The puppies come with a horseradish cream sauce, with a bite bigger than it’s bark for sure.

Next up, Rob ordered a shrimp po’boy, dressed, and I asked for a 1/2 shrimp po’boy with a cup of their crab and corn bisque soup of the day. Po’boys of course are classic N’awlins fare. The bread is slightly crispy with the perfect chewy factor. The shrimp on this po’boy were good but really indistinguishable from any fried fare. I am spoiled by the shrimp po’boy at Guys from my last visit to the city. At Guys the shrimp is lightly battered allowing the delicate flavour of the Gulf shrimp to shine through. The crab and corn bisque was a classic chowder, with a strong corn taste and a nice mild crab flavour.

We finished our “bite” with a shared dish of Acme’s bread pudding, highly recommended by our server. Hot, sweet with a solid pudding texture. Delicious!

Now fortified, we headed back into the heat of the French Quarter ready to explore a bit. But then, we looked at each other and realized more than anything, it was nap time.

Revitalized for the most part after a snooze, we headed out into the evening “blast furnace” that is New Orleans in late August. We strolled through the French Quarter, reminiscing about the last time. Our walk was peppered with foodie landmarks, all yet to be experienced by us., including Paul Prudhomme’s K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA, and Central Grocery where the muffaletta sandwich was born.

We found ourselves headed to Coop’s Place where we had enjoyed an inspired rabbit and ham jambalaya on our last visit. Still travel weary, we were not terribly hungry, but we were awfully thirsty.

Coop’s Place is an awesome dive bar. The bar, dim but warmly lit features a raw, rough oak top that owes its sateen finish to the oil, sweat and beers of thousands. Staff is accommodating but far from effusive. We took our “regular” seats at the bar, with our backs to the pool table, the Packers game and an altar of sorts, and ordered up a couple of beers.

We had to of course have some more of that amazing jambalaya and it can be ordered in a cup size. Perfect. Two cups of jamabalaya and a shared shrimp remoulade salad. The jambalaya was smoky and spicy with hot sauce. The andouille mild and flavorful. The salad was comprised of nice mixed very fresh greens, with large wedges of tomato and rounds of cucumber. The shrimp were plump and sweet. the dressing came on the side and was creamy and mild, a little herbaceous and slightly sweet.

Dinner by dive-bar light.