Thursday, June 28, 2012

Music 'n Food 'n Cocktails 'n History 'n Stuff

So, we've been trying to get out and about lately. Summertime in New Orleans- hot, sweaty, and lots of stuff going on for the locals. A couple Fridays ago, we biked down to Tipitina's for Free Foundation Friday featuring the Local Skank. Fun times! Dancing, sweating, dancing some more. Even saw Tom do some rump-shaking. It's a fun show.

The next weekend (this one just past) we had a nice relaxing time. We had a lovely dinner at the bar at Coquette- they had a smoked drum dish that came on that sounded like it was made for Tom, so we strolled over there and had a nice time.

Smoked drum, pickled onions = Tom catnip

housemade pasta with summer vegetables and crab

Cafe brulot creme brulee!
Jeff behind the bar mixed me up a drink he's been working on, in the spirit of a summertime negroni. Gin, verbana liqueur, and... something else. It was tasty! Tom had their beer and a shot which was North Coast's Red Seal Ale and Becherovka, which Tom has called the next Fernet.

Sunday we started at the High Hat due to my newfound awareness of their weekend breakfast special, biscuits and gravy. So I had that, and Tom had his usual buttermilk cornmeal pancakes.

We also found the Brigade Coffee Truck set up in the parking lot next to the Company Burger and had a couple iced lattes. Yum.

Afterward, we went to the French Market downtown to see Jeff "Beachbum Berry" who is one of the country's preeminant tiki cocktail masters. He was doing a preview of sorts of his lecture the following day on Joe Scialom, who Berry calls the "International Barman of Mystery." He gave a brief overview of Joe and also mixed up a variation of Joe's invention, the Suffering Bastard, called the Dead Bastard. It has gin, cognac, bourbon, rum, ginger beer, and Angostura bitters. Swizzled it up in a punch bowl and garnished with orange slices and mint.

Giant Swizzler!

Refreshing and... deadly.
Side note: I was chatting with Berry and another couple who was helping him set up and we got to talking about local cocktail bars. I was opining on a few things discovered that not only was I talking cocktails with Beachbum Berry, but also Chris McMillian.

Then of course we went to the Museum of the American Cocktail  on Monday to see the full lecture complete with samples of three of Bartender Joe's cocktails. While we waited, we had the Kiliki Cooler:

As we listened to the lecture, we had samples of two others: The Suffering Bastard and The Plymouth Julietta. Yum!

So, delicious adventures were had! Tuesday we went to the Coquette fried chicken and beer dinner... but that's another blog post.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The burden of living in this town...

It's a tough problem to have- too many awesome places doing awesome stuff at the same awesome time. Such is life in New Orleans.

The Offshore tiki pop-up out of The Company Burger is doing its next event on Tuesday, June 26, which is the same day as Coquette doing its fried chicken and beer dinner.

I don't even know how to choose!

Well, OK, I chose Coquette, because I can walk there and also my deep and abiding love for fried chicken. But I am so sad I can't attend both! Looks like The Offshore is moving to a $50 all you can eat model rather than the a la carte model of the last one... don't know what that means for the cocktails, though.

Here are my write-ups of the previous Offshore popup and the previous Coquette beer dinner, hope this helps you make your decision.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fried chicken beer dinner at Coquette

Cut and pasted from my beer blog- I don't usually do this, but I feel that this news applies equally to both blogs.

OK, so you missed the first Coquette beer dinner.  It's all right, you didn't know any better.  Now you do!  So call the restaurant for reservations ASAP (504-265-0241) for the upcoming Fried Chicken And Beer Dinner on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00pm.

Behold! the menu:

Passed Hors D'oeuvres & Ponies
Collard Green and Boudin "Grapeleaves"
Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Pickled Gulf Shrimp
Accompanying beers: Anchor Brekle's Brown, Stoudt's Kolsch, and Wasatch Little Slammer

Family Style Fried Chicken Dinner
Three Varieties of Fried Chicken
Collard Greens
Potato Salad
Cole Slaw
Heirloom Tomatoes
Watermelon Salad
Mashed Potatoes
Accompanying beers:  Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Rogue Dead Guy

Peach Crisp
Chocolate Pecan Tart
Summer Berry Shortcake
Accompanying beer:  Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout

OK SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, THIS WILL BE EPIC.  (possibly I love fried chicken a little too much, hence, epic designation.)

$60pp, all inclusive of tax, tip, etc. Call for reservations. You can be damn sure I didn't post this till I made mine.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eating local

June is New Orleans' month for the Eat Local Challenge, and we joined up (only a week or so late) while at the  OCH Market. We went there to track down some TSAI food, and were greeted by... a duck.

Also, some chickens, but they ran too fast for me to get a decent pictures. Mostly running away from the kids chasing them, it appeared. 

Delicious TSAI food: Blueberry pancakes topped with peaches and Steen's, potato-mushroom-goat cheese thing, and refreshing peach water.

So, after eating our food and dodging frenzied fowl, we signed up officially for the Eat Local Food Challenge, and got some Louisiana wheat flour and Louisiana salt. Also met up with a new meat purveyor, Cleaver & Co., which is a fully locally sourced butcher shop that I am super excited about. They'll be opening a permanent location soon on Baronne Street near our friendly neighborhood homebrew store, Brewstock! So I chatted with them for a while, bought some pork country-style ribs, dazzled them with my highly popular blogging lifestyle and wandered off to shop at the vegan lady's table. Got some tofu and pecan milk. Tom bought locally sourced jam and bread, and we left pretty damn satisfied with ourselves.

After a quick stop home to put away all our local food, we drove downtown to check out the simultaneous festivals going on in the French Market and U.S. Mint Building: the Creole Tomato Festival and the Cajun Zydeco Festival. 

We wandered, listened to music, ate amazing Creole tomatoes with lump crabmeat and remoulade and some awesome crawfish bread that was much better than the stuff at Jazz Fest, listened to music, drank some NOLA Brewing beers, enjoyed the cool breeze coming off the Mississippi, and generally had ourselves a real nice time. We'd parked up on North Rampart near Bar Tonique, so we stopped in and had a couple cocktails before going home. I had a Pimms Cup and then a delicious gin gimlet variation, and Tom had probably the best Dark & Stormy I've ever come across and then a Mai Tai.

Today, I wanted to see how Coquette's brunch was since they started it up again. It's been the only somewhat weak spot in the times we've been there (before the hiatus) which was heartbreaking, because I know how amazing it usually is. Happily, I can report that we had a pretty perfect brunch experience. Great service, great food... I saw Chef Stoltzfus coming out of the kitchen as we were wrapping up, which was impressive, given that usually executive chefs don't do brunch service (to my understanding,) Now there's some dedication to brunch service, usually the most hated service of the week by industry folks. The commitment showed in a really excellent meal.

They are doing the 3 courses for $30 exclusively now (with a couple sides available) so I ordered the gumbo, the hangar steak & eggs, and the lemon tart with basil meringue and blueberries. Tom had the local vegetable salad with candied pecans and goat cheese, the eggs benedict (made with country ham and in house baked english muffins), and the sourdough waffle with peaches and cream and assorted awesomeness. 

Along with some of their french press coffee, their amazing bread, and a cocktail called The Lady Or The Tiger, we had a wonderful time. When Chef saw us, he came over and said a quick hello, but also sent out a little sample from their new dessert sampler they've been running:

He described it as "sparkling watermelon" topped with lime granita. The sparkles came from unflavored pop rocks, which made eating this refreshing bit of cool fruit an adventure. Currently, they are serving this with variations of "ants on a log" and "cherry bomb". Seems in keeping with the playfulness of the new dessert kitchen staff. That's what I've been discovering in our recent forays to Coquette. It's FUN. The food is wonderful, the ambiance is gorgeous, they take their cocktail, beer, and wine programs very seriously, but they are having fun and want the customers to have fun too. 

Apparently there is some sort of fried chicken and beer dinner happening there later this month- I recommend strongly that you follow Coquette on Twitter (@coquettenola) to get more details on that as they unfold.

After such a decadent brunch, we headed out to Hollygrove Market (now open on Sundays, hooray!) to pick up some local produce, with which we enjoyed a simple but tasty stir fry much later for dinner with the locally made tofu, purple cabbage, green pepper, and japanese eggplant. (Tom called it a Mardi Gras stir fry, with purple, green, and the gold from the pan fried tofu.) Tom also made a crumble with local peaches, blueberries, plums, wheat flour, corn meal, and sugar. It was excellent- ate it up with some blueberry-key lime ice cream Tom made a couple weeks ago. 

Here's to continuing to cook, shop, and eat locally! (and yes, going to Coquette was technically cheating. I DON'T CARE!!) (Edited to update: I was just informed on Twitter by the chef that Coquette's brunches are mostly locally sourced, including the potatoes and egg, so hooray!)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Update time!

So, if you don't follow my beer blog, you may have missed my writeup of Coquette's awesome and fantastic beer dinner from the other week.  Check it out!

Also, I finally got in to see Streats Kukhnya doing his thing at Siberia (mentioned in my previous pop-up post.) He was running a chicken paprikash special (which he mentioned he might be doing regularly on Saturdays) and it looked amazing. It was too dark to take pictures in the bar, but here's a picture from Streats' Facebook page: (and if you click on that link, you'll see a gorgeous picture of his trademark pierogis, YUM.)

(image courtesy of Streats Kukhnya)

Both the pierogis and the paprikash were excellent, excellent, excellent.  So glad we finally made it over there! Siberia is an interesting place. I'll have to come back for more music listening and people watching (and Slavic soul food eating.)

Another update on the pop-up front is that Neil McClure tweeted on May 30: "McClure's stint at the Rusty Nail is popping up for a couple weeks at least...tuesday dinners back in July...stay tuned" So I wanted to make sure that was relayed, since I'd just published a post that that was one of his gigs.  I miss McClure's!

UPDATE: This morning, news arrived via Facebook and Twitter to: "Keep your Tuesday nights in July open...popping up @ The Company Burger..exact dates TBD." HOORAY!

But, fortunately, we aren't hurting for good stuff to eat in the meantime.