Allen Nguyen and Leslie Pham (Umbrella photo, pictured above, courtesy of Thien La Wedding Photography)
An eye doctor and a chef walk into a bar… (there’s actually no joke to follow, we just wanted to use that line :).
Anywho…Chef Allen and Dr. Leslie’s love affair began more than 10 years ago after meeting each other through mutual family and friends, although who made the first move is still up for discussion…
“If you let Leslie tell it, then she would say that there was a mutual connection, but the truth is that she actually came onto me!” exclaimed Allen. “It was the summer of 2005 right before Hurricane Katrina. There I was, sitting in the Barnes and Noble coffee shop studying for my culinary finals when she approached me and said, ‘Hi, I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m Leslie!’ and ‘Oh, you’re a chef?’ Those are some of the things I remember most about the first few encounters and I left thinking how beautiful, funny, and sweet she was!”
He continued, “Our relationship began in the weeks leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Our love was tested early on with the distance and separation caused by the storm with her in California and me in Texas. Ultimately, we knew that we had something special and we made a commitment to make it work. Ten years later, we’re still in love and we’re engaged to be married! I’m a chef with my own restaurant, Bayou Hot Wings, and she’s an eye doctor with her own practice, NOLA Eye Care! Life is good!”
Being engaged to a chef certainly has its perks! For Valentine’s Day, Allen plans to “surprise” Leslie with some good eating. “I’m going to do a home cooked meal,” he explained. “Advice to guys that plan to do the same thing: do a lot of finger foods that you can eat with your hands and share with each other. It’s more romantic. We’ll have a good bottle of wine, some clams in a white wine, butter poached lobster, and a decadent chocolate dessert!”
Uh, Allen, can we come too?!
Here are some more of Allen and Leslie’s favorite to-dos:
Favorite Bar/Live Music Venue
A and L: The Maison or the Cocktail Bar at the Windsor Court. We love when Robin Barnes is performing!
Allen: La Petite Grocery. Definitely order the crabmeat beignets!
Leslie: Peche. I love the capellini pasta with crab and jalapenos.
A and L: We also like Tartine for breakfast/brunch. They have the best quiche ever. For happy hour, go to Luke’s for cheap, raw oysters or Pizza Domenica on Magazine for half-off pizza. For late-night, we like to hit up Cure on Freret St. and order the “Curewich” with some drinks or Yuki Izakaya on Frenchmen has some tasty Japanese small plates.
These two sound like they know what they're talking about! Be sure to follow Leslie's foodblog and Allen shares his best plates.
Want to see who we featured last year? Here they are:
Ayo and Stella Scott
Jordan and Alexis Ruiz of The Munch Factory
Jeff and Reagan Charleston
Terrance and Stephanie Osborne
Lon Nichols and Chriss Knight
Nolan Marshall and Lindsey Darnell