Diary: Wednesday. June 20, 2018. Fried Chicken From The Roosevelt Hotel’s Fountain Lounge. A couple of weeks ago, Mary Ann came home with a box of spicy fried chicken from the Roosevelt, where the hotel was showing off some new ideas for the dinner hours in its Fountain Lounge. As reported in this space a couple of weeks ago, the Fountain Lounge is the big dining room off the main lobby of the hotel, adjunct to the Sazerac Lounge. The place is as much a bar as it is a restaurant.
One of the big new acts in the Fountain Lounge is a live singer performing with a pianist. While that goes on, one can sample some unusual cocktails and amuses bouches. The food part of the program is different every day, and today it’s Chef Carl’s fried chicken and house-made biscuits.
Chef Carl was in the studio with us for a whole hour. He is a genuine personality, telling all about the fried chicken recipe and all the other cooking he’s done at the Roosevelt in his thirty-five years there. I have a feeling that we will hear from him again, if only because he left enough hot fried chicken at the radio station for everybody in the place.
Summer Solstice: Thursday, June 21, 2018.
Our friends the Swifts often get together for dinner, during which the recurring subject is that we would be a more amenable foursome if everybody were re-assigned. It’s the women who usually broach this topic. Of course, the men participate the least in these speculations. We know potential trouble when we hear of it.
This evening, it was just the women over here and the men over there. If we came up with any conclusions, I forgot to write them down. But I have a feeling that I will not soon forget the things we talked about this evening at Rizzuto’s. That’s the restaurant that took over the space formerly occupied by Tony Angello’s. It has become two restaurants in one. This half concerns itself with familiar local Italian cooking, with perhaps a little more attention paid to details. The other half of the menu is all about steaks, chops, and other slabs o’meat. This time around, we split both a pork chop and a rack of lamb. Nice and tender, both of them. The steaks–of which we got a good look at the other table–smelled wonderful.
Mary Ann turned up right about then, but she didn’t stay long. I think she heard what she wanted to hear.
Rizzuto’s. Lakeview: 6262 Fleur de Lis Dr. 504-300-1804.
During the ten glorious years when my son Jude was a Scout (and I was too), we often made fruit cobblers at our campsites. The recipe was simple: it was mostly cake mix and canned fruits. When we found a bumper crop of dewberries down the street from our house a few years ago, we wondered whether we could make a cobbler out of those. We could. Our only regret is that the owner of that field cut all the dewberries down. We’ve never found berries in such profusion since.
- 3-4 cups dewberries or wild blackberries, washed and shaken dry
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 2 Tbs. white sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Put the berries and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir with a kitchen fork until the berries release enough liquid to make a gritty syrup. Set aside for 30 minutes, and stir a few strokes with a wooden spoon.
2. Cut the butter into chunks and stir with a wire whisk into the flour until it disappears into small crumbs. Add the half-and-half and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until you have a smooth but thick batter.
3. Pour the batter and the berries into a metal baking pan of suitable size, so that the contents are about an inch and a half deep. Stir the contents enough to make large swirls of berries in the batter. Sprinkle the white sugar on top.
4. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the berry wells are bubbling.
5. Allow to cool ten minutes. Serve as is, or garnished with whipped cream or ice cream and fresh berries.
Serves six to eight.
June 22, 2017
Fourth Of July 12
This is Seared Fresh Tuna Salad Day. The timing is perfect. The heat has emphatically set in, and even though eating cold food doesn’t actually lower your temperature, the sensation of eating chilled, nearly-raw fish with crisp, cold greens and perhaps some avocado seems a perfect antidote to the weather. The best fresh tuna salads are made with vividly fresh tuna, seared on a very hot grill or pan to a noticeable crust on the outside, but still completely rare on the inside. The color contract between the interior of the tuna (sliced after the searing, of course) and the greens is dramatic and appetizing.
Today is also National Chocolate Eclair Day. The original chocolate eclairs were made with choux pastry–the same stuff creampuffs are made from–and stuffed with pastry cream and topped with chocolate. Now you mostly find a big rectangular doughnut, filled with Bavarian cream and topped with chocolate frosting. Shouldn’t be eaten by anyone over sixteen.
hake, n.–The fish known by this name in the Gulf of Mexico is related to cod, and is about the size of a speckled trout–one to two pounds, usually. While it’s not a common food fish, when it does turn up on a menu it’s worth ordering. Its flaky flesh is nearly white and rather soft, making it ideal for poaching or saute, especially with sauces. It had a peculiar shape, with a tail that comes to a point and a continuous fin along its back and underside. It looks like a standard fish in front and an eel in the back. It turns up most often during shrimp season, when it’s a by-catch in shrimp nets.
Deft Dining Rule #183:
You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the size of the capers in the salade Niçoise. The bigger they are, the less the place spends on ingredients. (The little capers are the best.)
Food Through History
Today in 1847, the doughnut was invented when Hanson Gregory watched his mother struggle to get her fried cakes fully cooked in the center. He suggested that she cut a hole in them. It worked! Which explains why beignets are often doughy in the center. If they had holes, they wouldn’t.
Great Restaurant Addresses
This is the birthday in 1837 of Paul Morphy, who many chess experts consider the greatest grandmaster of all time. He lived on Royal Street in the building that now houses Brennan’s. He also has a street named for him. In his day–and still, among chess enthusiasts–he was a major celebrity in New Orleans.
Music To Eat Bacon And Beans By
On this date in 1959, people around the country had these lyrics running around in their heads: “They took a little bacon and they took a little beans, and they fought the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.” Johnny Horton’s record The Battle of New Orleans was a million-seller and at the top of the charts.
Food And Drink At War
Back in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, six American ships landed at Cuba’s coast. From there the Rough Riders, led by Theodore Roosevelt, invaded the town of Daiquiri. (I suppose they picked up a few in go-cups and rode on.) . . . In another great moment in history, on this date in 1815, Napoleon threw in the towel for the last time after being defeated at Waterloo four days earlier. He abdicated and went into exile, but only after stopping at the Napoleon House for a muffuletta.
Dewberry is a crosswords in the southeast corner of Indiana, 55 miles southwest of Cincinnati. It’s just west of Laughery Creek, which cuts a 300-foot-deep valley in the rolling countryside. A small tributary of Laughery Creek comes out of Dewberry, and that water flows in turn into the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the French Quarter. Dewberry is in the center of vast farm tracts interspersed with woods. Quite a few country homes have been built in the area. Not enough for the nearest restaurant to be less than seven miles away. That’s the Indian Trails Restaurant in Canaan.
Gary Beers, bass player and singer for the rock group INXS, was born today in 1957. . . Operatic tenor Peter Pears was born today in 1910. . . Danny Baker, a radio comedian in England, gave his first laugh today in 1957. It would be nice if we had more radio comedians here. . . Stephen Chow is a comedian, too–as well as a film producer and director in Hong Kong. He jumped onto The Big Stage today in 1962.
Words To Eat By
“Many people have eaten and drunk themselves to death. Nobody ever thought himself to death.”–Gilbert Highet, Scottish-American author, born today in 1906.
Words To Drink By
“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.”–Mark Twain.
A Whole New Version Of Cafe Au Lait.
Who is to say that you can’t make the famous coffee from an unusually new kind of milk?
Click here for the cartoon.