Short skirts, big cars and cool music aren’t the only relics of the Jazz Age that we still enjoy.

Much of the food that appeared at the era’s best parties still appeals today, and Michael Jacobson, executive chef at The Tremont House, has created a menu for the hotel’s Mardi Gras celebration that would impress

Jay Gatsby himself.

In keeping with the Pearls and Prohibition theme of this year’s Mardi Gras ball at The Tremont House on March 1, Jacobson devised a dinner menu that emphasizes the luxurious dishes that flappers and rum runners might have enjoyed, including lobster Thermidor, caviar, Coquilles Saint-Jacques and fresh Gulf seafood.

“I think the ‘Pearls and Prohibition’ theme is great, because it’s a throwback to a time when people really wanted to have a good time,” Jacobson said.

“The dishes on the menu are classics that are still around, and there’s a reason they’re still in demand — it’s because they’re really good.”

Jacobson has an affinity for the foods of the era.

“My great-aunt was a survivor on the Titanic, so I’ve researched a lot of the food they served then. In cooking school, we’re taught all the classics, and you’ll see a lot of those things at our Mardi Gras ball,” he said.

Jacobson’s favorite item on the Mardi Gras menu is lobster Thermidor.

“It’s a classic marriage of sherry and cream and flaky pastry,” he said. “You can never go wrong with anything topped with Hollandaise sauce.”

The Pearls and Prohibition theme is especially apt for Galveston, according to Marty Miles, hotel manager of The Tremont House and food and beverage manager for the complex.

“When the new ‘Great Gatsby’ movie came out, we started seeing some elements that were similar to Galveston’s role at that time,” Miles. “There are so many commonalities with what was happening in Galveston — the gambling and brothels and liquor smuggling,” he said.

While the Mardi Gras ball celebrates Galveston’s history, partyers won’t be drinking bathtub gin and dicey smuggled liquor.

“The predominant liquor of that time was gin, but we didn’t want that to be our signature cocktail,” Miles said.

Instead, Pearls and Prohibition attendees will begin the evening with Prohibition Punch, a mixture of four liquors with Coke.

“It’s the original Long Island iced tea,” Miles said.

The evening’s other signature cocktail will be Illegal Lemonade, a mixture of Tito’s Handmade Vodka with lemonade and fresh mint.

The drinks will be accompanied by a selection of hors d’oeuvres that includes Siberian caviar on buckwheat blinis, smoked salmon and crabcakes by vocal jazz from singer Danielle Reich. The Island Jazz Project will greet guests by playing outside the hotel on Mechanic Street, where the Knights of Momus Parade will pass later in the evening.

Dinner also will be accompanied by jazz, as the Dr. Michael White Jazz Quartet plays in the ballroom while guests dine on a buffet of steak au poivre, lobster Thermidor, lamb chops and an array of seafood.

“The menu is our interpretation of the food of the era, which had a lot of French influence,” Miles said. “Then, it was very heavy, very decadent. Ours will be very fresh.”

After VIP viewing of the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade, guests will enjoy traditional Mardi Gras desserts, including bread pudding and bananas Foster, and dancing to retro-swing band The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.


At a glance

WHAT: Pearls and Prohibition Mardi Gras Ball

WHEN: 6 p.m. to midnight March 1

WHERE: The Tremont House, 2300 Mechanic St, in Galveston

TICKETS: $200 per person

CALL: 409-763-0300


Lobster Thermidor


10 ounces butter

10 ounces flour

1 large onion, finely diced

16 ounces mushrooms, finely sliced

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 ounces olive oil

12 ounces sherry

12 tablespoon dry mustard

112 tablespoons garden chervil

6 pounds of lobster meat, chunked, raw

112 gallons half and half

30 puff pastry shells

3 cups Hollandaise

Make a roux using the butter and flour. Set aside.

In a large pot, gently sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil until the mushrooms start to lose liquid.

Add the sherry, mustard, garden chervil and lobster and bring to a boil.

Strain out solids, reserving; reduce the liquid by half.

Add the cream, whip in the roux, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the solids to the sauce and incorporate.

Serve in a puff pastry case, top with Hollandaise.

(SOURCE: Recipe provided by Chef Michael Jacobson, The Tremont House’s executive chef)



4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon cold water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup clarified butter, warm

Kosher salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Combine the egg yolks and cold water in a glass or stainless steel bowl, whisk for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is light and foamy.

Whisk in a couple of drops of lemon juice.

The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the eggs for a minute or two, until they’re slightly thickened.

Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break.

Continue beating in the melted butter. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better.

After you’ve added all the butter, whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.

The finished hollandaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water.

It’s best to serve hollandaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

(SOURCE: Recipe provided by Chef Michael Jacobson, The Tremont House’s executive chef)


Illegal Lemonade

MAKES: 2 drinks

6 lemon wedges

2 mint leaves


1 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce water

2.5 ounces Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Muddle lemon wedges and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Add the simple syrup water and vodka.

Shake and garnish with mint sprig.

(SOURCE: Recipe courtesy Tito’s Handmade Vodka)

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