Last week, I took you to Portugal, which proved to be hugely popular. This week, we’re going to stick slightly closer to home, at least as far as being in the States. We’re traveling South to New Orleans, but in reality, just going down the street to The Old Hotel Bistro in Old Town Clovis.
Chef Jim Pacini’s Cajun and Creole restaurant is located in, you guessed it, a building from 1902 that used to be a hotel. It was most recently Victoria Rose Cottage, a restaurant that served delightful British teas juuust before “Downton Abbey” hit it big and made tea cool again. After that sadly closed down a few years ago, Heart’s Delight boutique moved into the front and Old Hotel Bistro opened in the dining rooms.
In a nod to Victoria Rose, the bistro serves finger sandwiches, quiche, scones, cream and a large selection of specialty teas. I had a pot of the French Caramel Creme Brulee with lunch and ended up indulging in three cups!
But what really sets this place apart is the unique and thoughtful menu. Infused with tons of Louisiana’s French, Cajun and Creole influence, it feels like a comforting callback to another era, much like the hotel itself. I chose the Mama’s Open-Faced Meatloaf Sandwich, which was wrapped in bacon and smothered in mozzarella, on top of toasted sourdough. I am a sucker for good meatloaf, and this one was delicious. And huge. I just polished off my leftovers while I was writing this blog. 😉 I also tried the sausage and chicken gumbo, which was great as well!
The friend I was with ordered the Waldorf Chicken Sandwich – a Old Clovis Hotel Bistro favorite. In addition to all the classic waldorf chicken salad ingredients, this one had pineapple and was served on a fresh croissant from local French bakery Le Parisien. It got the stamp of approval from my bestie!
We ended our meal with dessert: mine the popular sweet potato pecan pie, and hers a seasonal strawberry tart, both topped with Devonshire cream. Fresh ingredients are a priority for Chef Pacini. He only makes strawberries tarts for as long as he can get them at his favorite strawberry stand on Willow & Herndon. And his seasonal cobbler is always made with fruit from the Farmer’s Market. Other notable items on the Old Clovis Hotel Bistro menu: the Seafood Melt, Bourbon Street Chicken, Creole Barbecue Shrimp and Grits, Southern Fried Chicken Salad and Beignets.
If you’re interested in a more immersive and special dining experience, then you should check out the bistro’s monthly Vintner’s Dinner. Chef Pacini creates a special menu and pairs each course with local wine. Pouring for this month’s dinner, which will take place on May 26th, is the San Joaquin Wine Company. Chef Pacini has created a New Orleans-centric menu, featuring Oysters Rockefeller, Mushroom Consomme, Beef Brochette and Seared Scallop, Chicken Almondine, Brussel Sprout Slaw, and White Chocolate Cheese Custard with Ginger Tea Cake. Tickets for the dinner are $119 each and can be purchased by calling (559) 299-3514.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon of tea or fabulous comfort food, I suggest you head on down to Old Clovis Hotel Bistro as soon as you can! They are located at Fourth and Pollasky in Old Town Clovis. You can check out their website for more information.
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