Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bagels come to the Irish Channel!

I happily discovered a new bagel place in the 'hood- I didn't even know about it until the day it opened. Excitement! I love bagels and I have been on the hunt for a good bacon-egg-cheese bagel sandwich since we moved here. (I'm picky about the egg- it needs to be actually fried, not scrambled or microwaved.)

I am happy to announce that Artz Bagelz on Magazine Street has good bagels. I mean, I'm not like a NY Bagel snob so authenticity is not key for me- but this had a nice chew on the crust, wasn't too hard or too soft, and were offered in generally normal non-crazy flavors.

We got plain, sesame, poppy, everything, asiago (which is definitely non-traditional) and honey wheat. Also picked up a pint of Creole Veggie cream cheese. Those we took home for later, and I got myself a lovely bacon egg and cheese sandwich on a sesame bagel. It took a while, because it was cooked to order and done so perfectly!

They also have some good looking sandwiches.

I'm psyched that they've come to town, and in my neighborhood.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Steak dinner at Mr. John's

After exhausting our farmers market and Hollygrove box produce through cooking at home every day between Saturday and Wednesday, we decided we would use one of our discount deals to help subsidize a meal at Mr. John's, an old school steakhouse on St. Charles in the Garden District.

I hadn't been to a straight up steakhouse for years, and while it's not something that is healthy for my wallet or my heart, our visit proved to be quite enjoyable. Mr. John's Steakhouse in the Garden District and is the epitome of the old school steakhouse in decor, service, and menu. I mean that in the best way possible.

I ordered a Sazerac, which came quickly and was delicious. We also ended up ordering a bottle of wine (rare for us!)- a Pinot Noir, which I can't remember the name of. But it added a nice vibe to the steak house experience. Tom ordered the NY Strip Steak (their signature item, I believe) and I ordered the ribeye. The steaks are graded U.S. Prime, and the quality is obvious. They come out sizzling in butter with a beautiful crust, and they tell you not to touch the plate.

The smell of the meat and butter is just intoxicating. I found myself straining to catch a whiff from steaks being delivered to the table next to us. We also ordered the creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and potatoes au gratin. We didn't care for the au gratin potatoes so it was a good thing that we ordered a backup potato. The garlic mashed potatoes and the creamed spinach were gooooood.

I stopped before meat coma and got half of my steak wrapped up...and got a swan! I love getting the swan, seriously.

It is the opposite of my pet peeve, when you are given a takeout box and you put your own food in. (Although, according to our waiter, apparently Evil Kenevil wouldn't let anyone else touch his food. I guess he was less a daredevil when it came to cross-contamination and sanitation!)

We declined dessert and made our way home to slip into a meat coma. Mmm, delicious meat coma.

I would definitely recommend Mr. John's if you are in the mood for a good old fashioned steak house dinner with booze and great service. It totally felt like a great date night place.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Earlier this week, Tom read on the Reddit New Orleans forum about a new crew of folks storming the pop-up scene here. It's a vegetarian crew called Tsai and they've been serving dinner at the Dragon's Den for the past couple of weeks on Saturday nights. Tom was intrigued, especially by the rumor that they'd be moving to the Bridge Lounge soon (I have no idea about the validity of that particular rumor, though). I found them on Facebook and discovered that they would be holding a BYO(Bowl) Oodles of Noodles dinner at a "secret location" (it was one of the organizers' homes.)

We got there pretty much right at 6:30 when it opened, as is our way (and no one else's in New Orleans). We paid a $5 donation and kicked in for some beers (PBR and Miller High Life). We chose our noodle (egg, buckwheat soba, or plain wheat); our sauce (black bean-mushroom, sesame seaweed, or garlic pepper); and had our choice of up to 5 add-ins (in addition to the standard tea egg and sweet pickled cabbage, which came automatically, there was: Baby Bok Choy; Daikon Radish; Salted Radish; Shiitake Mushrooms; Oyster Mushrooms; Enoki Mushrooms; Asparagus; Cherry Tomatoes, Lima Beans; Dried Mustard Greens; Tofu; Cucumbers; Carrots; Thai Basil.)

And there was coconut ginger rice pudding for dessert, which sold Tom immediately.

We made our choices: I had egg noodles with the black bean-mushroom sauce, with cherry tomatoes, tofu, lima beans, cucumbers, and Thai basil.

Tom had the buckwheat soba noodles, also with the black bean-mushroom sauce, with bok choi, salted radish, oyster mushrooms, carrots, and Thai basil.

After we attached the post-it note with our choices to the bowls we brought with us and placed it on the counter next to the chef working in this home kitchen, we went outside to the back deck and chatted with a few folks, making a few disparaging remarks about hipsters until it was pointed out that Tom was wearing a pearl buttoned shirt with an ironic cartoon bird which was purchased in Austin. All this whilst drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

So, yeah. We stopped that conversation right quick. People were very nice- we were asked how we knew the organizers, and we had to say that we actually did not. We were here from The Internet and were strangers to these folks. It was fine, of course. Everyone was as welcoming as if we were old friends. After we finished our noodles and our rice pudding (everything was delicious) we headed to the back deck and listened to some musicians for a while, slapping mosquitos, listening to the chickens in the coop constructed next to the house and the cicadas trying to compete with the keyboard and fiddle.

We had a lot of fun and left with happy bellies. Thanks, Tsai, and maybe see you next week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Something Good in the Neighborhood

It's been a while since anything blog-worthy's happened- had a bout of bronchitis last week that's been a slow recovery plus we've been pretty good about cooking at home instead of eating out after our vacation. I did find a new place near work for lunch- Cafe Navarre in Lakeview. Had me a pork panini and it was tasty!

BUT, I want to get in on the ground floor of a new place on St. Charles that I've been hearing about for a while. It just opened up on Monday and it's had a lot of buzz because the chef, Matt Murphy is quite well regarded in the community. It's called The Irish House, and despite my previous Boston area associations with the Irish pub/restaurant thing, I wanted to try it out.

We were both pretty wiped out and weren't really up for anything high (or medium) impact- just wanted some food and a beer. It was PERFECT! The space is beautiful- gleaming gorgeous wood bar, leather sofas and chairs by a (fake) fire, tables with long lovely wooden benches - comfortable but elegant. The staff was friendly, it had a respectable beer list on tap and in bottles (we had a couple Squatters IPAs on draft), and the food was AWESOME.

We ordered off the bar menu - the dinner menu looked amazing too, but we were in the mood for comfort food. Definitely want to go back and check that out soon, though. HelLO, Lamb Belly appetizer and Fig and Brie Stuffed Duck! Daaaammmn.

But that will be for another time- tonight we ordered and enjoyed our personal comfort food faves. Tom had the fish & chips (which tends to disappoint over here) and he loved it- fish was cooked perfectly, the breading was thin, crisp, and adhered perfectly to the fish. Seasoned beautifully. The french fries were also great- that is, till Tom over-vinegared them. Ah well, what can you do, the dude loves his malt vinegar.

I ordered the bangers and mash, which was fantastic- the fat delicious, savory pork sausage is apparently ground in house (or close by), split in two lengthwise and fried up nice on the griddle on the cut side. Over mashed potatoes and a perfect mushroom gravy. It was simple, but so, so good. Executing simple dishes with humble ingredients like this is actually not as easy as it looks, and it made me very happy.

I know this is a little gushy, but you know how sometimes you wander into a bar or restaurant and it ends up being exactly what you need and want at that exact time? It just hit us like that on all levels.

Cannot wait to go back. (I want to go to lunch there tomorrow but I'm afraid I will look stalkery/geeky if I go back the next day.)