Apparently strawberry season has already started in New Orleans! While wandering around River Walk, we stumbled upon a bunch of food vendors set up for tastings (read “free food”). One of these lovely human beings had these beautiful strawberries that really made me start craving strawberry shortcake. Now my sweet tooth is a powerful thing. It’s caused me to practically run down pedestrians to get to Krispy Kreme when the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign was blinking. I’ve driven around a small town in Georgia, in my pajamas mind you, searching furiously for any place that sold Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond. So my craving would not be denied! And when Daphne told me she’d had an incredible dessert at Palace Cafe the day before, all other rational thoughts went out of my head. Even better, the restaurant was steps away from my hotel!
Palace Cafe reminds me a lot of Clyde’s in DC, so I wasn’t really expecting too much. But I implicitly trust Daphne’s taste buds (and I saw photographic evidence of said incredible desserts), so I went in with high hopes. I told the hostess I just wanted dessert and she offered to sit me at the kitchen window. I leaped at the chance to see my dessert being made! Immediately I was glad I happened to have my Canon (disclaimer: the hostess gave me permission to photograph the chefs when I explained I had a blog…I can get away with all sorts of things just by dropping the sentence “I have a blog”).
Separated by a pane of glass, sous chefs plate the desserts in front of patrons sitting at a long bar. The chefs smiled when they saw me taking pictures and even posed for one (unfortunately the lighting wasn’t good on that picture). I was so fascinated watching the precision of these chefs running around at lightning speed (without accidents), it took me a while to look at the menu. But when I did, I almost jumped up and down in my chair (I did, however, let out a squeal that caused the couple next to me to ask if I was okay): they had strawberry shortcake!!! I frantically looked around for the waiter and just about yelled out my order in excitement. He smiled at me, saying “So you like strawberries, huh?” and took my order into one of the sous chefs. I watched as he took out the sweet biscuits, cut them and plated them, the beginning of my dessert. I got so caught up in watching my shortcake being made, I didn’t think to capture the event on film (hence the reason all the kitchen pictures are of other people’s desserts).
When he was done with the shortcake, the sous chef pointed at me and I nodded eagerly (and that’s what I blame for the headache I got later…not the ale I downed). I actually clapped when it was placed in front of me and he laughed. One bite and I knew Daphne was right. Instead of a soggy sponge cake, the shortcake was a sturdy yet tender sweet biscuit that didn’t distract from the flavor of the strawberries. And the strawberries? DIVINE!!!! I can go on and on about how good it was but let’s just say it didn’t take long for this:
to turn into this: