Tuesday, June 30, 2009


A wise man once said: "Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear - pesto, pesto, pesto."

That man was George Costanza. So as you can see, even a short, stocky, slow-witted bald man realizes the intrinsic deliciousness of pesto. My finest pesto experience came from a small grocery store in the village of Vernazza, Italy - one of the 5 towns which makeup the Cinque Terre. On the train ride to Italy, my traveling companion and I quickly realized that our collective knowledge of the Liguria region was limited to 4 nuggets: bonjourno, ciao, arrivederci, and "this is the birthplace of pesto."

We survived ... but not before a botched train connection in Genoa which sent us an hour north to Torino instead of south to Monterosso. But that's another story for another time.

Anyway, I have been futilely trying to recreate that pesto ever since. (I even bought my own basil plant.) This recipe does not even come close, but it's still good. From a little trick that I learned from Alton Brown, I substitute pistachios for pine nuts because ... well ... I was too lazy to make a special grocery run for pine nuts. As is the case with most of my recipes, even the Lord of the Idiots could follow this one.

Pistachio Pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups tightly packed basil
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 the juice of one lemon

OK, how finely you need to chop the first 3 ingredients depends on your method of mixing. If using a blender, then mince the garlic, chop the basil, and crush the pistachios. If you are using a fancy food processor, then just throw those three in there and pulse 10-15 times.

After you have prepared the garlic/basil/pistachios, add the cheese. Then while the blender or food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Be careful not to overprocess the mixture less you end up with the consistency of peanut butter. (Admittedly, I committed this sin with the batch pictured at the top). Once the olive oil has been added, stop and taste. I like to add the lemon juice to perk up the flavors, but you may want to leave it out. As always, season with salt and pepper.

Store in a mason jar in the fridge. This works well as either a spread for your turkey sandwich or tossed with a freshly boiled batch of pasta.

Speaking of pasta, during my aforementioned trip to Italy I discovered this unique pasta shape pictured below. It's called "trofie" and was the de facto vehicle of choice for pesto at nearly every restaurant in which I dined in Cinque Terre. The only place I have found this pasta in the US is at Williams Sonoma.

Hey, if it's good enough to sell Thomas Keller's stuff, then it's good enough for me.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I really like Kyoto on Prytania and often claim that they serve some of the best sushi in the city. Unfortunately, my last visit was less than stellar. Our selections included (clockwise from top left): Rock 'N Roll, Funky Margarita Roll, Shrimp Sara Roll, and Rainbow Roll.

Across the board (or plate), the rice was not properly prepared. It was served at a much colder temperature than is optimal - causing the grains to become hard. Honestly, if the rice is bad, then that flaw basically destroys the meal no matter the quality of the fish.

Speaking of, notice the different colors of the tuna in the Rainbow Roll and the Funky Margarita Roll. In the bottom left corner, the tuna is a pale pink while at the top right the tuna is a vibrant red, which is usually a sign of freshness.

The Funky Margarita was a nightly special of spicy tuna on the inside, fresh salmon and tuna alternating on top, and then a generous stripe of an avocado-lime sauce spiked with tequila. Unorthodox? Yes. But a fine combination of flavors in my opinion.

But the Sara Roll is one I always get at Kyoto. I have yet to find a similar roll in town. Chopped tempura baby shrimp with a unique spicy/crunchy sriracha and tempura flake mixture dolloped on top. I love how the heat of the chili sauce and the crunch from the tempura contrast with the sweet and soft texture of the shrimp.

Kyoto - Bogey for now, but I know that they can do better and will soon return seeking vindication.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Classic Combinations

Peaches & Cream

This is great as a dessert or for breakfast with a little granola mixed in. Because of the sour flavor of the creole cream cheese, you may want to mix it with a tablespoon or two of honey to bring up the sweetness (a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla is another option).

Sliced peaches with a dollop of creole cream cheese from Smith Creamery. Whatever you do, I suggest going heavy on the peaches and easy on the cream cheese.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Guest Blogger: Real Big Tally

This week we turn the blog over to Real Big Tally (RBT), a highly competitive basketball coach from up-river. He wears Riddell coaching pants and is found of saying things like "There is no i in team...but there is a me." He claims he found our blog by googling "getting wasted and cooking with bacon grease while watching food porn"

As the coach of a successful high school baseball team, I often find it difficult to take time to go out to eat. Fortunately, on the way home from our quarter final loss, the Athletic Director of our school told me that we were going to stop for dinner. Seeing as it was pretty late, I decided that I’d like to eat at my favorite restaurant in Baton Rouge.

We pulled into the parking lot at 10:00pm, and I could see that they were closing up shop inside. Here I was with a bus full of my players, and the restaurant was closed. Even worse, I wasn't going to be able to have my favorite spinach and artichoke dip for an appetizer either. So I proceeded to the door of the restaurant and, sure enough, it was locked. However, what did I see in the back? It was Jerry G. the manager, coming to the front door! Before I could ask him if we could get take out from the kitchen, he told me, "Come on in Coach, I'll fire up the oven for yall." I was floored. What an exciting turn of events. The only thing that wowed me more than this great customer service was the meal that lay ahead...

Having to play in Minden that afternoon, I was famished and requested this tapas platter that is one of my real favorites.

A scintillating array of fried, handmade mozzarella cheese; boneless, farm-raised chicken wings covered with a spicy wet rub; and mouthwatering quesadillas lined the outside of the plate. I was in heaven. Accompanied by three delicious sauces and an ooey gooey vegetarian dip (with tortilla chips for dipping), this tapas plate could easily be a meal. However, since I had to share with my assistant coaches, I still had enough room for an entrée.

So, what do I get? Well the riblets are usually just delicious and their fried seafood is awesome, but when I come here I know that I can get the best surf and turf in the country.

That’s right - sirloin steak and Maryland crab cakes. I am never comfortable ordering steak in a restaurant because of how I like it cooked, but have no fear, it came out perfectly well done. The consistency of the meat was delightful; it had a great chewiness to it so that I could savor the flavor of the meat in my mouth for an extended time. I guess my only complaint was that I had to ask them to bring some ketchup to my table to dip my steak in. Thankfully, Jamie (our waitress), was really helpful and pulled a bottle off of another table.

And the crab cakes? What can I say but WOW! Sure there were a couple rogue shells throughout, but I figure that’s pretty phenomenal when they have the fresh crabs delivered from the Atlantic every morning. Unfortunately, the remoulade mustard that accompanied the cakes was a little too spicy for my pallet. I’d have preferred something milder; I had to use the ketchup with the crab cakes too.

Now, you’ve got to be wondering, “RBT, did you have room for dessert?” OF COURSE I DID!!!

The Mudslide was great! My girlfriend, the head cheerleader, asked if I wanted to split this thing with her, but I had to say sorry honey, this bad boy’s all for me. Though I had a pretty good brain freeze after downing this drink in 5 minutes, I was wholly satisfied.

The meal was great. The service was awesome. My AD even picked up the tab for the entire team. I was a little upset that they automatically added the gratuity to the bill (I mean, let me decide if I want to tip 15% or not, I would have anyway); but I couldn’t complain. So, if you’re in Baton Rouge and want to enjoy a high quality meal for yourself, check out Applebee’s on Old Hammond and Airline Highway.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best Places to Buy Wine

The blog drinks a lot. Between studying and having to chase after The Pope, we work up quite a thirst. We quench that thirst with all manners of adult beve leges (as said by a kind checkout worker at Winn-Dixie recently). But wine, well that is our most dangerous habit.

Buying wine, especially for novices like us, always presents a unique set of challenges: How do I pronounce sauvignon? What do they mean by fruit?, etc... But it shouldn't cause you any apprehension. Walk into a reputable wine merchant, strike up a conversation, tell them what wine you like, what wines you don't like, maybe a bottle you remember, tell them what you want to spend, what is the occasion, and what you are serving for dinner. Trust us they love doing this. Develop a relationship. It will pay off for you in many ways. Liked a wine, but can't remember what it was? Their computer will remember what bottle you liked better than you will.

Trust us, buying wine should be enjoyable. Thus, we present to you the Blackened Out List of Top Places to Buy Wine For Your Crunk Cup. Go to one of these spots, test out the above, and savor the results.

Hopper's Wines & Spirits - This is the spot for you if you like producers of Old World wines who are focused on quality in the style of Kermit Lynch. Ric Hopper has an incredibly vast knowledge of all things Burgundy. Also a great place to stop in and chit chat and likely spy some of your favorite chefs and restaurateurs. Located in the Uptown Square Shopping Area, which allows you to pick up a bottle of something nice for Grandma at Lambeth House. Bonus: Tuesdays after the CCFM, swing on by and pick out a Summer wine. We like the Clos St. Magdeleine 2007 Cassis Blanc right now.

Martin's Wine Cellar- A legend. This spot has been around forever. More than just a wine shop, this is the spot to pick up a chicken salad sandwich, one of the best burgers in town, a tub of orzo, a six pack of Hoegarden, and a bottle of Black Currant Vodka. With multiple locations around the Greater New Orleans Area(this includes Baton Rouge and Mandeville), finding a Martin's should not be a challenge. The wine selection is incredibly immense spanning the globe from Chile to Long Island. This spot is the Harrod's of food and wine only if Harrod's was on Veterans.

Elio's - If you can fight off the Tulane kids purchasing kegs of Abita Amber, a conversation with Elio or his son's will deliver results. Tell them what you like and let them guide you through their selection. They always have one or two deals, and once you become an insider, they will tip you off to spectacular savings. A case of Moet&Chandon Rose for $150? We will take two. Located on Calhoun and Claiborne around the corner from Bud's Broiler, Elio's offers a convenient place to pick up some wine and head to the Fly. This is the place if you like big California wines.

Cork & Bottle - Jon Smith, aka Bloggle, has assembled a crack-pot team of wine investigators. Although their selection covers all areas of the world, the main emphasis is on finding a $15 bottle of wine that drinks more like $30 bottle. Which in this economy is a recipe for success. Located in the American Can Company, a vibrant Thursday afternoon Farmer's Market couples fresh food with free wine tastings. Plus, the recently opened Clever (next door) serves up classic and inventive cocktails from the deft hand of the General, Kimberly Patton-Bragg. Their Wednesday Wine Sense series is a good way to gain some knowledge and taste new wines. The hardest thing about visiting Cork & Bottle? Leaving.

Dorignac's - The dirty little not so secret among all wine drinkers in the city is that some great wines are to be found here at good prices. While you may not be able to get the service at Dorignac's that you can at say, Martin's, if you know what you like this is not a bad option. Plus, the old ladies who work the counter won't card you, they just ask to squeeze your butt.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Foodie TV

I'll be the first to admit that Food Network "sold out" a long time ago. Ever since they decided that celebrity primes substance, the quality of the programming has suffered. Since then I have turned to other programming that I have written about before, but the death of MOJO HD ended that love affair rather quickly. (Note: Old episodes of After Hours are still available on Hulu, and it looks like Fine Living Network will be picking up Three Sheets.)

But Sunday night restored my faith in Food Network ever so slightly. I really enjoyed the sneak peak of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and hope that more programs of this format and content are to come. There were two episodes: one entitled "Totally Fried" and the other curiously nondescript. Both featured nothing more than Food Network's personalities confessing their favorite dishes from dining out, but through their words, emotion, and body language you truly could sense how much they enjoyed these foods. French Fries from Balthazar, Fried Shrimp Heads at Joss Sushi, Burnt Ends on Bun from Gates BBQ, and Beef Marrow & Oxtail Marmalade from Blue Ribbon. These are the things that that they crave ... and after watching, so did I.

There was an overwhelming sense of honesty exuding from each segment, and that's what made them great. The shows as a whole were very reminiscent of the highlights from Travel Channel's "At the Table with Anthony Bourdain" - which Rene had pointed out was an overall failure save for those few interesting tidbits such as the "Last Meal Game."

Tonight's episode of "The Best Thing" focuses on BBQ - with a scheduled appearance by Pascal's Manale. 8:30 PM CST (so set your DVR in case the LSU game runs late again). We shall see if Sunday's preview was, in fact, a sign of good things to come. Please let us know what you think.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bittersweet Confections

It's as if Bittersweet Confections suddenly appeared out of thin air the day I noticed it while driving down Canal Blvd. I had been meaning to stop by, but it took an appearance by owner Cheryl Scripter at Sippin' in Seersucker to finally convince me to do so. (She's also at the Crescent City Farmer's Market in the CBD on Saturday mornings.)

Turns out that Bittersweet has been open long before I noticed it last month - specifically since Valentine's Day 2008. Before Katrina the store was Uptown on Magazine, where she had been pumping out handcrafted chocolates since 2004.

Cheryl produces a wide array of chocolate treats, including the almond cookies (top photo) which The Folk Singer loved enough not to share with me. But Bittersweets' specialty of the house are truffles. These handcrafted treats have ganaches ranging in flavors from Crème Brulée and Bananas Foster to Indian Chai and Passion Fruit (pictured above especially for our friend).

But I think what makes the truffles at Bittersweet so unique are the different "finishes" you can choose. White and dark chocolate shavings, crunchy bits of pistachio or crisped rice, and raspberry dust (my personal favorite).

Bittersweet Confections - Sweetening life in Lakeview one truffle at a time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Classic Combinations

Chips and Dip

There are very few things in life which I excel at. One of them is making guacamole. My talent spurs from my complete and utter disdain for the garbage that some Mexican restaurants serve. Guacamole should be chunky not a smooth puree. Think more "avocado salad" and less "something that can be shot out of a caulking gun." You will need only 5 ingredients.


  • 4 Hass avocados (do NOT use those low fat Zutanos with the smooth exterior skin)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 2 limes

This so easy even a caveman could do it. Chop onion and garlic just enough so that you can fit them into a food processor. Same with the jalapenos (I like to discard the seeds). Add the juice of 1 lime. Salt and pepper to taste. Whiz that up till you get a consistency that looks like this:

Set that mixture aside. Split the avocados from top to bottom. (The easiest way is to insert your knife till you hit the pit, and then rotate the avocado around your knife.) Remove the pits but do not discard. Then take the avocado in your palm and with a butter knife make cross-hatches through the flesh:

Then simply take a spoon and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Season the avocados with salt and pepper and the half of the juice of the remaining lime. Once you have skinned and sliced all of the avocados, I like to run through them with a potato masher - but only once because we want to keep this chunky. Then add your onion/garlic/jalapeno mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Add the avocado pits back to the bowl (helps prevent oxidization), cover with plastic wrap pressed down onto the guacamole, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Infinitely better than the pre-made stuff. And remember: the avocado is a vegetable. I don't give a damn what Weight Watchers says.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guest Blogger: McCall

This week the blog turns over the reins to a pregnant lady who makes some bold claims about pregnancy and food. While we can not vouch for her claims that being pregnant is harder than running a blog for a year and a half, it does sound like at least there is good food involved. Maybe Peter should try it. Ohh wait, you can't drink? Nevermind. Women, keep up the good work.

Eating for Two

So I am pregnant. I’m not yet BIG and pregnant…but I’m sure I’ll be waddling from here to there soon enough. One thing I’ve noticed since that fateful day the stick turned blue is that women who are pregnant or who were pregnant (aka, mothers) love to talk about their pregnancy and all the wonderful, and not so wonderful, experiences involved in carrying their heir for ten months (that’s right, boys…pregnancy is TEN months, not nine). One constantly recurring theme in these unsolicited nuggets of wisdom is food and eating and especially cravings. Well, here are my own McNuggets of wisdom, thus far…

“I want it NOW!” – I’ve always been a rather patient person…downright polite most of the time. I often put others’ needs above my own. But lately, I have been drained of all my patience when it comes to eating. (Hey, I am putting my baby’s needs first right?) I would like to explain to you the immediacy of hunger when you are pregnant. It’s really quite hard to put in to words. It’s hormonal; it’s irrational; and it’s very, very real. One Thursday I was working from home when all of the sudden I was starving. S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. As it was only 10:30 a.m. and I had already consumed a bowl of oatmeal, a string cheese, a banana, and a cup of yogurt, I could not understand why I was so hungry. I didn’t know what to do. So, what did I do? I started crying. That’s right. There I was sitting in front of my computer, sobbing. My husband was on the golf course, so I couldn’t call him…not that he would be particularly understanding. So, I called my mom. She understood. She told me to stay where I was; she was coming. Twenty minutes later, we were in the car together heading to Casa Garcia for chips and bean dip. It was great. I wanted to cry I was so happy and satisfied; but then again, I think I had cried enough over food for one day.

The Best Thing Ever – Pickles and ice cream, right? Well that just sounds disgusting to me. However, I have discovered that pregnancy cravings are totally legit. While I have not craved anything particularly odd, I have noticed that when a craving strikes, I can think of NOTHING ELSE. I happened to have a craving for a cheeseburger a couple weeks ago. I was set to meet a good friend for lunch that day and insisted we go to Times for a cheeseburger. We sat down and before the waitress could ask for our drink order I told her I needed (that’s right, needed) a cheeseburger as soon as possible. When the burger arrived all conversation stopped. I needed all my concentration for that cheeseburger. Had my friend not recently joined the ranks of parenthood, I am pretty sure he would have been terrified or offended by the manner in which I devoured the cheeseburger. My usual Emily Post-like manners have occasionally taken a backseat to my indulgences these days. Now, the best part about these cravings is the way I feel when I have indulged…it is without a doubt the most satisfied feeling I have ever had (I feel like I should apologize to my husband after that statement). There are some pretty rotten side effects that come with pregnancy – morning sickness, a protruding belly (bye-bye feet), swollen ankles – but in my opinion that unexplainable feeling of satisfaction makes up for them all.

OK, ONE Odd Craving - I hate peaches. I detest them. I hate the way they smell, the way they taste, the way they feel. I always have; I figured I always would. That is until last week at the grocery store. As I perused the product department at Rouse’s I detected this irresistible aroma. To my surprise, it was a new display of peaches. How could this be? I have hated peaches since I was a child. I feel they have no redeeming qualities (yes, I realize I am likely alone in this sentiment). But there I was, standing before a massive display of fresh peaches…craving one. So, what did I do? I ate one. Yep, I couldn’t help myself. Right then and there in the middle of the produce department at my local Rouse’s I grabbed that dreaded fruit and I devoured it. And it was delicious. So, sorry Rouse’s…I owe you a peach.

PS – I still hate peaches.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meatacular Memorial Day

With July 4th right around the bend and Father's Day this weekend, I figured it would be important to get the taste thoughts flowing by discussing Memorial Day at the Blackened Out kitchen. Although it rained and Penny stole a steak (and some prosciutto), we still managed to turn out some killer food. Here is a retrospective glance at some recipes to get you prospectively hungry for our Nation's Independence.

Penny dines on a tennis ball after feasting on a steak prior in the day.

The PR Director's pops does things with meat. Namely, he takes cows and the like and turns them into food. Good meat too; well-aged, nicely portioned, and deliciously marbled. With meat of this caliber, I like to do as little as possible to them in the arena of the kitchen. And usually serve a sauce on the side.

Take meat out, season like Ted Kennedy with kosher salt (I prefer Morton's) and fresh cracked black pepper. Just let that hang out.

In a blender, combine one bunch cilantro, 2 cloves garlic, black pepper, salt, one bunch parsley, and 1/4 cup or so of red wine vinegar. Blend furiously, while streaming a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Taste. Congrats you have made chimichurri .

When cooking strips or filets, I like to pan saute them in an old cast iron skillet. Cuts like ribeyes, and porterhouses just seem to do better on a grill. High heat and a thin coating of lipid, 3 minutes on each side, and do not touch at all till ready to flip. Then into a smoking hot oven for 5-8 minutes. Allow to rest.

Boom. Steak with chimichurri.

Now for the kiddos. How about trading in that burger for some Sloppy Joes? (Sloppy Joes, Slop, Sloppy Joes... Yeah.) Meat, chili flake, salt, pepper, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, into a pot, simmer together until everyone is cozy and friendly. Just like a good cocktail party, you need a minimum of one hour together.

If you want to go a little more adult, add some chopped olives, maybe a little anchovy, and mushrooms-for a kind of Drunken frat star goes into an Italian whorehouse and orders a sloppy joe take on the classic. Serve on squishy hamburger buns with loads of napkins. You just may find the adults sneaking a sloppy joe or three.

Independence Day-it's not just about hating the British anymore.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ciro's Coté Sud

In this month's issue of offBEAT, we wrote about Ciro's Coté Sud - a much underappreciated French cafe/brasserie/pizzeria on Maple Street. While some of you may have already read our report, I felt that a few additional notes were worth mentioning.

I love France, and if I had the means I would make an annual pilgrimage to Europe with an obligatory stop in either Paris or Lyon. But seeing as such is not possible, in New Orleans the closest recreation of a French dining experience can be found at Ciro's - complete with sidewalk tables in the summer heat. Even our waitress was a French ex-pat whose casual slips into her native tongue caused me to respond with "oui" and "merci beaucoup." This is the perfect place for a leisurely paced, low-key meal of classic French fare that will not break the bank.

Salade de Chevre Chaud - French bread rounds smeared with goat cheese and then toasted, romaine, tomatoes, and crushed walnuts. Good, but the vinaigrette could use a generous sprinkling of salt.

Sure, they serve escargots, onion gratinée, and charcuterie, but the pizza is where it's at. (So much so that quite a few people stop in to pick up one to go.) The dough is made in house, and the toppings are generously applied without crossing the line into overkill. The above Bianca - mozzarella, feta, spinach, tomatoes, onions, and artichoke hearts - disproved my theory that all good things must include meat.

I'll admit, the kitchen cuts some corners on the menu. Yes, the charcuterie is not made on sight. But the specials prove that the chef has talent, so you would be wise to venture out. The above veal stuffed with fontina alongside roasted fingerling potatoes was worth the $20 price tag.

But that's as expensive as the menu gets. Couple that with a wine list that does not extend beyond $30, and you are looking at a most affordable date night. Ciro's is still under the radar, kind of an only locals in-the-know type of place. But those who do know keep going back.

Ciro's Coté Sud - Birdie.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Abita Satsuma Wit

Lots of hype surrounding this new seasonal brew from Abita, so I thought that I should crack open a few and let you know what I think. It's a wheat beer that I would group in the same category as Shock Top or Blue Moon. The results of our blind tasting below:

Peter: Eh. Kind of disappointing. Not nearly as good as Strawberry. I give it a par.
The Folk Singer: I like it.
Rene: I heard it sucks.

Let us know what you think. Happy Monday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Classic Combinations

Pasta aglio e olio

In saute pan, combine loads of olive oil, a lil red pepper flake,and garlic. Cook very lightly. The goal is to scare the garlic, not burn it at the stake. Add to this pasta that you cooked to al dente in heavily salted water. Cook for another minute. Add fresh herbs. I like parsley, basil, and oregano, which I grow in a pot on the steps leading to my house. With each step towards the front door, a different herbal fragrance tempts the nose. Grate Parm on top. Drizzle with just a touch more of olive oil.

My go to after a long day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guest Blogger: The Xainey

Helvetia still in lead. Its hard to top charity. But The Xainey is back again this week with a recount of his trip to the home of Sea World and the former home of Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Boy, San Diegans really know when to hold em and when to fold em, huh.

“It’s a fact; it’s the greatest city on the planet.” – Ron Burgundy

While I strongly disagree with the mustached anchorman from the 70s, I will say that San Diego sports some damn fine cuisine along with amazing weather (high of 66, low of 62 and slight breeze everyday). I made it to the long vacation block on intern year, and week one sees me and two of my former roommates (MX and PX) on a trip to check out the zoo, some baseball, and (most importantly) the food. Here’s the review.

Night one saw us wandering around down 5th avenue in the Gas Lamp Quarter checking out the various restaurants, bars, shops, and stores. During the stroll, I had many flashbacks to the various places I visited year a little more than a year ago on The Great American Roadtrip (a story for another time), which included the Field, Whiskey Girl, and The Fish Market, which we decided to hit up for dinner.

Located on tuna harbor on the west side of downtown, the Fish Market (http://www.thefishmarket.com/) boasts fresh fish from all over the country, and they print a new updated menu daily based on what fresh seafood they have – a la Tenney Flynn at G.W. fins. Most of the food is very simple here, grilled seafood, minimal seasonings, not drowning in heavy sauce (of which I am a huge fan). Appetizer – split the Ahi Poke and Ceviche tostada. While the Poke was tasty with the wanton; the real winner here is the tostada. Halibut ceviche with avocado on top was amazing; very tough to beat. This stuff is truly awesome.

Main courses – MX had the monkfish with steamed vegetables, PX, the scallops and shrimp with bacon (and fries), and myself - the ono with their fish rice and coleslaw.

All three seasoned perfectly and cooked to perfection. The natural flavors of the monkfish and ono stand out great on there own and require only the proper amount of doneness which this place does so well. MX matched the meal with the 2007 Honig Sauvignon Blanc which was a great pair; however, I had a Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale draught (http://www.karlstrauss.com/) which is absolutely delicious for all you red ale lovers like myself out there.

Night two, took in the Padres game. This belongs on the Friday classic combinations –

That’s the big dawg with chili, cheese, onions, relish and mustard; partnered by a Budweiser draft – which is both tall and cool. Its tough to beat a hot dog, beer, and baseball, even if the Padres suck.

On a side note, Dr. X recommends the Tilted Kilt for pregame drinks and scenery. Large draft specials, multiple big screens, and a bartender who I swore didn’t have a face; neither did PX for that matter.

Night three, wandered around the Gas Lamp quarter again, wandered around quite a bit checking out the different menus; ended up stopping at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/restaurants/bluepoint/. This restaurant boasts fresh seafood and prides itself on being very light as their dishes are not completely drenched in heavy cream sauces. MX started off with the Pressed Arugula salad, which she said rivaled the ceviche tostada from the Fish Market – I respectfully disagreed; however, it wasn’t too shabby for a salad.

I had the Spicy Mediterranean Calamari with a roasted red pepper aioli. Thick strips of squid lightly battered and fried. I’m always a fan of the strip calamari instead of the rings; you just get more of the flavor of the meat instead of tasting just batter.

Main course, PX had a lobster tail with garlic mashed potatoes; nothing complex here, but perfectly cooked and potatoes which were very light.

Lobster, duh

I had the citrus marinated swordfish served over black thai rice with a light citrus emulsion surrounding it. A great combination; and again, the whole dish was very light. Added to it a Karl Strauss Endless Summer brew.


I’m not a big dessert fan, but there are times when I see things too good to pass up. Blue Point serves a root beer float that they prepare tableside. Wow. For all you A&W and Blue Bell Vanilla fans out there, this thing was great. A squirt of the ginger root syrup, soda water, and the homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Top it with whipped cream, great way to finish up the eating in San Diego.

Root Beer Float

All in all, a great 3 days of eating; Dr. X highly recommends the whale’s vagina for its food and culture – I’ll work on my surfing in Coronado next time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Ruby Slipper

Like I was saying last week, I am always on the lookout for another no frills weekend breakfast joint, and I think that I found another one in Mid-City. The Ruby Slipper has a great story behind it - one better told by its neighbor Ian McNulty than me. While I enjoy reading about residents investing in their areas, I don't have the same personal connection to the place as Ian does. Instead I'll just focus on the food, which was pretty good.
First, it must be noted that the brunch served at The Slipper on the weekend is more akin to breakfast. There is a very, very limited lunch menu of a few salads and a visually enticing chicken salad sandwich. But other than that, you're pretty much stuck with breakfast.
Which is not too bad considering your options include this bowl of shrimp and grits. Cooked in an Abita beer sauce, the shrimp were seasoned with a heavy hand of thyme, an ingredient which made frequent appearances on the menu. The grits were coarse ground and not as creamy as is my personal preference.

The Folk Singer had the benedict-like Eggs Blackstone - biscuits layered with broiled tomatoes, bacon, and poached eggs enrobed in a thick hollandaise. Each component of this dish was well executed: the biscuits are made in house, the bacon was cooked crispy so that it easily crumbled without chewiness, and the hollandaise was thick and rich. All of these touches contributed to a very fine breakfast.

The kitchen staff makes a mean pancake too. The special on our visit was a white chocolate and spicy pecan version, which made for an interesting sweet and savory combination, but it was the perfect texture of the flapjack which kept me fighting with TFS for my fair share.

The Ruby Slipper - Par, but make sure to pass on the $3 small glass of (albeit freshly squeezed) orange juice.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trip to Sucre

A few weeks ago Peter and I had an exclusive, all access sneak peak at the Sucré production facility. No one else has ever been allowed inside these walls, save Peter and I, and now you. So feel lucky. Full story coming soon in offBEAT. For now enjoy the photography by Peter via TFS's camera.

The infamous muffins which create Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

These cupcakes are so wonderful they remind us of Angel turds

Eaten raw, fresh rolled pastry dough allows anyone to become a blogger.

Sucre's gelato packaging will remind you of happy, fat kid times.

After milking a gelato cow all day, Peter was rewarded with this Praline Gelato. Sucre's new gelato recipe is much improved.

Replace that tired, old Christmas tree this year with a Macaroon tree.

Who Dat?

Was this your wedding cake? If so, it was delicious.

The Dread Pirate Robert is a giant. Just look how small his camera and tripod are in comparison to his massive frame.

Here, the Dread Pirate lets everyone who reads Blackened Out know, "Congrats! You are reading the #1 Food Blog in New Orleans!!!!!"