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New Orleans, a wonderful "date" with Gianna!

Today it is the restaurant Gianna's turn and with yesterday's dining experiences at Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant this will be exciting. Gianna offers rustic Italian food rooted in Louisiana's tradition and technique, but draws a lot of inspiration from the cooking traditions of Italy. Italian, American, Cajun and Creole, Northern Italian, Southern Italian.

Let's start with a presentation of the firebrand, the Chef, Rebecca Wilcomb, she is Chef and partner in the restaurant, and with her Italian background this should be very good!

Rebecca is not just anyone, she is a James Beard Award recipient and has also been the chef at Herbsaint, which I visited yesterday. The year they opened, 2020, she and the restaurant were nominated for best new restaurant. At Gianna, Rebecca has added a New Orleans riff, along with the heritage of her Italian ancestry that is filled with exciting flavors galore. It is perhaps not so surprising that her favorite cookbooks are Italian. She loves Italian food because it is focused on the quality of the ingredients. She works closely with local farmers, who supply the very best ingredients. One of these is radicchio (a dense and firm cabbage), which for her is a miracle vegetable. Otherwise, fresh fish straight from the Gulf of Mexico is a dream to work with. Here we get swordfish, large cobia (perch), sea bass, snapper and jack, and all the great tuna, prawns and oysters from the Gulf. We have an agreement with a shrimp trawler that brings the shrimp straight to us. Everything is at the door an hour after they have been caught. This must be good, but what is on today's menu for me, I wonder! I took a taxi from the hotel, the Marriott, which I am staying at and which is very centrally located in Chanel Street. Gianna is located on the corner of Magazine and Girod Streets in the New Orleans Warehouse District, which is an exciting new restaurant area in New Orleans.

I arrive and am shown to my table and notice that the atmosphere is good, I'm a bit early today as I'm going to a concert later. The premises are bright and nice, with a bar in the middle. Further back you can see into the kitchen and the chefs who are in full swing.

The waiter presents today's menu and, in the same way as yesterday, I ask that they serve what they think today represents the best they have on the menu. But I add that I only want three courses, with yesterday's experience fresh in mind. It is always exciting what is served, but it also means that whatever I am served, it must be enjoyed with respect.

The starter is Grilled Octopus confit potatoes (cooked in fat), lemon aioli and smoked 'nduja (the salami is of finely ground consistency and with a strong flavour) I have had a couple of unsuccessful squid dishes, but a few years ago this turned around and the taste of squid woke up again. Thank you for that because this was the best octopus dish I had ever had. Another Woow, this tasted amazing. The waiter wondered if I wanted another when I told him how good this was, but I wasn't going to eat too much today.

The main course was a crispy fried Red Snapper with tomato brodo (broth), fregola (a Sardinian pasta specialty made from semolina) and summer squash. As I sit and write this a few weeks later, I still feel the wonderful taste. The fish was so perfectly cooked that it couldn't have been done better. It was just about enjoying every bit. I got a Chardonnay, Pouilly Fuisse, Meurgey-Croses 2018 which is a wine that matched just as well as the chef recommended.

The dessert was a Butterscotch Budino with rosette cookie, an Italian caramel pudding, with Daim-like chocolate. Together with a wonderful cup of coffee, this was an absolutely fantastic meal, once again. So you have my clear recommendation for this restaurant as well.

Thank you very much for the great service and excellent food prepared by tonight's chef, Jared Heider!

Unfortunately, there were only two dinners in New Orleans, because tomorrow the trip continues to an exciting destination, Houmas House Historic Estate and Gardens. But first I'm going to a concert with a real New Orleans band at Preservation Hall. You can read about this experience here!



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