Morning Call 1976 – The Collins’ Review #FlashbackFriday

There were some who claimed that Fat City was simply a publicity man’s bad dream. There were others who said that no one could every go to the suburbs for coffee and beignets, even if Morning Call moved there.

New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket (Part 2)

New Zuppardo's Family Supermarket brings a century of tradition to the present. (Part 1 of this story here.) New Zuppardo's Family Supermarket on Veterans is open in #themetrys When the New Zuppardo's Family Supermarket opened last week, I was relieved. I don't plan...

Zuppardo’s Supermarket opens new store!

Zuppardo's Supermarket opens new, expanded store in #themetrys! (x-posted to NOLA History Guy) Zuppardo's Supermarket - My grocery I've been going to Zuppardo's  Supermarket, either the old store on Elysian Fields and Gentilly, or the Metairie store at Veterans and...
Covid Coffee Conundrum – Stay-at-home coffee making

Covid Coffee Conundrum – Stay-at-home coffee making

Covid Coffee Conundrum – when you’re making too much coffee

covid coffee conundrum

Covid Coffee Conundrum

Too much coffee? Is that possible? I drink coffee in the morning. I’m not a fan of afternoon coffee. Afternoons offer the chance to cool down with an iced tea or lemonade. Perhaps a chilled Rose’ or Sauvignon Blanc. Not coffee.

Classic Drip Pot

covid coffee conundrum

We used my momma’s drip pot for years to make coffee. It fell apart last fall. So, the only replacement I could find was a good bit larger. Making a single cup of coffee presented a challenge. That wasn’t a big concern, since I usually go to a coffee shop to write in the mornings. The coffee pot went to work when more than one person wanted a cup. That happens when our boys come home. While I could run to Dunkin, I suppose, it was better to have a new pot. Classic cafe au lait is important.

Small pour-over

Considering the options for replacing the old drip pot was fun. One of those options was a carafe-style pour-over system. The carafe meant making multiple pots when the boys were home. Nah, let’s stick with the drop pot. Then came stay-at-home. No trips to the PJ’s Coffee on Canal Blvd. for a while! That meant making more coffee at home. This drip pot does the job, but tempts the maker into more coffee! I hate throwing those extra cups out.

Exploring the choices for a new coffee pot involved going to Target, the supermarkets, and a lot of online shopping. In spite of all that, Amazon offered the only practical choice. For the pour-over, Amazon was the first choice.

covid coffee conundrum

The system works just fine. The carafe holds 32 ounces. So one scoop coffee yields two cups. That returns me to the coffee shop routine. One cup starts the morning, maybe a second if the visit goes longer. At home, two cups works out OK. The smaller carafe is easier to clean. It contains fewer pieces and parts.

Conundrum solved!

#TestKitchen Pork Chops with Artichoke Hearts

#TestKitchen Pork Chops with Artichoke Hearts

#TestKitchen Pork Chops – we’re winging it in quarantine.

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

Pork chops with artichoke hearts in white wine

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

I am a make-it-up-as-we-go-along kind of cook. Prior to stay-at-home, I drove over to Zuppardo’s a couple of times a week. I joke that I should get frequent shopper miles. Switching to once a week to make groceries challenges my cooking style. Hey, we keep going. So, we’re changing up basic meals.

Shopping during lockdown

Prior to stay-at-home, I avoided pushy people at the grocery regularly. Maintaining social distancing among people who think COVID-19 is a hoax (i.e., Fox News viewers) presents a serious challenge. The supermarket meat counter exacerbates that challenge. Usually, reaching over someone to get something in the meat department wasn’t difficult. Now, these folks are spitting on you. Now, I go to Whole Foods Market for meat more than Zuppardo’s. Their walk-up counter reduces contact with mask-less customers.

When I do go to Zuppardo’s, I limit my time in the meat department as much as possible. On a recent trip, that eant grabbing a couple of packs of boneless pork chops and getting away from carriers. So, with pork chops in the basket, what to do with them?

The ingredients

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

Two packs of pork shops. A yellow onion. Green onion tops from my garden (yes, I have a pot with green onions in the back). Chicken stock and white wine. A jar of artichoke hearts. I put the Basmati rice in the “ingredients” photo, but then changed my mind and cooked pasta.

Cooking

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

  • Sautee the pork shops over medium-high heat, to sear them.
  • Deglaze the pan with white whine. Set aside.
  • Saute onion until they’re translucent and a bit brown.
  • Add chicken stock, and the pan drippings to the onions, stir.
  • Add the artichoke hearts and the oil/herbs from the jar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Return pork chops to the pan. Simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes.
  • Serve over pasta.

Simple meal

#TestKitchen Pork Chops

Single-pan, let-it-simmer meals allow the cook to relax.

MoPho Airport and Mid-City

MoPho Airport and Mid-City

MoPho Airport and dinner in Mid-City

MoPho Airport

“Leaving New Orleans” pho at MoPho Airport MSY

MoPho Airport

MoPho is at the “new” MSY, on Concourse, B. I fly mostly Southwest these days, since they do nonstops and no-plane-change flights to Columbus, Ohio. So, it made sense to stop for a bowl of soup on my last trip.

The “about” story on MoPho’s website is awesome. I can see a bunch of guys from New Orleans up and deciding they can make pho. Sure, why not? Well, Chef Michael Gullotta was Chef de Cuisine at August and knows his stuff.

Pork!

Naturally, the restaurant’s name gives you the impression that it’s a Vietnamese place. That’s not accurate, though. It’s a New Orleans place that features pho. While much of Gulotta’s food is Asian and South Asian-influenced, you can still tell you’re at a NOLA place. What do you expect from guys who went to high school in Gentilly?

MSY Phood

MoPho’s Mid-City location is a solid success. Gulotta’s second restaurant, Maypop, is also quite popular. MoPho challenged themselves by opening up in the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. the restaurant offers food that’s a cut above most of the stuff road warriors find in airports.

MoPho Airport presents a number of options, from spring rolls to sandwiches to, of course, pho. I got the “Leaving New Orleans” pho (top photo). When I posted a photo of the soup on social media, someone commented, “looks like yakka-mein.” Not a bad comparison! The dish contains a lot of ingredients. So, it’s not simple broth, protein, noodles. The soup projected New Orleans more than Vietnam. Not surprising, not a problem.

The restaurant offers bar and table seating. Alas, they serve the pho in paper bowls. The bowls are made of heavy stock, but still. The bowl gave me an odd feeling. I get that it’s easier to throw everything away at an airport. While the bowl was odd, having to eat pho with a teaspoon was problematic. Give customers a soup spoon! I’ll remember to bring my own next time.

Mid-City Dinner

mopho airport

Beef Croquette with mushroom curry at MoPho Mid-City

We ate an early supper at MoPho Mid-City on Saturday. So, kiddo and I ate the special, a beef croquette with mushroom curry, and sweet potato puree. Wicked!

 

Mr. Ed’s Metairie – Post-Pelicans Dinner

Mr. Ed’s Metairie – Post-Pelicans Dinner

Mr. Ed’s Metairie has great oysters.

Mr. Ed's Metairie

Char-grilled, Rockefeller, and Bienville oysters.

Mr. Ed’s Metairie

LT Firstborn visited for a couple of weeks, before he headed off to Guam and the USS Topeka. He loves oysters of all kinds, so we decided to go to Mr. Ed’s Metairie after seeing the Pelicans beat Indiana last week.

The Mr. Ed’s location. 3117 21st Street in Metairie, was Bozo’s Restaurant for years. Bozo’s started in the French Quarter. The restaurant moved to #themetrys in the 1980s. When Bozo died, Mr. Ed took it over, having worked for Bozo for a while. Mr. Ed’s Metairie did a great job of sticking to Bozo’s tradition and feel.

Oysters!

Mr. Ed's Metairie

We ordered two dozen oysters. the first tray was classic, char-grilled. The second was six Rockefeller, six Bienville. Both are Antoine’s creations. The original Rockefellers are covered with green onions. Other places, like Mr. Ed’s Metairie, use spinach. Oysters Bienville are topped with a mix of shrimp, mushrooms, bell peppers, sherry, a roux with butter, cheese, and bread crumbs.

I grabbed one of each on a smaller plate, leaving the trays by the submariner.

Mains

Mr. Ed's Metairie

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Mr. Ed’s Metairie has great sandwiches, as well as plates. So, there was a stuffed mirliton plate on the special menu, but they were out of it. So, I got one of my go-tos, stuffed bell peppers. They’re green peppers stuffed with ground beef and shrimp, well-seasoned and served with mashed potatoes. Delicious!

Mr. Ed's Metairie

Shrimp au Gratin starter

Mr. Branley and his younger brother ordered crabmeat au gratin. This dish was the other reason the submariner requested Mr. Ed’s Metairie. Mrs. YatPundit got the appetizer size of the au gratin. While the toppings are the same, she was less impressed with it, because it was shrimp rather than crabmeat. So, now she wants to go back in the near future, to satisfy the crabmeat craving. I tasted both, and they were great.

Late dinner

We got to the restaurant about 8:50pm. Mr. Ed’s Metairie closes at 10pm. We discussed this on the way from the Smoothie King Center. More than an hour before close? We were OK with that. Had we been, say, fifteen minutes before close? Different story.

Morning Call 1976 – The Collins’ Review #FlashbackFriday

Morning Call 1976 – The Collins’ Review #FlashbackFriday

Morning Call 1976 – The Doctors Collin reviewed the world-famous coffee stand.

morning call 1976

Interior of Morning Call’s Fat City location, 2010 (courtesy Jason Lam)

Morning Call 1976 in the New Orleans Restaurant Guide

We’re shifting from Dr. Richard Collin’s 1970 book, The New Orleans Underground Gourmet to The New Orleans Restaurant Guide. This was Collin’s second food-critic book, written with his wife, Dr. Rima Drell Reck. While the Underground Gourmet was a solid presentation of New Orleans restaurants, it followed a more-or-less standardized format for the series. The New Orleans Restaurant Guide was by a company owned by the Collins, Strether and Swann. So, they had much more control over format and content.

Best of the Best

morning call 1976

“Best of the Best” from The New Orleans Restaurant Guide

The book begins with a chapter of the “Best of the Best.” The list contains old favorites, which is no surprise. Not that all the places aren’t four-stars. After all, it’s hard to say a coffee stand with an incredible restaurant like Mosca’s. We’ll start with an ATNM place, Morning Call Coffee Stand.

Morning Call Coffee Stand

morning call 1976

Morning Call Coffee Stand at the French Market, 1910. (State Library of Louisiana photo)

Originally located in the French Market, Morning Call moved to Metairie two years before this review. Here’s what the Collins have to say:

morning call 1976

Morning Call Platonic Meal
Beignets
Cafe’ au Lait

The Inside Track

The line can be enormous. It’s worth the wait. Inconsistencies show up occasionally when the restaurant is very busy. Coffee is always good, but the beignets may be less crisp or not as fluffy as is optimal. Not a serious flaw. And from long experience, we can tell you there’s no easy or neat way to sprinkle powered sugar on the beignets without also covering yourself, your companion, and everything else.

[the review]

Once upon a time there were two coffee houses, one at each end of the French Market. When the renovation of the Market began, one of the two, dissatisfied with the plans for cleaning it and the Market up, and perhaps hearing the siren song of the prosperous suburbs, left for greener pastures in a place in the suburbs called Fat City. There were some who claimed that Fat City was simply a publicity man’s bad dream. There were others who said that no one could every go to the suburbs for coffee and beignets, even if Morning Call moved there.

They were wrong. Fat City does exist, and while for some it may be a poor man’s French Quarter, it has character, characters, and probably most significant of all, it has the Morning Call. All of it. Sign, mirrors, counters, ceiling fans, everything but the picturesque sugar containers which are not forbidden in Jefferson Parish as they are in Orleans Parish. And best of all, the Morning Call has the glorious authentic original French Market beignets, a best dish, and New Orleans legendary cafe au lait, a best dish*.

Beignets are rectangular fried doughnuts, eaten hot and sprinkled with powered sugar. They are delicious and irresistible. They go back to a cake made of fried dough made in Spain in the late Middle Ages. Cafe au lait is dark roast New Orleans coffee with chicory, served with hot milk; the proportion is about half and half. This is extraordinary coffee and even if you normally take your coffee black, try it this way with your beignets.

*Labeling something a “best dish” is a specific appelation in the book: “The Best dish of the particular restaurant and one of the best examples of that dish in the cuisine.”

Quarter to Metairie to City Park to Closed

morning call 1976

Morning Call in City Park, 2018 (Infrogmation photo)

I’ve experienced Morning Call in all of its incarnations. My dad took me to the Quarter as a kid. The move to #themetrys happened during my high school years. The high school students that are the characters in my Young Adult “Dragons” novels hang out at the City Park location. Well, now, they’ll have to hang out at the CDM. I don’t remember the old sugar dispensers Collin mentions. They were like a home sugar bowl, with a hinged metal top. Diners scooped the sugar onto their beignets with a spoon. One of the “sanitary” concerns at the time was that hippies would spike the sugar with LSD. The city banned them in the late 1960s. So, the coffee stand substituted metal shakers, which they used right up to the closure of the two stands last year.

The owners of Morning Call announced plans to re-open in Mid-City, at the corner of Canal Blvd. and City Park Avenue. As of now, no development has taken place on the property. We’ll see.

JC Restaurant in #themetrys, #FlashbackFriday

JC Restaurant and Bar, 601 Veterans in #themetrys (x-posted to NOLA History Guy)

JC Restaurant

JC Restaurant, 601 Veterans in Metairie, 1960. Franck Studios photo.

JC Restaurant

This restaurant was located at 601 Veterans Boulevard, in Metairie. This Franck Studios photo, shot on 9-January-1960, shows how this main drag of Metairie was still sparsely-developed. The appeal to a businessman like J.C. Landry (the namesake of JC Restaurant) was inexpensive property that was still close to Lakeview. Dorignac’s and Zuppardo’s supermarkets were still empty lots on Vets.

Getting to Metairie from Mid-City wasn’t all that hard, either, since one could hop onto the Pontchartrain Expressway at City Park Avenue.

Underground!

JC Restaurant

YatCuisine’s copy of the New Orleans Underground Gormet by Dr. Richard H. Collin

I posted this photo as part of my regular social media sharing earlier this week. I remember eating at this place once or twice as a kid, but those fifty-year old memories are fuzzy. So, I pulled out The New Orleans Underground Gourmet, written in 1970 by Dr. Richard Collin of UNO. This restaurant guide was our bible as high school and college students in the mid-late 1970s. Dr. Collin followed up this book with his New Orleans Restaurant Guide, written with his wife, Dr. Rima Drell Reck (Professor of Comparative Literature at UNO), in 1977. A second edition was published in 1982.

Collin on JC Restaurant

Here’s Dr. Collin’s entry for JC Restaurant in The New Orleans Underground Gourmet:

One would never think upon seeing the JC Restaurant and Lounge from a crowded suburban shopping highway that this was anything but an ordinary tawry hash house with a large bar. Yet some of the best and cheapest food in the city is served at the JC in comfortable if far from elegant surroundings. The prices at the JC for quality food are remarkable, especially on the bargain nights, Wednesday for Family Chicken Night and Thursday for Beef Night. On Wednesday, five superb chicken dinners are featured at $1.85 each ($1.10 for children). This is not simple fried chicken but chicken Clemenceau, chicken Valentino (with shredded ham), chicken Chasseur (a brown sauce with garlic), chicken Marengo, and chicken Bordelaise, an old garlicky New Orleans favorite (all recommended).

J.C. Lambert, the JC of the restaurant’s name, has been serving quality food for ten years and his place seems to get better with age. The dinners are accompanied by an original Mexican coleslaw and excellent vegetables such as black-eyed peas and fried eggplant. The most impressive thing about the JC is its consistency. the a la carte menu is very good and old New Orleans favorites like shrimp remoulade (recommended) and stuffed shrimp (recommended) are excellent.

There is, every weekday except Tuesday, when the restaurant closes, a businessman’s lunch with the same good food and low prices. A recent lunch of chicken livers en brochette (recommended) was first-rate. JC manages to turn out very good versions of the local specialties, both of the less exalted nature and also dinners of a grander style. There is a good bar from the adjoining cocktail lounge and the usual short orders of hamburgers, fried chicken, and sandwiches. Parking is no problem as the restaurant has plenty of free parking. JC is a good example of a restaurant without frills or fanfare serving distinctive and distinguished food at very low prices.

I need to make those chicken dishes!

 

 

 

New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket (Part 2)

New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket (Part 2)

New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket brings a century of tradition to the present. (Part 1 of this story here.)

new zuppardo's family supermarket

Anthony Leo Zuppardo’s “banana wagon” greets you as you enter the produce department of the new store. (Edward Branley photo)

New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket on Veterans is open in #themetrys

When the New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket opened last week, I was relieved. I don’t plan meals out all that much. My schedule is such that, if I’m not traveling, I can make multiple trips to the grocery in a week. Four days (Saturday-Tuesday) of no Zuppardo’s was a strange experience. I realized how much I rely on my local grocery.

New Zuppardo's Family Supermaket

The original Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket in Metairie, just before demolition. (Edward Branley photo)

Walking into the new Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket was a real treat. Now, let’s be fair from the start. From an industry perspective, the new store isn’t all that innovative. Other stores, such as the Rouse chain and Whole Foods, have the same features and layouts as this new store. There are two big differences that make this store exciting.

New Orleans tradition, expanded

new zuppardo's family supermarket

Cooked food offering are greatly expanded and presentation more attractive. (Edward Branley photo)

The Rouses are from Thibodaux. Whole Foods Market is from, well, they’re everywhere, therefore they’re from nowhere. The Zuppardo family have been in New Orleans since the 1890s. Their Gentilly store, Economical Super Market, opened on Elysian Fields and Gentilly in 1937. The Zuppardo produce truck sat at that corner for seven years before that. That’s almost a century of New Orleans. Generations of New Orleanians made groceries with the Zuppardo’s and continue to do so.

So, don’t get me wrong, there are things I like about Whole Foods Market. Taht includes both pre- and post-Amazon. Still, there are the little things, like Pop-Tarts, they just don’t have. Or Zea’s Thai Rib Sauce. You get the idea.

Local Food

new zuppardo's family supermarket

Cooked food, New Orleans style.

Folks in other cities wrestle with the dilemma of generic chain versus  local grocery. The large footprint of a store like WFM offers the shopper a number of options. How does a local store compete with that? Sell items your momma and her momma bought, like house-made Italian sausage. Roast beef at the deli counter with garlic in it like my mom made. Creole-Italian dishes based on Sicilian family recipes passed on from generation to generation.

new zuppardo's family supermarket

The new store from an awful angle, since the old store isn’t cleared yet. (Edward Branley photo)

The doubling of the size of the Veterans store takes this local distinction and drives it home. The New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket has a big salad bar. They have a “hot bar” with fried chicken and other cooked local dishes. The snack bar isn’t just a counter up front, but a po-boy shop in itself. Zuppardo’s isn’t cooking food that’s tested in generic corporate kitchens. They cook for you like you’re family. Mind you, that doesn’t mean WFM is bad. It means Zuppardo’s is New Orleans.

Expanded presentation

new zuppardo's family supermarket

The new deli counter (Edward Branley photo)

The increase in the size of the New Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket improves the presentation of all the products the store offers. So, there are more items in the bakery to tease you. The expanded deli counter means less of a wait when you want a half pound of this and a quarter pound of that.

new zuppardo's family supermarket

The new meat department (Edward Branley photo)

The meat department of the new store no longer has the cowbell. Typical of many smaller groceries/supermarkets, the original Metairie store didn’t have a butcher counter. So, if you wanted meat that wasn’t out in the cooler cases, you went to the door of the meat department’s back area and rang a cowbell hanging from the ceiling. A butcher would come out and help you. Now, the new store has a meat/seafood counter where you can walk up and ask for something. While it’s a little thing, if you’ve ever been to a WFM, you know that people really do like to pick out meat that’s not wrapped in plastic.

I’m excited for this new phase in the Zuppardo family tradition.

 

 

 

Zuppardo’s Supermarket opens new store!

Zuppardo’s Supermarket opens new store!

Zuppardo’s Supermarket opens new, expanded store in #themetrys!

(x-posted to NOLA History Guy)

Zupardo's Supermarket

Economical Supermarket, on Elysian Fields and Gentilly, in the 1950s. (Zuppardo’s photo)

Zuppardo’s Supermarket – My grocery

I’ve been going to Zuppardo’s  Supermarket, either the old store on Elysian Fields and Gentilly, or the Metairie store at Veterans and Transcontinental, since I was a kid. That’s going back to the days when the Gentilly neighborhood had an incredible number of groceries and supermarkets.

Economical!

Zuppardo's Supermarket

Replica of Anthony Leo Zuppardo’s banana cart from the early 1900s at the new Zuppardo’s Supermarket. (Edward Branley photo)

Peter Zuppardo came to New Orleans from Sicily in 1895. He took a job in the wholesale banana business. His son, Anthony Leo, saw an opportunity with over-ripe bananas. Anthony took those bananas around in a donkey cart. By 1930, the Zuppardo’s parked a truck at Gentilly Road at Elysian Fields. At that time, Elysian Fields Avenue was just a dirt road. The Pontchartrain Railroad closed in 1931, and Elysian Fields wasn’t paved until the end of the decade.

The Zuppardo’s bought the lot on that corner, establishing a permanent presence. The fruit truck expanded into a store in 1937. Those were the waning days of the city’s public market system. That system gave way to private stores after the war. The family made a good decision, as the neighborhood grew. After World War II, Gentilly’s population exploded, as men returning from the war looked to start their own families.

Bell Supermarkets

Zuppardo's Supermarket

Bell Supermarkets newspaper ad from the 1950s (courtesy NOLA.com)

Economical became part of the Bell supermarket co-op. The idea was for independent grocers to join together to better advertise their stores. This was important, because John Schwegmann’s “giant” supermarkets became incredibly popular in the 1950s. Stores such as Economical, Dorignac’s uptown, and Pap’s in the Ninth Ward all sported the Bell logo.

Economical continued its popularity into the 1960s. That was my first personal experience with the store. My momma grew up in Gentilly, on Lavender Street, just off of Franklin Avenue. She and her grandmother made groceries at Economical. Even though my parents moved out to #themetrys when they came back from Boston in 1960, we’d still go out to see my grandma regularly, and I’d tag along for grocery runs.

Expansion and Re-location

zuppardo's supermarket

Aerial view of Elysian Fields and Gentilly, 1961. Hebrew Rest Cemetery is middle-left. Cor Jesu High is across from the cemetery. Economical Supermarket is to the right edge, below Gentilly Blvd. (NOPL photo)

The Bell supermarkets expanded and re-located as population shifted. The Papania’s opened a “Pap’s” store on Mirabeau and St. Anthony in Gentilly. Dorignac’s and Zuppardo’s opened stores on Veterans Blvd. in Metairie. Dorignac’s built a store in the 700 block of Vets, near Martin Behrman, while the Zuppardo’s opened their Metairie location at Vets and Transcontinental. My family lived closer to Dorignac’s and Schwegmann’s in the late 1960s, so we shopped there.

I renewed my acquaintance with Economical when started at Brother Martin High School, just up Elysian Fields from the supermarket, in 1971. While we mostly stopped at the local convenience store, d’Mart, we occasionally walked down to Economical for things, particularly when d’Mart employees got annoyed with all of the students coming in. I met one of the current owners, Joey Zuppardo at that time. Joey was Class of 1973, I was 1976, so he was a senior when I was a freshman. (For a full run-down of the Zuppardo family tree, check this 2018 Ann Maloney article on the new supermarket in the Picayune.)

UNO and Redeemer Days

I took many a trip down to Economical with my Lambda Chi Alpha brothers from our house on Elysian Fields near Robert E. Lee in the late 1970s. Even though Ferrara’s was just a two-block walk, the prices were much better for guys on tight budgets, working their way through UNO. After I graduated in 1980, I taught at Redeemer High School on Crescent Street, near St. Frances Xavier Cabrini church. Even though Pap’s was closer to the half-double we rented at the time, I found myself heading back down to Gentilly Boulevard for various items.

Life in St. Ann Parish

Zuppardo's Supermarket

Scenes from the original store on Vets and Transcontinental (courtesy Zuppardo’s)

In 1986, we moved out to #themetrys, near Clearview and Veterans. While my daddy had soured on Dorignac’s over the years and shopped at Schwegmann’s, Zuppardo’s Supermarket  at Transcontinental was so close, it became our grocery. My boys grew up coming with me to Zuppardo’s all the time. As they got older, cashiers would ask after them. I’d show photos of them as Brother Martin students and they’d sigh at how time passed. That little boy who pushed a Little Tykes shopping cart, loading it up with things important to him (cookies and fruit roll-ups) is now a Naval officer and submariner.

I’m not sure when they dropped the “Economical” from the name, becoming “Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket.” The original store closed in 2005, as Katrina left the store and all of Gentilly in pretty bad shape. To this day, my wife still says “Economical,” which I attribute to her growing up in Lake Oaks and transferring from the Broad bus line to Elysian Fields, on her way home from Dominican.

The New Store

Two Saturdays ago, Zuppardo’s Supermarket closed. They knocked a hole into the side of the old store and moved everything into the new one. I’ve been an almost-daily grocery shopper for years. When your store is as close (about a mile) as Zuppardo’s is to us, it’s easy to blow off extended menu planning. Most of my “test kitchen” ideas start at Zuppardo’s Supermarket. The new store opened last Wednesday. Those four days drove me crazy, as I ended up at three different supermarkets to get things we usually pick up at Zuppardo’s!

More on the new store in Part 2.

Krispy Kreme – Reese’s Peanut Butter Donut

Quick Take on Krispy Kreme Reese’s Peanut Butter donut.

Krispy Kreme

KK location in Metairie, LA (YatCuisine photo)

Krispy Kreme specialty donuts

Krispy Kreme regularly creates specialty donuts designed to lure in customers. While their go-to, classic glaze donuts appeal to lovers of sugar, not everyone feels the craving regularly. So, the company promotes unique/special donuts, often by partnering up with another company.

KK relies on local word-of-mouth advertising. Rather than buying ads in local publications, the company develops relationships with schools, churches, and other neighborhood institutions. KK sets up promotions with, say, the neighborhood elementary school. Buy a dozen, get a dozen glaze for a dollar. The shop tracks who comes in for the promotion and makes a donation back to the school/church. The community support grows, and those institutions turn to KK for their donuts after Sunday church, or for the faculty in-service workshop.

The specialty donuts get Krispy Kreme free media. For example, the current promotion with Reese’s spread wildly across local and national media. Local TV/radio stations blogged about the donuts. They featured them on their news programs. Magazines like Bon Appetit wrote about them.

And so are we!

KK in New Orleans

Krispy Kreme

The donut machine at the Krispy Kreme in Metairie.

KK came to New Orleans in 2005. They opened their first shop in the metro area on Clearview Parkway and W. Metairie Avenue. They soon expanded, opening a shop in the French Quarter. That shop took the coffee-and-beignets place in Jax Brewery. While the Quarter location was an interesting novelty, it only lasted eighteen months. The biggest problem lie in the company’s business model.

The Company relies heavily on bringing the donuts to other locations, like gas stations. In Itasca, IL, for example, the location has two warehouse-style truck bays in the back of the building. The front offers customers the regular donut-shop walk-in experience. In the back, employees load trucks with rack upon rack of donuts, to bring to local gas stations and convenience stores. Fill up, grab a coffee and a donut. The company opened a second suburban location, across the river in Marrero. The neighborhood support didn’t develop. Therefore, the store closed in 2012.

krispy kreme

Krispy Kreme 3-pack, including the Reese’s donut at top.

A donut shop in the French Quarter presented problems for this model. While the location looked good, there was no place to park the trucks! So, the location’s walk-in traffic was all there was. When you’re half a block from Cafe’ du Monde, across from Jackson Square, that’s a huge hurdle.

The Peanut Butter Donut

krispy kreme

KK Reese’s Peanut Butter Donut

Krispy Kreme produces two styles of “filled” donut. One is the classic style, a donut without a hole. They pump in jelly or creme fillings inside the solid donut. Some are glazed, some chocolate covered, some both. The second type of donut is a classic with a hole. So, they pump the filling into the interior of the traditional shape.

The Reese’s specialty donuts are the latter style, a filled donut with a hole.

The Metairie KK offered both of the Reese’s variants. So, we got the one with the fillings and the peanut butter icing. So, in terms expectations, this was a mistake. A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is more about the chocolate than the peanut butter. At every size, from the miniatures we devour at home to the traditional size, it’s a chocolate candy with a smaller amount of peanut butter filling. Therefore, this is the expectation.

The donut stood this concept on its head. Half of the donut’s interior is peanut butter, half is a chocolate. The icing is either peanut butter or chocolate. Even with the chocolate icing, the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is wrong for invoking the sensation of the candy.

So, does that make it a bad donut? Not if you like gooey, peanut-buttery donuts.

The Bottom Line

The Reese’s donut doesn’t live up to the hype. I’ve had better specialty donuts from KK. So, this was peanut butter overload. It wasn’t what I was looking for. No doubt it’ll be a winner, though, for a company that loves free publicity.

Creamy Bacon Shrimp – easy summer dinner

Creamy Bacon Shrimp – easy summer dinner

Summertime! Creamy bacon shrimp makes an easy dinner

creamy bacon shrimp

Creamy Bacon Shrimp

When I do seafood-in-a-cream-sauce, I usually cook crawfish tails. Since that’s my 25yo CPA kiddo’s fave (actually, it’s also one of LT Firstborn’s as well), I looked for something different. A turkey club sandwich from Caffe’ Caffe’ gave me bacon-on-the-brain. So, that was the inspiration.

The ingredients

  • Peeled shrimp, 12-16oz
  • 1/2 Cup of the Trinity (onions, celery, green peppers)
  • 12-16oz bacon
  • 2tbs flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Creole seasoning, salt, pepper to taste
  • chopped green onion on top
  • 2-3 servings of pasta

So, this is my idea of a (relatively) easy dinner to cook. That means I’m OK with fresh-frozen shrimp. While some folks insist on fresh, peeling shellfish transports the cooking experience to another level of work. Particularly when experimenting, frozen shrimp work for me. If you want to peel your own, don’t let me stop you.

Putting it together

  1. Thaw the shrimp, or peel them if you get fresh. I add a bit of crab boil to the water, then nuke-defrost. Exercise caution with this! A little goes a long way.
  2. Cook the bacon. I picked up a pack of Manda bacon that was pretty fatty. So, I cut away the excess bacon fat, then chopped the rest up. If you get leaner bacon you probably could just cook the strips, then break them up. After the bacon, I cooked the fat, using the grease for the shrimp.
  3. Cook the shrimp until pinkish. set aside.
  4. Saute the Trinity until translucent. Add the flour, with maybe a little olive oil if necessary. Mix veggies, flour, and oil until it’s thick.
  5. Slowly stir in the wine and stock. Take care to not get the flour mixture lumpy. Continue to stir in the stock. I used one of those 8oz packs of vegetable stock. Make your own, use chicken stock, it’ll be fine.
  6. Raise the heat to medium. Stir in the cream. Allow to thicken a bit.
  7. Add the shrimp.
  8. Add the bacon.
  9. Cook the pasta al dente. (Al Dente. Fitzmorris went to school with him at Perpetual Help)
  10. Serve over the pasta. Garnish with chopped green onion.

It’s Creole Tomato season, so that was the side. Enjoy!

 

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