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DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Diary: 9/23/2018. All I have to do on the radio this weekend is show up on WWL today at noon, stay for an hour, enjoy the conversations with the biggest mainstream talk audience in town. Life is a lot easier when I have an audience like that waiting to talk with me.

Our friends Tommy and Maria Delaune joined us for dinner at Ox Lot 9. We go there fairly often for Sunday brunch, but this is the first time we’ve recruited our South Side pals for a dinner on the North Shore. They’re in the wholesale seafood business, which is endlessly interesting for those who love seafood or restaurants or both. We got to know them well on the South Shore, however, during the time when they operated what used to be Christian’s in Mid-City.

We have in common with the Delauns their go-getter son, who is a little older than Jude and shares the same enthusiasm in his work.

The Delauns are lovers of good wines, and we cracked a bottle of West Coast Pinot Noir that had a bit more body than we were expecting.

The food was mostly impressive. I was the first to arrive, and took the advantage of ordering the Ox Lot’s platters of cheeses and charcuterie. This was just right to stretch the goodness of the wine. It also took care of much of the appetizer portion of the the dinner. Additionally, MA had a mostly-crabmeat crab cake, enhanced (opinions differed on this) with black rice scattered through the cake. Tommy D bought the lobster special, and decided that it was too salty for his palate. I had an excellent, tender, thick, slightly overcooked pork chop that otherwise I found delicious.

The most creative order from our table was the stuffed rabbit over roasted potatoes for Maria. She said it was tender and luscious and enjoyable. My bite, with its unique brown sauce, was excellent, too, The Ox Lot guys are nothing if not a master of their specials.

This I know for certain: my effort to talk people into dining out in restaurants with their friends is getting a good response from a few such folks.

Ox Lot 9. Covington: 428 E Boston St. 985-400-5663.

Sunday morning, I sang my parts from a four-foot-high platform in a temporary church at St. Jane’s. They’re rebuilding the floor and pews. This is the place where the coffee and doughnuts are distributed once a month. Being in here makes me hungry for a doughnut.

Grilled oysters at New Orleans Food & Spirits.

Monday morning, Mary Ann and I were working on the ever-puzzling as to where to have breakfast, lunch, or supper when she said that as much as we try to diversify our restaurant selections, there are certain places that we can’t seem to resist, particularly when we can’t decided where to go. New Orleans Food and Spirits is one of these. Its food is good but not brilliant (I wish they had a little more variety on the menu), inexpensive without being cheap, and the wait staff knows us as regulars and treats us that way.

And then, there we were. I had red beans, a salad, and something I’ll tell about tomorrow.

New Orleans Food & Spirits. Harvey: 2330 Lapalco Blvd. 504-362-0800.

West End & Bucktown: 210 Hammond Hwy. 504-828-2220.

Covington: 208 Lee Lane. 985-875-0432.


Italian Oysters

After Bienville and Rockefeller, this garlic-and-bread-crumby concoction is the most popular in the pantheon of local oyster dishes. The famous dish along these lines is Oysters Mosca, named for the restaurant that made it popular. Every restaurant that’s even slightly Italianate makes a version of it, plus plenty of others. My version is a little spicier than most, inspired by the recipe they used to served at the extinct Lakeview restaurant La Cuisine. The ideal side dish with this is spaghetti Bordelaise.

Oyster pasta Bordelaise-

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 large oysters, partially drained
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning

1. Pour a little of the olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish of almost any size, from a small au gratin dish to a pie plate. Arrange the oysters with about a half-inch between them in the dish, overlapping a little.

2. Sprinkle the oysters with the crushed red pepper, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Cover the oysters with the blend.

3. Put the dish into a preheated 400-degree oven, uncovered, for ten to fifteen minutes (depending on the size of the dish) until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs on top brown.
Serves six.

AlmanacSquare September 25, 2017

Upcoming Deliciousness

Oktoberfest Begins On Tues. & Wed. @ Middendorf’s
Halloween, 34 Days Until

Deft Dining Rule #14

Calling to cancel a reservation at the exact time you were
supposed to be there is viewed by restaurateurs as almost as
thoughtless as not showing up at all.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Snail Creek flows four miles out of the everlasting hills of Oklahoma, and meets Honey Creek to form an inlet of the Grand Lake Of The Cherokees, a large reservoir on the Grand River in the northeast part of the state. The foot of Snail Creek is ninety-six miles by road northeast of Tulsa. The entire area is more famous for its fish than for its snails. Very pretty geography. The nearest eatery is very unlikely to serve escargots: the Hill Top Restaurant, two miles north of Snail Creek in the town of Grove.

Edible Dictionary

fleur de sel, French, n.–Literally, flower of salt. That is a good description of the salt crystals that form when the salt water off he coast of northern France–notably in Brittany–is evaporated. The crystals are made not only of salt, but also other minerals in the water. Sometimes a kind of pink algae that can live in brine is also present in the final product. All of these impurities add flavor complexity–and expense–to fleur de sel. You’d use it more to season food at the table than in recipes requiring a teaspoon of salt in a quart of water, say. It’s ironic that the goal of saltmakers for millennia was to produce pure salt. Fleur de sel and other gourmet varieties of salt are distinguished by their impurities.

Annals Of Stadium Eating

After being closed for over a year to repair damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and the people who evacuated inside, the Louisiana Superdome reopened today in 2006. And another opportunity to institute the vending of edible food in the big bowl was lost. I hear that a new company is making strides in there, but I have not investigated the affair.

Annals Of American Leisure

Today in 1926, Henry Ford announced that the workers in his plant would begin working a five-day week of eight-hour days. That event is often noted as the beginning of the consumer economy in America. Many firms followed suit. Workers who’d previously had little free time before suddenly had not only leisure time but some money to spend on it. One of the things they bought was Ford automobiles. They also spent some of it in restaurants. It’s no surprise that the next decade and a half was a time of great expansion for the restaurant business in New Orleans and elsewhere.

Wine In War

The Second Battle of Champagne began today in 1915. The French attacked the German-occupied wine country and fought for a month and a half. It resulted in a tremendous, useless loss of men and machinery of the kind for which World War I was infamous. The French wound up losing all the ground they gained shortly after.

Food In Science

Today in 1974, a report came out identifying Freon, then used as a propellant in aerosol cans, as responsible for much depletion of the atmosphere’s ozone layers. A movement to stop using the stuff for that purpose began. It gave us all a reason–as if taste weren’t already enough–to stop eating aerosol cheese, whipped cream, and other foods we’d be better off making ourselves. Good news: in recent years, the ozone hole over Antarctica has diminished in size, which means that the banning of CFCs has helped.

Food Namesakes

George Salmon, an Irish mathematician whose main work involved surfaces, was born today in 1919.

Words To Eat By

“[It was] a soup so thick you could shake its hand and stroll with it before dinner.”–Robert Crawford, British writer, who may have been writing about New Orleans turtle soup.

Words To Drink By

“Whenever someone asks me If I want water with my Scotch, I say, “I’m thirsty, not dirty.–Joe E. Lewis, abrasive stand-up comedian of the 1950s and 1960s.”

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