I just gotta say this:
Look ma! My blog is on display!
I was at the Secret of Louisiana Wine & Dine event on Monday. It’s a four-course dinner paired with wine and there are various exhibits of Americana (or should I say Louisiana) on display during cocktails. There’s a tank of live crawfish for one. I’m not sure if I ate one of them later but at this point they’re all alive. ;)
I like how the canopy is set along the lake so all dining is al fresco. There are videos and cooking demonstrations (had some pretty good Cajun shrimp made with just 4 spices) and I love how they printed the menu on re-labelled wine glasses together with the table number.
New Orleans Chowder
A wonderful rich soup, loaded with clams, shrimp & calamari, slow simmered with diced potato, onion and celery in a creamy thick soup.
This was paired with a Kim Crawford Pinot Savignon Blanc that I thought was very appropriate – it’s very refreshing, bubbly and easy-to-drink, a perfect starter wine. The chowder each had a whole crawfish inside too!
I loved the creamy soup – I had two in fact. There’s loads of seafood treasures inside and you can crack the crawfish and eat it if you want, although it’s meagre pickings. Crawfish like this doesn’t have a lot of meat inside but the soup more than makes up for it! Lovely!
Best ingredients from the bayou. Creole crawfish, creamy seafood gumbo & crabmeat mashed potato on corn fritter.
This is a dish of three different small appetizers. I like the crab meat mashed potato on corn fritter but I felt that this dish came out too late – it was already slightly cold (room temperature). The timing was a bit off for this one, some things are no doubt meant to be served cold and vice versa, but not at ambient temperature.
I can understand that cooking for so many people presents a unique challenge, but this was the only dish that was served slightly late. All the other dishes were nice and warm (even the dessert!). However, I can see the awesome potential – I loved the crab meat on corn fritter! :)
Famous blackened red fish and jerk chicken with a rice dish consisting of onion, pepper and celery which makes up the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking.
I absolutely adore this dish! It’s full of seafood – huge shrimps, mussels, scallops! The red fish was wonderfully spiced – I love the hearty dose of pepper coating the fish. It’s a very heavy dish, broken up with several asparagus stalks.
This is paired with a Wente Bayer Ranch Zinfandel, a nice red that goes against the guidelines of white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine, yet pulls it off with panache (it’s just a general rule of thumb many wine dinners I’ve been to has espoused). Absolutely the best dish of the night – perfect representation of Cajun style cooking and everything was still smoking hot!
(except the wine, as far as I know mulled wine does not originate from Louisiana)
Mud Pie & Praline
A rich New Orleans treat – roasted pecan on buttery praline and rich warm chocolate cake.
A wonderful end to the dinner. It’s paired with a McGuigan Black Label Moscato, a sweet dessert wine. I liked the mud pie but what really got me was the buttery praline!
It’s awesomeness distilled into a messy chunk on your plate. I loved it so much I ate the entire caramel-like praline that left me wanting for more!
A great finish to a wonderful dinner! Eiling and Ziling was there too – good to see you again!
Oh, and here’s one of me signing the printed out Secret of Louisiana review of the first dinner. Heh.
Thanks again to Connie for a wonderful dinner! I learned a great deal about how to properly pronounce the etymology of the word “jambalaya” from the US Embassy representative.
It’s sham-pal-ha-ya. :)