Guess who's coming to dinner?
It’s that time of year again, when training camp, two-a-days, recruiting violations, and bar fights yield to the action on the field as the LSU Tigers prepare to put a purple and gold carbon footprint right on the backsides of our hypermiling, Prius-loving opponents from the Pacific Northwest. And there’s no better tradition to accompany the game than the ritual consumption of the other team’s mascot. In this case, the Oregon Ducks have provided us with the opportunity for a tasty game-time meal that you don’t have to keep on the down low. Later in the season, buffets of stuffed War-Eagle or Rack of
Hillbilly Mountaineer can produce some awkward moments for the more sensitive among us.
But a duck and andouille gumbo is as mainstream down here as a bong hit is for our friends in Eugene, so there’s no reason not to do it. As you prepare for the game, here’s a reprint of one of our favorite recipes, a chicken and andouille gumbo courtesy of our esteemed guest columnist, Mr. Mirepoix. We substituted the chicken with duck in the instructions below and voila: everything you need for your Saturday tailgate centerpiece. Please remember to increase all quantities by 50% if you expect any Oregon fans at your event; they are likely to arrive fully baked and very hungry.
Enjoy, and Geaux Tigers! Continue reading
He and She Said:
There are worse ways to start a Monday.
We learned this morning that we are fortunate to be the winners of iExplore’s Best Travel Secrets Contest. The prize: Six days and seven nights in and around exotic Marrakesh.
We stumbled across this opportunity a couple of months ago and figured it wouldn’t hurt to try our luck. We wrote a little piece on our amazing trip to the Amalfi Coast a couple of years ago and published it with additional photos on the blog here with a shameless plug for votes.
So thanks to everyone who took the time to click through and vote for us! We never seriously thought we would win, but a Moroccan odyssey was tempting enough for us to give it our best shot. Not sure yet of all the details or when we’ll be making the trip, but we’ll be sure to share our experience in words and pictures when we do.
Thanks for the support!
Sultry summer evenings I would walk inside, greeted with the succulent smell of roast in the oven. The aromas of carrots and roasting garlic fill the entire house. It’s Sunday and that means dinner with the family. Not just siblings, but rather aunts, uncles and cousins converge on our dining room, gathered to feast. It’s an extremely lively, loud and eerily comforting experience. Mom was usually the host. I think she really enjoyed cooking, but if she didn’t she sure put on a good air. What I am certain of is my mom’s delight in serving others. She always cooked in mass quantity and we more often than not had dinner guests. Not once was there a shortage of food at mealtime and she was prepared for whatever friend, relative or salesman chanced to arrive. I am pretty certain she had some sort of radar that went off anytime someone hungry entered a 2 mile radius of our house.
I remember more than once when someone (pre-cell phone days, folks) came knocking on the door to see if I was home and she told them to come in and eat while they waited for me to get there. My sisters had guys in high school that showed up like clockwork every evening for dinner. That could be somewhat problematic occasionally because my mom was significantly less discriminating as to whom we should be dating than we were (she had a soft heart for charity cases). Her set-ups thank goodness are but a distant memory and now the topic of mealtime and casual conversation. Family dinners are sadly a thing of the past. Life gets busy, people move, and we kids have kids of our own, generally limiting extended family events to the Holidays.
This week marks 11 years my mom’s been gone. Cooking is my greatest means of connecting with her and helps me as an adult continue to expand my relationship with Mom. Since her death I started an annual tradition of hosting dinner in celebration of her memory as I can think of no better way to honor her than by feeding others. So this Friday evening we’ll host our first major dinner in the new digs. No foie gras on the menu tonight. Instead our family will arrive greeted by the delicious smell of garlic, carrots, and roast. It will be loud and crowded and just perfect! And tonight all will be right with the world.
Had enough summer yet?
Yeah, me too. But I’m thinking of fall this week with the arrival at Whole Foods of this year’s harvest of Hatch Chiles. Hatch is a town in New Mexico, and the eponymous chiles are a subset of the green chiles which are a foundation of New Mexican cuisine. For more about them, Whole Foods offers some excellent exposition here. Continue reading
I’ll admit it: I was wrong about Bourbon Street.
For years, I’ve felt that even though it was a necessary evil, an economic lodestone siphoning dollars from all over middle America into our local coffers, it was a place best left to tourists. Upper Bourbon, I thought, was just a tawdry, eight block monument to loud, bawdy, drunken entertainment, a place to which I’d grudgingly wander when first-time visitors arrived and demanded a visit to our most iconic street. But a year and a half of close proximity has changed my mind.
Bourbon Street is a human sewer, perhaps the worst street in America. Continue reading
The Holy Grail of Snack Foods
‘You may eat of anything in the garden,’ God said. ‘Well, except for the apples on that tree over there.’
‘You mean the pretty one right dead center in the middle of Paradise?’
‘Yeah, that’s the one.’
And so began our romance with the Guilty Pleasure, the indulgence made all the better by the fact that it is taboo. I’m not claiming that Planter’s Cheez Balls are the equivalent of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the epicenter of the Earthly Paradise, but I’m not ruling it out either. Continue reading
Business is booming on the new Freret Street. A quick glance at their website will speak to this. Recent additions to this corridor include Ancora Pizza, Beaucoup Juice, Dat Dog, High Hat and more, not to mention the four additional restaurants on the way. Real estate in this area is probably a solid long-term investment.
We unfortunately haven’t spent as much time exploring what Freret has to offer as we would like, but on a whim last week we did head down to check out High Hat. I am not bashful about the fact that I swoon over Adolfo Garcia’s restaurants so it was a no-brainer for us to check out the newest of his ventures, a partnership with Chip Anderson. Continue reading
Capturing the essence of a thing is a difficult challenge. That’s an explicit part of what we do here, asking the question: ‘What’s this place or this experience really like?’ Sometimes I think we’re successful in conveying that, but often I’m not too sure. So I respect so much those who really nail it, and here’s the best example I’ve seen in a long time.
Rick Mereki, Tim White, and Andrew Lees are travelers and filmmakers. Credit where it’s due: their work was pushed to me via the Zite app on my iPad in a piece that appeared in the Huffington Post. Here’s the filmmakers’ take:
3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage…all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food…into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…
I’ll agree with beautiful and compelling, for sure. The result is three one minute films, Move, Eat, and Learn, that arrestingly and charmingly tell the story of the scope and, more importantly, the joy of their adventure. If these don’t make you want to book your flight to somewhere else, you’re beyond help. Check them out for the best three minutes you’ll spend today.
It’s the best of times, the worst of times, and all that.
August can be pretty tough in NOLA: Daylight hours are spent hiding from the sun, hoping you don’t get news that a dear friend burst into flame on the way to the grocery store. Nights combine treatment for second degree car upholstery burns with checking the revised spaghetti maps of whatever tropical bitch currently spins in the Caribbean. It’s really not our best month.
But this weekend brings the opportunity to taste New Orleans in two very different flavors: Friday’s 11th annual Satchmo Club Strut in the Marigny and Saturday’s 17th annual White Linen in the Warehouse District. You can choose one or celebrate your diversity and attend both. Continue reading
He and She Said:
Finally, it’s done.
The process that began almost a year ago and included a nearly three-month exile from our residence (ok, there are worse places to be exiled than the French Quarter, but it was still an exile) is at a conclusion. We moved back into our house at the beginning of July and the final pieces of our renovation were completed last week.
For reference, here are a couple of shots of our 1950′s style kitchen before the project began, originally separated from the dining room by a wall containing a fireplace that had been closed off many years ago:
The view toward the dining room, including the Chambers Stove
View from dining room to kitchen, including fireplace
A few brief notes, and then the photos of the new space. Continue reading