I’m going to keep it real with you all – your girl is in need of a vacation. The kind where pants are optional, there’s water and sand, and margaritas by the pool. I know it’s a little late in the summer for a vacation, but a girl can dream.
The way bank accounts and work commitments are set up, it’ll be a hot minute before I’m able to take the vacation of my dreams. BUT! I found a place that feels like a dream vacation without ever walking through TSA Pre-Check or packing a bag. Enter: Nolé Restaurant.
Nolé took over the former Cheesecake Bistro on St. Charles Avenue, and honestly, it’s a perfect replacement. It’s a place with an impeccable culinary marriage of all things New Orleans and all things Latin America.
On a hot Sunday, when in a dream world we would be poolside at a resort, my girls and I headed to Nolé for a perfect $20 Coolinary brunch complete with a choice of mimosa, white or red sangria, or a house margarita. As soon as we walked in, I couldn’t help but feel like I was back at Unico 2087, a resort in Riviera Maya I visited in November for my best friend’s wedding. It’s absolutely beautiful and tropical, each corner filled with some kind of greenery – it even smelled like the resort!
What We Drank
Around the table we ordered the Coolinary white sangria, margaritas, and mimosas and toasted to our fake vacation. The white sangria at first glance looked like a mimosa, but it was by far, the best white sangria I’ve had. Even better than the mango, peach, and lime sangria I make every spring. A “hot damn” echoed across the table with each first sip. It was the perfect cool drink to get us started, and honestly, we wished we could sub our food for just three courses of sangria. The mimosas were served in the cutest coupe glass, one I almost pulled a Rihanna with and walked out with it in my hand. And the margarita was sweeter than normal, but lovable at the same time. You could truly taste the tequila – which is the whole dang point, right?
What We Ate
The Coolinary menu was a standard three courses – app, entre, and a dessert – and when I tell you, every dish we had, we scraped the plates clean.
We started with the blue crab street corn with lime aioli and creole cream cheese, and it was delightfully fresh, sweet, and creamy, with a touch of crab meat mixed in. Ten out of ten, would definitely recommend because I mean, it’s street corn — you can’t go wrong with it.
We also ordered the chile verde chicken flautas, which were extremely delicious and just filling enough for a starter. They reminded me of the “crispitos” we used to have for lunch at Dominican High School, and I immediately wanted to be 15 again. The flautas came with an avocado salsa, which tasted like a creamy guacamole and I may or may not have dipped my finger in the container to get a finger full.
As for our entrees, we ordered breakfast tacos and the Latina croque madame croissant. The breakfast tacos were on corn tortillas (which I have grown to love) and included scrambled eggs, andouille sausage, and queso fresco. As a lover of breakfast tacos, I have to say it was one of the best I’ve had. They were the perfect size and were the kind of tacos that spill out with each bite. I don’t know about you, but I like my tacos a little messy.
The Latina croque madame croissant was filled brilliantly with chorizo, a sunny side egg, manchego mornay, and Mexican home fries and it was another plate cleaner. The chorizo was seasoned to perfection and paired well with the forever fluffy croissant. A perfect vacation brunch meal, if I must say.
And for dessert, because what is brunch without a little more gluttony, we ordered the tres leche bread pudding with white chocolate, and the Nolé sopapilla – which are just Mexican beignets. Both desserts were sweet and fascinating, especially the sopapillas which were crispy on the outside but crazy fluffy on the inside. They were drizzled with a little orange rum honey, and honestly, Tiana was onto something when she drizzled honey on her “man-catching beignets” in The Princess and the Frog.
I’ve been to Nolé for a few happy hours (which are amazing in their own right) but I will for sure return to this faux vacation spot for brunch when I’m itching to take a trip to paradise, even if it’s just on my plate and in my glass. Be sure to get there before Coolinary ends this month!