Tag Archives: creme de violette

New Orleans: Happy Hour – The Way to Go

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Having your flight canceled when you are in New Orleans is both a blessing and a curse.

Blessing = an extra day in New Orleans!

Curse = Uh, oh! We already went over budget.

So I had this idea that for dinner on our last night in New Orleans, we would check out some¬†Happy Hours. We had already eaten an early lunch. We had to leave our hotel at 6am the next morning to catch our flight. And we aren’t late-night partiers. Apps and cocktails from 4pm to 6pm sounded perfect!

Plus, this meant we could check more boxes. ūüôā

The funny thing, as I started researching the city’s Happy Hour spots, I learned that Domenica is supposed to have one of best! Whoops. We just had lunch there. That’s a note for next time!

Here are some tips to make the most of Happy Hour in New Orleans:

To give you an idea, we hit a total of 4 stops during Happy Hour, eating at two of those. This is our New Orleans Happy Hour experience!

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#1) Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar

Our first stop was at¬†here¬†because it was close to our new hotel for the night¬†and we weren’t quite hungry yet. This was going to be a cocktail stop!

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Most Happy Hours in New Orleans run¬†from 4pm to 6pm. Cafe Adelaide was a great place to start because they begin at 3pm! Although we weren’t hungry yet, I was still surprised that Rob didn’t go with those fries!

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The Cocktail of the Day was something boring Рlike a Tom Collins. So I went with the Lucy Broussard.

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Lucy Broussard$6HH

¬†What’s in it, you ask? Take a look. Sounds up my alley… No?

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Rob strayed from the HH menu. Have I ever mentioned that Rob is a fan of craft sodas?

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That helped him decide!

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Petey’s Cream Soda $8.50

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#2) St. Lawrence

After that, we made our way to¬†The French Quarter.¬†We came upon an establishment called¬†the St. Lawrence. I recognized the name, but couldn’t remember why.¬†The door was open and I just knew we had to pop inside.

IMG_1956St. Lawrence’s sidewalk board outside indicated that they serve food late night – until 2am. They also touted the best fried chicken in the city. {Anyone can say that, right?} I still made a mental note in case our happy hour eats did not carry us through the evening.

There weren’t many people there at the time; but I noticed two gals sitting several seats down. By their conversation, it sounded like they were assistants of Very Important Somebodies.¬†It seemed they were hanging out there just to buy some time. One of them ordered the fried chicken to go. When her food arrived, they still had some time left. So she opened it up and began eating. Let me tell you, it smelled sooooo good!

Second mental note made.

There was quite an interesting array listed on the wall menu.

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I asked about Happy Hour specials, but it was just something like $1 off anything. I couldn’t make up my mind. And I didn’t notice that Violette 75 on the menu board behind me until after I ordered a boring old Gin and Tonic! Rob was happy about the beer list and ordered something from that.

I had a feeling we would be back…

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#3 Kingfish

We next happened upon Kingfish, where we checked out the menu before going in because Rob was starting to get hungry. It was the Cajun Farmhouse Sausage Wonton¬†in the lil’ eats section that¬†sold him.

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Kingfish’s 3:30pm to 6pm Happy Hour¬†is¬†an excellent one for wine.

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Just check out the list of wines by the glass!

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This was my opportunity to get a little bubbly rosé!

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Je T’aime Sparkling Pinot Noir$5.50HH

 The cocktail menu looked fun, too, if you are cocktail hopping!

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We had to wait until the clock struck 5pm to order off the regular menu so Rob could get his sausage wontons. It was nice to just sip and chat while we waited. I perused the rest of the menu, too. I¬†must say I was intrigued by the Cochon de Lait Pot Pie after my trip to Cajun Mike’s, as well as the guava butter garlic fries! I’ve never heard of anything like that before.IMG_1962

The great thing about dining at 5pm at the bar is that we could order off both the dinner menu and the happy hour menu. So we put an order for the Happy Hour French Fries Fondue.

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French Fries Fondue – $7HH

These delectable fries came with a warm blue cheese sauce. I have decided that this is how all fries should be served. Forever and Ever. Amen.

Then, the highly anticipated star of the show:

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Cajun Farmhouse Sausage Wonton – Housemade sausage folded in a crispy wonton served with savory cheese creamed grits – $9

These were worth every morsel. All of the appropriate and contrasting textures were there. There was lots of flavor to boot. Best cheesy grits of our lives. The food that we had at Happy Hour here at Kingfish makes this a worthy contender for a real meal sometime here in New Orleans.

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#4) Tableau

At this point, it was almost 6pm, which meant Happy Hour was over in most bars and restaurants. But then I recalled one that lasted until 7pm. That was the Happy Hour at Tableau. We inquired about the bar at the entrance and were shown into the back.

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Rob and I ordered the “wine-on-tap” which was half off for happy hour. Okay, that definitely is some $3 house-tasting wine.

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Rancho Rodeo Pinot Noir Р$3HH & Truth or Consequences Rosé Р$3HH

It seems most of the happy hour crowd had already left because we were the only ones at the bar. Can you guess what we ordered to eat?

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While we waited for our food, the bartender was making vats and vats – I mean VATS and VATS¬†–¬†of a red drink. It was Monday, but perhaps she was preppping for the weekend. She said it was one of their most popular drinks called the Red Lights. She let us have a sample:

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Red Lights – Pomegranate Liqueur, Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Lime & Simple Syrup

I’m not sure what size glass it normally comes in, but it’s a $12 drink. “That tastes like college!” Rob said. She laughed. He ordered some other cocktail instead. I drank the Red Lights.

I was really surprised by what he ordered to eat from the Happy Hour Menu.

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Crispy Braised Pork Belly with vanilla & black pepper lacquer – $6HH

They were four little skewers of heaven.¬†Me, on the other hand… I finally got my burrata.

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Burrata Bruschetta with pecan pesto & local honey – $6HH

All this fancy food at a fraction of the price. Happy Hour stops are definitely the way to go if you want to check a lot of boxes in New Orleans and try lots of little nibbles of food and drinks.

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After that, we were going to call it an early might. But we may have stopped at a couple of our favorite Irish pubs on the way back to the hotel. And a couple hours later, of course, my mental note kicked in…

Back to the St. Lawrence! There on that menu was that fried chicken.

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I ordered the fried chicken to-go. However, the wait is about 20 minutes. So I just had to order that Violette 75 that I missed the first time!

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My understanding is that Creme de Violette replaces the Cognac in the original French 75, which turns it into a Violette 75. It turned out to be one of my favorite cocktails of the trip!

Rob wanted a little more substance for food, too.

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The Mac & Cheese was calling his name. The menu, in general, looks pretty tempting. In fact, the St. Lawrence gets a lot of praise for having such great food late night. They are catering to more than the post-Hurricane-and-Hand-Grenade crowd.

When we got back to the room, I dove into that fried chicken and the collard greens!

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It was salty, crunchy, juicy… everything you could possibly want in fried chicken. It was the perfect epicurean end to our New Orleans holiday. We checked a lot of boxes and¬†feasted in¬†what is perhaps our¬†country’s most culinary¬†city. Having checked said boxes, it was now time for a reality check. ūüôā

What’s your favorite Happy Hour special?

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New Orleans 2015 Trip Posts:

Cheers~
Carrie

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Spooning the River…

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I never did post on the time we had a girls’ night dining at Sea Change, a restaurant known for its sustainable seafood and one of the Top Chefs in America last year. Maybe it’s because I was savoring a rare evening dining at a seafood restaurant. Or maybe it’s just a given to dine there. It’s a well-known, top Minneapolis restaurant and perfect if you are seeing a show at The Guthrie Theater {affectionately just called The Guthrie around these parts} and want a nice, swanky night out.

But if you are looking for a place that is just as tasty, but more casual, head yourself across the street to Spoonriver. Located just next to the Mill City Farmers Market, Spoonriver is a restaurant serving local, organic and sustainable fare with lots of options for vegetarians.

Even after the few times I’ve walked past the place, it took us a Groupon Living Social deal to get us there. Truth be told, I wasn’t really sure what the place was about. The deal prompted me to visit their website to read more about them and check out the menu online. I was sold.

What really took me by surprise was the list of craft cocktails at Spoonriver. I knew I’d be ordering one, but which one to choose? I narrowed it down to two: the Pear Ginger Martini (house infused ginger vodka, La Poire Grey Goose, Cointreau, Domaine Canton, Prosecco) and the¬†Elderberry Negroni (Miller’s Gin, MN Elderberry juice, Campari, sweet vermouth.) {Yes, I bypassed all of those St. Germain cocktails on the menu. I wanted something different!}

Our knowledgeable bartender noted that the Pear Ginger Martini would be a sweeter and the Elderberry Negroni would be tart. So what did I do? Since Rob was driving, I sipped on the Elderberry Negroni before dinner and had the Pear Ginger as dessert! {At the advice of our bartender again, of course. I know, she twisted my arm.}

Elderberry Negroni

Elderberry Negroni

I have to say that the drinks were beautiful! Since we were sitting at the bar, we had the opportunity not only to see all of the cocktails being made, but also smell them! I kept thinking, “I wonder what that is? It smells so good!”

Rob’s choice was the Ophelia – Tanqueray Gin, Grand Marnier, Creme de Violette, lemon.

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Ophelia

Have you ever had Creme de Violette before? We’ve tried it once, in an Aviation at the old Nick & Eddie. {Oh how we miss that place!} Creme de Violette made from very specific violets and is very hard to find. So when Rob saw a cocktail with it on the menu, it was an easy choice.

We got to Spoonriver early, but the place started getting busy quickly. The restaurant is long and narrow, which gave me the impression, at first, that it was bigger than it really is. Make sure you either get there early or make a reservation.

For a moment, I felt like I was at the airport, because I noticed a kiosk with items available to-go. These are perfect for impromptu picnics along the river! What a fantastic idea. But who knows about these?

The food really does shine here, too. Rob found his Grass-Fed Burger quite tasty and impressive, despite the tortilla chips on the side. Not only did I find my Savory Cr√™pe Special of the Day delicious, but beautiful, too. Inside was warm goat cheese goodness with some veggies and flavorful herbs. I didn’t think to snap a picture until I already dug into this delight that reminded me of France:

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Apparently, during the Farmers Market hours, Spoonriver has an outdoor stand where they offer their sweet and savory cr√™pes as well. I wouldn’t turn one of those down.

One of the things I like about Living Social, is that sometimes after you’ve redeemed a voucher, they send an email asking what you thought of the restaurant. I gave the restaurant a “Thumbs Up” and commented, “The most colorful plates I’ve ever seen. The food was superb and love the cocktail menu! Thanks.”

I think this is the first time I ever got a reply from the restaurant!

Thank you for your kind words, Carrie! We’re happy to hear you had a positive experience dining at Spoonriver & enjoyed our creative plating :). I’ll pass along the compliments about our cocktails list to our Bartenders as well. We hope to see you again soon! Sincerely, Katie, Manager ¬†

I don’t know whether the name Spoonriver was given because the restaurant is off the Mississippi {just a short walk!} or because you’ll be¬† spooning up some yummy goodness along said river in Minneapolis. Or maybe it’s for another reason entirely. All I know is that high quality, affordable, delicious meals and cocktails can be had here, whether you are taking a walk along the river, enjoying the Farmers Market or are off to a show.

Tip: Arrive early for dinner and then take your chances on “rush” tickets at The Guthrie!

 Question for you:

Crêpes РSweet or Savory?

Cheers~
Carrie