Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lunch at The Chimes

One of my all time favorite places to eat in Baton Rouge is The Chimes.  I first fell in love with it during the year that I spent at LSU as a college student.  It became a go to place for pub fare and Louisiana classics that I frequented with friends.  I almost always ordered their shrimp Remoulade salad because of their fantastic Remoulade sauce, and many meals concluded with their massive brownie sundae shared among whoever was eating.  Even for four or five people there seemed to be plenty to go around with that dessert.

We stopped in to The Chimes on the day of the Mardi Gras parade after we loaded up our float with beads in desperate need of some warm food and good old fashioned warm hospitality.  I'm happy to say that we received both in ample doses and left feeling ready to take on the cold weather that we were going to be facing that evening.  I've always loved that place for it's easy feel and the very satisfying, delicious, and inexpensive food that they serve.

I started my meal with a cup of duck and sausage gumbo.  It had some delicious deep smokey flavors and the sausage was mildly spicy.  I love the little bits of tomato that gave just a hint of sweetness and acidity to it.  It was piping hot and warmed me up right away and was the perfect start to what became a really great meal.

Since it was a Sunday, they happened to also be serving a brunch menu.  I'm not a fan of brunch usually because I hate paying $10+ for eggs and bacon, but there was one item that I just couldn't resist: Seafood stuffed French Toast.  It sounded to good to be true, so I gave it a whirl and I'm glad I did.  The menu description somewhat mislead me thinking it was going to be an "eggy" French toast.  Instead, it was two pieces of thick cut baguette that were stuffed with shrimp and cream cheese.  Those were toasted with a little Cajun seasoning and topped with a cheesy creamy crab sauce.  I savored every bite, but couldn't manage to finish it because it was so rich.  I couldn't help but think of all of the people that have eaten this with severe hangovers that it has nurtured back to health.  It was fantastic.

Mom had ordered a sandwich and donated her side of onion rings to the table to share.  They were phenomenal, and we felt that they must have been made with lots of love.  They were perfectly crispy, and I wager they used Vidalia onions just because they were so mild and sweet, not to mention huge!  We also gorged on jalepeño cheese fries, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and more gumbo.  It was quite a feast the five of us.

I had a great brew that was previously unknown to me with my meal that complimented the rich food perfectly.  It was NOLA Blonde Ale.  They are a Louisiana company based in New Orleans founded by Louisiana natives.  It was mild and had a medium bodied creamy texture.  It had some nice straightforward fruit flavors and was light on the hops - perfect for me.  The Chimes, in addition to plenty of local beers, also features beers from around the world.  At one point there was a club for people who had tried one of every beer.  I'm not sure if this still exists, but it's fun to think about the possibilities of exploring their great list.

The only disappointment of the meal was that we had no room for the brownie sundae.  I suppose, I'll just have to try and get back to The Chimes sooner rather than later though.  It's always a wonderful experience, and next time I'll try to save some room for dessert.

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