Dear Foodies,

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect group of friends or couple who will accompany you on our various food adventures—restaurant to restaurant, city to city. My husband and I have the fortune of having the ideal friends who have become our loyal traveling buddies and who recently got married, Dr. Khiem and Kimmy Chu. Yes, two Kim’s. A match made in heaven.

I’ve personally known Kimmy since I was in the fourth grade and love her dearly. To make a long story short, my husband hit it off with my friend’s husband the first night they met, and I thought it was wonderful that Khiem was Vietnamese (I love Vietnamese Food!) and that he enjoyed fine cuisine as much as we did. That evening we recommended going to the “most happenin’” restaurant in Houston: The Glass Wall (713-868-7930). During dinner, I noticed my husband and Khiem sharing the most juicy and succulent short ribs ever — I knew it was their way of breaking bread. After that experience we decided to set a date for Las Vegas — the city that never sleeps. Our mission was food (and, okay, some gambling to pay for our eating habits).

I was more than pleased that Khiem had made reservations for us at one of the finest French brasseries in Las Vegas named Daniel Boulud (702-770-3310) located inside the Wynn Resort. I knew about the world renowned Chef-Owner Daniel Boulud who has been in the business for 20 years. He is the owner of five award-winning restaurants; DANIEL in New York City, which has already received three Michelin Stars.

We decided hands down on ordering a good bottle of wine (they have all the French classics) to go with our Charcuterie — such French comfort food! The Charcuterie Board $36 came with pat, terrine, smoked and cured meat, homemade pickles, and mustards. To complement our platter we ordered the collection of artisan cheeses (3) for $15, which came with dried seasonal fruits, honey nuts, and rustic bread. We had to order the escargots ($18), which were prepared to perfection with burgundy, black trumpet spetzle and parsley Chantilly. This is the kind of place where I would feel confident ordering anything.

While our pallets feasted on all these robust and intense flavors we were also admiring the spectacular light and fountain show on the patio. How pleasant it was to see the fulfillment in our faces. That night we made plans to visit New Orleans — and Khiem had a place in mind for us to dine at!

The Commanders Palace (504-899-8221) in the Garden District. For those of you who have had the privilege of going you understand why the locals in New Orleans say it’s the most elegant and most exclusive restaurant in that area. What a special choice for a romantic evening. We were celebrating our dear friends’ engagement, so, needless to say, love was in the air. The minute you walk into this New Orleans landmark (dating back to 1880) you feel that ante-bellum charm. This five-star restaurant and its haute Creole dishes were about to seduce “Madame Gourmand.” I adored the fact that Khiem wanted us to order certain dishes the restaurant is known for, and I’m sure Kimmy liked for him to take charge!

These were the top four dishes that exquisite evening: The Foie Gras “2” Ways seared grade “A” and a torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with spring berry beignets, crushed pecan brittle, foie gras ganache and blackberry jam ($18). The Commander’s Salad, which came with hearts of romaine, parmesan, pressed eggs, house made bacon, French bread croutons, grated Gruyere and creamy black pepper dressing ($8.50). Then came la crème de la crème! The Black Angus Filet Mignon, which was a char-grilled filet of Harris Ranch beef with French potato puree, smoked mushrooms, grilled onions and garlic red wine jus ($39). We sealed that night with “The Queen of Creole Desserts” — bread pudding soufflé with whisky sauce. We toasted, we laughed and were enraptured, all thanks to our fabulous dinner, ambiance, and, of course — our good company.

We finally decided to meet up with “The Chu’s” in their hometown — Dallas. We wined and dined and got to visit this swank restaurant called Hibiscus (214-827-2927). The atmosphere when you walk in is upscale yet casual. It’s warm, cozy and very intimate. Kimmy and Khiem started ordering (and these are musts!): First, the Volcano d Big Eye Tuna Tartare Avocado Puree and house fired white corn chips. Then, the Three pepper crusted prime ribeye 14 oz. spit-fired and marked with horseradish cream served with sweet and sour tomatoes. This was followed by the ultimate deep-dish mac-n-cheese made with a combination of mild and spicy cheeses, a must-have side dish.

Finally, don’t leave without having the sour cream apple pie with walnut crumble topping and lavender vanilla bean ice cream. This chophouse and grill is ranked among the best restaurants in Texas — and that ain’t no lie!

This column is dedicated to our Newlywed Foodies who we don’t regret gaining an additional 20 pounds in the company of such a discriminating palate.

Love, Eat and be Merry,

Madame Gourmand