The older I get, the more I wonder what my legacy will be when I leave this earth. Did I live my best life like Oprah taught me? Did I make a change? What will people say about me when I’m gone?
We’re mourning the loss of a culinary legend in New Orleans, Leah Chase, and I honestly believe the best way to calm a grieving heart is with food. The legacy she left behind is grand and loving, and most importantly, delicious.
Another way to honor those who have gone before us is often to celebrate those who are still here, creating their own legacies both in and out of the kitchen.
And that’s why I knew I had to go to Rosedale for brunch. Tucked on the border of the City Park and Lakeview hoods, legendary chef and culinary queen in her own right Susan Spicer’s new restaurant looks and feels like home, dripping with legacy and history. Rosedale is in an old NOPD station, and part of the shield is still imprinted on the front door. But as soon as you walk in, you’re greeted with a “hey y’all!” and really awesome AC to beat the summer NOLA heat.
The walls are lined with photos of musicians and artists sharing their love and gratitude for Spicer — and for her food and hospitality. There are two bars in the quaint spot and plenty of seating despite how small it looks from outside. As soon as we sat down, I had the difficult task of figuring out what I wanted to eat and drink, because when you dine in the presence of a legend, you must choose wisely.
The table ordered a variety of meals, some from the special brunch menu and some from the main, robust menu. Across the table, though, it was a battle royal between the huevos rancheros and the fried chicken thighs, baked macaroni and collard greens. At the end, here’s what we ordered, and what ya girl recommends!
Shrimp Puppies — These babies are a play on hushpuppies, with fresh shrimp fried in a perfectly crispy batter and secured on a stick. As soon as we dipped them in the red pepper jelly and crab boil aioli sauce on the side, ooohs and ahs filled the air and we finished them right before our meals came.
Soup of the Day — Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. It’s hot as all get-out outside and y’all are eating soup?! But this was a soup that couldn’t be missed. Sweet potato and tasso soup was the choice today, and while it was hot – the soup and the weather – it was still refreshing and sweet and salty in all the right places.
Cheddar Stone Ground Grits Bowl — This delectable meal is hidden in the “Small” section of the menu but though it may be small, it is FIERCE. A hefty sized bowl of grits can be topped with eggs, collard greens, mushrooms, barbecue shrimp, or cochon de lait. For this brunch, I just got it with scrambled eggs and the barbecue shrimp, and to my surprise, I finished the entire bowl and felt satisfied.
Huevos Rancheros — I mean, I’ve never met a huevos rancheros that I didn’t like. And the Rosedale huevos rancheros didn’t even try to disappoint. This one was special, topped with extremely flavorful and tender cochon and all the fixings and scrambled eggs, resting on two large fried tortillas.
Grilled Gulf Fish Sandwich — The catch of the day was mahi-mahi and my, my, my, it was a delight. The fish was fresh and a fairly large piece was nestled between an onion roll and tartar sauce. A perfect summer meal — nothing too heavy and all the freshness of the sea to make you feel like you’re sitting on the beach sipping a cocktail with sand between your toes. A summer delight, if you will.
Bourbon Fried Chicken Thighs with Smoked Collard Greens, Mac-N-Cheese, and Tabasco honey — This plate right here…right here?! It was the true star of the entire brunch. After we talked about how we were split when it came to white meat vs. dark meat (I’m Team White Meat), we all decided to try a bit of the chicken thigh. Y’all. I found a chicken thigh that was juicy and tasty and joyful, and when paired with the Tabasco honey — whew HONEY! Another highlight of the meal? The mac and cheese was in a perfect square…just like it came fresh from a Pyrex dish from my grandmother’s kitchen. A small reminder that we’re in a home. Tears were shed with the first bite — #InOurFeelings.
Rosedale is not the place to go if you’re looking for bottomless, but if you’re still in the mood for brunch cocktails, there are $4 mimosas and Bloody Marys, a $5 Ciao Bella (champagne and lemon juice — think mimosa’s tarty cousin), and an $8 Pimm’s Cup. There’s also a full cocktail, wine and beer list for those who are looking for something else.
I’m usually not a dessert at brunch girl. Usually because I’m full and probably tipsy and just want to go home and take the glamorous post-brunch nap. This time was different because I will always…and I mean ALWAYS … order pecan pie if it’s on the menu. And that’s just what I did. It was perfectly sweet and had just the right amount of pecans to end a pretty legendary brunch. A friend also ordered dessert, the lemon buttermilk cheesecake topped with a ridiculously floral passion fruit curd, and it was the right way to do a brunch dessert.
As a Susan Spicer fan (is there’s a #SpicerHive?), I couldn’t wait to experience Rosedale. And if you’re looking for a legendary location with even more legendary food that I’ll tell my kids about, Rosedale is the place to call home for brunch.