Friday, March 12, 2010

Alfresco dining at The Rum House

One of the finest aspects of our tropical climate is the ability to enjoy the pleasures of sidewalk dining.  Over the past week, the weather has been getting warmer, my smiles have been getting broader, and all I want to do is open my arms wide and welcome the beauty and warmth of springtime.  Last night, John and I visited The Rum House on Magazine Street in the early evening just after work.  We decided to sit outside on the wide banquette to enjoy the warm, almost spring-like weather and watch the busy people and traffic roll by while we ate.  This is my 28th cheat, and I am down a total of 53 pounds.

For any odd number of reasons, I never noticed The Rum House before while traveling up and down Magazine Street.  Finally, after enthusiastic co-workers mentioned the restaurant time and again, I decided it was finally time I visited this most popular local dining destination.

I must admit, when we walked into the restaurant and I looked around at the décor, I was almost positive this establishment was a chain… but apparently I was wrong.  The owners were seeking to create a sort of Caribbean paradise smack in the middle of New Orleans where diners could luxuriate to the sounds of reggae music and imbibe fruity, colorful cocktails at their leisure.  They certainly succeeded.

Since it is a “Rum House,” I thought it only appropriate we try some of their signature, tropical cocktails from the beverage menu.  Giggling over the drink names, I selected a Coconut Chocolate Thunder, and John opted for a Jamaican Me Crazy.  My drink was a frozen blend of Kahlua, Cruzan Dark Rum, Crème de Cocoa, Cruzan Blackstop and Crème de Coconut topped heavily with whipped cream.  John’s Jamaican Me Crazy was a fruity combination of Appleton Gold Rum, Malibu Passion Fruit Rum, House Made Fruit Punch and Crème of Coconut. Both drinks were delicious, although nowhere near as strong as I expected.  I’m used to the heavy-handed pours of most bartenders in New Orleans.

So many of the appetizers looked tasty, like Conch & Sweet Potato Fritters, but we finally decided on the Mahi Mahi Fingers. The fish was deep fried in a Jamaican-style beer batter and served in a cute, paper tub lined with parchment paper to soak up the oil. Alongside of it was a small dish of honey-ginger dipping sauce. We couldn’t have been more pleased with our selection, and we quickly devoured the delicious fingers, loving the flavor of the beer batter combined with the spicy sweet sauce.

After much deliberation, John chose the Taco Trifecta for his entrée and I selected the Island Style “Cuban Steak.”  With John’s entrée, he was able to select three of their specialty tacos along with one side item.  He chose the Chili Glazed Shrimp, Cuban Pork and Flaked Fish tacos with a side of Black Beans with Chorizo Relish.  My favorite from his trio was the shrimp, which was also beer battered and deep-fried with a rum chili glaze.  It was decadent and delicious!

My entrée was a tender flank steak swimming in a ginger soy pineapple marinade, served with black beans and a big scoop of cornbread dressing.  The steak was well seasoned and sweet all the way through to the center.  I almost wished I had some sort of bread to soak up the sauce, but I was quite full after finishing my steak.

Although we inquired about dessert, our server seemed dismayed over the limited choices, and I figured if he couldn’t get excited about their sweets, neither could I!  John and I figured that our drinks served us well as a dessert item, so we simply paid our check and headed home.

It had been a delightful meal, sitting under the balcony, watching the people go by, and we enjoyed the stroll back to our car.  I simply can’t wait for the weather to get even steamier, when you’ll find us again sipping frosty cocktails and munching on appetizers at a table in front of The Rum House.

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