Monday, December 10, 2012

December Weekend in New Orleans

Sometimes New Orleans is so beautiful it hurts. Saturday night, we had the pleasure of attending a party at Muriel's in Jackson Square, where we could sit on the balcony and look over Jackson Square- musicians, tourists, festive lights, wedding second line. Just enjoying the beauty and relative peacefulness in the middle of the city.


We also got to check out the famed and mysterious Seance Room, along with the table that's always set for... ghosts, I guess? But the party also served up Muriel's equally famous goat cheese crepes with creole shrimp sauce so it was ALL good. (I love those crepes)








So, Muriel's! Kind of creepy, but I guess that's how it goes with super old buildings owned by super crazy and/or rich folks. It was awesome, though. I had a wonderful time just enjoying New Orleans being New Orleans.

Got to experience another side of New Orleans being New Orleans the next day at the New Generations and Brothers of Change annual second line, which also featured TBC (To Be Continued) Brass Band and Hot 8 Brass Band. They were phenomenal! We camped out at the corner of Carondelet and Washington waiting for them and we could hear the music all they way up Carondelet.







Man, I love second lines. They are just so good for my soul and they fill my heart up with pure joy.

So from the French Quarter to Central City, the beauty of the city can be found every which way.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Great Eats

I've been neglecting this blog for the past couple weeks, as I've been doubling down on my beer blog, which has been renamed and rebranded - check it out! Nora's Beer Blog.

But while I've been drinking great beer and talking about that, I've been eating some terrific food, of course, because I live in New Orleans and that's how we do. A few experiences of note:

I am addicted to Cleaver & Co's sausages. They are SO GOOD. We have had the garlic pork, the toulouse, the cumin & cilantro, the andouille, and we have a few others in our freezer. We used the andouille along with their house made tasso and pickled pork to make fantastic red beans a couple nights ago. OMG, I swear. They were our turkey provider for Thanksgiving, as well, and when a harebrained scheme I had to butterfly the turkey well in advance of Thanksgiving Day ended up not working our too well, they were able to help us out with replacing it. And it was so delicious. Probably my best turkey to date. We just ordered a 2 rib roast for our Christmas dinner from them. They also sell bacon, duck pastrami, duck confit, lard, schmaltz, tallow, duck fat, various meat broths, meat pies, tons of offal, and meatballs, boudin, cracklins, and of course all the meat from nose to tail of beef, pork, chicken, duck and sometimes lamb and goat. We are pretty pleased that they are around.

Lamb meatball sammich at Ancora a couple weeks ago- wowza. Two Run farm lamb meats meatball sub on Chef Jeff Talbot's incredible bread. Ancora's sandwiches are definitely in my top 4 sandwiches of the city (that list tends to shift around... right now, I'd say 1) Ancora 2) Gracious 3) Cochon Butcher. Also Stein's Deli. (who am I kidding, I can't pick just 3)  (this list excludes specialty sandwiches like burgers, muffelettas, and bahn mi, each of which has their own top 3... or so)

Speaking of Gracious Bakery + Cafe... have y'all been? You have, right? Because... awesome sandwiches, pastries, dessert, coffee, soup, fresh baked baguettes, awesome staff, and general perfection. I love their chicken salad sandwich, their ham & cheese, roast beef, meatloaf, pork loin... pumpkin whoopie pies, cupcakes with the best buttercream frosting I've ever had, sticky toffee pudding cake, chocolate caramel almond tart, gingerbread, brioche (baked with or without brownie addition)... It's near my office and I'm there generally about twice a week.

NOLA Smokehouse is still doing its thing at various days and places. I caught them at The Bricks a week or so ago, and had a smoked shrimp chowder and lacquered meatballs to die for. Then we went back a couple days later at Toups and devoured a bowl of Rob's Brunswick stew along with brisket burnt ends served with Bentons ham lightly steamed greens, and BBQ baklava, which was insanely good.

BBQ Baklava

Brisket burnt ends

Brunswick stew

The Brunswick stew was like the best hangover helper ever. Chatting with Amanda Toups while eating delicious food is also a joy, and I need to get over there for dinner soon to do so over Chef Toups' delicious food. Also, check out NOLA Smokehouse back at The Bricks on December 12. The menu looks awesome, get there early because he sells out quick!

I was so excited when I heard that Chris deBarr was opening his new restaurant, Serendipity, in the American Can Company apartment/shopping area, because it's right near where I work in Mid City. He just started at the beginning of the month to serve lunch on Fridays, which I was able to investigate as soon as I heard about it (which was the second Friday they did it.) Holy smokes. I had some delicious cold brewed mint iced tea and Hawaiian "cochon de lei", pulled pork served slider style in between slabs of cornbread. Came with beautifully cooked greens and potato chips. Chef Chris came out to let me know that they'll be doing lunch on Fridays through December, and then in the new year they'll be opening up the lunch service up to more days during the week. This place I also have to get to for dinner. The food was amazing, the service was super friendly, and I could have hung out there all afternoon. But as that wasn't a possibility, I was able to get in and out within my lunch hour, so that was quite convenient.

Got out to Saffron NOLA last night for dinner. I wanted to eat everything on the menu. I settled for tomato soup, rum soaked curried lamb chops, garlic naan, and lychee-cherry ice cream (fig-praline ice cream was sold out SAD FACE but not really, since the ice cream I had was delicious.) Tom had a rainbow trout special which was phenomenal.

Lamb chops, rogan josh sauce, garlic naan

They are doing a brunch on January 13 focusing on Delhi street foods, which I am happy to share with you now that I have made my own reservation.

Went to Freret Street Market's "Frerestivus" earlier today and had some awesome food and drink. Grabbed some shrimp and beef ya-ka-mein from the Ya-Ka-Mein lady herself, Ms. Linda. Also had a couple empanadas from Sur Empanadas, iced coffee from The French Truck, mango iced tea from Creole Cupcakes, and bought some bread from Great Harvest Bread Company (OMG, the bread lady was so super nice!) We also wandered around and got our customary annual New Orleans ornament, some local art, and the soap from the Bayou Soap Company that Tom loves beyond reason.

Chef Pete with Hush Supper Club is still hitting it out of the park on a weekly basis- had his version of Tex-Mex last week (the chicken burrito was amazing) and his take on Indian food this week (including something called Bombay Mac & Cheese, which... I don't know what to expect, but I bet it's awesome.) He's got some Christmas specials he'll be announcing soon, so keep an eye on Facebook or Twitter for that.

I haven't been to Pizza Delicious since they opened up their permanent location! This is just no good whatsoever. OMG THEY HAVE THEIR POTATO PIZZA IN ROTATION, WHY SO MUCH GOOD FOOD TO CHOOSE FROM, IT'S KILLING ME.

So anyway, in case you were wondering if New Orleans was still the best place to eat in the world, I hope I set your mind at ease.