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Food & Drink

COOLinary Gets Even Cooler with Brunch

COOLinary is underway (Aug. 1 – 31) and includes a new, prix fixe brunch component for $39 or less. Expect a luxurious, leisurely, and luscious brunch with our top picks.

There is so much cool in New Orleans. And, when it comes to dining, this city is perhaps the coolest. So many new restaurants to explore, and so many new dining experiences to be had. At the moment, there is some serious brunch love happening all over the city; people just love a good, late breakfast, and COOLinary has taken notice.

Roasted Pecan Carrot Cake with foie gras icing from Commander's Palace. (Photo courtesy Commander's Palace on Facebook)
Roasted Pecan Carrot Cake with foie gras icing from Commander’s Palace. (Photo courtesy Commander’s Palace on Facebook)

For the entire month of August, the city celebrates COOLinary. The idea: A fixed-price, multi-course menu with loads of choices for lunch and dinner. This year, they’ve added brunch for $39, giving you access to a truly luxurious, leisurely, and luscious brunch at one of 17 participating restaurants.

Keep all eyes on the COOLinary website, as that list will likely grow between now and Aug. 1 (COOLinary ends on Aug. 31). Here are a few reasons to get out of bed and into a seat at the table…

COOLinary Brunch Best Bets

Antoine’s offers a seafood spectacular that can kick off with a grilled crab cake, draped in a Creole horseradish sauce atop mixed greens and followed by Soft Shell Crab Florentine with a silky, rich Béarnaise sauce. Sip a Mimosa on side, their compliments. The three-course Jazz Brunch is offered on Sundays only, so plan accordingly.

There is some serious brunch love happening all over the city … and COOLinary has taken notice.

The newly opened and chicly, stark white food hall of St. Roch Market is larded with 13 or so vendors selling foods like a flavorful, Korean-Creole mashup at Koreole, fresh raw oysters and other seafood specialties at Curious Oyster Company, and meats and charcuterie at Shank Charcuterie. For brunch, choose three dishes from among the vendors. Pair with some specialty COOLinary drinks from the Mayhaw Bar, and all for $35 (a slightly lower price than the brunch at other participating restaurants).

Chef Tory McPhail and team at Commander’s Palace make sure you’re well catered to for their beautiful brunch. Choose a gorgeous salad, classic gumbo, or an otherworldly Roasted Pecan Carrot Cake with layers of whipped sea salt caramel and foie gras frosting to go with your Shrimp & Grits, Griddle-Seared Gulf Fish, or this bit of decadence: the Louisiana Sportsman’s Brunch with duck debris and blueberry compote over lemon-mascarpone griddle cakes, blackberry duck jus, a poached yard egg and foie gras hollandaise. Dessert? Yes, please, and make it Commander’s own Dark Chocolate Sorbet. The price of brunch is dependent upon your entree choice, ranging from $36-$39.

Chef Neil Swidler’s Sunday Brunch at Broussard’s is a genuine steal at $35 for three courses with lots of choices. Soup or a light and crisp salad of buttery and bright greens, softened by avocado and splashed with a citrus vinaigrette, or the Creole Shrimp Cocktail, spiked by a Tabasco tomato relish and horseradish crema, are first-course musts. For the main, the Fruit-Stuffed Pain Perdu (French toast) comes with slices of smoky-sweet bacon; or go savory with croissant-crusted Wild Mushroom Three Cheese Quiche, studded with asparagus, artichoke bottoms and a drape of Sauce Bearnaise.  Find room for a boule of ice cream, quenelle of sorbet, or mini version of that day’s house desserts.

Try brunch al fresco at Mizado. (Photo courtesy of Mizado Cocina)

A little rowdy (in a good way) and Latin-inspired brunch at Mizado Cocina is a blast. Though not part of the COOLinary menu, start with a sipper in true New Orleans fashion. The cucumber-jalapeño Margarita is so good and goes down so easily – a refreshing start to the best brunch deal on the list at $25 for three courses. Go Queso Fundido in all its cheesy glory, follow with a pork tamale topped by fried eggs, cheese, and black beans, or order the richness of the house rendition of French Toast with sautéed plantains, pineapple, pistachios, and agave-sweetened cream. Churros y chocolate is the dessert of choice, unless it’s a silky Crema de Caramelo that you crave.

blue crab bisque
Blue Crab Bisque at Trenasse. (Photo courtesy of Trenasse)

In the CBD, Brunch is brought to you by the letter “B” at Trenasse. The three-course, $35 brunch can include Blue Crab Bisque, Boudin Hash and Eggs, and Bread Pudding Sundae. There’s also lagniappe by the glass: a complimentary flute of sparkling wine.

Back in the French Quarter, there’s brunch at Tableau with a stunning country-comes-to-the-city menu that includes a Gulf Shrimp appetizer with Crystal Hot Sauce beurre blanc; Eggs Hussard – grilled French Bread topped by beef medallions, tomato slices, poached eggs, masa-fried Gulf oyster, and two sauces (Marchand de Vin and Hollandaise); and a true Cajun treat: creamy, custardy Tart a la Bouille.  

bourbon milk punch
Bourbon milk punch at Bourbon House. (Photo courtesy of Bourbon House Seafood & Oyster Bar)

For those who take their drinks seriously, try Bourbon House’s Saturday-only affair, where each course (there are three) is partnered with a house specialty cocktail: Bacon Bloody Mary, U.S. Seventy-Five (that’s a French 75 with bourbon), and Bourbon House’s signature Bourbon Milk Punch. 

Rounding out the list of great restaurants participating in COOLinary 2015 Brunch are Andrea’s, CapdevilleRed Gravy, Johnny Sanchez, Luke, La Provence, New Orleans Creole Cookery, Restaurant R’evolution, and Muriel’s Jackson Square. Check out the COOLinary website for more details.

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