Seafood diet

Nowhere is the old adage “a see food and eat it diet” more apt than in a culinary navigation of New Orleans. What is it with that fundamental cats to fish attraction? This cat has always been rather circumspect about eating them, and much happier to enjoy them as a visual display. But, as I stroll around New Awlings anything that enjoys a water-based existence had better look out.

If you are looking for a tasteful starting point, listen when your knowledgeable company interrupts the fine Californian Pinot Noir with a recommendation. “Have you tried Turtle Soup?” she asked. A quick scan of the cans in my mind suggested that neither Heinz or Campbells have yet delivered up such a delicacy in my local soup kitchen. “Garçon, crack open some turtles!” I thought, fortunately without actually saying it. And Tableau on Jackson Square introduced me to a whole new gastronomic pleasure…

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Then, if you fancy a salad to satisfy the palate in the build up to the main event, why not drop in on Vacherie on Toulouse Street for a fried oyster and spinach salad. Sophisticates amongst you may say that a cool sauvignon blanc will complement it just fine; unsophisticates such as I, will find a glass of porter does the trick…

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When thinking about main dishes I rarely find myself wondering what will go with the brussels sprouts. But, at EAT on Dauphine Street the blackened salmon provides the perfect mix of crispy and tasty accompaniment. They just don’t know how to do great chips in America though! Fries! what’s that all about?

Meanwhile, back at Tableau on Jackson Square, the gulf yellowfin tuna with a poached egg came with a waiter recommendation of “cooked rare”. My lifetime scepticism about the edification of fish led me to go medium rare; which convinced me that the rare variety would probably have been eyeing me up for a fight or making its own way back to the kitchen…

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And my dining companion decided on the ‘heads on’ shrimp and grits. Nothing like having your dinner eyeing you up! Though hiding behind some plant-like camouflage wasn’t really going to fool a ravenous Mississippi belle…

Until we speak again, if it is the Oceana Grill in the French Quarter it must be time to share half ‘n’ half blackened and fried alligator bites… and make it snappy! The old ones are the best (jokes, that is, not alligators). Okay, so it’s not exactly a seafood dish, but that’s not a conversation I’m having with any alligators, so they’re in…

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Cats in search of fish

Trinidad cat and Welsh cat converge on unfamiliar Italian terrain, and with noses pointed skywards there was nothing better to do than search out the local catch. But why make this a challenge, when the best starting point is milk-based beverages of choice? The guide tells us that Antico Caffe Spinnato is one of the better pavement-side cafes for the best in cappuccino’s or a caffe ginseng… accompanied by a 7-layered chocolate in-house design, and a wild strawberry tart.

Antico Caffe Spinnato [1]Antico Caffe Spinnato [2]

Suitably refreshed, it was time to go in search of the elusive scaly edibles. This place is known for its local fishing fleet and characterful street markets, but where is a street market when you need one? Down back streets and through piazza’s we  meander…

Albergheria streetPiazza Bologni [2]

 

 

 

 

Perhaps these guy’s might provide a clue as to the whereabouts of the local fish, after all they seemed as uninterested in strenuous activity as any self-respecting cat…

Piazza Belini [1]As we turn one corner after another the clues are hard to find, but as for Garibaldi (Teatro Politeama, that is)… that’s got to be taking the biscuit!

Teatro Politeama Garibaldi

So, we might need to resort to a hope and a prayer at this stage. Never fear, if it’s a prayer you’re after this place is over-run with prayer shops of all shapes, sizes and states of decor…

Cattedrale di Palermo [exterior 1]

 

Cattedrale di Palermo [interior 3]

 

 

 

 

 

From cathedral-sized praying venues to piazza-edged confessional sheds, or the simple street vending of pious niceties, this place has you covered…

Chiesa di San Giovanni Degli Eremiti [church]

Chiesa Del Gesu [church dome]

 

Church interior on Via Maqueda

 

As we were seemingly running out of the right kind of prayers a sight of a couple of locals emerges, as if to give us a message… ‘keep going’, was the clear  instruction, but where to?

 

 

Piazza San Domenico Via Argenteria (Keep Going)

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how cool a cat you are, you just need a matter of the luck to fall your way; and so it was to be, as two cats retreat to the accommodation of choice…

Quattro Canti [1]

Centrale Palace HotelThe statues of the Quattro Canti were smiling down on us as they shaped up to herd tired cats in the direction of fish-focused culinary delicacies. The Centrale Palace Hotel might not have projected the most promising of entrances, but the invitation to a top floor roof garden restaurant was always a throw of the dice worth taking. A mouth-watering starter of melon and locally-sourced ham or the prawn salad was eagerly supplemented by a Sicilian red wine of clear nomenclature ~ the Etna Rosso:

Hotel starters

Then, the journey was complete, as the elusive catch gets caught! A swordfish and capers affair, delicately dressed with cranberries and aubergine, or a finely prepared sea bream were laid out for our magnificent consumption.

Fish main in hotel

Successfully replete, what do you do after such a feast? Well there is always the home of the operatic and balletic cats… the Teatro Massimo provided the venue for the final scenes of the Godfather trilogy:

Teatro Massimo by night [1]

As Juno would say, until we speak again ‘that’s Palermo for you’! Grazie, arrivederci.