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my green heaven

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By Jen White · May 16, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Creole tomatoes are in their green state these days, which is fine with me.  For one thing, I know that the ripe red creoles are just weeks away; for another, I love fried green tomatoes.  Love them.

The use of green tomatoes on a BLT has been a bit of a lunch trend in the city--La Petite Grocery offered a BLT with green tomato jam last spring, for instance, which was outstanding.  The tarter, "greener" flavor of a green tomato plays well with smoky bacon, and just feels like spring, to me.  At last week's Saturday market, Paul found baby green creole tomatoes, about the size of limes.  They were so cute, and their slices so perfectly round, that they just seemed to be crying out for the starring role in a BLT.  So that's what we had--cocktail-sized fried-green-tomato BLTs.  Hooray!

for love of shrimp

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By Jen White · May 10, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

The oil spill outlook has got us all worried these days.  How will our fishing families adapt?  How will the restaurant industry fare?  It's still too soon to tell.  But plenty of fresh, local seafood is still available right now, at the west bank wharf, in supermarkets, and at farmer's markets.  Paul went last Saturday to the Crescent City Farmer's Market downtown and bought several pounds of gorgeous, perfect shrimp from Clara Gerica of Gerica Seafood.  Her husband, Pete, shrimps in Lake Pontchartrain and sends his evening catch to market with Clara, who says their lake shrimping is unaffected at this point.  So to celebrate that fact, and to celebrate shrimp in general, I concocted a tapas-style menu of two iconic recipes (barbecued shrimp; shrimp and grits (pictured at left)) and one newcomer (the shrimp taco).

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high standards, surpassed expectations, and getting a little awesome: Restaurant August

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By Jen White · May 2, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I was talking to my friend Chana the other day about dining in New Orleans, and we have the same philosophy:

  1. If you charge $5 for something, it doesn't have to be fantastic. Kudos to you if it is fantastic.
  2. If you charge $40 or $50 for something, it better be awesome. It better not be something that I can taste and say, "You know, I think I could make this better."

 

We're just trying to get the best dollar-to-awesomeness ratio that we can, and in a city where the prices can be as high as diners' expectations of the food, that's important.

We went to August the other day for a celebratory family lunch (see #2, above). I've only been to one other John Besh restaurant, Luke, but I've been there a few times and enjoyed it. The food at Luke is not fine dining, but it's quality. August is in a different league of dining experiences, along with places like Stella!, Herbsaint, and Bayona, where you arrive expecting a fantastically prepared meal and usually leave shaking your head in disbelief of how good it truly was (see #2, above, again).

jazz fest '10

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By Jen White · May 2, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

The day we chose to go (to see Van Morrison) was a wet one, but we still got in some good eats.  Plus some Juvenile and some awesome music in the gospel tent.  Here are some photos of folks enjoying the food--including some damp, dedicated crawfish peelers.

 

We got the combo on the sign below: potato salad, creole stuffed crab, and catfish almondine.

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good southern girls

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By Jen White · April 26, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I've only lived in the South for ten years; before that I lived in Oklahoma. Even though Oklahoma technically isn't the South, my grandmother, Willie Ruth Abbott (or Mee-Mo, as my cousin Kitty dubbed her), was a true Southern cook, making fresh sausage gravy and biscuits every morning, pouring cornbread batter into hot bacon grease in her cast-iron mold. What I learned about Southern food early on in life was all due to spending time in the kitchen with Mee-Mo, crimping the edges of her fried pies. When I was growing up, we'd travel every few years to family reunions held at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Durant, Oklahoma--a densely green and hilly area in the southeastern corner of the state. Long tables would be set up in the covered pavillion of the cemetery, loaded with every cook's most-requested dishes:  fried chicken, dilly bread, peach cobbler, macaroni salad, angel biscuits, fried pies, baked beans, and several potato salads. Just writing this list makes my soul ache for those sweltering afternoons of paper plates weighted down with so much good food.

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food orleans review: Hungry Town by Tom Fitzmorris

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By Jen White · April 23, 2010 · 0 Comments ·


How did a city that celebrates the traditional offerings of French Creole landmarks such as Antoine’s and Galatoire’s become an industry trendsetter? How did the 1880s-built Commander’s Palace become the hottest “new” place to dine in New Orleans a hundred years later? Mostly, it’s a combination of timing and the chef/restaurateur relationship--and Tom Fitzmorris has stories to tell. He has covered the restaurant beat for various print publications since 1972, and has discussed the city’s restaurants over the radio waves almost daily since 1979. Hungry Town
includes a welcomingly brief explanation of the author’s apprenticeship and tenure writing about the city’s most important industry, and quickly gets to the good stuff--the food. But Fitzmorris’s friendships (and rejections) behind the scenes provide backstory vital to understanding the intensity of the most formative years of New Orleans restaurantism--like when Paul Prudhomme’s blackened redfish hit the scene and so many cast-iron skillets nationwide--or when Prudhomme asked onetime pal Fitzmorris to stay out of his restaurant because of “controversial” discussions held on his radio talk-show--whether K-Paul’s should, in fact, offer diners more selection than their usual two wines.

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gone crawfishing

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By Jen White · April 18, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Crawfish has two usages as a verb in Webster's: one is to catch crawfish, and another is to back out of something you've committed to. But I'm proposing a third definition: to crawfish is to celebrate the deliciousness of the little creatures by churning out as many recipes as you can in one weekend and stuffing yourself full of their glory. And with that definition in place, I can honestly say I have been doing a lot of crawfishing lately.

the stars of spring: strawberry bruschetta and strawberry caprese

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By Jen White · April 3, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

One of the things I love about the Crescent City Farmers Market is their varied locations--and even more, that one of those locations, the Thursday evening market, is a short walk from our house. This past Thursday, we sauntered out with dozens of people from the neighborhood who were taking advantage of the brief period in New Orleans when days are sunny and bright, but not hot. For a month or so, the weather will be the star here, with sweet Louisiana produce running a close second.

where y'everything: a list of places to eat and more in new orleans

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By Jen White · April 1, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

We're offering this list of eateries--plus a few bars, attractions, and oddities--for our guests and guests unknown to get ideas about where to spend their time and money. Only places we have visited and actually recommend are on the list. Of course, the list is ever-growing, as we continue to explore new spots every week.

If you'd like to suggest places that aren't here yet, feel free to leave a comment, and we'll add it to the list if we agree. Happy exploring...

Updated on January 24, 2013--Added to list: Domenica, Stanley, Willie Mae's Scotch House. Food Orleans' stories linked in brackets.

French Quarter
Eats
  • Central Grocery (home of the muffaletta; mostly takeaway)
  • Domenica (Rustic Italian cooking; beautifully sauced handmade pastas, pizzas, and the best octopus carpaccio in town; great cheese and salami boards)
  • Coop's Place (best restaurant jambalaya, hands down)
  • Stanley (right on Jackson Square; the best gumbo in the French Quarter; breakfast all day; interesting po-boys, especially the pizza/casesar salad combo) [my visit]
  • Felix's (great oysters, turtle soup, sweet potato fries) [my visit]
  • Antoine's (high-priced, long-established classic French; recommended if you can budget it)
  • Port of Call (great big steak-like burgers, steaks, baked potatoes (no french fries here), big sweet drinks; there's usually a line out the door, but it's worth it; vegetarians beware)
  • Galatoire's (legendary spot for Creole cuisine, festive dining rooms, excellent service, no reservations accepted. Take aunt Rudy's advice and get the green salad with garlic) [my visit]

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roast beef to remember: parkway bakery & tavern

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By Jen White · March 14, 2010 · 0 Comments ·


This photo is my gift to you. Fantastic, rich, tender roast beef and gravy over french fries, and it's not even a holiday...it's just another Sunday in the food capitol of my heart. I had to share.

My new Sunday favorite is Parkway Bakery & Tavern, at Bayou St. John. Our friend John Mark turned us onto this place a few weeks ago--our friend who was visiting. We didn't even know the riches that were waiting for us a mere football field away from our front door. Now we can't stop going. For the photo experience, order "fries with gravy." I know the photo doesn't look like fries with "gravy"--it looks more like your grandmother's roast beef--but that's what they call it, so just believe them. Parkway is famous for piling this roast beef onto po' boys, and for their metabolism-demolishing "surf-n-turf" po'boy, which is loaded with roast beef and fried shrimp. We haven't braved that combo yet, though we hear it's mighty good.


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