Reveillon @ Windsor Court Grill Room

ReveillonDinnerSquareThe Grill Room is the sole survivor of a golden era for deluxe, grand restaurants in the mid-1980s. For the past couple of years, its Reveillon menu has been excellent, save for a limited selection. Chef Daniel Causgrove, who took over the Grill Room’s kitchen during the past year, has fulfilled the two main requirements of the Reveillon: the menu emits a faint jingling of holiday bells, and the $60 price is an attractive price for this lovely restaurant. More to come. . .

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Diary 12|10|14: The Wedding Festival Begins.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 My son Jude and his soon-to-be bride often hang out with Brian and Joey, another guy-and-girl couple interested in finding and enjoying good restaurants. Especially Brian, who when he learned that the nuptials would take place not in L.A. but in LA, began agitating for a dinner at Commander’s Palace for the entire twelve-strong California contingent of celebrants.

I tried to arrange a table for this crowd at Commander’s. But tables that big are hard to come by on short notice this time of year. More to come. . .

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Calas

RecipeSquare-150x150 In a time prior to the emergence of my consciousness, men and women pushing carts through the streets of New Orleans sold these wonderful, aromatic rice cakes. They were so popular in the early part of the century that one of my oldest aunts was nicknamed for them. They have never been widely available in restaurants; the Coffee Pot on St. Peter Street has kept their memory alive almost single-handedly. They make a great breakfast or snack. More to come. . .

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Bread Pudding @ Creole Grille

500BestSquare Here is a standout among the hundreds of versions of New Orleans’s favorite dessert. You know this at first glance: it’s beautiful. The texture is perfect: very moist and custardy, no dry islands. The flavor is rich, vanilla-fragrant, and elegant. Finally, it’s big enough to split–a good thing in these dessert-averse times. More about this dish. . .

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December 18 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Today is Sweet Potato Day. Sweet potatoes are essential to the holiday table, but we never get tired of eating them down here in Louisiana. Not only do they taste good with Creole and Cajun food, but they’re a major local crop. Louisiana sweet potatoes are the standard of the business, like Vermont maple syrup, Idaho potatoes, and California artichokes. Sweet potatoes are the roots of a vine related to the morning glory… There’s more. . .

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You’ve Got To Get The Food To The Table Hot.

FoodFunniesSquare

You’ve Got To Get The Food To The Table Hot.

It gets harder when a draft from above fights with you. Ceiling fans, for example. And. . .

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Reveillon @ Richard Fiske’s Martini Bar & Restaurant.

ReveillonDinnerSquareRichard Fiske was the owner of the Bombay Club for many years, and set the style of that swinging eatery, with its great cocktail bar before cocktails became cool again. And live music in a New Orleans tone every night. Richard passed away last year, and when his wife and staff moved ahead, they left the old location and the name behind. It’s only a block away, in the pleasant dining room of the Chateau Le Moyne Hotel on Bienville and Dauphine. Remaining the same are the servers, the bartenders, and–especially important–Chef Nick Gile. He’s been with the outfit since before Katrin, and is responsible for most of the menu. He created new menus both for a la carte service and the Reveillon. More to come. . .

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Diary 12|9|2014: Eat Club Does Reveillon At NOLA.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 The food was exciting start to finish. In fact, this is one of the three or four best menus this Reveillon season. My four courses began with an oyster soup with Herbsaint and a few fried, floating oysters. Then a salad surmounted with a thick slice of daube glace–a semi-pâté, like hogshead cheese but with beef instead of pork. Very traditional this time of year in New Orleans. My entree was redfish court-bouillon, made with a tomato-dominant sauce. Here was another example of how seafood and tomatoes–usually not a good combination–sometimes goes over the top and becomes wonderful. Dessert was pecan pie bread pudding, a new idea that looks and tastes exactly what it sounds like. More to come. . .

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Meaty Pot Pie

RecipeSquare-150x150 Cold weather makes me think of making dishes like this. This recipe can be used with turkey, chicken, veal, pork, lamb or beef, with only minor modifications. If you’re using turkey, for example, make a turkey stock to make the gravy. Beef or veal stock will work for the other red meats. White wine for turkey or chicken; red for red meats. More green vegetables for poultry; more root vegetables for red meats. You can be very free in adapting this recipe to your tastes and the ingredients at hand. Recipe details. . .

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Chicken With Sweet Garlic Glaze @ Mr. B’s Bistro

500BestSquare This simple chicken dish is insanely delicious, but how could it not be? The chicken is browned first in olive oil, then spread with a thick coating of pureed, roasted-to-sweetness garlic. They finish the bird in the oven, and here it comes, aromatic and irresistible. More about this dish. . .

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December 17 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Today is the birthday, in 1937, of John Kennedy Toole, the author of the novel Confederacy of Dunces. The story of a character (in every sense of the word) named Ignatius J. Reilly takes place in New Orleans in the 1960s. Ignatius (for whom a Magazine Street sandwich shop is named) pursues a very odd agenda while downing Lucky Dogs and washing them down with Dr Nut–a real local soft drink from those times. There’s more. . .

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Who Doesn’t Have This Dream On During The Holidays?

FoodFunniesSquare

Who Doesn’t Have This Dream On During The Holidays?

There’s no way you can always and forever avoid the guilt borne by the poor turkeys.

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Reveillon @ Antoine’s

ReveillonDinnerSquareThe Victorian-era large main dining room Antoine’s looks and feels like Christmas year round. The environment reaches apotheosis during the actual Yuletide, when the largest Christmas tree inside a New Orleans restaurants gets covered with lights and ornaments of the old style. This is, not surprisingly, the most popular time of year for the 1840-vintage restaurant. Make a reservation, and when you do, check to make certain that the Reveillon menu is on. They’re so busy with big private parties that on some dates it won’t be. More to come. . .

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Diary 12|8|2014: 200K. Trey Yuen.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Darkness comes early this time of year, and it’s black by the time we arrive at Trey Yuen for a quarter-to-six supper. When Jude is in town, Trey Yuen is a given. Pot stickers to begin, of course. In the peak years of his love for that dish, Jude would eat three or four orders of these by himself. The kitchen still knows him for that, as Tommy Wong, the Wong on duty today, reminds us. More to come. . .

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Escargots Bourguignonne

RecipeSquare-150x150 This is the classic snail appetizer with garlic butter. There are more adventuresome sauces out there, and some of them are really delicious, but nothing beats having the snails sizzling in this fragrant butter, except perhaps having a loaf of hot French bread to dip into the sauce. Recipe details. . .

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Escargots Bourguignonne @ Cafe Degas

500BestSquare The version of escargots that seduced you when you first began going to French restaurants survives in relatively few restaurants. Fewer still create the irresistible aroma of the bubbling garlic and herb butter. I know of no purveyor that can top the snails at Cafe Degas, the longest-running of the city’s French bistros. Beware the loaf of bread you will want to eat with the sauce. More about this dish. . .

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December 16 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Today in 1773 the Boston Tea Party episode transpired. About 350 crates of tea flavored the Boston harbor’s waters that day. Too many jokes have asked what china and pastries were served for me to add to their number. The event, aside from galvanizing the inchoate American Revolution, figures into the transition from tea to coffee as the preferred hot beverage in the United States.

There’s more. . .

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The Growth In Size Of Portions

FoodFunniesSquare

The Growth In SIze Of Portions.

It seems to be exactly accompanied by the expansion of consumers.

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Reveillon @ Arnaud’s

ReveillonDinnerSquareArnaud’s Reveillon menu is mostly traditional, with some flights of fancy courtesy of Chef Tommy Digiovanni. That fits right into the concept of the Reveillon. The restaurant is rife with Christmas decorations, among the two or three grandest and most tasteful in town, with an emphasis on gold rather than red and green. More to come. . .

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Open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

FeastingSeason

[title type="h6"]Click here for our Christmas Lists for 2014.[/title] I’ve checked it twice, and the thing I am most certain of is that more restaurants will announce that they’ve decided to open between now and Christmas Eve. When they do, we will add them to this list. We update it right down to Christmas Eve, so keep checking back if you still haven’t made your plans.

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