Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Musings from Mardi Gras no. 4…..post “K Beast” (post Katrina)….

Well for the Krewe of Chef and the Fatman another magnificent Mardi Gras has come and gone. So many high points and one very low point.
I would like to report that New Orleans is BACK baby and it is WONDERFUL!!!!
As always the Hotel Monteleone was magnificent receiving the prestigious 4 diamond award from AAA again....for 2009 (the only 4 Diamond hotel in the Quarter I might add)!
Andrea Thornton Director of Marketing really gave us the ultimate experience by giving us the Monteleone Suite….wow, unbelievable, now I might add we are used to getting very nice suites or rooms wherever we go but THIS was above and beyond.
Andrea also gave us the tour of the new multi-million dollar renovated Bienville House also owned by the Monteleone family …just when you think they have outdone themselves with the flagship Hotel Monteleone, they bust out another wonderful hotel right on Decatur approximately 100 steps from Jackson Square…..the Bienville House has slightly larger rooms with many overlooking the river or the BEAUTIFUL salt water pool and courtyard alongside the very successful and beautiful IRIS restaurant.
They even throw in a wonderful continental breakfast with Starbuck’s coffee.
Meeting rooms to accomadate almost any size and the appointments they provide are nothing short of what you would expect from the Monteleone family….Mr. Billy ya’ done good! We hope to meet you one day.
Of course we had to dine at some favorites….Mr. B’s (Cindy Brennan’s place, yes of the famous Brennan family)….Executive Chef Michelle McCraney makes the BADDEST BBQ’d Shrimp in New Orleans baby….and everything else is just GREAT. The service, well, I don’t have to say anything about that…..it is classic Brennan family style.
Now for the very low point….we ALWAYS spend a whole lot of time at Arnaud’s/Café Remoulade/French 75 cigar bar, the Casbarian families absolute CLASSIC giant that should ALWAYS, ALWAYS be a stop whenever in New Orleans.
This time our joy was tempered at learning of the loss of one of the GIANTS of the New Orleans culinary, hotelier and hospitality industry….Archie Casbarian.
One of my true regrets in life was I never got to meet this giant of a man. However, I have had the honour to befriend his living legacies Archie Jr. and Katie Casbarian two children who have taken on the Herculean task of maintaining and growing the fabulous restaurant empire. I know Ms. Casbarian, her husband Archie although he is gone from this earth can rest a bit more comfortably knowing that their two wonderful legacies along with an awesome cast of “family/staff” (for that is what the following members truly are) are carrying on the rich tradition.
I am privileged to introduce just a few of these people to you.
Charles the seasoned consummate professional Maitre’d, he’s continental elegance, dashing, extremely attentive and actually got me to remove my hat, Maitre’d James a younger version of Charles, with a laugh, an infectious smile and an absolute attention to detail and customer satisfaction that I am sure makes Charles proud.
From the bar you must have a GREAT one and Chris is truly a professionals professional in the beautiful French 75 Café and Cigar bar….his passion and mixology abilities are second to none….and of course THE FOOD…..Executive Chef Tommy DiGiovanni, a more hard working dedicated, loyal and provider of TRUE New Orelans classic dishes you will not find….these all and so many more will make life and have made life easier for the Casbarian family. The rich heritage will live on proudly for everyone knows Archie Sr. is watching and smiling over the legacy he has left us….THANK YOU ARCHIE we will miss you my friend!
Finally, to Anne an Paul Tuennerman Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail of New Orelans, what a great radio show you have on WIST in NO….all about the restaurant and mixology business in New Orelans. NO ONE knows more than these two about the best of the best in New Orelans. They ARE Tales of the Cocktail and the true ambassadors of this wonderful city we call our second home.
This year we were honoured to be guests on their show with Head bartender/Mixologist/Liqour Artisan Marvin Alan of the famed Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone this giant of mixology spent an hour with us on our final show from Mardi Gras 2009 and he literally created one drink and put added a wow factor to a classic second drink through his wonderful and true artistic flair that he provides to his craft.
To y’all mentioned and the many we didn’t…..thank you….thank you for a wonderful time…and if you read this before March 30th of this year the Bienville House is running a $79-$119 special all week at their beautiful hotel.
To all of you we look forward to seeing and sharing with you again at French Quarter Festival 2009 in April and Tales of the Cocktail July 8-12th at the city that is back Bigger, Badder and Better than ever….New Orelans….the Soul of America.
Join us we’d love to introduce you to the REAL New Orelans and the people that make her so wonderful!
Laissez Les Bon Temp Roullez….Thanks New Orleans!

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