Monday, September 19, 2011

The Weekend Gourmet Hits The Road: Sunday Jazz Brunch at Brennan's of Houston

This weekend was my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary…so we went home to celebrate this special milestone with them. They didn’t want a big party, but they did let us take them to celebrate with Sunday Jazz Brunch at Brennan’s of Houston…one of our all-time favorite restaurants. If you’re familiar with New Orleans cuisine, the same branch of the Brennan family that owns Commander's Palace owns Brennan’s 0f Houston. So…they’re sort of like sister restaurants. The food at Brennan’s of Houston is Texas Creole…a unique Texas spin on traditional New Orleans food featuring lots of seafood and fresh, local ingredients. We’ve celebrated so many special occasions there over the years…birthdays, Valentines, holidays, anniversaries, and our amazing wedding reception to name only a few. We knew that the food and the atmosphere would be the perfect backdrop to celebrate my in laws' 50th anniversary. I thought I’d share some of the delicious food that we sampled at our table.

I don’t spotlight restaurant meals in here very often, but this one is definitely worth sharing. Brennan's Sunday Jazz Brunch is a three-course prix fixe meal that features your choice of a starter, an entrĂ©e, and a to-die-for dessert. After living on soup and pretty bland food much of last week, I was hungry and ready to EAT by the time we arrived on Sunday!! It was good to have my appetite back…just in the nick of time!! For his starter, Michael chose the Texas Wild Shrimp Remoulade with Shrimp Boil Vegetables, Butter Lettuce, and Preserved Lemon. I had the Blue Crab and Fried Green Tomato Ravigote with Pickled Okra Chow Chow, Marinated Crab Claw, and Blue Crab Ravigote Sauce. 

The seafood was sweet and plate featured several huge pieces of sweet jumbo lump crab meat as well as lots of blue crab in a spicy and creamy ravigote sauce. The chow chow gave it a really nice acidic counterbalance of flavor. And the fried green tomato? Quintessential southern cooking at its best!

It doesn't happen very often, but we both chose the same entree this time...Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits: Texas Jumbo Shrimp with Goat Cheese Stoneground Grits, Marinated Sweet Peppers, Mirlitons, Roasted Garlic, and Oven-Dried Tomatoes. This was seriously amazing...creamy grits with fresh corn kernels and flavorful shrimp in a spicy sauce.

The desserts were all so gorgeous that I went around the table and snapped a picture of each one before I let anyone dig in. By now, the family realizes this is par for the course when you’re dining with The Weekend Gourmet! We ordered several different desserts, and I managed to snag a bite of a few of them! We had Veronica's Lemon Meringue Pie with Limoncello Blueberry Coulis and Candied Lemon Peel, Chocolate Texicana Mousse Cake, their signature Bread Pudding Souffle with Whiskey Sauce, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, and Summer Strawberry Shortcake. All were delish…as much as I adored my Strawberry Shortcake, I have to say that the lemon pie was THE BOMB!

Not only was the food amazing, the Brennan's of Houston staff really went out of their way to make our family celebration special! Their fantastic strolling jazz ensemble stopped by our table to serenade my in laws with a lovely version of Unforgettable. They were also presented with a decorated platter of homemade pecan pralines, and the chef autographed a copy of the day’s menu for them to keep as a reminder of their special celebration. It was an elegant, understated…and tasty…celebration of 50 years of marriage!! Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad Garcia...

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