Diary 8/31/2018–Bobby Hebert’s Eatery. I’ve made it clear over the years that I have nothing to say about football. But my radio show is on the same facilities where the Saints, LSU and other broadcasters are, and I frequently encounter the large sports operations of WWL and its sports voices. They are among the most convivial people I know in the business. Bobby Hebert–WWL’s sports anchor–is unavoidable in the hallways where I work. But even though he was a major star in the history of the Saints, Bobby always has a laugh in his demeanor. The fact that he owns a restaurant makes my conversations with him delightful–especially since he’s a full-fledged Cajun and a lover of good food.
All of that makes it strange that after four years in business, Bobby’s restaurant didn’t pull me to its tables until today. I do know what caused my avoidance. Bobby’s place is a branch of the Oceana Grill in the French Quarter. the Oceana struck me as being more about large portions than goodness. But I may have to re-assess this, because what I found at Bobby’s Cajun Cannon was a good deal more sophisticated than what I expected. It’s still about huge piles of food, elementary ingredients, the heavy overuse of cream and other turn-on ingredients.
My order fit that description. I had only one dish–a variation of panneed chicken with a creamy sauce flecked with green. Ending the meal was a titanic wedge of cheesecake with bananas and strawberries. I couldn’t get even a quarter of this down. Something about the menu reminded me of Copeland’s. I will be back here again, probably in the company of the Marys, who probably love this kind of place to eat.
Of course, there was no sign of Bobby Hebert at the restaurant. (He does appear when a game is going on, or at his recently-added pre-game Sunday brunch. That’s the way it is with celebrity restaurateurs who get their fame from sources outside the kitchen.
Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon. Metairie: 4101 Veterans Blvd. 504-324-6841.
Eat Club Dinner @ Trenasse
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
In the Hotel Inter-Continental. CBD: 444 St Charles Ave. 6:30 p.m. $85, inclusive of tax, tip and a wine tasting.
When we first discovered Trenasse a few years ago, it was hard to believe that a casual hotel restaurant could be this good. Beginning with a magnificent study of oysters, our dinner proceeds through dishes that blend Creole and Southern dishes, many of which are quite original.
Hour-Long Oyster Reception
Rockefeller, Bienville, garlic butter, gratin, smoked gruyere & panetta, Intercontinental, cold smoked Gulf oyster duke’s vinegar, thyme, chili, horseradish crème, micro arugula.
Braised Lamb Carbonara
Bucatini, lamb debris, black eyed peas, poached egg
American Red Snapper
Crispy potato rosti, ham hock gravy, arugula salad
Boudin Stuffed Rabbit Loin
Cornmeal spoon bread, vinegar braised collard greens, rabbit reduction
Blackberry gel, white chocolate mousse, vanilla macaron, raspberry dust, mint.
To attend this dinner, you must phone the restaurant’s reservation desk at 504-680-7000. Payment is made at the restaurant the night of the dinner. Credit cards are preferred.
Attire is casual. Most guests are seated in tables of six to eight, with Tom Fitzmorris moving from table to table. If you’re like to sit with your friends, show up early to get the seat you’d prefer. If you can’t make it, please let us know a day ahead. See you there!
Restaurant Week @ La Petite Grocery
The number of restaurant that the Coolinary and Restaurant Week are fielding is a record-setter, with over 100 restaurants participating. Coolinary has already ended (save for a few places that keep it going for their own our-of-season menus). One of those is La Petite Grocery, which this week is offering both lunch and dinner menus. Always in command of four of my fleurs de lis, the Grocery has a three-course Restaurant Week dinner for $39. That menu will persist until September 16.
La Petite Grocery. Uptown: 4238 Magazine. 504-891-3377.
Soup of the Day
Chef’s seasonal preparation
Poached Gulf Shrimp
Marinated quinoa, chilled roasted beets, preserved lemon aioli & toasted pistachios
Prince Edward Island Mussels
Fennel, leeks, saffron broth & basil aioli
Pan Roasted Gulf Fish
Field peas, cippolini onions, braised radishes & horseradish butter
Sweet peppers, polenta & preserved peaches
Blistered tomatoes, ricotta & fresh herbs
Lemon Shiso Pavlova
Tahini Milk Pudding
Homemade Ice Cream
September 7, 2017
Days Until. . .
Restaurant Week: September 10-16. Fettuccine Frenzy: Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays through September @ Middendorf’s.
Today is National Summer Squash Day. There’s something virtuous about eating squashes, and I can tell you what that is: they have almost zero food value other than fiber and beta carotene. If you’re trying to lose weight, they’re a great thing to fill out your plate; you can eat all you want and add nothing to your waistline. On the other hand, they’re also more or less free of any significant flavor. Their flesh contains so much water that they don’t work out particularly well in a casserole, either. All that said, we come back to the first premise: they make you feel virtuous when you eat them.
Catfish Lake is a half-mile-long, shallow body of water sixty-five miles south of Savannah. It is a remnant of an abandoned bed of the muddy Altamaha River, which created a low-lying swamp as it waved back and forth over the Low Country for thousand of years. (Its present route is just east of Catfish Lake.) You probably would catch some catfish around here, but you’ll need a boat to penetrate this marsh. The nearest restaurants are in Darien, eleven miles away. Smokey Joe’s barbecue sounds promising.
Namesakes Of Great Dishes
This is the birthday of French playwright Victorien Sardou, in 1831. His plays were famously advertised by the Art Nouveau poster artist Alfonse Mucha; they’re still being sold, and you’d probably recognize them immediately. But Sardou is more famous for a popular fancy egg dish. Eggs Sardou was created by Antoine’s here in New Orleans, in the dramatist’s honor. The original recipe had poached eggs on artichoke bottoms with some chopped anchovies, all topped with hollandaise. Brennan’s revised the dish, dumping the anchovies and adding creamed spinach. That version of eggs Sardou is the one that became a hit. Thousands of orders of it go out of New Orleans kitchens every year.
Annals Of Cheesemaking
Today in 1995, a Canadian company called Agropur made a cheddar cheese weighing 57,508.5 pounds for Loblaws Supermarkets, in Granby, Quebec, Canada. That set the record, according to Guinness. Over a half-million pounds of milk went into the making of the big cheese.
Food In The Funnies
Today in 1930, the comic strip Blondie made its first appearance in newspapers. Dagwood quickly evolved from a playboy into the nutbar husband of former flapper Blondie Boopadoop (that was her last name, all right). Soon he made culinary history by creating the sandwich that’s named for him, loaded with every food imaginable. He’s still eating them, while remaining very thin for a guy who eats the equivalents of a half-dozen poor boys a day.
Food On The Radio
Today is the birthday, in 1944, of Garrison Keillor, the creator of A Prairie Home Companion on public radio, and of its “sponsor” Powdermilk Biscuits. I’ve been trying to duplicate the recipe for those, but I can’t seem to locate organic powdermilk. Keillor has retired from his unique show, which has a new host and sound, neither of which is even close to being as entertaining as their predecessors.
Food And Gas Stations
Today in 2000, taxi drivers in France began what they called Operation Escargot. It was a protest against high gasoline prices. They drove their cabs very slowly through cities, snarling traffic badly. They also sprayed the insides of their taxis with air freshener that smelled like garlic butter.
baby corn, n.–The cute, three-inch-long whole ears of corn that you find in Chinese and Thai cooking don’t have a complicated story: they really are baby corn. They’re just regular corn that’s picked when the ear is still so small that the cob is tender and edible. So many people have jokingly picked up a baby corn and try to nibble the kernels like they would on a full-grown ear. Although there are some varieties of corn especially designed for baby corn, the plants themselves are the standard. And baby corn can be taken from a regular corn plant. Usually, the ones lower down on the stalk are the ones chosen for corn infanticide. When the silk appears, it’s time to pick. They’re usually pickled in brine and canned.
Luther Crowell was born today in 1840. He invented the paper bag with a flat bottom, of the kind used universally in grocery stores until plastic bags took over. He also invented a machine that assembled and folded the sections of a newspaper, so the supermarkets could run ads to fill those paper bags.
Today is the feast day of St. Claude, after whom the artery running through the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Wards is named. He is also St. Cloud, patron of another Mississippi River city, in Minnesota. Claude was the grandson of Clovis, the first French king. I’d suggest him as patron saint of poor boy sandwiches, since they were invented on the street bearing his name (at Martin’s, corner of Touro). . . It’s also the feast day of St. Gratus of Aosta (Italy), the saint traditionally called upon for help with fear of insects. Remember him next time you find a bug in your salad. St. Gratus is also one of the many patron saints of vinegrowers.
Anthony Quayle, actor in The Bourne Identity and other movies, was bourne today in 1913. . . Dr. Michael DeBakey, who pioneered the use of artificial hearts, was born today in 1908. . . U.S. Ambassador to Sweden and Canada, W. Walton Butterworth was born in New Orleans today in 1903.
Words To Eat By
“High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? Or is it going to eat us?”–Anita Manning, reporter for USA Today.
Words To Drink By
“Here’s to love, that begins with a fever and ends with a yawn.” Welsh toast.