Diary 7|23|2014: Maurepas, Munch, Mole, Marcello’s.
~ July 2014

Diary 7|23|2014: Maurepas, Munch, Mole, Marcello’s.

Marcello’s (pronounced the Italian way, “mar-CHELL-ohz”) is a new Italian restaurant in the space that had been Le Chat Noir, the marvelous cabaret that, unfortunately, closed down a year or two ago. It’s two doors up from Herbsaint, with another Italian restaurant (Cibugnu) in between. Mary Ann has been to Marcello’s a couple of times in the few months it’s been open, and is wild about the place. She likes. . . keep reading. . . .

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Splitting And Sharing Restaurant Checks
~ Food FAQs

Splitting And Sharing Restaurant Checks

My wife and frequently dine with two couples. In each one of them is a person who insists that the checks must be completely separate, so at the end of the meal we know exactly how much each couple or (in one case) person spent. “I want to keep our friendship,” says one of them, as if being forced to spend a few dollars more than the price of our meal will in any way diminish our camaraderie.

I’m not asking whether separate checks are proper or good. I know they are, and I know they’re not. I’m just wondering if you have a way to talk these skinflints out of their ungenerous ways without offending them. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Pulled Barbecued Pork Shoulder
~ NOMenu.com

Pulled Barbecued Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is very tough if you try to cook it quickly, but responds with a wonderful texture and flavor if it’s smoked slowly. The expression “pulled” means that the meat is not sliced but torn from the bone. In the case of pork shoulder, it comes off in lovely long morsels, perfect for sandwiches and not at all bad for a platter. Tongs are the usual tool for pulling the meat from the bone, but you can sometimes do it with a fork. Read More. . .

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Guacamole @ Sun Ray Grill
~ 500 Best Dishes

Guacamole @ Sun Ray Grill

For awhile, the SunRay Grill would, on request, roll up a cart next to your table and make guacamole fresh, right in front of you. That is not merely an affectation. Avocados are notorious for losing their fresh flavors as soon as the skin and the seed are removed. Alas, Sun Ray doesn’t offer that service anymore. They do, however, make the guacamole several times a day with Hass avocados at the peak of ripeness. And it’s a good recipe, too. (Or else we wouldn’t be talking about it.) Read More. . .

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Early Mysteries ;-)
~ Food Funnies

Early Mysteries ;-)

Food And Religion.

They were intimately intertwined in the early civilizations. Some practices live on to the present day.

Click here for the cartoon.

keep reading. . . .

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Summer at Rue 127: Three Courses, $35.
~ NOMenu.com

Summer at Rue 127: Three Courses, $35.

The pleasant, intimate coolness of Rue 127 gets another facet of appeal this summer with a special menu. Three courses, consisting of an appetizer, an entree, and either a dessert or a glass of wine, some to your table for $35. It’s also special in that the dishes involved are mostly new ones. And here they are: . . .

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Diary 7|13, 14|2014: Bastille Day Dining, Le Foret.
~ July 2014

Diary 7|13, 14|2014: Bastille Day Dining, Le Foret.

Ryan O’Dwyer, Le Foret’s new general manager (he replaces Danny Millan, who left to open his own Cava restaurant in Lakeview), called last week to ask if I could scare up an Eat Club table or two for a Bastille Day dinner. Le Foret isn’t usually open Mondays, but they thought the French national holiday might be a good occasion for a special dinner of French food and wine. That idea has been put to use by many French restaurants over the years, never with what could be called runaway success. Except for a few gastronomes, French cooking–certainly at the Le Foret level–doesn’t enjoy an avid following in New Orleans anymore. Almost all the French restaurants here are solidly in the rustic-bistro category. keep reading. . . .

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FAQ: Bird’s-Eye Peppers
~ Food FAQs

FAQ: Bird’s-Eye Peppers

I’ve seen “bird-eye peppers” mentioned in some local recipes. Most that call for the peppers are from old cookbooks. I remember my old aunt talking about them and I think she even grew them in her front yard. But nobody I know seems to know what they are or what they’re used for. What say you? Bird’s-eye peppers–also known simply as bird peppers, for reasons I know not–are stubby peppers that get bright red when ripe. They grow with their points up, like Tabasco peppers (to which they are related)….

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Braised Celery
~ NOMenu.com

Braised Celery

Celery isn’t often used as a vegetable side dish. But it should be. It’s familiar, while at the same time something new for your eaters. It’s easy to prepare, using ingredients you have on hand. It goes with almost every main dish. It’s crunchy. And it’s good! The best results come from using the fourth through tenth ribs that come off the stalk. Those are large enough to have good flavor, while still being tender and blemish-free. Read More. . .

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Biscuits @ Mother’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Biscuits @ Mother’s

Early in the morning every day, the cooks at Mother’s bake several pans of enormous scratch-made biscuits. All morning long, they go out with gobs of butter and the same kind of raspberry jelly you find in jelly doughnuts. Obviously, you will not sully your biscuit (all you need is one of them) with that jelly. You can ask to have some of the famous baked ham or bacon or sausage shoved into the biscuit. Many do. But I still advise you take the biscuit as it comes. There is no better in this town. Read More. . .

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July 22 In Eating
~ July

July 22 In Eating

It is National Mango Day. A few years ago the mango surpassed the banana to become the world’s most popular fresh fruit. It’s not Number One in America, but we’re eating lots more of them. As Thai and Indian restaurants become more popular, so do mangoes. The fruit originally came from India, where they are held in some reverence. Growing mangoes requires not just a warm climate but one in which there are distinct wet and dry seasons. The fruit trees have spread for almost two thousand years, as far as Mexico and the Caribbean. Read More. . .

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Too Many Options ;-)
~ Food Funnies

Too Many Options ;-)

What Happens When Diners Can Eat Anything They Want.

All the structures (and strictures) of cuisine are lost in a flood of unskilled imagination.

Click here for the cartoon.

keep reading. . . .

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Virtual Summer Mediterranean Cruise, Vega Tapas Cafe.
~ NOMenu.com

Virtual Summer Mediterranean Cruise, Vega Tapas Cafe.

Vega Tapas Cafe is back on its annual summer Tour Of The Mediterranean. It’s the fourteenth year for this eight-week-long odyssey through all the major cuisines along the shores of the Med. It’s a great idea, since all those places–despite their tremendous cultural and geographical differences–have many flavors in common. Each menu consists of five to nine tapas-size courses for $27. (The price that hasn’t risen in years.) They also cut us an outstanding deal on the wine pairing: $15 extra. This virtual tour is a logical cruise, having begun…

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Diary 7|11, 12|2014: Tommy’s Bistro, New Chef & Menu. Rockin’ Dopsie.
~ July 2014

Diary 7|11, 12|2014: Tommy’s Bistro, New Chef & Menu. Rockin’ Dopsie.

My first choice for dinner on a Friday night is a more or less traditional Creole-French restaurant, the kind with tablecloths, service personnel in some kind of suit, and a menu full of food that either 1) calls to mind the deliciousness of a similar dish enjoyed in the past or b) is something new that sounds terrific. The nature of my work and the requirements of dining partners don’t allow this indulgence often. But it did tonight. I have not been to either Tommy’s Cuisine nor Tomas Bistro in too long. They both suit all my above preferences. And they’re two blocks from the radio station. I’d eat there once a month or even more often if I could. keep reading. . . .

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How And Why Not To Cook Condensed Milk In The Can
~ Food FAQs

How And Why Not To Cook Condensed Milk In The Can

What is the recipe where one takes a can of sweetened condensed milk and boils in in water a long while? I have long heard about it, but never understood what it produces, how long to simmer the can, or then what to do with it. It does state on the can,”never heat unopened can.” Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Cornish Hens With Peppercorn Red Wine Sauce
~ NOMenu.com

Cornish Hens With Peppercorn Red Wine Sauce

I found this recipe in a folder deep in my file cabinet, written in my hand on radio stationery and dated 1988. I remembered it only vaguely. So I cooked it, and liked it enough to know that a) it’s not an original recipe of mine and b) I wish I had thought of it. It’s very French in style, and turns the chicken-like Cornish hen (which I rather like anyway) into something wonderful. Try to find the demi-glace this thing calls for. You can now buy demi in gourmet food stores and gourmet-to-go places. And if you have a good relationship with a restaurant, they may sell it to you, as well. Read More. . .

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Cornish Hen, Lentils, Head Of Garlic @ Tomas Bistro
~ 500 Best Dishes

Cornish Hen, Lentils, Head Of Garlic @ Tomas Bistro

A new addition to the menu at Tomas Bistro, this Cornish hen is really just a pygmy chicken with a disproportionate amount of breast meat, but that doesn’t make it any less good. In the preparation the whole bird is roasted in the oven, then drizzles with a gastrique that lends a touch of sharpness as it works its way down into the stock-and-beans layer below. A whole head of garlic. . . Read More. . .

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July 21 In Eating
~ July

July 21 In Eating

Today is allegedly National Junk Food Day, but does that really make it stand out from all the other days on the calendar? We all get hooked by some kind of junk food at some time in our lives. The makers of the stuff know exactly what flavors, colors, and textures address subconscious desires. We’re hard-wired to like sweet food, for example. And high-fat foods. It doesn’t care what kind of sweet or fat it is. So we get trans-fat emulsified with high-fructose corn syrup. Pure garbage. Read More. . .

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L’Eau De Ecrevisses ;-)
~ Food Funnies

L’Eau De Ecrevisses ;-)

The Perfume That Knows The Way To A Man’s Heart.

Especially Cajun men.

Click here for the cartoon.

keep reading. . . .

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Summer Dinner At Impastato’s, An Eat Club Favorite
~ NOMenu.com

Summer Dinner At Impastato’s, An Eat Club Favorite

Even though the Eat Club has spent many evenings at Impastato’s, our dinners there always draw a full house. The explanation is easy enough: terrific food, generously served, liberally poured wines of interest, and a very good time. If you’ve never attended one of our dinners before, this one will be a good introduction. The food is down to earth, but uses such great ingredients that it’s delicious. It’s also an excellent venue for dining with friends. Because the restaurant has more than the usual number of four-top tables, it’s good for dining with people you haven’t seen in awhile. It’s also a good spot for introducing young adults to fine dining. And, as always, singles are welcome, with our larger tables presenting a highly social evening. Click here for the entire menu with wines. . . .

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Diary 7|12|2014: From The Cellar To The Porch.
~ July 2014

Diary 7|12|2014: From The Cellar To The Porch.

Our current kitchen crisis (aside from the perennial one in which the cat Twinnery jumps onto the counter) is a lack of refrigerator space. Mary Leigh has two major cakes to bake and decorate. They are so involved that they have to be kept cold during the days they take to build. One of the two will be a personal best for her: the buyer is paying $700 for it. It can’t have any nicks from people reaching around back of it to get the butter dish, or from strong…

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Doris Metropolitan. French Quarter: 620 Chartres St. 504-267-3500.

The menus of most premium steakhouses are interchangeable. Shrimp remoulade, crab cakes, wedge salad. Filet, strip, ribeye. Baked potato, broccoli au gratin, creamed spinach. Bread pudding, chocolate mousse, cheesecake. There is no sign of this uniformity at Doris Metropolitan, a major new steak joint. . . keep reading. . . .

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Dry-Aged Beef. . .  And Not.
~ Food FAQs

Dry-Aged Beef. . . And Not.

What exactly is the difference between dry-aged beef and whatever is the opposite of dry-aged beef? keep reading. . . .

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Zucchles
~ NOMenu.com

Zucchles

Are you growing too much zucchini? If so, you might welcome this means of getting rid of a bunch of them. They’re zucchini pickles, and they can be served anywhere pickles can. This is good chopped up and used as a garnish for red beans and rice. This recipe also works with summer squash, mirlitons and cucuzza, that long, green squash with the Sicilian accent that a lot of people grow on their fences around New Orleans. 5 cups cider vinegar 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup pickling salt 1 Tbs….

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Caviar Staircase @ R’evolution
~ 500 Best Dishes

Caviar Staircase @ R’evolution

Not many restaurants around New Orleans serve caviar anymore. There never were very many. Given the suggestion of opulence inherent in caviar, and the unrelenting move toward ever more casual restaurants, it’s a wonder we have any caviar in any restaurant. Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto ignore all that to make a large statement with the fish eggs. Five kinds of caviar, ending with the rarest osetra caviar available legally, present themselves on the glass steps of a staircase sculpture. Read More. . .

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July 18 In Eating
~ July

July 18 In Eating

At five minutes after ten in the morning on this date in 1988, I threw a microphone switch and began a new daily radio talk program called The Food Show. It broadcast from the original 1925-vintage studios of WSMB, on the roof of the Maison Blanche Building. It’s now the longest-running New Orleans talk show on any topic: same station, same host, same concept… Read More. . .

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Breakfast Chuckle ;-)
~ Food Funnies

Breakfast Chuckle ;-)

The Dark Truth About “The Most Important Meal.”

The morning meal gets short shrift, and then is the victim of the most insulting of foods.

Click here for the cartoon.

Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Diary 7|9|2014: Soho, New Chinese, Not Buffet.
~ July 2014

Diary 7|9|2014: Soho, New Chinese, Not Buffet.

I am there tonight, and the first thing I feel good about is that it takes the place of a Chinese buffet. Buffets are taking over the Chinese dining scene around the country–a very bad development. We have a few here, but so far they have not been able to dominate the category. For a buffet to close is always a good sign. “Real” Chinese food takes a little getting used to. . . keep reading. . . .

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Bacon Fat: How To Save It, With Interest
~ Food FAQs

Bacon Fat: How To Save It, With Interest

My mother used to keep a special container for storing bacon drippings on the stove when I was a kid. It was always hanging around the kitchen. I know she used it, but I never was sure for what. I’d like to know how long bacon drippings can be stored before it goes bad. I rarely cook bacon, but hate to throw away the rendered fat. I also don’t see the containers at any of the kitchen gadget stores. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Peach And Blueberry Cobbler @ Mat & Naddie’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Peach And Blueberry Cobbler @ Mat & Naddie’s

In season (spring and early summer) this is such a marvelous dessert that your internal control mechanism is overruled–even though it’s clearly as jammed with calories as it seems. Not so sweet as most cobblers, this has freshness and elegance. Read More. . .

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