I’ve got quite the fragmented personality on social media. I’ve got a number of friends who don’t like to talk politics, even though they’re more-or-less in agreement with my positions. Way back in the ancient times of Da Twittah, one of those friends suggested I separate out food posts. My general/political/omnibus Twitter account, @YatPundit was very busy. I thought, why not? It became an interesting challenge to manage two accounts. Same thing with my blog. I was using Drupal at the time, and running a multi-site configuration was different from the single blog. Starting YatCuisine the blog became a technical project, too. Social media has grown and morphed over the years, though, so now, not only do I have different personas (YatPundit, NOLAHistoryGuy and YatCuisine are just three), but then there’s subsets of those personalities on different platforms.
Breaking down YatCuisine Expectations
YatCuisine has four social media components: blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Here’s what to expect.
Blog: This platform, YatCuisine.com, features restaurant reviews, beer and wine comments, and cooking I do at home. The restaurant reviews include places in New Orleans as well as places I travel to for work. #BeerThirty and #WineoClock are two features I’ve ramped up over the last week or two. Cooking has two components: stuff I cook regularly and have the recipes more-or-less down, and #TestKitchen, where I experiment with new recipes. Those dishes have mixed levels of success, as I take something I thought was interesting from a cookbook and modify it to Mrs. YatPundit’s tastes. Now that A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table, a cookbook written by my friends Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves is out, #TestKitchen will attempt some of Tricia’s recipes.
Twitter: @YatCuisine reflects blog posts, Instagram images, and Untappd check-ins for beer. If I’m in the mood to make a snarky comment while at dinner, it’ll go on Twitter. I also re-tweet food-related tweets from folks I follow.
Instagram: One of the key YatCuisine Expectations is Food Porn Pics! I’m that guy. When I’m traveling, I eat alone most of the time, so taking photos of food doesn’t annoy anyone. It annoys the heck out of my family, though, so if we’re out in New Orleans, you’ll find that the quality (and frequency) of the photos goes down dramatically. Still, that’s what YatCuisine on Instagram is all about. I used to pretty much let everything that caught my eye go onto Instagram in the YatCuisine account, but I’ve added a few others to the phone. Now, it’s segmented more, like the blogs.
The Book of Face
Facebook: My Facebook page is a mixed bag, but the YatCuisine page is strictly food. the Untappd check-ins go my personal wall, since the Untappd app won’t let me share to a page. Instagram photos echo to YatCuisine, YatCuisine on Facebook also is where I share recipes and food-related news items that I don’t intend on doing full blog articles about.
Follow some of it, follow it all, either way, it’s all about having fun. Rest assured, what I won’t post on the food accounts is politics.
West Bank Beer Fest is a beer tasting/drinking and music event that’s happening next Saturday, July 16th, across the river at NOLA Motorsports Park.
New Orleans is no stranger to beer fests–we’ve had them for decades. What caught my eye about this particular event is just how many local craft breweries are around now to participate:
Local (more or less)
- 40 Arpent Brewing – 40ArpentBrewery.com
- Abita Brewing – Abita.com
- Bayou Teche – BayouTecheBrewing.com
- Chafunkta – ChafunktaBrew.com
- Chandeleur Island – ChandeleurBrew.com
- Covington Brewhouse – CovingtonBrewhouse.com
- Gnarly Barley – GnarlyBeer.com
- Great Raft Brewing – Greatraftbrewing.com
- Lazymagnolia.com – LazyMagnolia.com
- Mudbug Brewery – MudbugBrewery.com
- Saint Arnold Brewing – SaintArnold.com
- Second Line Brewing – SecondlineBrewing.com
- Tin Roof Brewing – TinroofBeer.com
- Urban South – UrbanSouthBrewery.com
Not So Local
- Founders Brewing – FoundersBrewing.com
- Lagunitas Brewing – Lagunitas.com
- Not Your Father’s Root Beer – SmallTownBrewery.com/our-beers/nyfrb
- Samuel Adams – SamuelAdams.com
- Sierra Nevada – SierraNevada.com
OK, I know that St. Arnold is in Houston, but if we’re going to call Great Raft local (they’re up in the Port of Shreve), let’s face it, bopping over to Planet Hooston isn’t all that much different.
I’ve had beers from all of these breweries with one exception: Chandeleur Island. Will have to rectify that this weekend. It’s exciting! I have to admit that, when we went out to dinner last night, I experienced a moment of disappointment that the draft choices at this particular restaurant were only Bud, Bud Light, and Abita! Naturally, I ordered the Amber. It’s been an interesting evolution since I was at UNO in the late 70s. I wouldn’t exclude a restaurant because they don’t have a big selection of craft beer, but it’s often a deciding factor when I’m out with one of my boys.
It’s July. It’s hot. A cold beer or two (or three) is just what we all need to beat the heat. This is a great way to celebrate local craft beer.
West Bank Beer Fest Details:
When – Saturday, July 16, 2016 – 12pm – 5pm
(VIP entry from 12pm-1pm, General Admission 1pm)
Add to Calendar
Where – NOLA Motorsports Park
11075 Nicolle Boulevard, Avondale, LA 70094 – View Map
On my last outing to Bayou Beer Garden, I had Urban South’s “Charming Wit”. When my 21yo saw my untappd check-in for that brew, he asked if I’d had the Urban South IPA, “Holy Roller”, yet. No! So, I saw it at WFM in #themetrys, and brought it home. This is a good IPA–not overly hoppy, and a good finish. It’s less hoppy than NOLA’s Hopitoulas, which makes it a good alternative to that beer.
Over a couple of these, kiddo and I discussed IPAs. Bayou Beer Garden’s menu breaks them down into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. My tastes in IPAs ranges Beginner-Intermediate, but there are times when I want one of the ones so hoppy you think hops are going to grow from the puddle if you spill one of those beers on the floor. We like to rank who likes what better among the boys and myself. On IPAs, the like ranking goes Me-Kiddo-LT Firstborn. Mr. Branley has never been a big fan of IPAs. He’s spent more time in “English” pubs, when his boat was in the shipyard in Portsmouth, NH. The one he frequented most for soccer matches had a very-English beer list, and the classic IPAs didn’t appeal much to him.
Urban South is located at 1645 Tchoupitoulas Street, which is between Market and St. James Streets. It’s a warehouse (no surprise). The boys went to the taproom a couple of weeks ago, when LT Firstborn came down to visit. Mom was the DD, since I was out of town that day. Both boys enjoyed the beers there. We’ve got a visit to their taproom on the to-do list. Kiddo just took the “FAR” section of the CPA exam last Saturday, so when he has his study routine down for the “BEC” section, we’ll be able to head out.
Social Connections and Untappd
Friends recommended Untappd to me a few years back, and I just love it. It’s become my favorite way to “check in” at various places all around the world.
The app is very similar to how Foursquare worked when it started, but with beer. You pick a beer and “check in”. You can add location info (via Foursquare) to your check-in, as well as photos, a rating (1-4 stars), and comments. You can search for beer check-ins near your location, as well as places where Untappd users go in your general vicinity. This is a great way to find good pubs for microbrews nearby, as well as craft breweries.
The app is all about social, allowing you to “toast” the beers of your Untappd friends. You can also share your Untappd check-in with friends/followers on Facebook and Twitter.
I freely admit, I’m a sucker for apps that still do badges, and Untappd’s are awesome. I’ve totally hooked my sons (ages 27 and 21) on badge collection. There are all sorts of categories of badges, like your Untappd drinking level (I’m currently “Master”, which is 200 distinct beers). Then there are country-specific badges, like “God Save the Queen” for the UK. There are sponsored badges from numerous breweries around the US and the world–locally, Abita Brewing sponsors a few badges.
It’s fun to stumble on a regional badge unexpectedly. When you look at the craft beer list at an out of town pub, pick something, and get a badge! Many of the badges have levels, where you earn the badge’s level 1 with five beers, then level 2 at ten, etc. I’m fortunate that my boys take the badges even more seriously than I do, so I know when there’s a new or limited-time badge I can easily earn.
So many social apps aren’t as much fun s they used to be, as venture capitalists demand that app developers actually make money. This app has managed to keep the fun going.
(cross-posted to NOLA Linux)
The Pale Ale from Second Line Brewery is an American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV. It’s good, enough so we brought home a growler!
Making the most of the Mozzarella and pesto I bought for the Chicken Pockets in Test Kitchen, Sunday lunch was basically a combination of a Caprese salad and a ham sandwich, on Ciabatta bread – Hot Ham Caprese!
This was easy to assemble and cook. Put some boiled ham in my smaller cast iron frying pan, then some of the cheese and pesto. I put a small layer of ham on top right after taking this pic, so the cheese didn’t hit the pan directly. Heat it all up long enough to melt the cheese. The Ciabatta bread is house-baked at Zuppardo’s and sold sliced, so it’s easy to pop in the toaster. Tasty!
Test Kitchen: I saw one of those fast-speed video recipes the other day that was chicken breasts stuffed with Mozzarella cheese and pesto. Then the stuffed breasts were wrapped in bacon, baked, sliced, and served over pasta. I thought, ‘ello! this is easy and wicked. Except Mrs. YatPundit is trying to lose weight. OK, how about let’s not do the bacon? Heresy? Arguably. Good meal anyway? You bet.
The meal itself was simple, and all the ingredients were available at Zuppardo’s Supermarket in #themetrys. Two chicken breasts, pesto (no, I didn’t make my own), mozzarella, and some seasonings – Zatarain’s Creole to brown the breasts a bit, and “Italian Seasoning” (basil, oregano, rosemary) for a bit of Creole-Italian flavor.
My pocket-creation needs work. (Enjoy the photo, you twelve-year olds.)
Add the cheese
Then the pesto. Mrs. YatPundit said she enjoyed the pesto flavor, but the cheese was kind of meh. I’m going to try this again with a cheese that has a bigger flavor. She’s not a fan of bleus, but I think Gorgonzola and the bacon would be great together. Of course, this is what Test Kitchen is all about, finding things that are interesting so as not to bore the family. 🙂
Browned the breasts on both sides, just a couple of minutes. They’re going in the oven to fully cook.
De-glazed the pan with white wine. Usually my “cooking wine” is a 1.5L bottlle of whatever Pinot Grigio is on sale at Zuppardo’s. One time, I bought a box wine, and caught SO much grief on Da Twittah…*sigh*
The finished plate – the chicken over thin spaghetti, and some mushrooms in white wine on top of the chicken, my way of compensating for not doing the bacon.
Overall conclusion: Need to do the bacon, even if wife doesn’t eat it! Also, need to play with the cheese.
This is a good sandwich list. Some thoughts:
- Dong Phuong – Must one really drive that far out to find a good banh mi? No. Like any good po-boy, it’s about the bread. There are several good Vietnamese bakeries providing french bread to restaurants and food trucks, just like Leidenheimers and A.J. Binder have done for traditional po-boy restaurants for years. Still, if you want to, as Fitzmorris says, “eat it where it lives”, then go for a drive.
- Central Grocery – I was down on Central Grocery for a while, but no longer. Solid option for a “cold muff”.
- Sylvain – here’s a place where all I’ve done is go for drinks. I do need to fix this, this week, even.
- Butcher – suggesting their muff is interesting. The muff is a sandwich where one tends to opt for the traditional providers, such as Central Grocery and Napoleon House in Da Quarters, or Nor-Joe in #themetrys. That doesn’t mean the places who don’t specialize in a muff aren’t good. This goes on my to-do list for my next trip to Butcher.
- Stein’s – my usual cavaet about Magazine Street. To do Stein’s, I’ll have to start my day in Mid City, then get an RTA day pass, taking the streetcar into town, then the Magazine Street bus up there.
- Casamento’s – a comment on this post asked why there were no po-boys on the list. For openers, that banh mi is a po-boy! Still, the writer clearly is going for something other than the classic style New Orleans sandwich. That doesn’t necessarily new and innovative, though. Casamento’s oyster loaf is neither. But it’s a platonic dish.
- Regala Cuban Market – now on my to-do list. My standard for Cuban sandwiches is Churro’s in #themetrys
- Parkway Bakery – suggesting the Reuben? Why not? So many people get te same sandwich every time they go to Parkway. I’m pretty much roast beef, hot sausage, or oyster po-boy. When you go some place more than once or twice a year, it’s good to get outside your personal box.
I don’t have comments on some of these others because I don’t have any experience with those places. Do you? Tell us what you think?
Da Paper says Pei Wei is closing its three locations in Louisiana. The one here in #themetrys isn’t all that far from the house, and we went occasionally. We even went to the one on N. Carrollton, in Mid City, for a quick meal before a New Orleans Jesters soccer match. It’s OK food. Nothing to write home about, and I suspect that’s why the chain didn’t take off here. There are several mom-and-pop Chinese places within a mile of the Metairie location, as well as some good Japanese (Little Tokyo and Sake Cafe), just down Veterans. In Mid City, there are so many interesting dining options, the chain’s demise in that neighborhood didn’t surprise me in the least.
The statement from the chain makes a lot of sense:
Pei Wei spokesman John Glynn told the magazine Tuesday (June 28) the company is focusing its business “in areas where our restaurants are performing well.” The Arizona-based company closed its locations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Sunday, the magazine reported. The Metairie location will close by the end of the week, Glynn said.
So, where does Pei Wei perform well? In white-bread areas where there’s not a lot of ethnic diversity. Pei Wei, along with its big brother, P.F. Chang’s, are “safe” options for “Asian” food. White people who don’t know Japanese from Chinese from Thai food can get something-sort-of-like-something else at these places. They’re chains, so the diners don’t have to worry about health code violations, etc.
Me, I’ll do like I did last week, go over to Star Wok on West Esplanade and Transcontinental if I have a craving for a Chinese takeaway.
UPDATE – Brunch Fest NOLA has been re-located inside City Park, to Roosevelt Mall. This is no doubt because of yesterday’s flooding.
We’ll be out at City Park tomorrow for Brunch Fest NOLA, benefitting the Louisiana SPCA!
You don’t want to miss Wakin’ Bakin’ out there – they’ll be serving these mini shrimp/andouille cheesecakes. They’re sooo good.
Wakin’ Bakin’ are partnering up with Ms. Laran Padua and her wonderful Bloody Marys! Go here to support LASPCA through Laran Padua.