HNOC + Pizza Night at Domenica

by Emily on March 31, 2011

For as long as I’ve been alive, music and art have been a crucial part of my existence. Growing up with a father who, when he wasn’t working on his own artwork, was repairing a circa 1884 home in Uptown New Orleans, I have come to have an appreciation for both the arts and the smell of sawdust. His life-long passion has been capturing and preserving architectural history through artwork, so it is a tremendous honor for him and my family that his artwork is part of the Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC).

As new members to the collection, my fiancé and I joined my parents a few weeks ago for music and drinks in the HNOC’s French Quarter courtyard on Royal Street. We sipped Abita beer and wine, listened to the toe-tapping tunes of the New Orleans Moonshiners (hey, Chris!), and my fiancé bought a blue tie with oysters all over it at the HNOC’s gift shop. Of course drinking, dancing, and shopping are known appetite enhancers, so we were lucky to have made reservations at Domenica for after the event.

We began the meal with the Fresh Ricotta with Date and Pecan Pesto, served with grilled bread. Who knew ricotta could get such an face-lift by the addition of a simple, rustic pesto?! The ricotta was so light, almost whipped, with an ethereal saltiness and milkiness to it that was fabulous. It spread easily over the crusty bread and the date and pecan pesto was nutty and sweet — I must find a simliar recipe and recreate this at home!

My fiancé ordered the large portion of the Squid Ink Pasta with Crabmeat. A daring order, but we were all surprised at how wonderful it was! The pasta was dyed this dark blue-black from the ink, concentrating the briny, seafood-like essence. But deep beneath that quintissential “fresh out of the sea” flavor, there was a complex earthiness to it that made every bite more interesting than the first. The rich, buttery sauce held onto every strand of pasta and gorgeous chunks of lump crabmeat added texture and extra seafood flavor. A really interesting dish and a first for all of us.

Mom ordered the Calabrese Pizza with Spicy Salami, Mozzarella, Capers, and Olives. Normally I’m not a fan of olives, but the combo on this pizza was enough to change my mind. Castelvetrano and Cerignola olives are different in that they lack that bitter flavor found in most olives. The saltiness is still there but so is a clean, fruity flavor that tastes more like a really fantastic olive oil than a bitter olive. I was so surprised by how much I liked them, that I asked the waitress to write the names of them down. So in addition to enjoying more spicy foods, I can now say I like two kinds of olives! Things are looking up!

My pizza of choice was the Cotechino with Pork Sausage, Scallions, and Tomatoes (in the header picture). The pork sausage had a hint of nutmeg, the tomatoes were juicy and sweet, and the scallions added a mild onion flavor. Simple, rustic, colorful. I loved it.

For his entree my dad ordered the Frito Misto with Shrimp, Crab, Calamari, and Vegetables. This selection of tempura battered and lightly fried seafood and veggies came with three dipping sauces: one with herbs and garlic, one with butter, and I think the third was chili flakes and oil. He was pleased that the batter was so light (transparent, in fact) and didn’t mask the flavors of the meat and veggies. The fried spinach leaves on top were an added bonus.

For dessert we shared the Banana Zuppa Inglese, which was a combination of banana cake, butterscotch mousse, and peanut brittle. The cake was incredibly moist, the butterscotch mousse creamy and sweet, and the peanut brittle was crunchy, nutty perfection. A few bites each was a nice end to our meal.

On the way home we listened to our new New Orleans Moonshiners CD while discussing art, food, and music. Between the HNOC’s courtyard concerts and Domenica’s long list of tempting pizzas, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve discovered the ultimate Friday night tradition.

{The New Orleans Moonshiners jazzing up the HNOC’s courtyard}

{Sipping wine and beer while enjoying the perfect weather}

{Moonshiners CD}

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Enright November 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hi Emily, did you every find a similar recipe for Fresh Ricotta with Date and Pecan Pesto, with grilled bread? My wife and I just got back from New Orleans, and we ate at Domenico’s TWICE just to have the ricotta again! thanks for the nice article.

Emily November 21, 2011 at 11:25 am

Sean, thanks for reading! I actually did look into finding a similar recipe but failed to find anything. I am still on the search but am beginning to think that I may have to just get creative and try to make my own. It would be a delicious and festive thing to serve at Thanksgiving, wouldn’t it?

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