Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vaguely vegetarian and definitely delicious adventures

So, due to weather related delays up North, we had less time with my aunt Laurel and uncle Brock than we'd all hoped. Instead of arriving Thursday, they came in on Friday afternoon.

I'd taken Friday off already, so I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself- I dealt with some condo-related business (thank god for property managers) and actually took a pretty significant nap. I was definitely still feeling under the weather, I guess.

Around lunchtime I figured I'd try to get moving so that I could hit the NOLA Brewing brewery tour with bonus King Cake tasting (King Cake provided by Haydel's- the tasting part was really to see what NOLA beer paired best with it.) Went to Coquette, although my appetite wasn't so much there. Seriously, all I want to do when I'm sick is eat soup and burritos. But, I figured, if I was gonna drink some beer, I needed to start on a full stomach.

Coquette lunch report: had the three course lunch, because I loved the look of the gumbo in the apps. Greens and bacon, which I hadn't had before. Also had a nicely seasoned hardboiled egg yolk paste spread on a slice of bread floating in the center. My main course was a lamb neck braise with merguez sausage and barley. Tasty- hearty, earthy, but rich. My dessert ticket got lost, so I ended up getting my carrot cake to go - which was fine, because I was about to go eat a bunch of king cake. But the bartender was nice, he comped my cocktail, which was pretty much exactly what I needed. It was called "Good For What Ails You" and it had Earl Grey infused vodka, Fernet, honey, and mint, served warm in a teacup. Man, that definitely helped cure what ailed me. Temporarily, of course.

Onto NOLA Brewing! Drank a bunch of beer, including what Kirk calls "Brewer's Crack" which is a couple ounces of the Hopitoulous IPA and then filled with Irish Channel Stout. They also had a cask of the Blond dry-hopped with Centennial (???) and another kind of hops. ALSO, we were able to try the new seasonal, the Flambeaux Red, which was delicious. Malty, but dry with a balanced hop bitterness. Loved it. Met some homebrewers and beer drinkers and neighbors, actually. Very fun. Got slightly drunker than I'd intended. But I ate several slices of traditional king cake, so at least I got that done this week. The king cake was awesome as well. There may be video of me out there babbling about pairing it with the Brewer's Crack.

I should also add, it was a glorious day in New Orleans. Clear blue skies, sunny, temps in the high 60s-low 70s. Just made one be happy to be out and about in the city enjoying life.

Made a plan to meet Laurel and Brock at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, which I'd never been to, actually. I got there a little early and sat at the bar and ordered a Sazerac. The Sazerac's Sazerac had gained the Sazerac Seal of Approval given out by The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society. I actually needed to get another shot of simple syrup for it. I also had one of their Manhattans, and a Hemingway dacqueri. Brock had a Southern Gentleman, which was pretty good looking- had raspberries and mint all muddled up with bourbon.

Onward! We had 7:30 reservations at Boucherie, one of the only places in the city that always has a vegetarian option. Brock had the moussaka, Laurel had the Caesar Salad and the Duck Confit small plate with candied kumquats and fried chickpeas. I had the blackened shrimp and grit cake and then a lamb phyllo concoction that was on special. Tom had the shrimp bisque and then the amberjack. We also had a couple bottles of lovely spanish white wine. (I later tried to balance the remains of the second bottle on the corner of the restaurant's front porch and it fell to the ground- so sad!) We also had dessert- I tried the Thai chili chocolate pie for the first time as well. The food, as well as the service, was amazing. We were possibly slightly rambunctious, and no one batted an eye. Thank you, James and Chef Nate!

The next day we picked Laurel and Brock up at their hotel and drove up to the Lower Garden District to have breakfast at Surrey's. Brock had the biscuits and mushroom gravy and I had the biscuits and sausage gravy, Tom had the corned beef hash and Laurel had the omelette with avocado and brie and crabmeat on top. Coffee was a flowing and the table we were at was decoupaged with calendar pinup girls from the 50s. Everyone was happy. We drove downtown and checked out the RiverWalk- just wandered around a bit. Took a drive uptown through the Irish Channel, up Magazine, through Audubon... ended up in Mid City and wandered down to Broadmoor to have lunch at J'Anita's at the Rendon Inn.

We were welcomed with open arms by Kimmie and Craig, as always. Brock had the Adult Grilled Cheese (no bacon), Laurel had the Swamp Reuben, Tom had the Sirloin Bites, and I had a bacon cheeseburger. The Hopitoulous wasn't pouring, so Tom and I had the Bear Republic Racer 5, and Brock enjoyed a NOLA Blond. Funnily enough, Peter Caddoo, the NOLA Brewing brewmaster was also at the Rendon Inn. Craig sent out a little lagniappe - a bite of his take on a roast beef po'boy. SO GOOD- he smokes the beef AND smokes the gravy- dressed with mayo, lettuce, sundried tomatoes and capers. I recommend everyone keep an eye out for this special!

After lunch, we drove out through the Bywater and into the Lower Ninth- we went over to the Village and Laurel and Brock got to meet Mack and Joe and even Smitty! I thought that we'd be giving Laurel and Brock a tour of the place, but it turned out we all got a tour of the amazing renovations that a a contracting company called Archer Western working in the Lower Ninth on the levee and other projects. Apparently one of the folks working with Archer Western/the Walsh Group came to Mack to rent out their function space and saw all the improvements that were needed and just started working! Absolutely incredible.

They've replaced the flooring, and put in lights. They donated a washer and dryer and built an area to house them. They've regraded the front of the building so that mud and puddles don't prevent people from parking and entering. They're making a new stage for the large space in back and re-painting the walls. They partitioned off the garden area and are surrounding it with a proper fence, and are repaving the back lot. I couldn't believe my eyes. They've been working day and night- I guess the company is having a meeting there next week and they're donating the time and labor to get the place in ship shape before then.

I think Laurel and Brock were mighty impressed at the Village and the work that everyone was doing to help it succeed. After our visit we drove around the Lower Ninth- looked at the Make It Right houses and drove to the Bayou and through the eerily quiet neighborhoods still in disarray and disrepair. It makes an impression. We made our way back to their hotel via Decatur Street in the Quarter- very slowly- there was a lot of foot and car traffic.

After a bit of an afternoon nap, we met up at Le Meritage for a lovely dinner with tasty cocktails, nice wine, good food, and great service. There was a Texas wedding happening out in the courtyard- the groomsmen had formal black Stetsons and the wedding dress was poofy beyond belief! (and the flower girl's was a miniature version of the bridal dress, heh.) We had a great time. Le Meritage had a great and relaxed atmosphere and we had a lot of fun. I had the duck confit and fried egg salad and then the port tenderloin plate (it came with a johnnycake and pickled vegetables.) Tom had the pork tenderloin and then the lamb. Brock had the mushroom risotto, and Laurel had shrimp & grits and then the scallop. Laurel had the trio of housemade ice creams- strawberry, caramel thyme, and toffee. The rest of us had the sticky toffee pudding.

We drove our visitors back to their hotel on Canal Street (down Toulouse and crossed over Bourbon Street, that was exciting.) We dropped them off and I think they had a great time, unless they lied a whole lot.

Come visit, I swear I will show you a good time!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

end of a weird week

OK, other than going to MVB for an excellent Benedict Burger on Sunday night (and waiting a good 45 minutes to do so) this week has been more or less a wash- I came down with a crappy cold in the middle of the workday on Monday and am just today recovering from it. Been eating burritos and chicken noodle soup for the most part.

So, here is a bit of a non-profit roundup:

First- Vote for the Lower Ninth Ward Village to win a Pepsi Refresh Grant! Sure, voting ends on Monday, and it would have been more effective to give this heads up earlier, but better late than never! Vote every day so that we can crack the top 100!!

Second- Historic Green did a little interview/profile on me which I hope does not come off as dorky and off-putting.

My aunt and uncle are coming into town (fingers crossed that there are no further weather delays) tomorrow and I am hoping to squire them about town for eating and drinking. The exciting challenge is that my uncle is a vegetarian- which in New Orleans can be tough. Stay tuned for that perspective!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sushi Sushi at Sake Sake (also homebrewing)

Finally, I was able to get over the bridge to enjoy the sushi stylings of the famous Johnny, formerly of Little Tokyo in Metarie, and now at Sake Sake on the West Bank.

We got there and asked Johnny to just prepare us 3 special rolls, his choice. One was the Tropical Roll:


(photo from Sake Sake's Facebook page)

This had salmon, shrimp tempura, cream cheese, snowcrab, and mango on the inside wrapped in salmon and drizzled in Thai chili sauce.

The Little Tokyo Roll had salmon, tuna, and crab with roe on top, and the Spicy Girl had spicy tuna, crab, and was wrapped in a smoked white fish that may or may not have been escolar. (Can't remember).

All the rolls were so good! Very creative and bold flavors.

Afterward, we ran some boring errands before our fun errand at Brewstock to pick up homebrew supplies for an upcoming brewday! Looks like Tom will be brewing up an ESB. I can't wait.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday night and life's all right


(image courtesy of http://slowcocktails.squarespace.com)

Headed to Twelve Mile Limit for "A Good Idea" which was vodka, zwack, ginger beer, bitters, lemon juice on the rocks in a highball glass. Then my personal favorite of this weeks' chalkboard specials, the Lexington. Two cocktails were a nice way to kick off Friday after work. I was in a pretty good mood afterward, as I went to collect Tom at his office.


After that, we went to The Avenue Pub, of course. St. Arnold's Elissa IPA was on cask, yay. I also had the Belgian Cantillon Fou' Foune. And another St. Arnold's, the Winter Stout.

In between, we sampled a couple amazing beers that are not available for sale in New Orleans. First up, the Bayou Teche Biere Noel, brewed with cherry bounce. This beer wasn't even actually distributed, really- just some bottles to friends in the industry. Awesome- I loved it. (stay tuned for more beer-centric thoughts in my beer blog.) Also a regular brought an IPA to share- Bell's Brewery Hopslam. Never had it before and I was really pleased to have the opportunity to try. I love being here- so many beer lovers trying to share everything they get their hands on. The beer scene is small but seriously passionate. And democratic! As long as you love beer, you're accepted and people will share with you. And you with them. In Boston, I feel like there's a beer "celebrity" hierarchy and a certain snobbishness. Here, people just love to drink beer and share it and talk about it. Sigh. Heaven.

For those who read both my blogs, fair warning- I may actually do a little c&p when writing up over there.

There are days here when I feel like I'm wasting living here because I'm just trying to get through the week- work all day, cook simple dinners at home, go to sleep early, and spend my weekends catching up on laundry, cleaning, shopping, and sleep. Could be doing that in Salem, in Vernon, in Columbus, in Schenectady, anywhere. Not New Orleans, right? Heh. Yeah. It happens!

But on a fairly frequent basis, we hang out and have amazing fun in uniquely New Orleans way. And I just bask in it.

On that note: everyone here is now obsessed with the JazzFest lineup! Can't wait!

I feel like I am in the city I was meant to be in.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Food and cocktails and so forth

So we had the Living Social obligation dinner at Le Meritage, which will expire on Sunday. I made a reservation, even though kind of the last thing we wanted to do is go out for another fancy dinner after the extravaganza of the weekend. SO I prepared myself... by having several cocktails at the Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City, which is an excellent bar with a sketch-ass exterior and a cozy but bare-bones interior with really amazing cocktails. I first met the owner over the summer at Coquette, where he was bartending, and very well I might add.

OMG, I do believe I mentioned to his face about having gotten the "Cole Cocktail Fever" while he was at Coquette. Me=DORK ASS.

Cocktails: excellent. Had the house cocktail, the classic Twelve Mile Limit, with rum, brandy, rye, grenadine/pomegranate, and lemon. Then I got a Lexington, which was an original cocktail with... rye, ginger liquor, sweet vermouth, bitters, and an herbsaint rinse. Then the Baudin, which involved bourbon, honey, hot sauce, and lime. On the rocks. The three cocktails cost me $19 (before tip) which is just crazy cheap for such excellent cocktail craftsmanship. Such a great and unpretentious place, too. I felt right at home.

So, after cocktail hour, I fetched Tom and we went up to North Rampart Street to park the car for dinner at Le Meritage. Since we were able to do this with a minimum of drama, we ended up hitting Bar Tonique for a pre-dinner cocktail. There were many, many options, and I ended up going with one of my classic faves, the Boulevardier (which is bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari) and Tom had the Blanche DuBoise, which involved muddled strawberries and gin. Good stuff.

OK, Le Meritage! The fine dining obligation! Which was actually... very tasty and relaxed. They do an interesting wine pairing menu which is something you don't see here so much. They arrange it by wine type, and you can get a small or large plate, and you can pair it with a full or half pour of the paired wine (if you so desire.) It's cool because you can try a bunch of different stuff without it being like a Fancy Wine Dinner.

First course: I had the jumbo lump crabcake with crawfish (YUM) and cajun spices, paired with a sparkling wine: Rotari Brut from Trento, Italy. Tom had the Pan Roasted Striped Bass with chive potato cake, apple smoked bacon, and lump crabmeat paired with an 09 Valminor, Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain.

We both loved our first courses and the pairings.

Second course: I had the Seared Sea Scallop with white bean puree, andouille hash, and lemongrass brown butter paired with an 07 Millton Chenin Blanc from Gisborne, New Zealand. Yum. Loved the wine a lot. Tom had the Rabbit Tenderloin with tagliatelle pasta, pancetta, and chive paired with the 08 Bodegas Borsao "Vina Borgia" Garnacha from Campo de Borja, Spain. Tom is crazy about rabbit, in general, but he was slightly disappointed with this preparation.

Third course: I had the Duck Two Ways with fig compote, foie gras, butter potatoes, and spinach, paired with the 07 Duckhorn "Decoy" Pinot Noir from one of my favorite places on earth, Napa Valley, California. The duck breast with the fig compote was all right, but the duck confit topped with foie gras was Oh. My. God. I cannot believe that in all my days of loving confit and foie gras I have never had them TOGETHER. Because it is MADE OF AWESOME. Oh lordy.

Tom had the Venison Chop with velvet potatoes, chocolate demi glaze, and Brussel sprouts. He said he didn't know how much the chocolate sauce really added, but the venison was A-Mazing. Also amazing was his 04 Alto Landon Syrah from Manchuela, Spain. He had a Spain thing going.

Then, for dessert, we shared a Toffee Sticky Pudding which was served alongside some orange Cointreau sorbet, which was pretty damn delectable.

OK, now I have drunk all that, ate all that, and wrote about it all. Now I must go to bed!!!

PS: Confit topped with foie gras! I can die happy now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ellen's pictures

Ellen took some great pictures at the Metarie cemetery- and since I didn't even bring my camera, I will share hers with you guys, with her permission. Well... she didn't actually explicitly forbid it!

OK, so here's your typical New Orleans style cemetery scene (though Metarie is a bit fancier):




And here are some crazy things like pyramids with sphinxes:



And ladies and random kids looking sad, which...OK:



And also... a frog?


And stained glass figures with NO EYES or FACES so they look like SOULLESS ZOMBIES!!??!


And my very favorite crypt that has been haunting my dreams since I saw it:


No wait, LOOK CLOSER:


AHHHHHHHH!!!

Well, here's a picture to stave off nightmares, I think it's a gorgeous shot, plus Ellen titled it, "To Beignets! To Glory!" which, frankly, cracked me up.


Sweet dreams!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Eatin' like a tourist

We had a guest in town for the weekend. This actually kicks off a spate of upcoming visits, so I'm trying to play tour guide in a city I'm still exploring. What I know is eating and drinking. And sleeping in. But I think that we did show Ellen a good time. Or at least enabled her to have a good time.

Friday: picked Ellen up at around 2 and we went to get pressed po'boys at The Grocery on St. Charles and Sixth. Walked around the Garden District some and then headed back to the house to wait for our new futon to be delivered. Wandered around the Irish Channel a little bit- I pointed out the playground that we built in August with KaBOOM and told her the saga of Tracey's and Parasol's.

After the eventual delivery of our awesome futon, we went to the Avenue Pub for a couple beers- the smoke was a little too much for our Massachusetts guest (all public buildings, restaurants, and bars have been smoke free for several years now) so she took a walk around the 'hood. We met back up and made our way to Brigsten's for an amazing dinner. Tom and I started with file gumbo with rabbit and andouille and Ellen had the house salad (with grape tomatoes, feta cheese, spiced pecans, croutons, pickled red onions, & cane vinegar dressing.) The gumbo was excellent. Ellen was happy to have vegetables. (a common reaction to eating for a weekend in New Orleans, though I usually see it at the end of a visit, as opposed to the start of one. I think it's a veteran maneuver and I applaud it!)

Next course was also amazing: Tom had the broiled gulf fish with crabmeat parmesan crust, mushrooms, & lemon mousselline sauce. The gulf fish of the evening was black drum. Tom loooooved it. He said that it was one of the best meals he's had in New Orleans. I had the sauteed veal with a veal osso buco sauce and grits. Awesome. Ellen had the famous Brigsten's Seafood Platter. It included the following: Grilled Drum Fish with Crawfish & Pistachio Lime Sauce, Shrimp Cornbread with Jalapeño Smoked Corn Butter, Baked Oyster LeRuth with Shrimp & Crabmeat, Baked Oyster Bienville, Jalapeño Shrimp Cole Slaw, and Panéed Sea Scallop with Asparagus Coulis. I cannot recommend this dish enough. Then we had dessert: Pecan pie for Tom, Cafe au Lait creme brulee for Ellen, and strawberries and tres leches cake for me. Oh, and some single malt Scotch.

Really, really good. Definitely the highlight of the weekend. Of a lot of weekends.

The next day Ellen and I hustled off to the French Quarter for lunch downstairs at Galatoire's. We showed up early to wait in line, but there was no line to speak of so we had a bit of a wander. Bourbon Street at 10:30 is still sketchy, but a little better than usual. We returned at 11am, and took a seat upstairs at the bar until lunch service began at 11:30. I had a bloody mary which was quite tasty- so tasty, in fact, that I had another one once we were seated. Billy was our waiter.

Galatoire's was... OK. It had been heavily hyped, but I didn't get the great service that is often mentioned in connection. Service was acceptable, but maybe not having a waiter or being a regular or asking advice (advice that did not seem like it would have been forthcoming) on ordering put us on the detached service list. I ordered the souffle potatoes and oysters brochette, Ellen got the fried eggplant. Then I ordered the crab Yvonne and Ellen got the crab Sardou. Was all right. We had the pecan cake for dessert. Overall, a bit of a letdown. I will stick to Commander's Palace for my old-school traditional New Orleans splurges in the future.

The atmosphere was of course raucous and festive- there was a 30th birthday party going on and we broke into Happy Birthday singing for another birthday girl who was turning 8. Oh, I also ordered a Sazerac and there was an option to have it on the rocks, which: ?????????

After that, we wandered around, went to the Moon Walk River Walk and took the riverside streetcar up to Julia Street and poked our heads into some galleries and the Contemporary Art Center. Ellen was still itching to walk around but I needed to get home and rest up before the wedding reception Tom and I were attending at the New Orleans Museum of Art. So I called Tom for a pickup and went home to prepare (and nap) for the evening out.

The reception was amazing- the museum was gorgeous, the art was terrific, the food was Indian, and the mojitos were provided by the Bridge Lounge. There was an Indian DJ there who spun both Indian and American dance music which was super fun. I danced lots and lots and lots. We'd planned to take a cab home (as we also arrived in a cab) but Tom was OK to drive so we drove a friend's car home, so that he could go on unencumbered to the afterparties, etc.

The next morning I was feeling a little rough, but I got it together to go with Tom and Ellen to Coquette for brunch. Service there was also oddly off- and that's unusual for Coquette. There was a large party and maybe an easily flustered server? I don't know. I had their Mardi Gras season Coquette Collins- it has shochu, Campari (???), and ginger liqueur, which, when combined with ice and soda water was quite refreshing. We three also sucked down lots of coffee, which was delicious as always.

Ellen and I had their butternut & acorn squash soup (with arugula pesto) and Tom had the sausage and squash cavetelli to start. Then I chose the simple breakfast item- scrambled yard eggs with grits, hash browns, and bacon. The bacon was far too salty for my hungover taste, so Tom ate most of that. When I'm too hungover for bacon, you know there's a problem. Ellen and Tom enjoyed their main dishes: merguez sausage gravy and biscuits for Tom and shrimp and grits for Ellen. Ellen also had the signature chocolate pot au creme with freshly made beignets for dessert while Tom and I just sort of rubbed our very full stomachs.

Then it was off to the cemeteries! This was one of the only specific requests that Ellen had- to go check out the Metarie Cemetery. Which we did. Very interesting tombs and structures there. A couple of really weird things and a few creepy things. I will post pictures once I get them from Ellen. After that, we went to the smaller cemeteries by my office- the St. Patrick's One and Two as well as the Dispersed of Judah cemetery and the Katrina memorial/potter's field.

At this point, we were WELL overdue for a nap. We returned home and everyone settled down for a couple hours. Once we rested, we headed out on foot to MVB for some burgers, fries, and shakes at our favorite neighborhood pop-up burger joint. We *just* missed the special burger, I think they sold out just a party or two ahead of us. But it was great. Amazing cheeseburger and chocolate gelato shake. Tom and I split an order of fries which worked out well, and Tom had a vanilla malt. (Ellen ordered the same thing as me.) We walked home fully satisfied.

Funny thing, Ellen wanted to get a Diet Coke with ice while we waited for our table, so we wandered down to the Bulldog and got a Diet Coke for her and a Bayou Teche Grenade, brewed with passionfruit for me and Tom to share whie we waited. Pretty damn drinkable. We ran into one of our Beer Advocate/Avenue Pub buddies who was leaving while we were waiting outside, who hooked us up with a Sierra Nevada Porter to drink- he said it paired well with the burgers. And wouldn't you know, he was right!

After dinner, we came home and I started re-watching Justified in preparation for its upcoming return with a second season. Oh, RAYLAN. Oh, BOYD.

This morning, we headed out to Surrey's for breakfast and I finally tried the Costa Rican breakfast, adding both black beans and chorizo, as is only right and proper. Tom had an enormous pumpkin pancake which he enjoyed, but would have rather had a couple smaller pancakes instead. It came with real maple syrup though, which is a rarity around these parts, so that was something. Ellen had a scramble with salmon and also had the opportunity to enjoy grits and a homemade biscuit on the side.

Then, off to the French Quarter, as our guest had some last minute things to check off her list. We stopped at Southern Candymakers, Lush (OK, that was just my errand), the ATM, the Vieux Carre liquor store (which has EVERYTHING you need, including an awesome owner who likes to chat,) and Cafe Beignet for some traditional beignets. Mmm, doughy, hot, and powdered sugar goodness!

We came home and got Ellen packed up and off to the airport. And then, of course, back home again for a nap.

Hope y'all had a good weekend as well! And for those who are up in New England expecting even more snow and single-digit temps, I'll just say that today was in the 60s with sometimes sunny (sometimes cloudy) skies. I'll clear my futon off for your visit.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The classics

I had a two excellent meals over the last few days at 2 of the most venerated restaurants in the city.

Lunch at August (Thursday, 1/6) was magnificent; salad with duck confit, shittake mushrooms, bacon with a hazelnut vinegarette followed by chicken filled anglionotti atop braised cabbage and winter vegetables, and a warm dark chocolate torte with white chocolate-rose ice cream and sour cherries. God, that was so, so good. I wish I could eat there every day.

Be warned, the price of the 3 courses (plus the signature sabayon amuse bouche plus the awesome fresh baked rolls plus the handmade peanut brittle and chocolate truffle that came with the check) has risen by 1 penny to $20.11.

Best deal in town. Apparently they now have a new cocktail menu- I didn't see it because I had iced tea (which is served, to my delight, with simple syrup) but the bartender seemed excited about it. (I was sitting at the bar for lunch.)

Today we had Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace. We were seated (at my request) in the Garden Room, which is lovely- it's upstairs and is surrounded by glass windows so it overlooks all the greenery and landscaping in the courtyard.

I started with one of their signature cocktails, the Adelaide Swizzle, and ordered the Shrimp and Tasso Hennican (to which which the waiter commented approvingly, "that's the best item on the menu.") followed by Creole Beef Bourgignon with a potato croquette topped with a poached yard egg with Bordeaux hollandaise sauce. Both dishes were crazy good- the Hennican was spicy and salty and crispy and savory and oh me.


The beef was awesome- cooked almost to a stew like consistency with mushrooms. I only ate half of it because I had to save room for dessert, the Creole cream cheese cheesecake which was delicious. Creole cream cheese is much more tangy than regular cream cheese- it's more akin to sour cream than cream cheese. It made for a delightful cheesecake.

The jazz brunch is surely touristy but CP delivered on food and service for sure. Totally old school in the cuisine and the service flourishes, but it doesn't seem dated, it's a classic.

Oh yeah, and my leftovers were packaged up in a tin foil swan! Aww.

I like checking out new places but sometimes the classics are nice to come back to.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sammiches & Somesuch

Today was a nice day for the good ole sandwich. Had my Wednesday special soup-salad-sandwich at the Crescent City Pie and Sausage Company today. The soup was a seafood gumbo with shrimp and oyster, the salad was the usual greens lightly dressed with vinegarette, and the sandwich was a grilled cheddar and Parmesan. On a wet and grey afternoon, that hit the spot.

For dinner we stopped at Cochon Butcher for a quick bite after work. I've been craving a muffeletta for the last few weeks so I had the version here. It came on the cutest muffeletta roll! Like about half the size of the one at Central Grocery. It was still a substantial sandwich though. Cochon Butcher cures its own meats and they are gooood. Tom had the cubano which was tasty but lacking in pickles. So, less a cubano and more a really awesome roast pork pressed sandwich. Their sandwiches come with housemade potato chips which are really good too. Oh, also delicious- the mac & cheese with pancetta small plate.

Not technically a sandwich, but we both had carnitas super burritos from Felipe's the night before. I think this speaks to us being too tired to: a) cook; b) shop; c) think; d) go out to a real restaurant.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday dinner NOM NOM NOM

After a week of powdered miso soup and saltines, followed by beer and hangover, we ventured out to Cafe Atchafalaya for a nice meal that would be a bit of a treat without too much fuss. It was enjoyable and quietly excellent. Cafe Atchafalaya flies under the radar a lot, I think. Easy to do in a town like New Orleans, with new places popping up, lots of personalities and fads and trends. Cafe Atchafalaya just turns out solid dishes in a very pleasant, even romantic and historic atmosphere.

Great cocktails: I had a Isabelle (gin, campari, grapefruit juice, bitters, and some other stuff) and a Vieux Carre. Decent bottled beer list, Tom had a Sierra Nevada and we saw some Racer 5s being served at the next table. Wines by the glass looked interesting too. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France. The whites looked very cool- a bunch of stuff from Italy and other places.

I started with the free form crab ravioli - pasta sheet with sweet crab meat, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms. Really amazing. Then I had one of their specials of the evening- a panko crusted Colorado rack of lamb with whipped potatoes and carrots. OMG SO GOOD. Perfectly cooked and the crust was awesome. Very satisfying.

Tom had the salad on special- arugula with some sort of thyme vinegarette with pecan crusted goat cheese wheel and claw and knuckle lobster meat. Then the Pasta Atchafalaya. He was also very pleased and satisfied with his meal.

I love it when you get a great meal just when you need one!

Happy New Year y'all.