Friday, February 27, 2009

Cafe Adelaide

On Monday night I dined at Cafe Adelaide along with The Pope and the Battle House Honey, and I would have to say that my overall feelings on the restaurant are similar to Ian McNulty's. The intended playfulness of the menu just did not appeal to me, but the more "classical" dishes were well done. (I apologize in advance for not having pictures.)

The highlight of the meal was the shrimp remoulade salad with shrimp boil vegetables. This was a great little twist on a classic which worked wonderfully. Boiled potatoes, corn-off-the-cob, and shrimp tossed in a mellowed remoulade dressing. I could eat 4 or 5 orders of this and leave happy.

Unfortunately, all of the entrees missed. BHH had the shrimp and grits which were served head and shell on. The shrimp were beautiful and I personally have no problem with cooking shrimp whole, but how do they expect diners to tackle this dish at the table? I think that a better idea would be to cook the shrimp whole and then peel them before serving (possibly leaving the head intact). But what do I know?

I had the quail and waffles which was just too tough to eat. The "waffle" was just a slab of cornbread which served as a base for a whole quail, and then the entire mass was deep fried. Again, I was confused as to how to disassemble the dish, so I just started hacking away. From what I remember, the bird was mostly deboned besides the legs and wings, but those tiny bones still proved to be a nuisance.

Cafe Adelaide - Bogey.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Hangover: A Guide

If it wasn't for hangovers most of us would be drunk all the time. I remember in college we all used to laugh at Legend when it took him 2-3 days to recover from drinking. Well, you know what they say about looking at those who laugh inside of glass houses.

A hangover has a natural and painfully slow progression. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday; an incredibly notorious 24 hour period fraught with hangovers of all shapes and sizes. Here, I have compiled the 12 steps of my routine battles with this necessary aggravation.

#1 The mind races as I wake up. "Holy shit where the hell am I? Why am I wearing a pair of snow boots? Is this a couch or the backseat of a Greyhound bus? Did I piss myself? Crap...even worse."

#2 Rationalization time. Maybe I go walk the dogs, make coffee, or read the paper. Basically I do something mundane without catching myself on fire. Following this accomplishment I tell myself and anyone that will listen, "Sweet. I got drunk last night, but I don't feel hungover."

#3 Spoke to soon asshole. Dammit, here it comes. The room begins to spin and my stomach makes noises akin to those heard by the Polish on September 1, 1939. "But what about our non-aggression pact, dear body, come on please don't destroy me today, I have work."

#4 Just a little bit of caffeine/Gatorade/water and I'll be fine. Nope, wrong again. Sure an ice cold coke, a coffee, or some X-Factor seems like a good idea, but all it will really do is throw my digestive system into disarray. We asked Buckethead, the resident and official physician of Blackened Out for his medical advice on this issue. Here is his response, "Get back in bed as fast as possible. See no light and only drink water directly from the bathroom faucet." Wow, 100K in tuition for that diagnosis.

#5 Clammy Hands. When my hands look and feel like grandma's, this is a very bad sign.

#6 Hot Flashes. And you thought these were just for women over child bearing age did you? Nope here it comes, my body temperature will soar to unprecedented heights. Must be climate change, not the 14 Flaming Dr. Peppers, I tell myself.

#7 Its freezing. Fifteen minutes after the heat wave, its now minus fifteen degrees (without the wind chill). If I am lucky, I am laying on the couch at home and have a blanket nearby. But most likely this happens when you are in your office, on a plane, or some other place where you have no control over the ambient temp. I go one leg in the blanket and one leg out. You should also, unless you want to repeat Steps 6 and 7 for at least two hours.

#8 I am F&*%ing starving! I need to eat. What should I eat? Ohhhh, I know a Thai flavored burger with a side of chocolate covered french fries, some corn on the cob and some vanilla ice cream. Or maybe I want a burrito stuffed with General Tso's chicken and a plate of potatoes from a crawfish boil. Does not matter, whatever you choose you will be disappointed. Which brings us to...

#9 Food arrives, eat two bites, and stop. Not hungry anymore. And I stupidly chose a grilled chicken garden salad and I know that shit does not hold well. I will be hungry again in 2 hours forcing me to eat 17 bags of Doritos and some leftover cake in the break room. Of course no matter what my palate was left for dead the night before when I took that fifth shot of Patron with a Jagr chaser. Gross, puke in mouth.

#10 Nap. Its near three o'clock and the eyelids fall.

#11 Email from buddy. "Dude, you were out of control last night. Remember when you bought the whole bar a shot?." Thanks jerk. I was just about to snap out of this and all of a sudden the moral guardsmen comes in and issues a citation for inappropriate behavior.

The moral hangover, don't mess around with that thing. So maybe it is true that your buddy's wife's sister looks like a garden gnome with an acne problem. You should keep that thought to yourself. Note: The person who sends these emails is usually that guy who is always around when everyone is drinking and making poor decisions but is usually just sipping on the same beer for 7 hours straight. He also claims to have never been hungover and usually he does things like runs marathons. He may be wise, but he also sucks. Drop him from your rotation.

#12 Home finally. Clothes smell like the bottom of a bartender's shoe, eyes are heavy, and the light at the end of the tunnel is a cop's flashlight. But fear not, the worst is over. I suggest pouring yourself a tall glass of dark, rich red wine and watching re runs of Full House.

You likely wont sleep a wink tonight. But by the following day when that email comes out saying, Drinks? you won't recoil in horror either. Never forget the immortal words of Francis Sinatra: "I feel bad for people who don't drink. Cause when they wake up that's the best they are going to feel all day."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let the F(e)asting Begin...?

As of midnight, the Mardi Gras binge has ended and the Lenten season of temperance has begun. But, in New Orleans, ... has it really? Honestly. Does abstaining from meat really constitute a sacrifice in this city? I can understand if you live in a landlocked town where steak, ribs, and sausage are considered three of the five major food groups. (Not that there's anything wrong with that). But what about in the Crescent City where the bounty of the sea is so plentiful?

For the past few years, my personal Lenten sacrifice has been to abstain from so-called "trash" foods. No fast food, deep fried goodies, pizza, or sweets of any sort for 46 days. (In addition to foregoing meat from hooved animals on Fridays, of course.) Anyway, even though I have these self imposed constraints on my diet, I feel like I still eat pretty damn well during Lent. How do I do it? Simple: I choose wisely.

So without further ado, here are my "Top 5 Lenten Indulgences." (Sorry, Wendy's seasonal fish sandwich did not make the list.)

5. Sushi - Fresh salmon and tuna in any and all forms kicked up with sriracha. So simple yet so good.
4. Eggs - You could go high class with Eggs Sardou, but there's nothing wrong with a fluffy cheese omelette.
3. Shrimp - With grits, in a spicy remoulade, or barbequed New Orleans style.
2. Crawfish - Still steaming from the pot and piled high on a table covered in newspaper.
1. Oysters - From raw to rockefeller, I can't get enough of them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras

If you are reading this today at work you obviously do not live in New Orleans. Our apologies.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lundi Gras

All sorts of celebrations today for Lundi Gras and assorted Parade events.

St. James Cheese Company, the most recent winner of a license to sell intoxicating beverages, will host its 3rd Annual Lundi Grill in their courtyard from 12-3. Here is the menu.

Eric's Grilled Italian Sausage sandwiches
Fondue Sandwiches (our delicious answer to eating fondue on the go)
Choose-your-own Cheeseburgers

Also, Savvy Gourmet on Magazine has been selling pulled pork sandwiches, hot coffee, booze, and other snacks (along with all important bathroom access) during parades. Check it all out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

P-Rade Food

First, we apologize if you are reading this post from work. No one should be required to work on the Friday before Mardi Gras. Then again, given the current economic state of affairs, you should probably consider yourself lucky to be working at all. Sometimes blessings come disguised.

Most everyone has a standard food spread for parade watching, but some are more adventurous than others. For example, yesterday Rene was telling me about a guy on St. Charles who had a hibachi setup so that he could chargrill oysters. That's pretty strong. Here is a list of the top 5 most common parade foods, none of which reach a high level of culinary excellence but all are considered necessities.
  1. Chips & Dip - I could not begin to tell you how many Fritos scoops with French Onion dip that I have eaten during Mardi Gras.
  2. Hamburgers & Hot Dogs - Only if you have a spot away from the neutral ground for your grill.
  3. Finger Sandwiches - They are dressed with mayo and have been sitting out in the sun for 8 hours. but what's the worst that could happen, right?
  4. Jambalaya - It's just too easy to make a ginormous amount of this one pot dish and feed your whole party for 5 days.
  5. Fried Chicken - Hot or cold, white or dark, it's all good.

So what's on your menu this weekend?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Economicalness: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

The other day sucked. Coming home both Lindsay and I wanted some soup with an Asian bend. I thought, how about a chicken noodle soup with the flavors of Vietnamese cooking? I wondered if anyone had ever done this before.

Two weeks ago, Lindsay made her roast chicken. After the carcass was picked clean, I threw it in a large stock pot, with some leeks, onion, carrot, celery, whole black peppercorns and salt. Simmered it on low heat for about 3 episodes of I Love Money 2, all the while skimming at the foam accumulating on the surface. Strain, chill, refrigerate or freeze.

If you do not have your own stock, I guess you could use boxed low sodium chicken stock. Go ahead and use it, the blog does not judge.

Heat stock over low heat, with a few chunks of ginger, some garlic, and perhaps a Thai chili. In a soup pot, lightly saute over medium heat, one whole onion sliced, diced ginger, scallions, and minced garlic. Use as much/little as you want. To peel the ginger, hold the chunk you wish to use in your hand and using a spoon scrape away the outer bark, then slice, and cut.

When the mixture is tan, add some chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Then add some thinly sliced chicken thighs. Cook until chicken is white and house smells of Asia. Then strain stock into soup pot. Bring to a boil, taste, and adjust seasonings. At this point I almost always add Sriracha and soy sauce (or fish sauce to be authentic). Maybe a hit of lime juice also.

Quarter a lime or two, de-stem some basil, add some fresh cracked pepper, and maybe some bean sprouts if you have them. I did not have bean sprouts on this night. Place these items on a plate for people to add to their bowls.

Also set out Sriracha and soy. Add rice noodles to pot on stove.

Allow noodles to soften and then ladle soup and noodles into bowls. Bring to table and add lagniappe as you wish.

Enjoy with a home brewed Pumpkin Spice Ale. Absent that insane undertaking, a Tiger, Tsingtao, or Miller Lite will do the trick.

Really I can't believe the Vietnamese have not thought of this yet. What the phock are they waiting for?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adventures in Economicalness: Deli-Style Lunch

The Nun forwarded me this press release from K-Paul's, which apparently started serving lunch last week. (According to their website, K-Paul's was previously only open for dinner.) I am not sure if the focus is on takeout or a burn-and-turn lunch, but both options are available as of now. Admittedly I have never been to K-Paul's, but it's always been considered a white table cloth establishment. Strange to see them serving $10 sandwiches, but if the food's good then what do I care.


11:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Thursday, Friday and Saturday
To Go Orders: 504-571-1200
Soups and Salads
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
Cup $5.00 Bowl $9.00
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Cup $4.00 Bowl $8.00
Roasted Fresh Beet Salad
Sliced Roasted Beets Tossed with Roasted Walnuts, Feta Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette on a Bed of Mixed Greens $9.00
K-Paul's Spinach Salad
Fresh Young Spinach Leaves Topped with Chopped Hard Boiled Eggs, Bacon Bits, Tossed with K-Paul's Special Spinach Salad Dressing $7.00
Fried Chicken Caesar Salad
K-Paul's Version of a Classic! Romaine Lettuce Topped with a Dressing Made From Egg Yolks, Homemade Vinegar, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Anchovies, Creole Mustard and Ground Parmesan and Romano Cheese. Topped with Fried Chicken Bits Tossed in Garlic Butter $9.00

Sandwiches and Plate Lunches
Comes with One Side Dish
Deep-Fried Shrimp Pistal
Seasoned Shrimp Battered and Fried and Piled on an 8" Buttered Pistalette $10.00
K-Paul's Style Muffuletta
A 5" Muffuletta Bun Filled with Our in House Made Olive Salad, Mortadella, Salami and Provolone Cheese $8.00
Marinara Meat Ball Pistal
Large Juicy Meat Balls Smothered in Marinara Sauce Topped with Mozzarella Cheese on an 8" Buttered Pistalette $8.00
Baked Citrus Chicken
Fresh Chicken Marinated in a Citrus Glaze and Slow Baked with Julienned Onions and Sweet Peppers. Served with Rice $12.95
Chartres Street Jambalaya
A Traditional Rice Medley made with Chicken, Andouille Sausage and Tasso (Ham), Simmered for Hours, Combined with Rice and Served with a Rich Sauce Piquant. Served with Fried Chicken Fingers $10.95
K-Paul's Famous Butter Beans "That Make You Crazy"
Butter Beans Smothered with Herbs and Spices, Onions, Bell Peppers, Celery, Garlic, Chicken, Tasso, Andouille Sausage, Duck and Chicken Stock. Served with Rice $9.95
Fried Catfish Chips
Thinly Scalloped Catfish Battered and Fried Crispy. Served with Fried Onion Rings and Cool Caper Dill Tartar Sauce $8.95
Sides - $2.00
Fries Cole Slaw
Mashed Potatoes Potato Salad
Vegetable of the Day House Salad
Fruit Salad
Cake of the Day - $5.00
Bread Pudding - $2.00
Pineapple Chess Pie - $2.50

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Jose Andres owns a block in Washington, D.C. By my slightly wine dazed count he has four restaurants in a 2 block stretch of hip and trendy DC near the MCI center. Last weekend Lindsay and I were in DC visiting my sister, Dre, and her husband Dieter and for dinner we went to Oyamel. Oyamel is Andres' tribute to Mexican street food served in a modern space with classical Mexican accents and photographs.

We started with some booze. Lindsay's margarita showcased some of the inventiveness and playfulness Chef Andres is famous for. Instead of the salt-rimmed glass so common in any dime a dozen cantina, this margarita was topped by a lime and salt foam. Pretty bad ass.
I had a Hada Verde: St. George Absinthe, tequila, mezcal and pineapple juice. Initially the presence of so many strong and assertive liquors worried me; however the drink was fragrant and flower-like with just a hint of acid. Great cocktail.

An order of caliente guacamole-mixed table side-perfectly ripe avocados, some quesa fresca, tomatillos, and serranos all whipped around a mortar into a smooth and savory paste.

Tacos. A confit of baby pork with green tomatillo salsa and pork rinds. Killer. Then the Yucatan style pulled pork with pickled red onion and sour orange and beef tongue with pickled radishes. The beef taco just simply melted away in your mouth, leaving only the delicate film of braised meats, a tingling of pickling spice, and the wish for one more bite.
Grilled Hawaiian prawns in a muted cilantro pesto. Shrimp were cooked just through. The surprising thing of this dish was the earthiness of its flavors.

Grilled Skirt steak with a sauce of grilled tomatoes, tomatillos, green onions, cilantro, and green chiles. Simply outstanding. Great marriage of heat and textures.
Tamal Verde: chicken, tomatillo, garlic, and cilantro steamed in a corn husk was a little bland but still good.

Papas al Mole. Imagine eating gravy cheese fries at 3 in the morning in Mexico after a day of drinking Pacifico's on the back of a boat fishing for marlin and then doing the Macarena in a Carlos n' Charlie's as a waiter pours Kamikazes down your throat out of a leather rupsack, and you get this dish. Mole sauce, aged cotija cheese, and perfectly fried potatoes. Yeah, it was good.

Frijoles refritos. Refried beans formed into a cylindrical shape, stuffed with cheese and deep fried. A concept most closely aligned with fried kibbi, but here the beans were spicy and deep. Dre's quote, "these taste like Auggie's red beans after two days in the fridge."

Chapulines. Tacos stuffed with crickets sauteed in tequila and lime. Eh, interesting to try but would not eat again. The texture is very straw like and surprisingly does taste a lot like grass. But this is not a knock against it, as I am sure some people love it.
Quesadilla hutilacoche. Huitlacoche is referred to as Mexican truffle. Huitlacoche is a fungus that grows inside the ears of corn. While the taste is not entirely similar to truffle it does have that muskiness and wet earth component. Here the hutlacoche is stuffed inside a corn tortilla with some Oaxaca cheese, lightly grilled and sent out alongside of a spicy salsa verde. By far the favorite dish of the table both times we ordered it.Dessert. Cafe de Olla. This was out there. I am not sure we understand the flavors it was going for. Although Dre did order the Cafe de Olla coffee. Essentially there was a lot of anise flavor (from the star anise ice cream), weird gelatinous cubes of Kahlua, some crumbled cookies, and brown sugar sauce. Perhaps our dislike of this was due more to our lack of introduction to traditional Mexican dessert flavors, and if so that's on us.
Service was very fast and efficient. But those tacos and the quesadilla stole the show. If you find yourself in DC seeking money from a broken government, I would go to Oyamel or any of the other Jose Andres' spots.

Yes, I realize some of the photos are tiny. Dang thang was all screwy today. Just take a pill and chilax man...we never once promised perfection.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cafe Degas

Huge fan of this French bistro in Faubourg St. John. A short menu, tightly packed tables, and a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet all are qualities which remind me of a special place: the restaurant on Île Saint-Louis where my family ate Christmas dinner one year. I remember marveling at the quality food which came forth from a kitchen barely big enough to allow the two cooks to pass plates between each other.

Parmesan crusted veal with lemon caper beurre blanc. This is so good that I order every time. The accompanying broccoli florets would be best left off the plate, in my opinion.

This is the Australian rack of lamb which was tender, mildly gamey, and cooked to a perfect medium-rare. Unlike the broccoli above, the baby carrots were a great asset to the dish. That pile of fresh cut fries was an additional $4.

This was dessert. Actually, it was my appetizer AND dessert. This Tomme de Chevre was so good as a starter that I ordered another round to finish off the meal. It's just a high quality goat cheese rolled in an ash of dried herbs, but very worthy of being eaten as two courses.

The prices are higher than what you would expect from such a no frills restaurant, but the quality of the raw ingredients shines through. Great place for a low key dinner.

Cafe Degas - Birdie.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thanks, Jerks

Dear Peter and Rene,

I have been crying for two days now. Today was the first day I could write about the pain you have caused me. 368 days ago I was born (don't forget Leap Day dear readers, like these assclowns forgot my birthday). And you made no mention of it. You did not give me anything for my birthday. Even the dog got a cake. What did I get? An article about some stupid party instead of my own birthday bash.

The damage has been done. No, no, no, you can not make it up to me on Valentines Day! I don't want any stupid roses or some dinner at a restaurant on amateur night. I had hoped for my birthday one of you would have brought me some sweetbreads and truffled grits from MiLa or trout meuniere. Christ, I would have been happy with a Fat Kid Special. But no I got nothing and did not like it.

What did I do to deserve this? I guess the fact that you two can't figure how to post pictures is my fault. Or the fact that Rene's rambling prose resembles a drunk third grader's is because I sometimes fail to save properly. Go ahead and blame Peter's photography, which looks like Dali imitating Picasso on acid, on my inabilities to process data.

I wish I had never been blogged.

Blackened Out

P.S. Wanna see how easy it is to post pictures? Here is a pic I took of myself on my birthday. You like the glasses? I stole them from Kim Jong-il.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'm not talking about Ruffles. These come from Wolfe's in the Warehouse, where we had a pre-party drink before the Grand Fete at the BUTCHER last week. I know that I have written about these before, but a picture was never included. These chips are thick cut, drizzled with a truffle emulsion, and sprinkled with parmagiano reggiano. Need I say more? Didn't think so.
Instead, in homage to Bourdain's "Food Porn" episode this past Monday night, how about a closeup?

That's what I call a money shot.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blackened Out Gets Invited to a Party

The invitation arrived not only by snail mail but also by web enabled mail. It said: "Please join us for a Grand Fete celebrating the opening of Cochon BUTCHER and Calcasieu." After confirming with Peter that this was not a joke, we hired a Frog to translate Grand Fete for us. Then we fasted for a good 4 hours before the party.

The party was divided into two spaces. The upstairs Calcasieu, a private event space, is a brick walled oasis to partying with class. There was a Methuselah of Bourdeaux, oysters, whole pigs, and fur coats. In the BUTCHER shop downstairs, sandwiches, salamis, and olives passed around the room in a more casual vibe. Both areas were rad (to use the popular parlance of our time). The party grossed thirty-five people shy of the House of Representatives. We will start with downstairs.

This full-frontal nudity shot of the Salami case will make your heart sing, if you like that sort of thing. You see those two whole leg hams? Peter called dibs on the one on the left. Yeah, the whole thing.
A side view. Does that not look like the Divine Light of Heaven? Or it could be a spot on the lens.

An up close view of the Salamis hanging in a temperature controlled, humidity regulated environment. I asked to spend the night in the case to see if it would cause me to age gracefully, but management handed me a cupcake instead.

Look at the cayenne infused Andouille. It is as big around as as a baseball bat. Each one of those batons weighs about 2 pounds.

Ahhh, oysters. They were shucked by the pros from ACME Oyster House. They shocked the senses with the cold, explosive flavor of the sea. A lot like being thrown into the ocean with a pair of cement shoes.

We have no idea how this lucky S.O.B. got the job of carving a pig as succulent and perfect as this beast, but next year we are definitely working on our essay skills.

I've kissed a lot of pigs in my life but none of them were this pretty.

All photos courtesy of The Folk Singer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let's Play Catch Up Around The Bend

Gus, the elder hound, had a birthday recently. He turned 3, but you could probably tell that by the above picture. For his birthday Lindsay made him a carrot cake with peanut butter icing and bacon sprinkles. He loved it. The cake was devoured in 2.3 seconds.

Friday night Lindsay and I headed over to Cochon BUTCHER after work. While driving towards the mecca of meat on Tchoupitoulas, I heard an earth shattering explosion of rap-rock, Incubus-esque, tribal dance music and profanities. Frightened for my life, I glanced to the right only to see Dread Pirate Robert bobbing his head and stroking his flavor saver, while smoking what I think was clove cigarettes. "Wanna race, you hack?" he asked spitting lunch old beer and pork products onto my passenger side car door.

As the light turned green, he sped off and left me in the dust. Luckily he narrowly avoided a troupe of art loving locals. This time, Dread Pirate Robert was able to park easily outside of BUTCHER. We had a few glasses of wine, a charcuterie board, and some not so pleasant conversation; I felt lucky to escape with my wallet.

Saturday night found us with a group in the quarter for something called "the Mardi Gras"? I had never heard of it. After this Krewe with a View parade, we were all hungry. Someone suggested Ruth's due to their $40, 4 course meal. So we went. It was ok, we had to sit outside due to the large crowds and my lack of clout. And the meal was so so. Untossed salad, overcooked steak, and cold mashed potatoes are the predominant memories. Ohh and the waiter snuck a few extra charges onto the bill, which was not very cool. So here is my take on the Ruth's Valentines Day deal: its ok if you want a chain meal, if you want a real Ruth's experience skip it. But we had fun and that made it an enjoyable evening.

Also on Saturday night, I ran into a scion of the Acme Restaurant Group. The next thing I remember, I awoke in an alley missing my shoes and with ACME branded onto my chest. You do the math. Must remember to make more friends...

Now looking ahead for this week. This is from a press release sent by the wonderful people of the Crescent City Farmer's Market.

Wednesday, February 11th, avid market shoppers chef Adolfo Garcia and sous chef Joshua Smith of Rio Mar will host a 5-course dinner featuring seasonal, local products sourced primarily from the Crescent City Farmers Market. The cost is $60 per person, which includes cocktails/wine, tax and gratuity. 100% of the profits will go to the CCFM. Thanks, Rio Mar! Cocktails at 7pm. Dinner at 7:30pm. Space is limited. Please RSVP to 504.525.3474 or

Yes, I have been writing about the Farmer's Market a lot recently, I know this. But the more we go to the Market, the more we look forward to it. And not in a look "how snooty we are locavore" elitism, but in a "wonder what they will have today" devotion. We portion off about $40-50 a week to spend at the market. This usually gets us a dozen eggs, some patty sausage and other meat products, citri, bread, goat cheese, greens, vegetables, herbs, and a few other treats. Plus, a cup of coffee for me.

I had the opportunity to interview Woody Tasch last week, so be on the lookout for a Blackened Out Worldwide Exclusive Interview (take that, Couric!) with Mr. Tasch next week. His book, Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered, focuses on investing in communities and sustainable food processing. Unlike many people often quoted in the locavorism world, Mr. Tasch does not think we need to get rid of places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds. Rather through the gradual increase of capital into local and environmentally sustainable agricultural and ranching, we can transform not only the food we eat but our entire culture. So far its a good read, but I wish I would have paid more attention in my college Econ class.

Ok, tomorrow a recap of the Butcher and Grand Fete opening starring an oyster bar, suckling pigs, and a 6 Liter bottle of hooch. For now its Roast Chicken Night...

Monday, February 9, 2009


Coquette is a French bistro located on the corner of Magazine and Washington, in the building which formerly housed Table One and more recently Takumi. With the past two failures in this location, you would think that Coquette would just be the next one to bite the dust. I hope that's not the case because the restaurant seems to have all of the important attributes of a successful establishment. The layout is inviting. Downstairs has a white tiled floor with large windows looking out onto the streets, with the tables set next to the windows and a long bar running along the opposite wall. (I hear the upstairs dining room is equally welcoming, but I did not make it up there.) There is ample parking in a next-door lot accessible by an entrance on Washington.
Oh, and the food is pretty damn good too. The Folk Singer and I tried Coquette last week, after deciding against Boucherie because... well ... everyone else has been writing about it lately. (Though I am greatly anticipating my inaugural meal at Boucherie. I just want to plan ahead so that I can bring my own bottle of Makers.) And in a last second surprise, our friend Vandy Vicky happened to be in the area and made the meal a menage a trois.

Coquette's menu includes some creative cocktails, one of which is cleverly entitled the "Katrina." Both of the girls ordered one of these, and they seemed to really enjoy it. I am not really sure what comprised this concoction, but when I asked TFS she said, "I don't know, but it was a whole bunch of deliciousness." (We need to stop letting her hang around The Pope.)

I started with a quintet of baked oysters topped with fennel, ham, and horseradish cream. Yeah, these tasted as good as they sound.

Next up was pumpkin cappelletti served in a shallow pool of duck au jus and topped with shreds of duck confit and shaved parmigiano reggiano. Pasta stuffed with squash has been a pretty big fad this year (I had it at The French Laundry in November), but it works.

Sometimes you can't get much better than steak frites. At Coquette their version is a flat iron steak with carmelized shallots and fresh cut fries. Brought me right back to my summer in France. As did...

Profiteroles stuffed with Nutella ice cream and drizzled with caramel. You had me at Nutella.... You had me at Nutella.

Coquette - Birdie.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lazy Friday

It's been a long week of recovering from Super Bowl Sunday and the grand opening party of Cochon Butcher on Wednesday. More on that next week though.

For now, a picture will have to do. This time of year, there is not many a meal better than a few dozen raw. These come courtesy of Felix's which may fall short in other areas of the menu, but still serves some great oysters. (Photo courtesy of Sister Saint.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009


From a recent lunch at the Ugly Dog. The pulled pork is pretty good and the potato salad gets the job done. But the cole slaw ... oh the cole slaw. The tangy molasses and soy dressing is absolutely addictive. For under $10, this lunch platter is tough to beat.
Here is the recipe for the cole slaw (courtesy of the internet):
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon garlic pepper seasoning
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon molasses
3 cups red cabbage, very coarsely chopped, or green cabbage (or both)
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the cabbage
Chop cabbage into 3/4 - 1 inch chunks
Toss dressing with cabbage
Let sit in the fridge for an hour or two

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Slow Money, Take It Easy

Tomorrow night at St. James author Woody Tasch will speak about his recent book Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of this book in the mail the other day from Chelsea Green and am currently reading my way through it. I must confess that previous attempts at understanding economic theory have usually resulted in befuddlement and confusion.

The book focuses on the practical and economical implications and benefits of investing in community and locality based farming and ranching. The talk, and dinner by Chef Daniel Esses, is put on in conjunction with the New Orleans Chapter of Slow Food.

The cost is $50 and you need to call St. James at 899-4737 to make a reservation. Remember to bring your own Booze.

The menu is being prepared by Daniel Esses, formerly the chef at Marigny Brasserie. The menu uses local ingredients to showcase the benefits of what both Slow Food and Slow Money espouse.

Saffron-cauliflower mousse

Bacon, collard green and pecan soup

Jasmine tea smoked Cornish game hen with sausage and white bean ragout
Broccoli gnocchi over caramelized carrot puree and greens

Artisanal regional cheese course

Sweet potato flan.

And tonight at Cork and Bottle is a Wine, Cheese, and Beer Taste Off. Dan Stein of Stein's Deli, a beer aficionado, Richard Sutton a cheese connoisseur, and Jon Smith, a lush, will have a competition. The goal is to see what does pair better with cheese, wine or beer? For reservations call 504.483.6314. The cost is $30 a person.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Peter and I give instructions on how to dine at Casamento's in this month's offBEAT. Also pick up a copy of the magazine or get a subscription if you live elsewhere to read our look at the Old Broads from Broad Street. Peter did most of the heavy lifting on this article and so far the results have been positive. Here is another article to make you feel good about living here. If you don't live here, this may make you move here.

The Old Broads are a collection of broads who worked at the Ruth's Chris on Broad Street for many years. Some of them bounced around to other Ruth's following Hurricane Katrina and many of them (including, cooks, dishwashers, and the general manager) returned to the new location in May.

Now back to the subject at hand, the enviable mollusk known by the name Oyster. Believe it or not, I used to never eat seafood. Never. Would not touch it. However, since moving back a few years ago, the addictive qualities of seafood make it harder and harder to say no.

Over the weekend I had some oysters at Felix's. While the oysters were good, the rest of the meal just did not pan out. So in honor of month's that have an R in them, here is our Official Blackened Out Rating of Oyster Bars. This rating takes into account not only the bivalves themselves, but also the ambiance, the shucker, and other food options. Here is a pic of an erster from Casamento's. Look at this beauty.

Eagle: Casamento's
Birdie: Luke, Bozo's, Grand Isle, and Pascal's Manale
Par: Acme, Cooter Browns
Bogey: Felix's, Bourbon House
Double Bogey: Unless it makes you sick, there is no oyster bar bad enough to warrant the dreaded double bogey.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Praline Bacon

In the past 2 weeks I have received multiple emails about the bacon explosion, and it got me to thinking about other porkographic treats that I enjoy. Numero uno on that list can be found at one of my favorite brunch spots: Elizabeth's in the Bywater.

Praline bacon is such a good idea that it's a wonder how no one thought of it sooner. Sweet and salty like the more widely known brown sugar or maple bacon, the bits of praline give this bacon a decidedly local flair. It's crunchy, sticky, and sweet and absolutely delicious.