A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
It’s always Mardi Gras at the Palace Grill (8 E. Cota St., 805/963-5000), the closest you can get to New Orleans while staying in Santa Barbara. With Mardi Gras coming up on Tuesday, I’ll be getting into the spirit of things here in town with one of my favorite cocktails: “The World Famous Palace Cajun Martini.”
The first thing you need to know is that this puppy is strong.
Seriously strong. This is not a cocktail for wimps.
There’s a good reason why the Palace limits guests to just one Cajun Martini. Trust me, one is more than enough! The vodka is chilled and marinated in the freezer with fresh Jalapeños and a kiss of Vermouth. Spicy hot, ice cold and strong, it’s a perfect accompaniment for the Cajun Crawfish Popcorn, which is so delicious that just typing those words makes my mouth water.
It’s served in a Mason jar, over ice, with a Martini glass and cherry peppers, so you can pour your own and pace yourself.
The food at the Palace has been consistently fabulous since they opened back in 1985. I’ve never had a bad meal there, and since I discovered the Cajun Martini, I’ve also never failed to order it.
If Martinis are not your thing, I hear from reliable sources that the Palace Caribbean Rum Punch is also very tasty.
The other thing I never fail to order at the Palace is the Louisiana Bread Pudding Soufflé. I don’t normally bother with desserts that aren’t chocolate, but this tasty blend of soufflé and bread pudding, laced with Grand Marnier and raisins, and served piping hot with whiskey cream sauce is amazing. Trust me, this is one dessert that’s well worth the calories.
Don’t fret if you can’t make it to the Mardi Gras celebration this Tuesday. The Palace celebrates Fat Tuesday every Tuesday night with the lively accordion sounds of Michael Guttin and Mardi Gras beads for all (ask anyone who’s ever visited New Orleans what you usually have to do to get those).
P.S: If you do end up overindulging in Cajun Martinis, we’ve got four Cajun Kitchens in town with homemade biscuits and delicious country breakfasts to soak up that well-earned hangover. Cheers!
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”