Note: The title of this post is not a report card. It's just my attempt at being clever. The report card would be all A's, for real.
It's been a little busy around the Food Orleans household this month, but that doesn't mean we haven't been eating. Here are some photos and brief reviews of places we've checked out over the summer.
B #1: Butcher. Donald Link's Butcher is located next door to his Cajun-oriented Cochon, in the warehouse district. It's a true butcher shop, where you can buy delectable pork cuts, poultry, lamb, beef, foie gras, and housemade sausages of all kinds, but it also has a bar and little tables and fantastic food. Butcher has become one of our must-try places we like to take out-of-town guests to, and everyone loves it. They have a full sandwich board (and the best muffaletta in town--you heard me), but my favorite thing to do is order three or four of their small plates--usually $6 each--and a plate of their boudin with mustard and pickles--only $3. The menu changes constantly, but always includes a couple of options for those who don't eat pig and is always seasonal.
Butcher: boudin-stuffed quail atop braised greens and creamy mustard.
Grilled house-made sausage (so rich!) with cold tomato, okra, and mushroom vinaigrette.
The $9 sloppy joe. It's worth it. Everything is made fresh--even the chips and pickle!
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B #2: Bud's Broiler, the long-time local hamburger chain in New Orleans and its surroundings. It's basic, dairy-diner type cooking, and it's cheap, and it's a welcome reprieve from what can sometimes be too much fancy food. Everything (mostly burgers, but you can also get a hot dog or fish sandwich) is char-broiled to order and so satisfying.
Bud's Broiler: This is pretty much the entire menu.
The broiler with its friend the television.
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B #3: B Side. Very important to note here that B Side is not in New Orleans--it's way far away in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Sorry!!!) But if you feel like making a 7-hour drive some weekend, I suggest you plan your entire road trip around a meal at B Side--breakfast or lunch--and don't eat at all in the car so you can order lots of goodness from their menu. This place understands how to make good food. The photos here will hopefully serve as inspiration to try your hand at these dishes at home--we all know how to make eggs, after all. We can't all make them look this pretty, but we can make them...
B Side: The famous "Biscuit Mountain"--a tower of all good breakfast foods imaginable, bridged with bacon.
French toast kabob: a stick of French toast wrapped in bacon, cooked (fried? I don't know) and served with powdered sugar and maple syrup. This kind of makes me want to punch someone in the face, it's so good.
"Figgy Piggy": fig-glazed roasted pork loin with sweet potato home fries. Such wonderful, deeply satisfying food. As our server said, "I came in one day and ate the Figgy Piggy. The next day I came back and applied for a job."
Smoked gouda grits: just, Wow. Rich, creamy wow.
A fresh, bright huevos rancheros. Someone there is really good at frying eggs, don't you think? So pretty.
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And finally, C is for Charlie's. Charlie's is about twenty minutes from mid-city, an easy drive along Jefferson Highway, in Harahan. It's been around for decades, but recently chef Frank Brigtsen acquired it and revamped the menu. He didn't make it fancy schmancy, though--just good seafood with a few high-quality twists. We went there after reading about their "Unfried Seafood Platter" in the Gambit's spring restaurant issue. I believe it's worth the drive.
Charlies: Shrimp calas with homemade tartar. Calas are traditional Creole fried rice fritters. Think of it like a shrimp-and-rice hushpuppy, and also think, "Yum."
The "Unfried Platter"--I believe the components change with the seasons, but that day we had grilled redfish topped with buttery crabmeat and shrimp, a baked oyster, and shrimp cornbread.
Charlie's: Keepin' it real.
SPECIAL BONUS QUIZ: If you correctly guess which of these 4 restaurants the photo below was taken in, you will win a healthy dose of ego for the day plus my neverending respect. Who knows where this lovely lady lives?