Creamy Bacon Shrimp – easy summer dinner

Summertime! Creamy bacon shrimp makes an easy dinner 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...

Antoine’s $20.19 Lunch makes for a wonderful afternoon

A leisurely afternoon enjoying Antoine's $20.19 Lunch is very New Orleans. Antoine's $20.19 Lunch Going for the Antoine's $20.19 lunch highlighted my week. Good food, good friends make for such a fun afternoon. I didn't realize that I have friends with connections to...

YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019 – coffee and sandwiches

Coffee and Sandwiches on YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019. YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019 Coffee and sandwiches on the first "YatCuisine" pod! We begin with some thoughts and memories about PJ's Coffee, and why the location on Canal Blvd. is my favorite. Then we talk...

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!


Antoine’s $20.19 Lunch makes for a wonderful afternoon

Antoine’s $20.19 Lunch makes for a wonderful afternoon

A leisurely afternoon enjoying Antoine’s $20.19 Lunch is very New Orleans.

Antoine's $20.19 lunch

Restaurant Antoine

Antoine’s $20.19 Lunch

Going for the Antoine’s $20.19 lunch highlighted my week. Good food, good friends make for such a fun afternoon. I didn’t realize that I have friends with connections to the owners of the restaurant, but, hey, getting a nice table in the back dining room? I’ll take it.

The oldest restaurant

Antoine Alciatore cooked for a hotel when he came to New Orleans. He opened the restaurant in 1840. Over time, the family expanded the restaurant from the initial house/building to several houses on Rue St. Louis, between Royal and Bourbon.

I ate at Antoine’s for the first time in 1979. While some places from your teens produce fond memories that don’t withstand the test of time, Antoine’s does. And Antoine’s $20.19 lunch menu continues to make dining there fun.

The summer menu

antoine's $20.19 lunch menu

Antoine’s $20.19 lunch menu

The “twenty dollar lunch” started a few years back. Y’all correct me if I’m wrong, but the first place I remember doing it was the Rib Room. Not long after, other well-established Quarter restaurants offered a $20 lunch. Antoine’s went with the year for the price, for a unique touch.

Antoine's $20.19 lunch

Vodka with fruit punch

The cheap-cocktail special was a tasty fruit punch. We drank a few, to say the least.

A word about the photos: Antoine’s “back dining room”, which has a history in itself, is dark. The walls are dark and the lighting is subdued. I try not to be That Guy with the flash. So, the photos here are shopped, a bit. No apologies. Lunch is about the food, not the blog article.

We were a party of seven. Nobody got the soup. There was a mix of the entree salad, chicken, and the shrimp creole.


antoine's $20.19 lunch

Char-grilled Oysters

Antoine’s is well-known for its oyster dishes. They invented Oysters Rockefeller. Your first visit must include Oysters 2-2-2 (2 Rockefeller, 2 Bienville, 2 Foch) at a minimum. The restaurant offers “char-grilled” oysters for the lunch special. Their take on the dish is solid. These particular oysters were plump and tasty.

The Watermelon salad was also good, as I swiped some from the friends on either side of me.


antoine's $20.19 lunch

Picnic Fried Chicken

I got the “Picnic Fried Chicken,” and it was an excellent choice. The Shrimp Creole looked delicious, but I just met the gal who ordered it, so I didn’t poach. Friends I can steal food from got the steak salad. It was a lighter alternative to the chicken, but I’ve got no regrets. This is the kind of fried chicken you find at so many places in town. Greens and mac-n-cheese to go with it. OK, it’s not Pompano en Papillote, but still.


antoine's $20.19 lunch

Key Lime Tart

I like Antoine’s bread pudding. When we’re there with family, someone invariably gets it. So, I ordered the Key Lime Tart. It was just fantastic.

Antoine’s Restaurant

713 Saint Louis Street
(504) 581-4422

Monday – Saturday
11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Antoine's $20.19 lunch





YatCuisine Podcast 03-June-2019 – Mrs. Leah Chase

YatCuisine Podcast 03-June-2019 – Mrs. Leah Chase

We remember an icon on YatCuisine Podcast 03-June-2019.

YatCuisine Podcast 03-June-2019

We lost a legend over the weekend. Mrs. Leah Chase passed on Saturday night. She was 96. Mrs. Chase was so incredibly influential in New Orleans. When we lose someone important to the community, you’ll see the writers say, “the political world lost a leader,” or “the culinary community lost a legend.” No. For Mrs. Chase, we ALL lost someone. She was That Person To New Orleans.

As a cook, chef de cuisine, restaurant owner/manager, she was such an inspiration to so many. All of my friends who work FOH and BOH knew her and respected her. I loved her food. Dooky Chase is the kind of restaurant that you just feel the positive energy.

yatcuisine podcast 3-June-2019

I don’t have the words or the voice to properly remember Mrs. Chase. I was a diner who loved her food. I knew her story from the papers and from my friends. I’d like to think she appreciated that.

Civil Rights

YatCuisine Podcast 03-June-2019

Mrs. Chase was well-known as an influential person in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Jarvis tells that story here.

And I’ll let President Obama have the last word on Mrs. Chase.

YatCuisine Podcast 3-June-2019


Sylvain on Chartres

Like any jazz funeral, we mourn, we show respect, and then we celebrate life. We recently enjoyed a lovely meal at Sylvain, on Chartres Street, in the French Quarter. I’d been to Sylvain in the past, but just for drinks. It was a charming evening!

When I wrote my novel, Trusted Talents, I wanted to place the new age head shop in the Quarter. I just knew Celtic Bayou Gifts and Metaphysical Supplies would be perfect where Sylvain is!

The food

yatcuisine podcast 3-June-2019

Slow-roasted Pork Belly at Sylvain

Slow-roasted Pork Belly with Louisiana oyster sauce, spicy mustard green slaw.

yatcuisine podcast 3-june-2019


yatcuisine podcast 3-June-2019

Crawfish and Tasso over Risotto. Wife ordered this, and I ordered the FOTD. We ended up switching, as she found this way too rich. I won.

yatcuisine podcast 3-june-2019

Fish of the day was grilled Amberjack. It was delish.

yatcuisine podcast 3-june-2019

Hungarian #bubbles!


625 Chartres Street
French Quarter,
New Orleans, 70130

Last week’s YatCuisine Podcast

YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019 – coffee and sandwiches

YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019 – coffee and sandwiches

Coffee and Sandwiches on YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 82

YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019

YatCuisine Podcast 27-May-2019

“French Connection” Sandwich at Martin Wine Cellar

Coffee and sandwiches on the first “YatCuisine” pod! We begin with some thoughts and memories about PJ’s Coffee, and why the location on Canal Blvd. is my favorite. Then we talk about a recent lunch we had at Martin Wine Cellar.

PJ’s Coffee

Yatcuisine podcast 27-may-2019

PJ’s Coffee, 5555 Canal Boulevard in Lakeview

I’ve spent a lot of time at various PJ’s Coffee locations. I wrote my Young Adult novels, Dragon’s Danger and Discovery at the PJ’s in Clearview Mall in Metairie. I spent a lot of time at the PJ’s in Gentilly, over on Franklin Avenue by Leon C. Simon.

yatcuisine podcast 27-May-2019

The patio at PJ’s on Canal Blvd.

I found my PJ’s “home,” after a few times stopping in at the location on Canal Boulevard in Lakeview. Plantation Coffee House occupied the location until Katrina. They didn’t come back, and some folks opened a PJ’s in its place. While the folks who remember Plantation say the pastries and such in the old location were superior, I like the vibe at this PJ’s. It’s location is such that lots of people hit it up as they’re on their way to work. Canal Blvd. has no drive-thru. Therefore, customers park and go inside. The dynamics change when folks stand in line. At a minimum, most smile and wave at folks. Some (like me) listen to music or play on their phones. I always say hi to the NOPD officers who stop in. They’re great people.

yatcuisine podcast 27-may-2019

Train on the “Back Belt”

The location is on what’s known as the “Back Belt” for Norfolk Southern Railway. Trains always pass in either direction. Amtrak’s Crescent, heading to Atlanta, and eventually New York City, passes by between 0710 and 0715. The trains inspire the writing.

Martin Wine Cellar

yatcuisine podcast 27-May-2019

Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie (Infrogmation photo)

When we’re looking to go out for a bite on a Sunday, we have a few go-to spots for a sandwich. One of them is the Martin Wine Cellar store in Metairie.

yatcuisine podcast 27-may-2019

The “French Connection”

The “French Connection” – ham and cheese on a croissant. A bit warm and tasty.

yatcuisine podcast 27-May-2019

Breakfast burrito with Chorizo at Martin Wine Cellar

Breakfast burrito with chorizo. While most local places adding chorizo to their breakfast wraps, Martin uses Spanish-style chorizo, rather than Mexican.


YatCuisine Facebook – a new group for a new media future

YatCuisine Facebook plans to pick up where “Where NOLA Eats” will leave off.

YatCuisine Facebook

Initial cover page for YatCuisine the group

YatCuisine Facebook

Introducing a new Facebook Group. YatCuisine Facebook continues the concept of aggregating local food news, reviews, tidbits, etc, that began in the group, “Where NOLA Eats.”


The Where NOLA Eats group provided Facebook users with one-stop-shopping for food/restaurant content from Da Paper. With yesterday’s announcement that The Advocate purchased T-P/, a need arose. We know the staff at T-P have been given 60 days notice. Beyond that is unclear.

YatCuisine Facebook plans keep things going. At this writing, membership stands at over 300. While that’s a far cry from the 50K+ in Da Paper’s group, it’s not too shabby for less than 24 hours old.


I plan to keep the YatCuisine brand for the group. The mission of the group is different, however. While my personal stuff is a place for me to be an amateur foodie,YatCuisine Facebook seeks many voices. Membership is open, but subject to approval, to limit bots/spam. Posting is open. Moderators supervise and enforce the Prime Directive: Be Nice Or Leave!

NOLA Food Scene

The group allows Facebook “pages” to join, so restaurants, bars, and food writers/personalities to use their “business” voices. If you or folks you know in the industry maintain Facebook presences, please invite them to join the group. As we see this consolidation in the local media, independent platforms are essential.

There’s only one written rule for YatCuisine Facebook – “Be Nice or Leave!”

That’s all that’s necessary, as far as I’m concerned. Dara and I are admins. I’ve appointed two moderators who volunteered. I don’t know either of them personally. Different voices help shape the discussion, and I’m all about that. The group welcomes many, but grumpy racists won’t last ling. Fair warning!

I’m looking forward to this being a fun experience.

Boxing Day at @AntoinesNOLA #FrenchQuarter

Boxing Day at Antoine’s was a fun lunch experience.

boxing day

Boxing Day at Restaurant Antoine

When LT Firstborn comes home, he requests we go out to Antoine’s. We celebrated his eighteenth birthday there. That meal stuck with him. Mrs. YatPundit and I are OK with that. Antoine’s was my father-in-law’s go-to place to wine and dine clients (he was a partner in a national Public Accounting firm). So, Mr. Branley asks, we deliver.

Boxing Day

This year, we dined at Antoine’s for lunch. The theory was, we’ll order off the “$20.18 Lunch Menu.” Well, give us credit for good intentions. Nobody ordered the “twenty-five-cent cocktail,” but my Sidecar was good. So was the wife’s Poinsettia. The drinks refreshed us as we perused the menu.


boxing day
Erstas 2-2-2

LT Firstborn ordered off the Reveillon menu. He chose Crawfish Cardinal. The dish is crawfish tails in a white-wine-tomato sauce. Tasty. Wife chose the Charbroiled Oysters from the lunch menu. Kiddo’s girlfriend had the salad. I ordered Oysters 2-2-2 off the main menu, sending them around the table. Oysters 2-2-2 is two each of Oysters Rockefeller, Bienville, and Foch.


Boxing Day
Stuffed Drum from the $20.18 Lunch menu

We ordered all over the menus. LT Firstborn had the softshell crab from the Reveillon menu. Wife and Kiddo had the Stuffed Drum (above), also from the Reveillon menu. Kiddos GF had Shrimp Regua, chilled shrimp in a horseradish/tomato/mayo dressing.

Note that wife and Kiddo chose a starter from the lunch menu and a main from the Reveillon menu. Antoine’s rolls with that. Not that it kept the price of the total check down, but who cares, when we’re just happy the family is together.

Boxing Day
Chicken Rochambeau

I ordered my usual, Chicken Rochambeau. The bottom layer is ham with the brown-sugar “Rochambeau” sauce. Then comes a grilled chicken breast, topped with Bernaise sauce. The dish has evolved since the first time I had it in 1979. Originally, the chicken was slices of roast chicken. Now, it’s a grilled chicken breast. That’s easier to manage in the kitchen. Just grill up the chicken to order, rather than worrying about having enough roasted chickens. The entire dish sat on a Holland Rusk, a variant of an English Muffin. Now, it’s served on a rice pilaf. Carbs and all that. Antoine’s provides enough French bread that I don’t sweat the loss of the bread on the bottom.


Kiddo chose the wine, and alas, I forgot to take a pic of the label. He picked a Sauvignon Blanc, since everyone ordered chicken or seafood. I’ll update this if he remembers what it was.


Boxing Day
Egg Nog Bread Pudding

Wife and Kiddo had this, the Egg Nog Bread Pudding. Reading it, I was skeptical. It was pretty good! Mr. Branley had the Holiday Meringue Glacee au Chocolat.

Cafe Diablo

LT Firstborn wanted to end the meal with Cafe Diablo. We gladly obliged him.

Antoine’s is a must for your next trip

Check out the menus for Restaurant Antoine. They’re doing the “$20.19 Winter Menu,” now that we’re in January. Enjoy!

Bourbon-glazed Ham

Bourbon-glazed Ham

Bourbon-glazed ham – not just for the holidays


Turkey for Thanksgiving, ham for Christmas. Pretty much the classic/traditional combination of holiday meals. We eat ham more than just the holidays at Casa de YatPundit, though. I experiment with various glazes for a ham meal. We try a number of styles, from the Reese’s red gloop to orange-based, to whisky glazes like this one.

The one thing I don’t do with ham is pineapple. The family rejects this notion entirely. Maybe if I buy a fresh pineapple. Come to think of it, we’ll try that.

The Ham

Chisesi! Ham

Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket regularly displays shopping baskets full of Chisesi Brothers hams at Thanksgiving and Christmastime. Even off-holiday, the store offers the brand.

Chisesi’s Pride

Chisesi’s Pride is my go-to selection. For a regular family meal, I cut the ham in half. We freeze half, eat the other. Even when the boys lived at home, this produced a lot of leftovers. It’s OK! That means ham sandwiches, ham omelettes, ham steak for future dinners.



To clove or not to clove? Mrs. YatPundit prefers no cloves. With both halves served, this is easy, put cloves in one, leave the other naked. An alternative is to add cloves to the basting juices and/or glaze. This presents the flavor without dealing with the cloves in the meat. I’m all about infusion here.

Scoring the ham splits the very-tough skin. As the meat bakes, the skin splits open. Place the cloves in the intersections for peak flavor infusion.

Bake the ham for an hour at 350F


Ham Glaze

I tried a recipe from for Christmas:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup Creole mustard
  • 1/3 cup molasses

Stir the ingredients together, spoon over ham.

This glaze is simple and tasty. I argued a bit with my 24yo Kiddo about the bourbon. He’s quite the bourbon snob (whereas LT Firstborn is an even-worse Scotch snob). At Martin Wine Cellar, he didn’t argue about buying Jim Beam. When he poured some for himself, though, in an effort to try not being a snob, he got thoroughly grossed out. 🙂

The result was the photo at the top. The ham tasted fantastic, and this glaze now gets a place in the rotation.

Parmesan Spinach – easy, fresh, tasty

Parmesan Spinach – easy, fresh, tasty

Parmesan Spinach is an easy side dish

Parmesan spinach
Parmesan Spinach ingredients

Parmesan Spinach

When your cousin or sister says, “bring a veggie” to the family gathering, here’s an easy recipe.


  • 2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 8oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

The steps

Parmesan Spinach
Wilting fresh spinach in hot water
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Heat water in a 3-5 quart pot. It should be hot to the touch, but not boiling
  3. Put spinach in pot for 1-3 minutes, until wilted but not mushy. This will take several shifts. Look at how big that bag of spinach is. Grab a handful of the fresh spinach, and put it in the water. Push it down with a spoon or spatula, and add more. You don’t want to leave the spinach in too long. By the time you get the pot full, it’ll be time to dump it all.
  4. Empty the pot into a colander. When the water drains, put the spinach in a bowl.
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you’ve wilted the full two pounds of spinach.
  6. Add the EVOO to the spinach in the bowl, mixing thoroughly.
  7. Sprinkle in the cheese. Mix thoroughly, coating all the spinach with cheese.
  8. Spread the spinach into a 9″ baking dish.
  9. Place in 350F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Buying local

I bought the ingredients at my local grocery, Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket, in Metairie. It’s easy to carry this dish a few steps further on the freshness scale by buying spinach at a local farmers market or greengrocer, if they’re nearby. While this dish scored points with my niece (who loved that there was green stuff for her 3yo and 1yo daughters) at Christmas Dinner, the sourcing certainly can improve. Still, because we get busy, grabbing a couple of bags of spinach from the supermarket produce section isn’t a bad thing. I won’t judge you for it.

One of my New Year’s goals is to buy more from farmers markets. The Crescent City Farmers Market offers numerous opportunities weekly, in different neighborhoods. Locally sourced fresh veggies!

Zuppardo’s sells coarsely and finely grated Parmesan and Romano. While the coarse grating is good for, say, pizza or other Italian-style dishes, I prefer the finely-grated cheese for this dish. The spinach is chewy on its own. The cheese is there for flavor. So, the fine grating keeps it from being too stringy.

Simple dishes enable you to have fun at family events. Prepare this veggie the day before and stick it in the fridge. Heat it up just before leaving for the gathering. Because it’s this basic, you can even heat it up when you arrive.

Christmas Day 2018 Drinks, dinner, and wine with family

Christmas 2018

Decoy Pinot Noir is the wine for the day tomorrow

Christmas Day 2018

We went to my sister-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving, because her kids and their kids came over. The kids split the holidays between the families. So, Christmas this year is a smaller group. My boys are home, but they’re not towing children in their wake. We expect eight for dinner, only adults. That makes things simpler. It also means, don’t run out of wine!

The Menu

My in-laws served turkey for Thanksgiving. So, we’ll have ham. I bought a Chisei Brothers ham at Zuppardo’s supermarket. The plan is to cut it in half, bake it for about an hour, then glaze it. We’ll also have mac-n-cheese, sweet potatoes in butter and brown sugar, spinach with parmesan, and some dessert. My in-laws handle the dessert this year.

The Ham Glaze

The glase for tomorrow is a honey-bourbon glaze I found on I’ll glaze half the ham with the full recipe and half without the bourbon.

My boys are whiskey snobs. LT Firstborn is a consummate Scotch snob, always the first to buy the new Glenmorangie or The Balvenie. The CPA Kiddo experiments with Bourbons. He’s seeking his style on Bourbon. In the house at the moment, we have Stagg, Pinhook, and 12yo Weller. Kiddo rejected the notion of using 1/2 cup of any of those for the glaze. I bought a bottle of Jim Beam yesterday.

The Sides

I brought the spinach for Thanksgiving. It was a hit. So, I know it will pass muster tomorrow. While I’m not as good as Chef James at Upperline at mac-n-cheese, mine isn’t bad. These dishes get their own posts after the holidays. Maybe even a bit of video, we’ll see.

I planned to make a little extra mac-n-cheese to experiment. The wife rejected chorizo mac-n-cheese or pork belly mac-n-cheese. They WILL be made before Mardi Gras, though. It’s just too easy to kick up basic mac-n-cheese. Shoot, even Kraft dinner with some Mexican chorizo isn’t all that expensive.


Our household is experimental when it comes to wine. I’ll pick up something at Zuppardo’s in the under-$20 range for your average dinner. Sometimes we’re less experimental. We pour the 1.5L bottle of Woodbridge that’s usually on the counter for cooking. The most common wines in the house are “Steve’s Picks” selections from Martin Wine Cellar.

For company, taking care of the guests is paramount. Decoy makes a solid choice. We’ll have a couple of bottles of Domaine Ste. Michelle bubbles to start the afternoon off. I picked up some Wensleydale with Cranberries and a piece of Manchego to complement the sparkling wine.


My brother-in-law is an excellent baker. I’m not sure what he’s got planned. So, it may be his wonderful chocolate pie, or perhaps something from Haydel’s or another fine local bakery. Either way, I’m not complaining.


O’Hara’s Irish Stout

My boys are craft beer junkies. They constantly check into the Untappd phone app. They love collecting badges! Good beer contributes to naptime. I don’t know if I’ll follow their lead and have beer. While I love a good dark beer, a bit of the creature is rarely a bad idea.

Sandwiches for Supper

We plan to have…wait for it…ham sandwiches for supper! Leidenheimer’s pistolettes and some nice tomato slices make a great combination.

Happy Holidays!

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