Belgian Beer Dinner This Wednesday, Galatoire’s 33

EatingNowSquare-150x150Belgium is an unknown to most people, but not to beer lovers. The style of brewing there is so distinctive that restaurants with good beer lists create an entire category for the beers of that marvelous country of good eating and drinking. (I’ve been there at length twice, and love it.) Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak–the two-year-old add-on to the city’s most revered classic restaurant, right next door–has gathered a bunch of Belgian beers for its first beer dinner ever. More on this. . .

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Diary 10|12, 13|2014: Feast With Stars. Drunken Noodles.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Mary Leigh and I go to dinner at Thai Spice. She tells me that she is looking for the ultimate version of pad kee mow, also known as “drunken noodles.” The reference is not to any alcohol in the dish, but its widespread use as a hangover remedy. I don’t think that’s ML’s interest in the dish. I have never known her to drink more than a beer or two. But she likes the broad noodles, the hot and sweet peppers, and some but not all of the sauces. That last item is what intrigues her, because every restaurant makes it a bit differently. She finds the Thai Spice version credible but not her favorite. . . More to come. . .

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Shrimp Remoulades–Dozen Best

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Dozen Best Shrimp Remoulades

Remoulade came from France as a blend of nearly-pureed savory vegetables, grainy mustard, and pungent radishes. Almost immediately, the Creole and French versions began to diverge. The former evolved into a deep red-orange concoction, the color coming from tomato, paprika, or both. In France, it became a mayonnaise variant, still with a sharp mustard component. Because of the continuing French influence on our food, the white kind kept being imported here. Both kinds of remoulade sauce collude with our matchless local shrimp to make one of the best imaginable appetizers. Here are my twelve favorites. You will see my own preference for the red remoulade, but please adjust to your tastes. More to come. . .

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Shrimp Remoulade With Two Sauces

RecipeSquare-150x150 I think remoulade sauce is one of the most useful and enjoyable flavoring agents that money can buy. I like it so much that it’s the very first recipe in my cookbook. There are two kinds of remoulade sauce. . . Recipe details. . .

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Stuffed Mushrooms @ Fausto’s

500BestSquare Fausto’s stuffed mushrooms are not only the most delicious I’ve ever encountered, but they come close to winning the size contest, too. An appetizer is enough for two. Despite that, they are entirely elegant, both in the lightness of the crab-lump-riddled stuffing and the lemon butter sauce.. . More about this dish. . .

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October 20 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Today is Last Chance For Rumtopf Day. Rumtopf (also spelled rhumtopf) is a traditional German holiday dessert of fresh fruit marinated in rum. In its most traditional form, it takes all year to make. But if you start today it will still be very good by Christmas, if not with the variety you could have had. Here’s how. . . There’s more. . .

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The Elixir Of Life. ;-)

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And this explains why its taste is bitter.

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Crescent City Blues & Barbecue Festival, All Weekend.

EatingNowSquare-150x150 The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival organization has in recent years expanded its activities to produce three free music and food festivals at times of the year other than its central bash in the spring. New last year was this celebration of its namesake music and food. It’s back again in Lafayette Square, which has seen a lot of new music events lately. More on this. . .

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Diary 10|10, 11|2014: Seafood Festival. Mr. Ed’s Oysters. Big Basic Breakfast.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 I stop anyway at Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar. I start with too big a serving of oyster-artichoke soup. Then I have a half-and-half dozen baked oysters. Bienville and Rockefeller. Three of each would have easily been enough, because the shells and oysters were both very large, and Mr. Ed’s recipes for both of these classics too rich by a half. Not only that, but whoever baked them didn’t check the interior temperature of the oysters, most of which came out cold. Not warm–cold. More to come. . .

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Chef’s Tasting Menus–Dozen Best

CremeDeLaCremeSquare-150x150 The day I discovered dinners of many courses was the day I became a gourmet. Although the closest we came to today’s chef’s tasting menus was with the table d’hote dinners in unreconstructed restaurants like Tujague’s and Maylie’s, there was something about the idea that locked me into that style of dining. Six or so small courses, each one touching a different part of one’s appetite, seemed to bring even ordinary food up to a higher level of dining. More to come. . .

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Pear Clafoutis

RecipeSquare-150x150 A clafoutis uses a runny version of Belgian waffle batter as a matrix for fruit–classically, cherries. But you can make it with anything sweet, and few fruits would make this more appealing than ripe pears. When you make this recipe, use more pear than you think you’ll need. And although the pan will seem to contain too much batter, go with it–it won’t run over. Recipe details. . .

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Seared Duck Breast @ Boucherie

500BestSquare Boucherie has elements both of a gourmet bistro and of a barbecue joint. One thing’s for sure: they know how to create exciting dishes with red meats and birds. Their duck entree is an especially good manifestation of that theory, crisp on the outside and juicy within. From what they find in the farmer’s markets they make a succotash with a nice crunch and vividly fresh flavor. The final touch is a sort of pesto made with almonds and dried fruits. Yum, More about this dish. . .

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October 17 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Someone has proclaimed this National Pasta Day. The National Pasta Association makes no note of this, but they have a pretty good web site, describing most of the common shapes of pasta, telling you (with a cartoon logo) that you should eat pasta three times a week, and explaining why American pasta is the best there is (a falsehood). One thing we know for sure about pasta is that almost everybody likes it, and that it or some variation is now eaten almost everywhere in the world. There’s more. . .

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Also Known As “Just Making Sure.” ;-)

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In every family is one person who likes meats cooked red rare, and another who prefers black charred. They are often married to one another. Welcome to my world, but with reversed gender roles.

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Diary 10|9|2014: New Biz. Johnny Sanchez Opens; We Are There.

The second location (the first is in Baltimore, of all places) of Johnny Sanchez had a soft opening yesterday. Occupying the space built out for Ste. Marie, Johnny Sanchez is a partnership of Chefs John Besh and Aaron Sanchez. They met a few years ago at some Iron Chef happening, and have talked about doing a restaurants almost since then. Both of them are now as celebrated for their television presences as they are for their restaurants. More to come. . .

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Lasagna @ Gio’s Villa Vancheri

Lasagna is something you have to be in the mood for. And very hungry. Attached to the concept of layered pasta, cheese, meat (maybe) and red sauce is the corollary that it must be served in a portion so big that only a laborer or a twenty-year-old man can finish it. Even if you can’t eat that much, you feel cheated if the lasagna is smaller than brick. That brings a degree of grossness to the dish, and most makers don’t get past it. Chef Giovanni Vancheri manages to keep it elegant without mini-sizing the slab. More about this dish. . .

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October 16 In Eating

Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House opened today in 2002. It was planned to be the seafood equivalent of Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, just a half-block away. But it evolved into a general Creole restaurant, a touch on the casual side, with more than a few dishes originally made popular at Commander’s Palace years before. The restaurant has an unusually large oyster bar, which is one of its finer points. There was a little controversy about its opening. . . There’s more. . .

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The Problem With Restaurant Coupons. ;-)

The Problem With Restaurant Coupons. You can keep saying it ain’t so, but this effect shows up inevitably. What would you do if your paycheck were cut in half? Click here for the cartoon.

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Young Chef Competition Sunday Afternoon, Emeril’s

This Sunday afternoon, the first in a series of competitions among young chefs across the country takes place at Emeril’s. Four young chefs from various culinary schools will try to impress a panel of well-known chefs (Susan Spicer and Tory McPhail, among others), while the whole thing is hosted by Daniel Boulud (one of New York’s best-known chefs). They want an audience for this, and so you and I are invited to dine at Emeril’s and watch the proceedings. More on this. . .

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Diary 10|8|2014: A New Menu At Arnaud’s.

Arnaud’s has a tradition of not changing its menu very much or often. The heart of the outmoded, 200-dish menu inherited from Count Arnaud’s era remained, even when seemingly everything else changed after the Casbarians took over in 1979. But every now and then they rotate a few dishes in and out, as they just did. More to come. . .

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