Great gods of gluttony! As tried and true New Orleanians, are we truly expected to put aside our Bacchanalian behavior in the spirit of a New Year’s resolution? Are we honestly making promises for a healthier tomorrow when less than 144 hours later, we'll be celebrating Twelfth Night—also known as the official start of Carnival, and by default, king cake season?
Who are we kidding?
Maybe we can schedule some time at the gym in the month between Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day, but after that, our calendar is stuffed full, from Hogs for the Cause, Easter, and French Quarter Festival, to Jazz Fest, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, and Tales of the Cocktail. In between the biggies, you'll find us frolicking at Wednesday at the Square or the Freret Street Festival, planning crawfish boils, and grabbing roast beef po-boys from the corner grocery store.
We are people of excess, people of abandon, people of great joys and sorrows and frivolity. We eat of life in large, satiating bites and wash it down with great cups of elation. Why pretend?
Instead of making promises you know you won't keep, why not own it? This year, I'm making a different kind of resolution. I resolve to taste as many desserts as I can from the finest pastry chefs in town, even sacrificing an appetizer or, God forbid, an entree, all for the sake of desserts.
I look forward to diving into magnificent creations like the cream-laden, “deconstructed” tiramisu from Coquette with a heady chocolate pot de crème turned out amidst buttery crisp, rum-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone poufs, dotted with bright green pistachios and sugary lemon zest.
Perhaps I could work off a few pounds running headlong into Toups South before they stop selling the Cajun holiday treat, Tarte à la Bouille. Essentially a baked custard tart, Toups South has added its own unique twist, incorporating the nutty flavor of saffron and topping it all off with Louisiana strawberry jam.
Would it count as exercise if I Ubered all the way across town afterwards for Chunky Monkey rolled ice cream at Freezy Street? There are no preservatives in the vanilla cream that transforms into the freshest ice cream you've ever tasted since Grandma churned it in the backyard, and bananas are nature's candy, right? My waistline won't even notice a couple dabs of Nutella … not really.
I'd gladly skip over an entire pizza from Paladar 511 for another slice of their Mississippi Blueberry Pie with honey lavender ice cream, but I hear now they've got things like a “Brown Butter Shortcake” with poached apples and maple cream. I'm breathless trying to decide between that and dark chocolate cake with dried plum compote and crème fraiche ice cream.
I think I've finally discovered a resolution I'm most likely to keep...