DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2018. The Road To Jacmel Inn. Mary Ann has been interested lately in dining along the I-55 corridor between Laplace and Hammond. Secifically, she was thinking about Middendorf’s in Manchac and Jacmel Inn in Hammond. She might also have had Baton Rouge on her mind. MA doesn’t hesitate to drive that far and beyond if she’s in the mood. I used to take drives like that myself, but it would seem anathema now.

We checked off Middendorf’s a couple of weeks ago. Tonight Jacmel enters the picture. MA and co-owner and Paul Murphy share numerous ideas. And she likes the restaurant, its menu, and the staff. Her favorite part of Jacmel is that it has a substantial ourdoor dining area. Although it’s too rainy and chilly to dine out there tonight, she likes the idea of the place.

We certainly did some damage to the food. MA liked the look of the house-made hogshead cheese. That was part of a charcuterie board, which also includes chicken-liver pâté, and a country-style pâté. MA loves all that sort of thing, and so do I.

But she has a stronger love for crab cakes. She waxes axiomatic when she tell what kind of crab cake is the best. Namely, the kind with the big crabmeat lumps and a thin crust, all being held together by a round of pan browning with a bread-crumb exterior, as opposed to the usual crab stuffing that gets all its cooking from being deep-fried.

The cavalcade of dishes include the crab cakes, then sweet potato gnocchi, and a clear soup with collards and ham. Perfect on a cold night.

The dominant note in my order is a thick pork chop with a crusty, spicy exterior. That is good and tender, but the best item in front of me is agnolotti–tiny stuffed pasta, like miniature ravioli, stuffed with a light cheese and wild mushrooms. This is not only delicious but very subtle and elegant.

This is already too much food, and we tone down the rest of the dinner. Paul showed off a few wines he like these days, giving me more wine that I could really accommodate.

On the way home, one of us remember the time early in our romance in which I left my credict card at Jacmel. Now I can’t go there without worrying about doing it again. I still say MA is going a little overboard about that.

Jacmel Inn. Hammond: 903 E Morris. 985-542-0043.