What a great story about a couple of guys attending Tulane University, and how they’re cooking for dorm-mates in Monroe Hall.
Planning a Tulane dorm meal
In any restaurant/cafe/diner, a cook comes in and cooks. The chef de cuisine has to plan things, though. Hunter and Ben are already learning some solid lessons about restaurant management:
As usual, the duo sat down on Wednesday night and brainstormed a menu for the upcoming weekend. Once they decided on their meal, they trekked over to the store on Friday for all their ingredients. This process seems straightforward, but it’s not without difficulties. Ben confesses, “We have to meet a few times a week to talk about paying for groceries, and we have to consider what Whole Foods has in season. We also change our ideas ten times a week.”
I’ll have to ask Chef CDB and others in the business if this is a good step into professional kitchen management. My instincts say yes, but what do I know, I’m a computer geek.
Hunter and Ben appear to have the financial side of their dinners-for-twelve under control:
Hunter agrees, saying, “It’s just about the cooking! And it’s something that sets us apart from everyone else.” While they’re running a successful business with no shortage of potential, all profits so far have gone towards supplies for cooking (think everything from pots and pans to aprons).
And in the style of a starting-out rock band, they’re putting the profits back into equipment. Who knows, maybe they’ll be able to start a pop-up, if the amass the right equipment list.
The article says that they can have over a hundred requests to join them, so a seat at their table is hard to come by. Best of luck to Hunter and Ben and their venture!
We never took kiddo out for his 22nd birthday in July. He ran off to Houston to see Copa America Centenario games with his friends and his study plan for the CPA exam (he’s taken three parts so far, got a 99 on Audit, a 98 on FAR, and BEC score isn’t back yet) keeps him busy. When everyone realized this past weekend was a quiet one, I made a reservaton for us at Muriel’s Jackson Square.
Coolinary at Muriel’s Jackson Square
Cocktails! Kiddo reported that his first Sazerac was good. I had a “Saint 75”, Muriel’s variant of the classic French 75 cocktail. Mrs. YatPundit had a “Fleur de Lis” – Stoli Razberi, Chambord, fruit juice, and bubbles.
All three of us decided to go with the Coolinary pre-fixe menu. The “Coolinary” concept is a citywide promotion/event for the month of August. It’s sponsored by the city’s CVB, to promote dining out in the heat of the month. It works. So, kiddo had the gumbo, and Mrs. YatPundit had the “Fontana’s West End Turtle Soup” (above).
I had the “Savory Gorgonzola Cheesecake” – a Gorgonzola and Prosciutto terrine, with honeyed pecans and apple slices. Oh. My.
Mrs. YatPundit got the Pecan Encrusted Drum for her entree, while kiddo and I both got the Double Cut Pork Chop. The “sugar cane apple glaze” on the pork chop was absolutely fantastic.
The tastes I swiped of the drum were wonderful. In addition to these two entrees, Muriel’s Jackson Square’s Coolinary menu offers Shrimp and Grits, Wood Grilled Chicken, and “BayouBaisse”, the restaurant’s take on bouillabaisse.
For wine with dinner, we shared a bottle of Duckhorn’s 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Dessert: we each got one of the three on the menu, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Crème brûlée, and Pain Perdu Bread Pudding.
A lovely meal!
801 Chartres Street
Bistro: Lunch & Dinner
7 Days a Week
Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30am – 2:30pm
Sunday Jazz Brunch: 10:30am – 2pm
Featuring Joe Simon’s Jazz Trio
Dinner: Sun -Thurs 5:30pm – 10pm
Friday 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Saturday 5:00pm – 10:30pm
(author’s note: I’m not affiliated with Wakin Bakin, other than being a very happy regular customer)
I can’t say I don’t like going to Columbus, OH, for work. My colleagues there are great people and the Columbus Food Scene (#CbusFoodScene on Instagram) is pretty good. Still, like Glinda told Dorothy, there’s no place like home. I hit The Wall of humidity as I walked out of the artificial confines of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport yesterday evening, and relaxed. Home.
Breakfast in Mid City
Home means time to myself. I’m not a morning person, but I do get up early. It’s the price I pay to be a teacher. So, while the rest of the family is still happily crashed, I slip out and go for a walk, breakfast, and some coffee. When I don’t have any obligations (like going back to the house to teach a class via WebEx), I wander into Mid City. I’ve missed Wakin’ Bakin’! It’s been almost three weeks since my last visit here.
Naturally, one of the reasons I miss WB is their grits. The menu standards here are breakfast burritos of various kinds and “breakfast bowls”. The bowl starts with a base, grits, black beans, or hash browns. Add meat, veggies, or both, and top with eggs cooked as you like. My standard “bowl” is grits, bacon, chorizo, cheese, eggs over easy. This is what I had on my brain as I walked from the Cemeteries Terminal at Canal and City Park down here. I walked in the door, and the special board said “Zak Attack” – a Croque Madame. WB’s Mornay sauce is solid, their ham is tasty, and, well, I’ll get some grits tomorrow. The coffee is good, and the tunes are old-school this morning. While this was quite filling, there are some mini-sized Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cheesecakes in the cooler that are teasing me.
It’s good to be home.
LT Firstborn came down for a week to attend his ten-year reunion for the Brother Martin High School. He had fun with the Class of 2016! The family naturally took him to get All The Foods. That included dinner at Katies in Mid City.
It was the four of us, and the boys wanted beer, so we got mom a glass of Pinot Grigio as they explored the taps. I had “Batture Blonde Ale” from Second Line Brewery, a micro just a few blocks from the restaurant.
The only thing we ordered off the menu was the starter, Oysters Slessinger (above). We usually get the regular char-grilled oysters, but Mr. Branley wanted the blown-out version. The Slessinger are topped with provel cheese, bacon, spinach, and shrimp. I find them to be overkill. I don’t mind at all.
The Special Board
Several good options on the board that evening! Both the boys got the Redfish Noel (I’m not allowed to photograph their food, alas). Mrs. YatPundit got the Seafood Ravioli, I got the softshell.
Seafood ravioli over fried eggplant, topped with a creamy sauce and shrimp. For Chef Scot Craig, this is actually an easy special to put together. Chef’s really got his basic sauces dialed in, so it’s not hard to make a variation for a particular dish. Fried eggplant medallions, no problem, that leaves making the pasta. As you can see, it came out good, and tasted better than it looks.
I had the softshell crab almondine, served over a plate of french fries. I winced in pain when I saw all those fries, because I knew I’d be eating them all.
A bit of terminology description is in order here. You’ll see a number of neighborhood restaurants name the sauce on that crab, “Almondine”, but that’s the formal term. A dish like this is usually described in three parts. The base is the softshell crab (as opposed to trout or redfish). When the base is topped with thinly sliced almonds, the style becomes “amandine”. Then the sauce, which is a meunière. The meunière is simple, brown butter, lemon, and parsley. Different cooks will switch it up a bit, maybe adding rosemary instead of parsley, but the standard meunière is a regular at most Creole restaurants in New Orleans.
Anyway, that’s just a bit of Creole cooking talk. The bottom line is the crab and its sauce were delicious!
There’s a little bakery, also in Mid City, that specializes in doberge cakes. It’s called Debbie Does Doberge. In addition to doing cakes for all sorts of customers and occasions, they provide desserts to Chef Scot. They also make wonderful cake pops they sell at Twelve Mile Limit,
The special board says Blueberry, but they went through that cake before we ordered dessert, so that slice is PeanutButterScotch. Very much a winner.
Props to Chef Scot and the staff!
I don’t have Chef Scot’s recipe for meunière, but here’s a link to Chef Chris DeBarr’s version, for Trout Meunière, courtesy of Judy Walker’s recipes at NOLA.com.
I’m a Sangria junkie, particularly at #WineOClock. Mrs. YatPundit, not so much. On a recent trip to Slice on St. Charles Avenue, the drink special was white sangria. I was all about it. Wife was her usual skeptical self. I told her we could easily get her a glass of something if she didn’t like it, so we went for it.
Citrus-y Sangria for #WineOClock
This sangria was more citrus-y than some, which turned out to be a good thing. Mrs. YatPundit preferred that to the dryer variants out there, as well as the ones that rely more on apples and berries. Every place that does sangria has their own little twist or take on the beverage.
Slice Pizzeria on St. Charles Avenue is a favorite of ours, not just for #WineOClock, either. It’s got two things going for it. First, the pizza is good. Second, it’s easy to get to from #themetrys. All you do is take I-10 into town, get off at the St. Charles exit off the Pontchartrain Expressway (heading up to the Crescent City Connection Bridge). Take a right on St. Charles Avenue and go down to Martin Luther King Blvd. It’s usually easy to park in that first block of MLK off St. Charles. Slice is one building off the corner, next to VooDoo BBQ.
As the name implies, Slice serves pizza by the slice, with a solid list of house special pizzas. You can also build your own. They’ll sell you the entire pie, of course, if you’d rather have your pizza that way. There are also some pasta dishes on the menu. The restaurant also has a solid craft beer list, if you’re not into wine for the evening. It’s a winning dining experience, and when we’re done, it’s very simple to just jump back on the expressway and make the run back to the ‘burbs.
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!