In New Orleans ask any frequent visitor or concierge for a recommendation for where to go for Sunday Brunch and Arnaud’s will be one of the first restaurants mentioned. Take the advice.
Located in the historic French Quarter, Arnaud’s has been around since 1918 when it was founded by a French wine salesman, Arnaud “Count” Cazenave. With a menu serving classic French cuisine his restaurant quickly gained an avid following. The 60’s were a time of upheaval everywhere and also in New Orleans. In those years Arnaud’s fell from grace and it wasn’t until the dawn of the 80′s that it was reborn when hotelier Archie Casbarian bought the restaurant and, over the next decade, renewed the facility and the menu until it was once again at the top of all lists for New Orleans dining.
To enter the main dining room for brunch at Arnaud’s is to be transported back to gracious, old-style Creole New Orleans. The large room is light and airy with beveled glass windows, tin ceilings, potted palms, tiled floors, and antique overhead fans. A jazz trio strolls through the dining room from table to table playing the standards – When the Saints Go Marching In, Bill Bailey, and my favorite Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans. Ask; they will take requests.
I’m not sure it is possible to go wrong ordering from the Brunch menu (you can see it at the restaurant website http://www.arnaudsrestaurant.com/ ). Everything we ordered was first class, and that at the tables around us looked just as wonderful. I’ve included photos of the dishes we ordered.
Recipe for Arnaud’s Creole Cream Cheese Evangeline
(from Arnaud’s Cookbook by Kit Wohl)
Creole Cream Cheese is a delicious and easy home-made cheese that will evoke the flavors of times past in the Big Easy. (Note: The rennet tablets can be obtained at a pharmacy)
- 2 rennet tablets (or 6 to 8 drops liquid rennet)
- 1 gallon (4 quarts) skim milk
- 1 cup butter milk
Dissolve the rennet tablets in ½ cup of warm water, stirring.
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the skim milk, buttermilk and rennet mixture. Stir to mix and cover with plastic wrap.
Let stand at room temperature for 24 to 36 hours, until the mixture separates into whey and curds. The large white curds will sink to the bottom of the container, while the watery, mostly clear whey will rise to the top.
Line a colander with 2 layers of slightly dampened cheesecloth, letting 2 inches hand over the edges of the colander. Place the colander over a large bowl and slowly pour in the curds and whey. The whey will drain off through the colander, leaving the curds in the colander to continue draining and solidifying. Cover the colander with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours. Use as directed in the recipe or keep in the refrigerator until needed, up to 1 week.
Top the Creole Cream Cheese with fresh fruit, and you have the perfect snack!
TIP: Don’t forget to make reservations. Arnaud’s is understandably popular.