Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!

So, with all of the big events of this year, a new baby, international travel, and numerous weddings, all of which I've failed to document, what could possibly now be important enough to bring me out of my blog-silence? Well, jingle bells, of course! Not the Christmas song, but the actual noisy kind...on a ribbon...that you wear around your neck.
These particular jingle bells come from the Brennan's restaurants located around New Orleans and are given out every December to the happy, lunch time patrons of these wonderful establishments. Each year, it's a little mini-competition to see who can gather the most bells. There's no prize really, just the joy that comes with frequent fine dining. So, this year, when I'm not really feeling myself (super tired from having an eight week old who won't sleep more than four hours at a time), I've decided that Connor and I (he's the eight week old, I'll fill you in more about him in another post) are going to attempt to get all ten of the available jingle bells. Yep, there are ten Brennan's restaurants in the city and we're going to visit each one over the next three weeks.
We began our Tour-de-Brennan at Ralph's on the Park yesterday. It is one of the few (actually the only) Brennan's restaurants that I have never eaten at. The restaurant itself is beautiful and from the lunch crowd yesterday, seems to be very popular with the "ladies-who-lunch" crowd. Seriously, I only saw three men in the place and one of them worked there! I opted to sit in a corner away from the rest of the patrons just in case my plan to dine with an infant didn't pan out as well as I was hoping.
Our server, Emily, was super friendly and very attentive and after running through her favorite items on the menu, I decided to go with her recommendations of the soup of the day, which was oyster artichoke, and her favorite entree, panneed veal with a panko crust. The restaurant was running a special for the two course lunch for $19. I was happy with both choices, although the soup was a tiny bit on the salty side, it was very tasty and the veal was incredible! I'm a big fan of the baby cow and this was one of, if not the best veal I have ever had. I opted to add jumbo lump crabmeat to the dish, but in hindsight, that really wasn't a necessary addition, the entree stood well on it's own, but it was an effective up-sell by our server.

Oyster Artichoke Soup

Panneed Veal with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
Surprisingly enough, I passed on dessert after my meal, which rarely happens, but I was completely stuffed by this point. Next time I go back, though, I'm totally saving room for the chocolate mousse cheesecake I saw on the menu. It sounded divine!
So, all-in-all, I'm giving our experience at Ralph's on the Park a big thumbs up! Connor was a good boy and cooed and smiled at me all through my meal. He was also greatly admired by said lunching ladies and the wait staff. And, most important of all, we received the first of our ten bells of the holiday season!

My Sweet Boy with his first jingle bell!

Join me again Friday because I'll be giving you the run-down on the second leg of the Tour-de-Brennan. Connor and I will be joined by my friend, Kelly, at Cafe Adelaide for the second jingly prize!