Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zagat Launches 2009 New Orleans Guide

Here's a quote from their press release...

Winners: Since 28% of surveyors in New Orleans named Creole and Cajun as their favorite cuisines, it is no surprise that Brigtsen's (Contemp. Louisiana) won Top Food and Top Service; while Commander's Palace (Creole) was voted Most Popular restaurant (as it has been every time it's surveyed) and Top Decor to boot. Best Bets for a bite at top value are at Hansen's Sno-Bliz, Angelo Brocato and Morning Call. Other food and popularity winners are:

Cafe Du Monde

If you'd like to read the entire press release, click HERE!



Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Orleans Jazz Great Pete Fountain

In honor of Mardi-Gras, I am posting my favorite video of the "wonnerful" Pete Fountain, doing his duty on the Lawrence Welk Show playing Tiger Rag. This was in '58 and you can hear Lawrence say…"Ready boyce, a one ana two" Enjoy Pete here, sorry I hadn't posted it sooner. Enjoy Mardi Gras!!! Just look at Mr. Pinchy over to the left, snapping his pincers and dancing to the music!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cochon Butcher

The owners of Cochon, Chef Donald Link and Chef Stephen Stryjewski, have opened a new "swine bar" in New Orleans on Andrew Higgins St. It is an upscale boucherie called simply "Butcher." I was like a kid in a candy store drooling over the pretty foods in the display cases. Wonderful Cajun and Creole delicacies like their in-house made Andouille, Boudin, Tasso, as well as international favorites like Soprasetta and Genoa salamis.

I could barely contain my excitement enough to soak-in all the sights and smells in the trendy, bistro-like cafe. Such items like Duck Pastrami, Head Cheese, and Stuffed Chickens were some of the other foods that were also available. I took home the awesome soprasetta, homemade andouille, and the aforementioned head cheese. All were awesome. Surprisingly, the andouille was nearly the size of a Coke can. It was my first encounter with head cheese. I took some back to the ship to Chef Jorg Schneider, who said it was the closest he'd had to that made in his homeland of Germany.

I believe, though the most unusual item was something I had only dreamed about, something that I thought would only exist in some mystical, wonderful, fairy-tale land, and what is this food that gives me cold chills, and turns my knees to custard at the same time??? Ready??? BACON PRALINES. Yes, you heard me. Lovely brown sugar carmelized with cream, butter, and pecans. Then, the magic happens. Huge chunks of cooked, smokey, bacon. Not flavored bacon bits, but respectable chunks of fried, savory bacon. It was poured into a 3/4 inch thick slab, which the counter person would break off to sell. I broke my low-carb diet for the day to have this bacon-y treat. I highly recommend it.

I also got to meet Chef Link. To me it's like meeting a celebrity or sports star. Link (on left) and his partner Stryjewski (on right) are two of the top super chefs in town. Their Cochon Restaurant is remarkable and is in MY top 3 in town. Link was very friendly and must be working very hard to keep all his businesses on top. Be sure to check out Cochon and Butcher while in New Orleans. They are near the Convention Center on Andrew Higgins near NOLA Grocery, one of my other favorites. Cochon is on the corner at Tchopotulous, Butcher is directly behind it.


Leo's Cajun Corner

OK, I know most, if not all, of my posts on this blog are about food from Louisiana, specifically New Orleans, or the Cajun country of South Louisiana. I felt though this place really deserved my attention since I really LOVE this place.

Leo's Cajun Corner is located on the lovely island of Galveston, Texas. I met Leo Marcantel on my last visit there having lunch in the dining room of his brand new location on Broadway, (the one pictured is their old one, now torn down). Leo is, at first glance, a friendly fellow that seems to have a happy staff serving wonderful food. We spoke about his new restaurant, which he'd begun building before Hurricane Ike devastated the area.

Their speciality is their smoked foods. They have a butcher's display case full of many smoked meats that you can eat there or take home. My favorite are the rib blade tips, smoked to perfection giving them a reddish-brown hue and infusing them with a wonderful flavor. No sauce is slathered on them like some places do… they don't need anything, they are perfect! The same goes for their chicken and porkchops as well. My friend AJ ordered a chicken beast that looked more like a turkey breast. it was HUGE, as were the porkchops, some the size of a dinner plate.

I have had their gumbo and jambalaya as well, their gumbo is a chicken and andouille which is very simple but flavorful, the same with their gambalaya which was flavored with andouille as well. I am yet to try their crawfish or shrimp etouffée, but I am sure it is tasty.

One of my favorites is their smoked boudin. Now all y'all know I love boudin, and their's is really good. The rich mixture of pork, rice, and spices. The carry plain, smoked, and crawfish boudin. They also make their own andouille, tasso, bacon, ham hocks, beef jerky, and a few other smoked sausages.

Now the best part… their prices. They have the best prices anywhere. I cannot get over how inexpensive the food is. About half the cost of most New Orleans or even Galveston prices. Example: their boudin is $3.89 a lb., A small gumbo, (the size of most large in NOLA) is $1.99. A large etouffée is only $5.25. They can smoke any meat you bring by as well as making custom items like Deer sausage.

Amazingly they don't have a website yet, of course when you see the crowds eating there you wonder if they need one. They do have a mySpace page that is listed HERE. Please, if you are in Houston, run down to Galveston and leave some tourist dollars to help them recover, and also run by a get some great cajun and smoked foods with Leo's Cajun Corner. Tell Leo you read about them here!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This months recipe Red Beans for Valentine's Day

I am reminded of the old poem...
"Beans, beans, the musical fruit,
the more you eat... you remember it.

Well I thought we'd make red beans the recipe of the month. I love red kidney beans seasoned with a lttle onion, celery, garlic, and smoked ham or sausage. Since red is a Valentine's Day color, and I don't know many pink Cajun foods, OK shrimp maybe, I felt that beans would be the food that provides the music of Love, well not quite. You know what I mean. HERE is my recipe. Enjoy


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Chicken Butt

OK, we were having a discussion on a message board about the tail of the chicken. You know, the little lump of skin with a few tiny bones, and a scant morsel of meat? Yes, that one. One lady had heard it called the Pope's Nose. Well I did some checking and I found a list of the Top Ten alternate names for the chicken's tail. I hope you enjoy them.

The Colonel's Knob
El Pollo Asso Bucco Holo
The Outback Backside
Roy Rodger's Chicken Dodgers
The Nagin
The Judas Piece
MacNugget (well they come from somewhere)
Uday or Qussay (your choice)
Da Wagon dat Chicken be Draggin'

My Cajun friend and fellow food blogger, Arthur Hebert, reminded me that Justin Wilson called the chicken butt "the part that goes over the fence last." Click Here

Finally a NEW POST

Sorry, sorry, sorry my friends that actually do stop by and check this blog out from time to time. I have been swamped at work and home very little. But I wanted to tell you of my new out-of-the-way food find. It is right in the NOLA Airport. The ACME Oyster House is of course a venerable old restaurant in the French Quarter on Iberville since 1910, but if you are flying out of New Orleans in the morning, and are hungry? Take your self, and "rat now," over to the ACME "Erster" House in the airport and order the andouille and egg Po-Boy. Oh Man, was it good.

Now, I have been on a low carbohydrate diet since the first of the year, and I believe this was the first bread I've eaten, but it was worth it, with that great old french bread, sauteed onions and peppers, andouille sausage, all stirred up into real eggs. No egg substitute here. OK their prices are ridiculous, but you actually get near what you pay for unlike alot of the airport reataurants. Get 'en to smear a little mayo on it too! Give it a try if your out that way.