Diary 5|18, 19, 20|2015: Mat & Naddie’s. Yummy Sushi.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 We have a very good dinner. I start with a very rich vichyssoise, ice-cold and herbal. She has a fried oyster salad for an entree. I counter with a very delicious, country-style rabbit stew over pasta with a creamy sauce, and what Frank Brigtsen refers to as “rabbit wings.” These look just like that. And they are cooked confit-style, finished with an appealing light-brown crust. And tender, tender, tender.Following our upbringing–when it comes to dessert we are more custard people than we are chocolate people–we have creme brulee and unusual bread pudding. More to come. . .

Read On...

Shrimp Robert

~~~
RecipeSquare-150x150 This dish, a refugee from the now-gone Masson’s, is an incredibly simple one to prepare, but it heightens the flavor of the shrimp wonderfully. Save this one for when you can find extra- pretty shrimp in the market. The quantities of onions and bell peppers are just as a guide; you should adjust them to your taste. An interesting and colorful variation is to use red, green, and yellow bell peppers instead of all green. The dish is the creation and namesake of Masson’s long-time chef Robert Finley. Read entire article.

Read On...

Oysters Bienville @ Pascal’s Manale

500BestSquare The most famous of all the baked oyster dishes is oysters Rockefeller. But the best of them is oysters Bienville–if they’re made with some care, anyway. Lots of restaurants make the dish, and there’s almost no agreement among them as to what the recipe is. If I had to pick a gold standard, it would be Manale’s version. Like most of the food there, it’s an old-fashioned style. The sauce start with shrimp, mushrooms, and a little bacon, all of which is folded into a roux with a bit of Parmesan cheese and green onions. That makes the sauce sit up in a pile, as well as gives it a fluffy quality. I could eat a few dozen of these, were they not so rich. One other quality: they don’t make each shell so full of stuff that you can’t eat a half-dozen as an appetizer. Read entire article.

Read On...

May 22 In Eating

AlmanacSquare It is National Speckled Trout Day. Speckled trout–whose official name is the spotted sea trout–is not a trout at all, but a weakfish, a member of the same general family as redfish and drum. Of this there is no doubt: it’s the standard fish of New Orleans white-tablecloth restaurants.

Or used to be. That status is much diminished since the advent of laws that limit the commercial catch of trout to such a small number (less than one percent of the total catch by recreational fishermen) that the fish is now highly seasonal (October through spring), and it’s hard to get even in season. The recreational lobby is once again trying to get speckled trout named a sport fish, which would remove it from restaurants and markets completely. Read entire article.

Read On...

Following Food Trends Into Dietary Imbalance.

FoodFunniesSquare

Following Food Trends Into Dietary Imbalance.

No matter how hip it is to cook and eat all the new greens on the market, one must remember the side effects.

Click here for the cartoon.

Read On...

Diary 5|16, 17|2015: Blue Line. Ideal Market. Annadele Brunch.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 At this moment, Ideal Market seems poised to grab a lot of customer base. It’s a food market the size of a Walgreens, specializing in Latin American food specialties. While an unsuspecting customer can buy most of his weekly grocery shopping at the Ideal, the main appeal is to those who are intrigued by the wide range of unfamiliar meats, vegetables, herbs, breads, and dry groceries. In this era, Ethnic = Gourmet. Five Ideal Markets are scattered around town. This new one, on the corner of Airline Highway and Clearview, is in brightly repainted former Walgreens. The spaces are a little tight, but that seems to add authenticity to the marketing. More to come. . .

Read On...

Shrimp Scampi

RecipeSquare-150x150 The scampo is a hard-shelled crustacean native to the Adriatic Sea. It looks like a small version of the tropical lobster, and its meat tastes a lot like that, too. This is the specific animal to which the dish “shrimp scampi” refers. In other words, shrimp cooked in the same way you’d cook scampi. When white shrimp are in season, this is a great dish to make with them, but any local shrimp will work. If you serve them with pasta, you can use small shrimp. Read entire article.

Read On...

Zuppa Filippa @ Ristorante Filippo

500BestSquare The house soup in this well-hidden and excellent Italian trattoria in Metairie is named for chef-owner Phil Gagliano’s mother. So it had better be good, and it is. So good, in fact, that you may well be tempted to have a second helping if you ordered a cup of it. A bowl, as a light lunch entree or as the start of a big dinner, is not a bad idea. It’s a fish soup made with big pieces of fresh local crabmeat, shrimp, and oysters, in a lusty fish broth with a little cream and just enough red pepper and herbs to create complexity without getting in the way of the seafood. Read entire article.

Read On...

May 21 In Eating

AlmanacSquare This is National Waiters and Waitresses Day. One of the four major elements in the restaurant organism (cooks, management, and customers are the others), service people probably contribute more to the personality and success of a restaurant than any other force. Every survey ever done on the matter has shown that service is more important to restaurant diners than anything else. If you want to get better service, make up your mind never to give less than a twenty percent tip. A server can smell that fact about you, and will respond in a way that will be worthy of that gratuity. Read entire article.

Read On...

And Other Arcane Restaurant Rules.

FoodFunniesSquare

And Other Arcane Restaurant Rules.

This identifies the two most uncomfortable tables in the place.

Click here for the cartoon.

Read On...

Diary 5|14, 15|2015: Trenasse. Arnaud’s. Pharmacists.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 I mostly speak to groups connected with food and wine. On the other hand, everybody has to eat. And if one travels to New Orleans for a meeting, one of the reasons why is the presence of our lusty eating habits.

Still, I figure I have to build a shtick around pharmaceutical matters. I note that cocktails were originally made and sold not by restaurants or bars, but by pharmacies. Druggist Antoine Amadie Peychaud–the maker of the bitters of the same name–created the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans. (It is often called the original cocktail, but there seems to be some doubt about this.) It makes sense that someone who is ailing would feel better if he took a stiff drink. More to come. . .

Read On...

Twin Beef Tenders With Debris Sauce @ K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen

500BestSquare One of the most popular dishes at Paul Prudhomme’s unique restaurant, this is something he created–in a much more polite form–when he was executive chef at Commander’s Palace in the 1970s. The debris is the distinctive part. That’s what’s left on the cutting board after you slices up a beef roast. You combine it with the makings of a brown sauce, plus some beef you shredded on purpose, and add some Cajun seasonings. The steaks are nice USDA Prime tenderloins, cut thick from the narrow end (the best part, if you ask me), and rendered crusty on a hot black iron skillet. While you might feel funny about passing up the likes of crawfish for a steak in this place, don’t. It’s as distinctive and exciting as anything else there. Read entire article.

Read On...

May 20 In Eating.

AlmanacSquare Today is also Farewell To Oranges Day. The end of the orange season–at least as dictated by nature–is now. Orchards throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere have dropped their last citrus and are working on next year’s. Of course, fresh oranges continue to remain available, most of them coming from the dry orchards of California, where the oranges can be more or less left on the trees as living storage bins. But they will grow increasingly more expensive, and will not be as juicy as the ones we enjoyed back in the late fall and winter. Read entire article.

Read On...

Feral Pizza.

FoodFunniesSquare

Feral Pizza.

Finally, an explanation for unordered pizzas that ring the doorbell at your house.

Click here for the cartoon.

Read On...

LPO Benefits If You Dine @ Mat & Naddie’s Tonight

EatingNowSquareThe New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra is the linchpin of classical music in New Orleans. And its extends its horizons well beyond symphonies, opera, and the other highbrow musical fare. Just last week, for instance, they staged a show based on the music of Pink Floyd. The LPO is ever devising such programs to address the musical tastes of everybody. ¶ Mat & Naddie’s, the cool gourmet bistro on Leonidas at the levee in the Riverbend, is holding an LPO night tonight. Simple concept: twenty-five percent of the take tonight will go to the LPO to help keep its budget sound. It will cost you no more than usual to dine from Mat & Naddie’s usually unusual Creole-French menu. Or to order better wines than you’d expect from that colorful, funky, 1830s barge-board house on the riverfront. I believe I will see you there. More to come. . .

Read On...

Diary 5|12, 13|2015: Pre-Cruise Dinner. Prom Night.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 A couple who traveled with us many times in the past–they’re so loyal that they even came with us to Chicago on the train, which is a real test of their friendship–has decided that they want to have one really spectacular dinner on this trip. They are reserved (I think) at Alain Ducasse’s famous and extremely expensive restaurant in Monte Carlo. They want to invite me and Mary Ann as their guests to dine in this place on their nickel. We gave a tentative yes, but MA wants to look over her magazines to see just how swank it is. (Must be a clothing issue.) My fingers are crossed. It has been a long time since I dined in a hyper-deluxe French restaurant. More to come. . .

Read On...

Trout Amandine

RecipeSquare-150x150 Trout amandine was supplanted to some degree by trout with pecans in the 1980s. (It made sense: pecans grow all around New Orleans, but almonds don’t.) But it’s still a very popular dish, especially in the more traditional restaurants like Galatoire’s and Antoine’s. And a very good one. ¶ It’s good not only with trout, but any soft, white fish: pompano, flounder, sheepshead, drum, redfish, true sea bass (not Chilean), and sole. Read entire article.

Read On...

Veal Sweetbreads Meuniere @ La Crepe Nanou

500BestSquare This is the classic way to prepare the thymus gland of a veal calf. It’s a two-step process, starting with poaching the sweetbreads, then pan-frying them in butter. The meuniere sauce (brown butter) is a byproduct of the latter process. Eating sweetbreads for the first time reveals that they’re better than you thought they’d be, with the flavor of veal times two. They’re rich, so an appetizer is a better idea than an entree. It’s perfectly light and toasty here. Read entire article.

Read On...

May 19 In Eating.

~~~
AlmanacSquare Today is National Devil’s Food Cake Day. Here’s how you get devil’s food cake to be really dark and different: add red food coloring to the batter. It won’t show as red, but as a strangely deeper dark brown. More interesting is National Meat-And-Three Day. The hotbed of the meat-and-three meal is the roadside diner. Many of those still show a list of the special entrees of the day, with a meat, poultry, or fish as a central item. Below that is a list of ten or fifteen vegetables and salads, from which you may choose three to go with your entree. Corn, peas, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, French fries, cauliflower, green salad, cole slaw, spinach, and lima beans are among the most common items on such lists. Most of us were introduced to this concept in school cafeterias, which serve a meat-and-two through grammar school, and then escalate to meat-and-three in high school. Read entire article.

Read On...

How Servers Think Of Us

How Servers Think Of Us, #5630553. Perhaps this is true in every occupation. But it’s most irksome when waiters view their customers in this light. Click here for the cartoon.

Read On...

Diary 5|10, 11|2015: Farewells: The Boy, Red Bean Omelette.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Two weeks ago, Mary Ann was denied a plate of fried chicken at the Camellia Café in Abita Springs. They have fried chicken on the buffet every Monday at lunchtime, and she likes it. It actually is pretty good, although I like the red beans more. Red beans are among the few foods that benefit from a stay on a buffet steam table.

The denial of her fried chicken rights has not released her appetite for them. So here we are again, she with her chicken and me with my red beans. More to come. . .

Read On...

Liz’s Where Y’At Diner. Mandeville: 2500 Florida. 985-626-8477.

When the exodus from the South Shore to the North Shore became heavy in the 1980s, almost immediately the relocatees started looking for neighborhood restaurants like the ones they’d enjoyed for decades in and around New Orleans. They didn’t find them. The closest approximations were the country-style diners on the major highways, which lacked both charm and good cooking. Eggs Sardou? Pasta with tasso and crawfish cream sauce? Forget about it! By the time of Katrina, the first New Orleans-style neighborhood eateries were finally there, beating the chains in the rush to serve this ballooning market. And so we have places like Liz’s. More to come. . .

Read On...

Margarita Shrimp Salad

RecipeSquare-150x150 A great salad for springtime, when lots of good shrimp are around. This recipe is adapted from one from the fantastically beautiful Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where an annual food writer’s conference takes place. The dressing uses all the ingredients for a margarita, plus the standard salad-dressing items. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s not really that bad, and the the salad is terrific. Read entire article.

Read On...

Breathtaking Roast Beef Poor Boy @ Liuzza’s By The Track

500BestSquare This dumpy neighborhood joint makes a name for itself by adding a brilliant new wrinkle to almost every New Orleans classic it cooks. This simple enhancement of the roast beef poor boy is beyond compare. It starts with a first-class standard roast beef sandwich, with good sliced beef, well made gravy (all made in house) and fresh New Orleans French bread. The magic touch is that the mayonnaise has a substantial horseradish component. This is so good and so obvious that it’s amazing nobody thought of it before. It results in the best roast beef poor boy in New Orleans. Read entire article.

Read On...

May 18 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Today is National Cheese Soufflee Day. Cheese soufflees are not all that hard to cook, but they do require a certain amount of thought. The first issue is the cheese. You don’t want anything that will throw off a lot of fat–cheddar, for example, isn’t a good choice. ¶ Tangy cheeses–like those made with goat’s or sheep’s milk–make the soufflee more interesting. The assembly and baking require closer attention than most dishes. Although you can get away without either, a water bath and straight-sided soufflee dishes make the baking more foolproof. ¶ That instruction you hear about never opening the oven during the process is solid. All of what I just described makes it hard for a restaurant to offer hot soufflees–unless it has a chef who does little else. Read entire article.

Read On...

How To Spot An Italian Dog.

FoodFunniesSquare

How To Spot An Italian Dog.

It’s simple, and the dog loves it.

Click here for the cartoon.

Read On...

Diary 5|9|2015: ML Is 23 At R’Evolution.

The remembrance of Mary Leigh’s birth always begins the day before, as Mary Ann is mindful of a day in which the doctor told her to go home, the baby wasn’t coming until tomorrow. We went all the way home and came all the way back when it was clear that this prediction was wrong. Shortly after midnight, I became the first person to see our daughter, our second and final child. She has been thinking for days about where she might want to go for her birthday celebration. She…

Read On...

Dick & Jenny’s. Uptown: 4501 Tchoupitoulas. 504-894-9880.

It’s not true that New Orleans diners hate beautiful restaurants with atmosphere. But it’s easy to come to that conclusion, given the number of ramshackle dining rooms that attract large, loyal clienteles. The premises are interesting in decor, but are spartan and less than comfortable. For most of its history, you couldn’t get a reservation for fewer than five people, and waiting out back with a glass of wine was inevitable. And, somehow, chic. More to come. . .

But time goes on. Under the new ownership, reservations are easy to get and the menu is a little more expensive. The place looks the same. More to come. . .

Read On...

The Marys’ Macaroni And Cheese

RecipeSquare-150x150 My wife Mary Ann’s mother made (or so she says) legendary mac ‘n’ cheese. It was made with evaporated milk and margarine, in the days when they hadn’t met a trans-fat they didn’t like. MA says I introduced her to snooty ingredients like real cream in a carton and butter. Baking it is better, she says, but she claims this will work in the microwave too. “You will only be rewarded with the crunchy cheese crust if it’s baked,” sez the mother of my children. “Good things come to those who wait.” If the quantities of cheese and cream here seem crazy, it’s because Mary Ann admits that they are. I one shred more of cheese were used, this would have to be called “cheese ‘n’ mac.” Read entire article.

Read On...

Barbecue Chaurice @ The Joint

~~~
500BestSquare A new trend we’re seeing around New Orleans is that many of barbecue practitioners them are smoking our native sausages. This is such a good idea one wonders why it wasn’t done before. The well-named Joint slow-smokes all kinds of things. I believe they were the first to smoke chaurice, the Creole hot sausage we love on red beans and in jambalaya. The smoked version makes a hell of a poor boy sandwich. Read entire article.

Read On...

May 15 In Eating.

AlmanacSquare horseradish, n.–A root vegetable in the turnip family. The stuff in the jars (“prepared” horseradish) is usually just pureed horseradish root, sometimes with water added. But most supermarkets now have the actual roots, which you can grate yourself. It’s very good, but can be very much stronger than you’re used to. The pungency varies a lot, whether it’s the fresh or the prepared product you’re talking about; always taste it before plowing it into a recipe. ¶ One of my favorite ways to use horseradish is over roast beef, whether it be sliced as for a poor boy or a prime rib. I get a fresh horseradish root, trim it, then grate it with a cheese grater right over the beef. Really zingy. Read entire article.

Read On...

My Daily Breakfast.

FoodFunniesSquare

My Daily Breakfast.

I have one of each of these every morning.

Click here for the cartoon.

Read On...

Diary 5|6|2015: Another Puzzle At Mizado.

It appears that Mizado may be a long-term sponsor on the radio show, along with its affiliated local chain, Zea. I remember that when I started doing commercials for Zea, the task was more difficult than for most other restaurants. I ad-lib the spots, with the facts and viewpoints stored in my memory. But Zea–and now Mizado–have menus so far removed from standard fare that I have to eat there over and over again before I get a grip on the essence. Mary Ann likes Mexican food almost as she…

Read On...

15 Best Sunday Brunches

CremeDeLaCremeSquare-150x150The meal at which the least business is done is Sunday brunch. It’s a time for families, friends, and other away-from-work folks. The free-flowing “Champagne” (the sparkling wine that pours at Sunday brunch is almost never actually Champagne, although some of the substitutes can be very good), the music, the surfeits of food, and the non-worry about the rest of the afternoon all contribute.

NTinis-EggsBenedict-

Sounds nice. But there is a dark side. If you’re interested in seeing a restaurant’s kitchen at its best, Sunday brunch is not the time to go. Not only are the best cooks and waiters often not on duty (they’re too pooped from Saturday night), but the restaurant’s management is likely to be hors de combat. What’s more, the menus tend to be fairly cut-and-dried, with specials being rare. More to come. . .

Read On...

Basic Cornbread

RecipeSquare-150x150 Some morning, when you wake up earlier than everyone else in the house, make a batch of this cornbread in time for breakfast. Set out softened butter and cane syrup for dipping. My mother did that for us often enough that just thinking about it makes me want to get the iron skillet out for tomorrow morning. Read entire article.

Read On...

1 2 41 42