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Chateau Orleans – Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA

Chateau Orleans was one of the highlights from a recent trip to San Diego for Gator by the Bay – Cajun and Zydeco Festival. It was fitting to the purpose of our trip to visit a New Orleans style restaurant in the heart of San Diego. This is a gem of a place where the open air atmosphere, live blues and jazz music and Creole cuisine meet for a tasteful experience. It is a comfortable atmosphere, relaxed and charming. Decorated in stylish mardi-gras adornments, the ambiance is warm with the soft live music in the background of Thursday and Saturday night's regular blues artist Tomcat Courtney. Tomcat was visible and audible but not so loud as to drown out the pleasure of your dining companions. Friday night features Robin Hinkle and Sunday features a Jazz Brunch from 11:00 am – 3:00pm.

The owners, Bob and Cynthia were gracious hosts. Rather than order from the menu, Bob offered to treat us with a wide sampling from the restaurant's offerings. Our grazing session began with a couple of appetizers and a sweet, flaky popover. We were served Fried Green Tomatoes and Bayou Cakes. Lightly battered and pan fried, the tomatoes were juicy and moist with a slight sweet flavor. The Bayou Cakes consisted of crab, shrimp and crawfish tails and served with a mild horseradish sauce that was perfectly spiced. Next we sampled a trio of Creole classics, Acadian Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, and Louisiana Gumbo Ya Ya. Again each was spiced to perfection with a light hot kick without being fiery. Served with the Creole trio was a very moist, sweet and peppery Texas Cornbread that simply melted in your mouth. The Gumbo had a good portion of Andouille sausage mixed in for a scrumptious bite. After we remarked about the quality and flavor of the sausage, Bob invented a new appetizer for us with a split and flamed Andouille Sausage that was heavenly to the taste buds. For the entrée, Bob had scored some very fresh channel catfish that day which was sliced into bite sized pieces, breaded and lightly fried. These succulent morsels were light, tender, sweet and flaky all at once. The meal was served with Bob's signature Watermelon Wine which was like a light sangria, well balanced and complimentary to the food.

The meal was topped with a luscious Pecan Pie and a decadent Chocolate cake and served with a caramel coffee and a very fine port wine. We were thoroughly sated.

Everything we were served throughout this wonderful experience was well balanced and delicious. Chateau Orleans is a treasure trove of dining pleasure tucked away on Turquoise Street off of LaJolla Blvd, Pacific Beach. Go there and taste for yourself the wonder flavors of New Orleans. If you live there in San Diego, I promise this place will become a favorite haunt. If you are visiting the area, you will wish you could bring this place back home with you.

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