Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bahn Mi and Boucherie

A friend from out of town, who's spent a good amount of time in New Orleans, came to visit and I thought the best place to go would be Boucherie up in Carrollton. It's such a cozy, intimate space with great seasonal food with a Southern/New Orleans twist, it's a fun place to take someone who has mostly hung out in the Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Plus, it's super reasonable for such high quality and thoughtful food! As is their wine by the glass and beer.

Tom and I started with the Mai Tai, made with New Orleans Cajun Rum, Macambo 20 year old barrel aged rum, Trader Tiki's orgeat (the secret to any great mai tai), fresh lime juice, and muddled brandied cherries and orange. Our out of town visitor enjoyed a delicious caipirinha, made with leblon cachaca, fresh lime, and sugar on the rocks. I ended up having two mai tais. And a glass of pinot gris. Well, we had a bit of a wait for our food- apparently our ticket fell so we had both an embarrassed server and shamefaced front of house manager explaining this to us. But we got free dessert out of it! It didn't matter much, we weren't in a rush and we were enjoying our conversation.

When our food did arrive, it was freaking delicious. I was drawn to the small plates and ended up getting two of them: I started with the Farmers Market Pumpkin Stew with rashers and creme fraiche and then had the Dopplebock Braised Pork Belly with Pumpernickel Crouton and Juniper Berry Pickled Radishes. It was all really, really awesome. One of the best pork belly preparations I've had, and I know I've gushed about Boucherie's in house pickles before. Lawd. The pumpkin stew was excellent as well, and the rashers were beautifully meaty, a great contrast to the velvety mouthfeel of the stew which was replete with soft lumps of pumpkin.

Tom had the Collard Greens and Grit Fries, which was excellent, and the large plate of Apple Smoked Scallops with Roaster Beet Salad and Dill Sour Cream. Tom thought the scallops were perhaps a bit aggressively seasoned, but enjoyed the Beet Salad and really was impressed by the Collard Greens and Grit Fries. Our friend (a vegetarian) had the baby greens salad with creole tomatoes and then the Potato Pierogi with Local Greens and a Caramelized Onion and Caraway Dressing. She was quite pleased with it!

For dessert we shared an order of the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding which is just made of awesome. And donuts. So, you know, there is no bad here. Their decaf coffee was also pretty decent, which is always a nice surprise.

In conclusion: YAY BOUCHERIE! (again)

The following day I figured out that the Mid-City branch of our local bank was right next to the Eat Well Food Mart, which I'd been intrigued by for some time. My predecessor at my job had recommended it, and I'd heard it was a good place to get a bahn mi without going to New Orleans East. I got one (affirmed that I wanted it spicy when asked by the order taker) as well as a "homemade" egg roll. It's funny, the list of egg rolls is as follows: pork, shrimp, and homemade. The homemade one is pretty obviously made in house (lacks the uniformity of the mass produced type) and has pork AND shrimp AND is delicious.

I paid my $4.99 for my bahn mi (which included a can of soda) and left the store. I wasn't sure where to eat it, but figured that I could drive back to my office and eat by the Katrina Memorial or in one of the nearby cemeteries. Once I got back and parked my car, I realized that eating in my car would actually be a nice option. I was in the shade, next to a cemetery and it was very peaceful and a beautiful day. On to the bahn mi! It appeared to be comprised of pork, more pork, pickles, cilantro, and spicy pork. OH YEAH. The bread/roll/bun was AWESOME- I think it must have come from the famous Dong Phuong bakery. (Man, I gotta get there) The rich pork and the crispy cool pickles and the NOM NOM NOM. So, yeah, that was some good stuff.

Made dinner last night and tonight. Last night was Chicken Fricassee from the new issue of Cooks Illustrated, which was delicious and overly complicated as all CI recipes tend to be. (PS, their definition of "quick" is very different than mine.) Tonight was a *much* simpler but equally delicious Fettucini Carbonara. I was actually originally double booked for tonight- a work event and a neighborhood association meeting - and then when those fell through I though I might have a night on the town with our out of town visitor in the French Quarter, but in the end, I put on my pajamas and made pasta with bacon & eggs. Then finished up the apple crumble Tom made the other night. Then a Tunnock's bar (which was found at the World Market in Harvey, which was just about the best discovery this week besides my bahn mi.)

Tomorrow: Frenchmen Street? Stay tuned!

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