DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Wednesday, March 14, 2018. A few days ago I suggested that MA and I should go to the Country Club in the Bywater precinct of Downtown. The Country Club is a large, elaborate restaurant combined with a public swimming pool, a large array of chaise longues and many outdoor tables for dining. Indoor tables are all in small dining rooms that are very effective in keeping the noise down. Hand-painted art all around adds a nice touch. In the center of all this is a large, oval-shaped bar, which tonight is certainly the largest and busiest part of the Country Club–which, I should note, is neither in the country nor is a club.

Every year at this time, my eyes turn my restaurant studies away from Uptown, Metairie, the North Shore, and all the other familiar parts of town. Instead, I turn towards the Bywater and Marigny, where the restaurants are many interesting eateries not far from the middle of town. It’s the effect of Daylight Saving Time that makes this happen. Last time I was at the Country Club, it was quite dark by the time most of the Eat Club had made it into the Bywater. The signs are hard to read then, and getting out of the district is equally challenging.

We are joined by our friends the Swifts, with whom we don’t dine nearly often enough. The two of them share many interests and tastes, and they had teenagers in high school the same time we did. And the early darkness during the cooler months keep them away from restaurants like the the Country Club.

We all agree that we like the food that came to the table, I began in my usual way: with some roasted oysters on the half shell and a large pile of mussels. This is the time for mussels, as we can tell by the low prices alone. I gobbled them down with the classic wine-and-butter sauce. It is at this time that I notice that I said nothing at the table about the many baskets of mussels that I devoured when MA and I were on our honeymoon in Belgium, one of the hungriest places in the world for those who love mussels.

The Swifts hit a nice jackpot by asking for the chateaubriand, a double filet mignon that they will split between one another, leaving enough for the rest of us to sample the goodness of the beef. It is the best I’ve had lately, but I’m not impressed by many steaks in restaurants these days.

The restaurant is not very busy. Obviously, the pool-and-outdoor dining people are driven away by the temperatures outside–in the fifties. A few people are having dinner. We have the room to ourselves. The bar was where the action is, as we could tell by the lengthy time it takes to get a cocktail. It’s hard to review a restaurant with business this slack, even though the menu is rife with interesting dishes. We are setting it up for more dinners with the Swifts and more friends.

RecipeSquare-150x150

Grilled Coriander-Crusted Fish Steaks

The marinade for the fish is one that the late, great chef Gerard Crozier used to prepare for curing duck breasts. The flavor is quite powerful, especially if it’s left on for several days. I thought it would be great for escolar’s rich flavors, but with less time in the marinating bag. This recipe would also work well with any fish that’s more often cut into steaks instead of fillets: tuna, cobia, swordfish, or the like.

  • 3 Tbs. coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire
  • 1 Tbs. red wine
  • 4 steaks of cobia (a.k.a. lemonfish), tuna, or swordfish, about 8 oz. each

1. Combine all the ingredients except the fish in a 1-gallon food storage bag, mixing well. Add the fish to the bag and seal it. Work the marinade ingredients around in the bag so that the fish is well coated. Refrigerate for one to four hours. (The flavors will become stronger the longer you marinate.)

2. Preheat the broiler and broiler rack.

3. Place the fish, still with as much marinade as it will hold, on the broiler rack. Season with salt, and run it under the broiler for about four minutes. Turn the fish, season with salt, and broil. The fish is done when a kitchen fork jabbed into the center of the fish, then carefully touched to your lips feels just barely warm.

Serves four.

AlmanacSquare March 16, 2017

Days Until. . .

St. Patrick’s Day–March 17

St. Joseph’s Day–19

Easter–April 1

Food Calendar

National Artichoke Hearts Day. National Artichoke Hearts Day.Artichoke hearts are the innermost leaves of small, undeveloped artichokes. They’re different from artichoke bottoms, the starchy, dish-shaped parts underneath the leaves. The overwhelming majority of artichoke hearts found in restaurants come from cans or jars. Even Warren Leruth, who invented oyster-artichoke soup, used canned artichoke hearts. Which, frankly, are not all that bad a product, if not as good as fresh. California grows virtually all artichokes consumed in this country. Here’s the web site of the California Artichoke Advisory Board. (What kind of advice does an artichoke need, really?)

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

When the spines on artichoke petals don’t jab into your fingers while you stuff the thing, it’s the best time of year for artichokes.

Overindulgence Through History

This date marked the beginning the Bacchanalia in ancient Rome. It honors Bacchus, the god of wine, and seems to have been around since the Etruscan days. It was such a bawdy event that even the Romans–never a puritanical people–banned it after a few years. It gained such a reputation by then, however, that the word “bacchanalia” has come to mean a festival of excessive eating, drinking, and carrying on (to put it mildly).

Music To Eat Bar By

On this date in 1955, The Ballad of Davy Crockett hit Number One on the pop charts. I was four years old and thought nothing could be cooler than Davy Crockett. I not only had a coonskin cap (who didn’t?), but for a few days I had my hair cut in the shape of a coonskin cap. Many years later, Fess Parker–who played Davy Crockett on television–turned up to promote his wines on my radio show. I played the ballad as we went from segment to segment, but then wondered whether Fess were sick of hearing the song. He smiled and said, “Actually, Tom, that’s my favorite song!” Very nice man. He passed away in 2010. I recommend his winery’s Riesling, Viognier, and Pinot Noir. Wish they’d do Petite Sirah again.

Annals Of Absinthe

This is the day in 1915 that absinthe was outlawed in France. Absinthe was one of of many liqueurs with an anise flavor, and so popular that after the ban substitute products that lacked the allegedly harmful ingredient wormwood came out. In France, the new absinthe was Pernod; in New Orleans, it was Herbsaint. Absinthe is making a comeback in recent times, and its fans get very enthusiastic about it. One of the leading makers of the new absinthe is La Fee Verte (“the green fairy”), whose site has a lot of information on the potion.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Croaker is at the source of the York River in east central Virginia. The York travels twenty-nine miles to Chesapeake Bay, and has some tidal characteristics–enough that the fish called the croaker make their way far upstream. The town is named for the fish, which are small but make for good eating. Croaker is in a historic state park. It’s also near Williamsburg, itself a historic preserve. That’s where all the eateries are, including the Welcome South Restaurant.

Edible Dictionary

diver scallops, n.–The name tells most of the story. These are sea scallops (the big ones, whose meat is an inch or two in diameter) that are harvested by divers who descent to the sea bottom and collect them. That contrasts with the usual method of dredging up the scallops, which results in shell damage and the admission of silt and sand. If you’ve ever noticed a grittiness in your scallops, you can see why diver scallops sell at a premium. Unfortunately, diver scallops are not a sure thing. Believe it or not, standard trawled scallops sometimes are represented as diver scallops. Send them back to the chef–or at least complain–if you find grit in alleged diver scallops.

Deft Dining Rule #297:

From the moment you notice that your table isn’t being served very well, allow at most five more minutes before getting up in search of a manager

Food Namesakes

Fats Waller was in the studio waxing the Jitterbug Waltz today in 1942. . . Judge Roy Bean, the Law West Of The Pecos, died today in his headquarters town, Langtry, Texas, in 1903. . . Rapper Flavor was born today in 1959.

Words To Eat By

“I said to my wife, ‘Where do you want to go for our anniversary?’ She said, ‘I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before.’ I said, ‘Try the kitchen.'”–Henny Youngman, born today in 1906.

Words To Drink By

“I was walking downstairs carrying a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Don’t try that after 90.”–Studs Terkel, American writer and radio host, born today in 1912, explaining how he broke his hip.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

When the spines on artichoke petals don’t jab into your fingers while you stuff the thing, it’s the best time of year for artichokes.

Overindulgence Through History

This date marked the beginning the Bacchanalia in ancient Rome. It honors Bacchus, the god of wine, and seems to have been around since the Etruscan days. It was such a bawdy event that even the Romans–never a puritanical people–banned it after a few years. It gained such a reputation by then, however, that the word “bacchanalia” has come to mean a festival of excessive eating, drinking, and carrying on (to put it mildly).

Music To Eat Bar By

On this date in 1955, The Ballad of Davy Crockett hit Number One on the pop charts. I was four years old and thought nothing could be cooler than Davy Crockett. I not only had a coonskin cap (who didn’t?), but for a few days I had my hair cut in the shape of a coonskin cap. Many years later, Fess Parker–who played Davy Crockett on television–turned up to promote his wines on my radio show. I played the ballad as we went from segment to segment, but then wondered whether Fess were sick of hearing the song. He smiled and said, “Actually, Tom, that’s my favorite song!” Very nice man. He passed away in 2010. I recommend his winery’s Riesling, Viognier, and Pinot Noir. Wish they’d do Petite Sirah again.

Annals Of Absinthe

This is the day in 1915 that absinthe was outlawed in France. Absinthe was one of of many liqueurs with an anise flavor, and so popular that after the ban substitute products that lacked the allegedly harmful ingredient wormwood came out. In France, the new absinthe was Pernod; in New Orleans, it was Herbsaint. Absinthe is making a comeback in recent times, and its fans get very enthusiastic about it. One of the leading makers of the new absinthe is La Fee Verte (“the green fairy”), whose site has a lot of information on the potion.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Croaker is at the source of the York River in east central Virginia. The York travels twenty-nine miles to Chesapeake Bay, and has some tidal characteristics–enough that the fish called the croaker make their way far upstream. The town is named for the fish, which are small but make for good eating. Croaker is in a historic state park. It’s also near Williamsburg, itself a historic preserve. That’s where all the eateries are, including the Welcome South Restaurant.

Edible Dictionary

diver scallops, n.–The name tells most of the story. These are sea scallops (the big ones, whose meat is an inch or two in diameter) that are harvested by divers who descent to the sea bottom and collect them. That contrasts with the usual method of dredging up the scallops, which results in shell damage and the admission of silt and sand. If you’ve ever noticed a grittiness in your scallops, you can see why diver scallops sell at a premium. Unfortunately, diver scallops are not a sure thing. Believe it or not, standard trawled scallops sometimes are represented as diver scallops. Send them back to the chef–or at least complain–if you find grit in alleged diver scallops.

Deft Dining Rule #297:

From the moment you notice that your table isn’t being served very well, allow at most five more minutes before getting up in search of a manager

Food Namesakes

Fats Waller was in the studio waxing the Jitterbug Waltz today in 1942. . . Judge Roy Bean, the Law West Of The Pecos, died today in his headquarters town, Langtry, Texas, in 1903. . . Rapper Flavor Flav was born today in 1959.

Words To Eat By

“I said to my wife, ‘Where do you want to go for our anniversary?’ She said, ‘I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before.’ I said, ‘Try the kitchen.'”–Henny Youngman, born today in 1906.

Words To Drink By

“I was walking downstairs carrying a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Don’t try that after 90.”–Studs Terkel, American writer and radio host, born today in 1912, explaining how he broke his hip.

FoodFunniesSquare

Overdoing The International St. Patrick Hot Dog Festival.

The leprechauns must have been studying what’s going on at Dat’s Dog and like other places dripping with additives.

Click here for the cartoon.

DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Wednesday, March 14, 2018. A few days ago I suggested that MA and I should go to the Country Club in the Bywater precinct of Downtown. The Country Club is a large, elaborate restaurant combined with a public swimming pool, a large array of chaise longues and many outdoor tables for dining. Indoor tables are all in small dining rooms that are very effective in keeping the noise down. Hand-painted art all around adds a nice touch. In the center of all this is a large, oval-shaped bar, which tonight is certainly the largest and busiest part of the Country Club–which, I should note, is neither in the country nor is a club.

Every year at this time, my eyes turn my restaurant studies away from Uptown, Metairie, the North Shore, and all the other familiar parts of town. Instead, I turn towards the Bywater and Marigny, where the restaurants are many interesting eateries not far from the middle of town. It’s the effect of Daylight Saving Time that makes this happen. Last time I was at the Country Club, it was quite dark by the time most of the Eat Club had made it into the Bywater. The signs are hard to read then, and getting out of the district is equally challenging.

We are joined by our friends the Swifts, with whom we don’t dine nearly often enough. The two of them share many interests and tastes, and they had teenagers in high school the same time we did. And the early darkness during the cooler months keep them away from restaurants like the the Country Club.

We all agree that we like the food that came to the table, I began in my usual way: with some roasted oysters on the half shell and a large pile of mussels. This is the time for mussels, as we can tell by the low prices alone. I gobbled them down with the classic wine-and-butter sauce. It is at this time that I notice that I said nothing at the table about the many baskets of mussels that I devoured when MA and I were on our honeymoon in Belgium, one of the hungriest places in the world for those who love mussels.

The Swifts hit a nice jackpot by asking for the chateaubriand, a double filet mignon that they will split between one another, leaving enough for the rest of us to sample the goodness of the beef. It is the best I’ve had lately, but I’m not impressed by many steaks in restaurants these days.

The restaurant is not very busy. Obviously, the pool-and-outdoor dining people are driven away by the temperatures outside–in the fifties. A few people are having dinner. We have the room to ourselves. The bar was where the action is, as we could tell by the lengthy time it takes to get a cocktail. It’s hard to review a restaurant with business this slack, even though the menu is rife with interesting dishes. We are setting it up for more dinners with the Swifts and more friends.

RecipeSquare-150x150

Grilled Coriander-Crusted Fish Steaks

The marinade for the fish is one that the late, great chef Gerard Crozier used to prepare for curing duck breasts. The flavor is quite powerful, especially if it’s left on for several days. I thought it would be great for escolar’s rich flavors, but with less time in the marinating bag. This recipe would also work well with any fish that’s more often cut into steaks instead of fillets: tuna, cobia, swordfish, or the like.

  • 3 Tbs. coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire
  • 1 Tbs. red wine
  • 4 steaks of cobia (a.k.a. lemonfish), tuna, or swordfish, about 8 oz. each

1. Combine all the ingredients except the fish in a 1-gallon food storage bag, mixing well. Add the fish to the bag and seal it. Work the marinade ingredients around in the bag so that the fish is well coated. Refrigerate for one to four hours. (The flavors will become stronger the longer you marinate.)

2. Preheat the broiler and broiler rack.

3. Place the fish, still with as much marinade as it will hold, on the broiler rack. Season with salt, and run it under the broiler for about four minutes. Turn the fish, season with salt, and broil. The fish is done when a kitchen fork jabbed into the center of the fish, then carefully touched to your lips feels just barely warm.

Serves four.

AlmanacSquare March 16, 2017

Days Until. . .

St. Patrick’s Day–March 17

St. Joseph’s Day–19

Easter–April 1

Food Calendar

National Artichoke Hearts Day. National Artichoke Hearts Day.Artichoke hearts are the innermost leaves of small, undeveloped artichokes. They’re different from artichoke bottoms, the starchy, dish-shaped parts underneath the leaves. The overwhelming majority of artichoke hearts found in restaurants come from cans or jars. Even Warren Leruth, who invented oyster-artichoke soup, used canned artichoke hearts. Which, frankly, are not all that bad a product, if not as good as fresh. California grows virtually all artichokes consumed in this country. Here’s the web site of the California Artichoke Advisory Board. (What kind of advice does an artichoke need, really?)

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

When the spines on artichoke petals don’t jab into your fingers while you stuff the thing, it’s the best time of year for artichokes.

Overindulgence Through History

This date marked the beginning the Bacchanalia in ancient Rome. It honors Bacchus, the god of wine, and seems to have been around since the Etruscan days. It was such a bawdy event that even the Romans–never a puritanical people–banned it after a few years. It gained such a reputation by then, however, that the word “bacchanalia” has come to mean a festival of excessive eating, drinking, and carrying on (to put it mildly).

Music To Eat Bar By

On this date in 1955, The Ballad of Davy Crockett hit Number One on the pop charts. I was four years old and thought nothing could be cooler than Davy Crockett. I not only had a coonskin cap (who didn’t?), but for a few days I had my hair cut in the shape of a coonskin cap. Many years later, Fess Parker–who played Davy Crockett on television–turned up to promote his wines on my radio show. I played the ballad as we went from segment to segment, but then wondered whether Fess were sick of hearing the song. He smiled and said, “Actually, Tom, that’s my favorite song!” Very nice man. He passed away in 2010. I recommend his winery’s Riesling, Viognier, and Pinot Noir. Wish they’d do Petite Sirah again.

Annals Of Absinthe

This is the day in 1915 that absinthe was outlawed in France. Absinthe was one of of many liqueurs with an anise flavor, and so popular that after the ban substitute products that lacked the allegedly harmful ingredient wormwood came out. In France, the new absinthe was Pernod; in New Orleans, it was Herbsaint. Absinthe is making a comeback in recent times, and its fans get very enthusiastic about it. One of the leading makers of the new absinthe is La Fee Verte (“the green fairy”), whose site has a lot of information on the potion.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Croaker is at the source of the York River in east central Virginia. The York travels twenty-nine miles to Chesapeake Bay, and has some tidal characteristics–enough that the fish called the croaker make their way far upstream. The town is named for the fish, which are small but make for good eating. Croaker is in a historic state park. It’s also near Williamsburg, itself a historic preserve. That’s where all the eateries are, including the Welcome South Restaurant.

Edible Dictionary

diver scallops, n.–The name tells most of the story. These are sea scallops (the big ones, whose meat is an inch or two in diameter) that are harvested by divers who descent to the sea bottom and collect them. That contrasts with the usual method of dredging up the scallops, which results in shell damage and the admission of silt and sand. If you’ve ever noticed a grittiness in your scallops, you can see why diver scallops sell at a premium. Unfortunately, diver scallops are not a sure thing. Believe it or not, standard trawled scallops sometimes are represented as diver scallops. Send them back to the chef–or at least complain–if you find grit in alleged diver scallops.

Deft Dining Rule #297:

From the moment you notice that your table isn’t being served very well, allow at most five more minutes before getting up in search of a manager

Food Namesakes

Fats Waller was in the studio waxing the Jitterbug Waltz today in 1942. . . Judge Roy Bean, the Law West Of The Pecos, died today in his headquarters town, Langtry, Texas, in 1903. . . Rapper Flavor was born today in 1959.

Words To Eat By

“I said to my wife, ‘Where do you want to go for our anniversary?’ She said, ‘I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before.’ I said, ‘Try the kitchen.'”–Henny Youngman, born today in 1906.

Words To Drink By

“I was walking downstairs carrying a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Don’t try that after 90.”–Studs Terkel, American writer and radio host, born today in 1912, explaining how he broke his hip.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

When the spines on artichoke petals don’t jab into your fingers while you stuff the thing, it’s the best time of year for artichokes.

Overindulgence Through History

This date marked the beginning the Bacchanalia in ancient Rome. It honors Bacchus, the god of wine, and seems to have been around since the Etruscan days. It was such a bawdy event that even the Romans–never a puritanical people–banned it after a few years. It gained such a reputation by then, however, that the word “bacchanalia” has come to mean a festival of excessive eating, drinking, and carrying on (to put it mildly).

Music To Eat Bar By

On this date in 1955, The Ballad of Davy Crockett hit Number One on the pop charts. I was four years old and thought nothing could be cooler than Davy Crockett. I not only had a coonskin cap (who didn’t?), but for a few days I had my hair cut in the shape of a coonskin cap. Many years later, Fess Parker–who played Davy Crockett on television–turned up to promote his wines on my radio show. I played the ballad as we went from segment to segment, but then wondered whether Fess were sick of hearing the song. He smiled and said, “Actually, Tom, that’s my favorite song!” Very nice man. He passed away in 2010. I recommend his winery’s Riesling, Viognier, and Pinot Noir. Wish they’d do Petite Sirah again.

Annals Of Absinthe

This is the day in 1915 that absinthe was outlawed in France. Absinthe was one of of many liqueurs with an anise flavor, and so popular that after the ban substitute products that lacked the allegedly harmful ingredient wormwood came out. In France, the new absinthe was Pernod; in New Orleans, it was Herbsaint. Absinthe is making a comeback in recent times, and its fans get very enthusiastic about it. One of the leading makers of the new absinthe is La Fee Verte (“the green fairy”), whose site has a lot of information on the potion.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Croaker is at the source of the York River in east central Virginia. The York travels twenty-nine miles to Chesapeake Bay, and has some tidal characteristics–enough that the fish called the croaker make their way far upstream. The town is named for the fish, which are small but make for good eating. Croaker is in a historic state park. It’s also near Williamsburg, itself a historic preserve. That’s where all the eateries are, including the Welcome South Restaurant.

Edible Dictionary

diver scallops, n.–The name tells most of the story. These are sea scallops (the big ones, whose meat is an inch or two in diameter) that are harvested by divers who descent to the sea bottom and collect them. That contrasts with the usual method of dredging up the scallops, which results in shell damage and the admission of silt and sand. If you’ve ever noticed a grittiness in your scallops, you can see why diver scallops sell at a premium. Unfortunately, diver scallops are not a sure thing. Believe it or not, standard trawled scallops sometimes are represented as diver scallops. Send them back to the chef–or at least complain–if you find grit in alleged diver scallops.

Deft Dining Rule #297:

From the moment you notice that your table isn’t being served very well, allow at most five more minutes before getting up in search of a manager

Food Namesakes

Fats Waller was in the studio waxing the Jitterbug Waltz today in 1942. . . Judge Roy Bean, the Law West Of The Pecos, died today in his headquarters town, Langtry, Texas, in 1903. . . Rapper Flavor Flav was born today in 1959.

Words To Eat By

“I said to my wife, ‘Where do you want to go for our anniversary?’ She said, ‘I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before.’ I said, ‘Try the kitchen.'”–Henny Youngman, born today in 1906.

Words To Drink By

“I was walking downstairs carrying a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Don’t try that after 90.”–Studs Terkel, American writer and radio host, born today in 1912, explaining how he broke his hip.

FoodFunniesSquare

Overdoing The International St. Patrick Hot Dog Festival.

The leprechauns must have been studying what’s going on at Dat’s Dog and like other places dripping with additives.

Click here for the cartoon.

No comments yet.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?