It is amazing what smart people with good intentions can do to increase tourism. A few years ago, New Orleans was discussed with sadness and tears and pity parties. We wondered how this formerly over-the-top tourist extravaganza could ever regain its footing. From Acts of God, to incredibly poor politics, it looked like the glory of New Orleans was going to be a historical study for academics. Culinary artists, gourmets, gourmands, and oenophiles were going to have to take their tastes elsewhere… New Orleans was no longer an option.
Fortunately the city that heralds “Let the Good Times Roll” did not hear the lamenting sounds of outsiders. Business people and political leaders picked themselves up from the debris of Katrina and developed an extravagant city that is flush with good food, good wines, great shopping, interesting museums, and a joie-de-vivre that is constantly in your face. Children running through the streets and hotel lobbies are happy; parents are jubilant; and seniors stroll blissfully along the streets, holding hands, kissing over drinks, and partying through to the following morning.
This fourth in a multi-part series, “My Take on New Orleans,” will, hopefully, capture some of the joyfulness that makes New Orleans a destination that is selected by choice and not by chance.
New Orleans. Close to the Source.
This acclaimed chef is all about the food and the restaurant. Briceno was willing to tell me that he developed his culinary skills at the local Delgado Community College (2004) and has honed his talents at Stella and with Todd English. Briceno also likes to talk about his “connections” to the best fishermen and farmers who are within an easy drive of his kitchen. He strongly believes that the relationships he has developed with the “sources” of the raw materials that appear on his menus deserve a great deal of credit for making LeForet a success. He gathers his oysters at a nearby parish and extols their virtues as though he was describing a newborn baby who was “sweeter and plumper” than any others. His snapper comes from nearby Venice, Louisiana.
In another incarnation, LeForet was a derelict 19th century cigar factory that stood waiting for a benevolent developer to tear it down. Fortunately, the soul and spirit of the building was captured by its current owners during its restoration/renovation process. Currently, LeForet offers an ambiance that is often selected by brides-to-be for their weddings and by corporate executives looking to impress their clients and associates. The three floors of LeForet offer fabulous views of the area combined with gourmet cuisine. Finicky diners who are looking for fine cuisine accompanied by an excellent wine list put this dining spot at the top of their list.