Chicken With Shrimp And Spinach

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RecipeSquare-150x150 This is a simple dish that somehow gives the impression of complexity. It also somehow gets past a dislike I have for poultry and seafood brought together. The idea came from Chef George Rhode IV, from back in the days when he ran his own restaurant. He began his career cooking at K-Paul’s, and was the first of many young chefs inspired by Chef Paul Prudhomme who went out on his own. He’s a successful corporate and consulting chef now.
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Tomato And Blue Cheese Napoleon @ Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse

500BestSquare This seems like an obvious combination for a steakhouse–thick slices of tomatoes, stacked one on another with thin slices of onion. But in it is an original idea: a flavor affinity between blue cheese and the red-orange style of remoulade sauce. The two are all over the tomatoes. The flavor hits home, and the pile is easily big enough to split two ways. Read entire article.

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July 29 In Eating

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AlmanacSquare Today in 1977, July 29 was proclaimed by the City Of Buffalo, New York as Chicken Wing Day. Buffalo is the logical home of the Buffalo chicken wing, but beyond that stories differ as to how hot wings were invented. Most of the stories credit the Anchor Bar’s owner Teressa Bellissimo with the creation.

Buffalo-style chicken wings are first into their natural three segments. The wing tips are discarded. The drummette and the two-bone “flat” sections are seasoned and fried, without a batter. Then they’re tossed in a sauce made by emulsifying butter (or margarine, say some people) into Louisiana-style hot sauce. The ensemble is completed with blue cheese dressing (or just blue cheese) and celery sticks.

The fast-food industry grabbed hold of Buffalo chicken wings as soon as it was clear that they’d become popular. Of course, they messed around with the formula, using a batter on the chicken, sometimes using boneless “wings” (really cut from other parts), and leaving out the blue cheese or celery. And you don’t even want to know what the sauce is made from. Read entire article.

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Is Breakfast Good Or Bad?

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Is Breakfast Good Or Bad?

One line of thinking is that it should be the biggest meal of the day. But there’s always this consideration, especially when you have big, dumb eggs.

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In Summer, Chef Duke Won’t Stop Cooking

SummerSpecials2015
Maybe it’s an Italian thing, or maybe it’s just Chef Duke’s need to make sure all the possible tastes of his customers are provided for. But Cafe Giovanni’s summer menu–which started early a week or so ago–matches the Pelican Club in the number of appetizers and entrees (seven of each). And that’s saying something. For $38, you get a three-course dinner that include most of the dishes I would recommend to you if you were going at a normal time of year. More to come. . .

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Diary 7|20|2015. New Look @ N’Tini’s. New Doc.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 A few days ago I got a message from N’Tini’s alerting me to a series of classes for young people learning the ropes of dining room etiquette. How far we have come when a restaurant founded in Chalmette gives such instruction. I hope it takes. All we need now is a curriculum about etiquette on the part of restaurateurs. Maybe it might get tablecloths back.

Since the last time we were here, N’Tini’s has renovated its main dining room. They have done an admirable job of this, clearing out a lot of dated decor that goes back to the days when this was CreolA, back in the 1990s. A tall, new wine rack is a particularly nice touch. The kitchen–which had been semi-open–is now isolated from the dining room, with good effects on the noise level. More to come. . .

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Pan-Roasted Salmon With Herb Crust

RecipeSquare-150x150 My badly-written notes tell me that I had this dish at Commander’s Palace when Emeril Lagasse was still the chef there. I saw how it was done, and reconstructed it from memory. Don’t blame Emeril for the execution–if that issue even comes up. Actually, this is our favorite way to prepare salmon at home. Read entire article.

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Pecan-Crusted Puppy Drum @ Muriel’s

500BestSquarePecan-Crusted Puppy Drum @ Muriel’s

DishStars-4
The idea of coating a big fillet of Gulf fish with pecans instead of the long-supreme almonds was hatched during the Paul Prudhomme years at Commander’s Palace. Nearly all the restaurateurs who came through that restaurant took pecan fish with them, spreading the goodness around. Both Muriel’s co-owner Rick Gratia and chef Gus Martin fit that description, and here it is: a vividly fresh puppy drum (a small black drum) with the oven-roasted nut meats, topped off with a crawfish relish. Highly yum.

Muriel’s. French Quarter: 801 Chartres. 504-568-1885.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.
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July 28 In Eating

AlmanacSquare It’s National Milk Chocolate Day. Milk chocolate became popular in the United States when Milton Hershey rejected methods already perfected in Europe for blending milk into chocolate and devised his own. His technique–still a closely-guarded secret–caused the milk to sour a little, giving Hershey’s chocolate a distinctive taste that Europeans find unappetizing. But it’s so well established as the flavor for milk chocolate here that everybody imitates it, to one degree or another. Milk chocolate is in decline these days, however, as dark chocolate takes over more and more of the market because its alleged health benefits. Read entire article.

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Ingredients From The Distant Past.

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Ingredients From The Distant Past.

Advantages: Completely new to all current diners. And a good addition to turtle soup.

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Pelican Club’s Summer Special Dinner: $38, Three Courses.

SummerDiningSpecialsYear after year, the summer specials at the Pelican Club are the most attractive around. Not just because the food is excellent, but because the selection is much greater than found on other summer menus. Chef Richard Hughes pushed the start button today for his $38, three-course summer menu. This will go on later than in most other restaurants, too, most, too–well into September. It is a startling value–what with lobster, fresh fish with crabmeat and shrimp, and filet mignon with crabmeat among the seven entree possibilities. The six appetizers include my favorites: the Pelican Club baked oysters, quail and grits, and gazpacho with shrimp and avocado.

You can enhance this dinner with a choice from among ten wines or three cocktails, to go with each of the three courses for $22.50. It’s an interesting clutch of juice, at that. More to come. . .

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Diary 7|18, 19|2015: Bosco’s In Time Warp City. Crabby’s.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 I get a caprese salad. It’s not as luscious as the best versions. A little on the dry side. But this is something that lends itself to being made by the pantry chef early in the evening. The amount of juiciness lost from the tomatoes when that is done is enough to take all the lustiness out of it.

Mary Leigh has her usual chicken piccata, with a side order of pasta with Tony’s great, old-style red sauce. For me, it’s veal Marsala. I remember this was improbably delicious last time I was here. I recognized the flavor right away, and yes, it does live up to my recollection. I haven’t gone down the Marsala or veal roads much in recent times, but I think I may be indulging more often in the near future (not to be confused with “going forward”). More to come. . .

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Alligator Creole-Italian Style

RecipeSquare-150x150 This dish takes advantage of the resemblance alligator tail meat has–in texture, color, and weight–to baby white veal. The hardest part of this dish is finding the alligator. If you can’t, you can use veal, pork loin, or even chicken. Oddly enough, the best side dish for this is buttered stone-ground grits. Read entire article.

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Grilled Pork Chop @ Mandina’s

500BestSquare I remember having a pork chop at Mandina’s a long time ago, with red beans. It was one of those thin, overcooked jobs that the old-style neighborhood restaurants were famous for. Needed the beans to make it moist enough to swallow. I carried that image in my mind until one day my wife ordered the pork chop. What came out was completely different: a nice, thick, bone-in chop, seared here and there, juicy throughout. And excellent by any standard. Read entire article.

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July 27 In Eating

AlmanacSquare This is National Scotch Whisky Day. Make mine Dalwhinnie, in a snifter, straight, with a glass of water on the side. Scotch whisky (that’s the right spelling) is made from malted barley (grains that have just begun to sprout) dried over a peat fire. That’s fermented with water to make into what is more or less a primitive beer, which is then distilled. Scotland has over a hundred distilleries, each introducing its own complexities of flavor, much of which is regional. The major regions are Highland, Lowland, Speyside, and Islay. A few subcategories add to the fun. The most popular are Highland malts (a “single malt” denotes the product of one batch in one distillery). The most unusual are the Islay malts, which are dried with seaweed peat, and from that pick up a distinct aroma and flavor of iodine. (Not for everybody.)

Most Scotch, however, is blended. One or more of the single malts is mixed with what amounts to vodka. That’s what you find under the major labels like Chivas Regal and Teacher’s. But serious Scotch drinkers prefer the single malts. The success of those in the past two decades has fired the whole market for brown spirits. Read entire article.

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Learning Outdoor Cooking, Lesson 1.1.

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Learning Outdoor Cooking, Lesson 1.1.

Next: how to make s’mores using a coffeemaker. The fun of summer camping!

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A Dinner To Go Along With A Sunset

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A Dinner To Go Along With A Sunset

The building that now goes by the Lakehouse name goes far back in the hoistory of Mandeville, having been built in the mid-1800s as a casino. Starting in the late 1800s, it was Bechac’s restaurant for over 100 years. After repairs of hurricane and fire damage in the past decade, the place is beautiful, with an expansive view of Lake Pontchartrain. The Lakehouse is owned now by Cayman Sinclair, who has been involved in major North Shore dining for over 20 years. The menu there now is up to date, but also familiar enough that even shy diners will like the dinner we plan to serve. Here’s the menu.

 

Coriander Crusted Gulf Yellowfin Tuna
Jicama , roasted corn poblano relish, lime, cilantro
Wine: Scharffenberger Brut Rose, Mendocino County, California

 

Seared U-10 Scallops
Cauliflower puree, heirloom tomato & saffron reduction, petite fines herbes
Wine: 2012 Bernardus Winery Chardonnay, Monterey California

 

Cast Iron-Seared New York Strip Sirloin
Cabernet veal sauce, young potatoes, sunburst squash, tarragon
Wine: 2013 Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast California

 

Baked Alaska
Vanilla bean meringue, pistachio ice cream, brown butter shortcake, cherry jam

 

Lakehouse


Thursday, August 6, 2015
Mandeville:
2025 Lakeshore Dr. Map.
$80, inclusive of tax, tip, and wines
Click here to reserve.

The dinner begins around 6:30; if you arrive late, no problem. Dress is casual. If the weather is really nice, we may decide to serve outdoors on the lawn. The price is $80, inclusive of tax, tip, and wines.

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Arnaud’s Gives Corkage Amnesty All Summer.

SummerSpecials2015It may be my imagination, but it seems to me that Arnaud’s is becoming more promotion-minded lately. They’ve always had wine dinners and summer specials and the like. But the following two offers for the warm months are exceptional.

First off, if you dine at the 97-year-old restaurant during the summer, you are welcome to bring in your own wine with zero corkage fee. Ever since John Besh put an end to that policy in his places, there haven’t been any gratis corkage policies in any major restaurants. As if the food and service over there isn’t enough to make for a a great evening. More to come. . .

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Diary 7|17|2015: A Great Dinner At Apolline.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Meanwhile, I discover the best dish I’ve had at Apolline. Scallops and shrimp, both well seasoned and convincingly seared, lean against the upslope of an island of corn. It’s surrounded by a sea of tomato sauce that’s somewhere between New Orleans-Italian marinara and Creole sauce. I am on record as saying that I don’t think tomatoes and seafood are very good together. But part two of that theorem is this: when the combination works, it does so spectacularly–never just a little. Here is an example of Tom’s Lemma. A fantastic dish. I think the corn is the liaison. I’m going to try this at home with something like sheepshead. More to come. . .

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Belgian Waffles

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RecipeSquare-150x150 The difference in a Belgian waffle is that its batter is lightened with foamed egg whites. This gives it a wonderful, airy quality that’s best appreciated when the waffle iron has big squares. To make a waffle come out crisp, put a substantial amount of butter into the batter. As it bakes, the butter will allow the temperature of the waffle to rise much higher than you’d have with less better, creating the crispness at the edges while remaining soft and rich in the center. Read entire article.

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Trout Muddy Waters @ Mondo

500BestSquare The funky restaurant phenomenon that was Uglesich’s is gone and probably will never be back. Most of its unique dishes are gone too. But one has made a leap from beyond the grave onto at least two current restaurant menus. Trout Muddy Waters (it can be and often was made with redfish or drum) was a straightforward pan-seared fillet with an equally commonplace meuniere sauce in the Creole style. What made it different was the addition of jalapeno pepper chopped into the sauce. Susan Spicer’s version has a little bit going on beyond that, with a faint seafoody flavor from (I would guess) a bit of shrimp stock. It’s my favorite dish at her new Lakeview restaurant Mondo. Read entire article.

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Why Models Haven’t Fallen For Cocktails.

FoodFunniesSquare

Why Models Haven’t Fallen For Cocktails.

They don’t have the bodies for serious drinking. Which may make them cheap dates.

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Please Dine Out For Life Tonight

EatingNowSquare
[title type="h3"]70 Restaurants To Choose From[/title]

Today (July 23) is the most rewarding day of the year for eating in a restaurant. Today, 70 eateries around town will donate around 25 percent of what they take in to the NO/AIDS Task Force. That long-running organization (over thirty years now) exists to help those who are afflicted with AIDS or HIV. They assist both medically and in helping victims with the essentials of living when they’re too sick to help themselves. Remember, this disease affects the entire spectrum of people, including many children.

It will cost you nothing extra to make a difference. Just dine out in any of the restaurants on the Dine Out For Life List. You will find the same menus, same prices as usual, served at the restaurants’ normal hours, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurants–showing the generosity they always do–will write a check to the NO/AIDS Task Force for between ten and twenty-five percent of their take for the day. You’ll feel good, the restaurants will feel good, and the people who benefit will feel great!

DineOutForLifeThe NO/AIDS Task Force did an even better job than usual in letting us know which restaurants are taking part. Here is the complete list of restaurants. That page lists restaurants by neighborhood, cuisine, telephone, and the amount each restaurant is donating. All you have to do is grab a date or call some friends, and head out for a feel-good meal. I’ll see you somewhere!

Dining Out For Life

http://www.diningoutforlife.com/neworleans/restaurants.

NOMenu invites restaurants or organizations with upcoming special events to tell us, so we might add the news to this free department. Send to news@nomenu.com.

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Diary 7|16|2015: Jude @ 26. Wild Catfish @ Zea.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 MA eats ribs, her favorite. I order the fried catfish, as much for research purposes as for enjoyment. After years of serving Asian near-catfish, the Taste Buds have shifted not only to domestic catfish at Zea, but wild-caught Des Allemands cats from nearby bayous and lakes. Even though I have been needling them editorially about this all along, I won’t take credit for this great improvement. I’ll bet Harlon Pearce–a fish wholesaler and friend who lately has developed a distribution of wild catfish–was a bigger force. More to come. . .

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La Riviera

ExtinctSquare-150x150Chef Goffredo Fraccaro came to town. Born in Genoa in 1926, he worked in restaurants until he was old enough to go to sea. For decades, he cooked on ships. Sometimes one of these ships called at New Orleans. Walking around the town, he found that he liked everything about it, and disembarked permanently.

Goffredo made his way to Baton Rouge, where he cooked for a few years. He returned to New Orleans in 1969 to open the city’s first big-deal Italian restaurant. Even the name was grandiose: Il Ristorante Tre Fontane. The restaurant of the three fountains was hidden in the French Quarter on Exchange Alley, where the Pelican Club is now.

It was too soon for such a restaurant. Most New Orleanians with a taste for Italian food wanted the rustic, inexpensive Sicilian style. They couldn’t get their heads around a ten-buck Italian dinner cooked the way it was done in Northern Italy, regardless of its goodness. Tourists were not in New Orleans to eat Italian food. After three years, the Tre Fontane partnership foundered. More to come. . .

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Gaucho Plate @ La Boca

Gaucho Plate @ La Boca This is the appetizer sampler at Chef Adolfo Garcia’s Argentine-style steakhouse, and gives a great taste of what this place is all about. It’s big enough for two people (or perhaps three). It’s also substantial enough for an entree. Half of it is down-to-earth: skewers o grilled beef, a beef empanada (the Spanish meat pie). The other half is more exotic, with spicy chorizo and grilled veal sweetbreads. The latter comes out so good I wonder why more chefs haven’t tried it. This plate, a…

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Good Cop, Bad Cop. Good Egg, Bad Egg.

FoodFunniesSquare

Good Cop, Bad Cop. Good Egg, Bad Egg.

They’ll all be hard-cooked if they stay under that light fixture very long.

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Summer Special: Barbecue & Beer @ Commander’s Palace

Now, this is a turnabout. For years, we have seen upscale cookery being served in restaurants designed to look as if a bomb had smashed them a few years ago. Now here is one of the most auspicious cining circumstances in town–Commander’s Palace, which has not only white tablecloths but a dress code (although not a very stringent one)–serving barbecue. The very idea seems out of place. . .until you think about it for a minute. The way it works is this. Make a reservation at Commander’s for any day…

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Diary 7|14|2015: Bastille Day @ Flaming Torch. Rue 127.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 The dinner is better conceived than usual. We are celebrating Bastille Day, and owner Zohreh Khaleghi has her chef pull together a menu of basic country-style French food. The wine wholesaler shows up with five French wines. I can’t remember the last time we had that, if indeed we ever did. The wines are not famous–such things are out of almost everybody’s wine budget now–but they show what the French are doing on the affordable side.

We begin and end with Montmartre, a bubbly wine from the Loire Valley. The closer is a rose, a nice touch. In between are some offbeat wines made from grape varieties I haven’t seen in awhile. (Ugni Blanc, for example.)
More to come. . .

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Clams Casino

RecipeSquare-150x150 A great dish found in every seafood and traditional Italian restaurant in the Northeast, clams casino is almost never encountered in New Orleans. I wish it were. It the best dish I ever had using clams. It’s also more than a little good with oysters (particularly smaller ones) or mussels. If you don’t have shells, you can make this equally well in small au gratin dishes. Read entire article.

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July 22 In Eating

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AlmanacSquare 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.

Mangoes are certainly delicious. They’re particularly excellent chilled and served as is, or with ice cream. In Thai restaurants it’s a common dessert with sweetened rice. The meat is soft, sweet, and aromatic–unless it gets too ripe. Then it gives off a sort of petroleum smell that can turn you off to the fruit forever. Don’t let that happen. Mangoes ripen off the tree, so they can be picked unripe. Unripe mangoes can be marinated into pickles, used for things like mango chutney. Read entire article.

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Dress Codes Through History.

FoodFunniesSquare

Dress Codes Through History.

This one is incorrectly identified. It’s obviously the Morning Call in the late 1800s.

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The Temperature Is The Price At The Palace Cafe.

The first summer special menu to surface this year, the Palace Cafe’s Temperature Lunch is back again for the twentieth year. It’s a gimmick, but a good one. Multiply yesterday’s official Weather Service high temperature at the airport by ten. The total in cents is the price for today’s two-course lunch, from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. weekdays. You get a choice of soup or salad to start, then the daily special entree of the day.

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Diary 7|12|2015: New Pastry Chef? Hot! Beans & Oysters.

Mary Leigh auditioned for an opening in the pastry shop at La Provence, and they hired her. They also said that if she wants to work more shifts, she could fill gaps in the pastry departments of John Besh’s other restaurants. It’s all part-time, and she’s keeping her gig at Sucre, too. This is a solid beginning of what could become a great career for her. She loves doing it. The Marys meet up for their customary mid-afternoon Sunday dinner at La Carreta. I think I shamed MA a few…

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Shrimp and Tasso Stuffed Potato Skins

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RecipeSquare-150x150 The baked, stuffed potato skin came from the chain restaurant world, but that doesn’t necessarily make it terrible. This version borrows the basic premise and works a New Orleans taste in. Small peeled fresh shrimp are often a bargain and pretty good; this dish puts them to work. Read entire article.

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