Chasing Bells Brennan Style
New Orleans is known for its food and fun events, and the holiday season is no exception. This is when you'll find the Brennan family of restaurants combining great cuisine with a much-anticipated tradition. During the month of December they provide their lunchtime patrons with jingle bells attached to colorful ribbons. Each Brennan's restaurant has a different color ribbon with their name embossed in gold. We call the unofficial event "Chasing the Bells". This event involves gathering with friends and restaurant hopping to amass as many bells as possible.
I met my friend, Wanda, and we began "Chasing the Bells" by taking a peek into the newly renovated Brennan's restaurant. The downstairs dining rooms were bustling with lunchtime patrons, and the upstairs party rooms were in full swing. Although the entire restaurant was filled, Richard Shakespeare, the maitre d', offered to take us on a tour. He invited us to stay, and we receive our first bells of the day. We were seated at the perfect banquet with a courtyard view. When asked about the history of the jingle bells, he recounted a story about a staff meeting at Commander's Palace, where he was employed at the time. The meeting, about 20 years ago, was a brainstorm session to find a new item that customers could take home rather than a matchbook or business card. In that meeting the jingle bells became to be. Commander's Palace began the tradition, and over the years, all of the Brennan's family restaurants have joined in the jingle bell merriment. The following is a list the delicious cuisine that we enjoyed while "Chasing the Bells".
Chasing the Bells 2014
Creole Spiced Shrimp Salad
Mr. B's Bistro
Mr. B's Crabcake
Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
Crispy Onion Rings
Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House Seafood
As we walked beside Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House Seafood Wanda began laughing. I notice that she was standing with only one shoe on. I looked back, and her high heel was stuck in the metal sidewalk grate. After dislodging her shoe, I was laughing uncontrollably as I helped put the shoe on her foot. It was at this point that we looked into the restaurant window and noticed that everyone was watching. All of the restaurant patrons were standing and clapping for us! We walked into Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House Seafood, and were given our well-deserved bells. We chatted for a while with the tables that had been our audience. One table said "It was like watching the best show ever!" Being locals, we were asked for sightseeing suggestions and restaurant recommendations. We provided our suggestions and continued "Chasing the bells."
Dickie Brennan's Tableau
Truffled Crab Fingers
Oysters en Brochette
Flourless Chartres Chocolate Cake